Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kenner Getting $9.3m From BP; Pigs Lining Up At Yenni’s Trough



I don't trust the government
I don't trust myself
What's a boy gonna do? 
  - - - The Editors "A Ton of Love"

During the last mayoral campaign, Drew Broach from Nola.com hosted a mayoral debate. One of the questions was, “What would you do if Kenner had a revenue windfall?”

Mr. Broach described a hypothetical $20m windfall.

It is probably a surprise to no one that I said, that if I were elected I would use the money for infrastructure and to cut Kenner’s debt by accelerating payments.

It is also no surprise that Mike Yenni said he would spend it.

Well Kenner, that hypothetical windfall is upon us in the form of $9.3m in BP blood money.

And, Mike Yenni and his “Consensus Team” are already concocting ways to spend it.

In fact, at the last Council meeting, Councilwoman-At-Large, and Kenner’s Slumlord-In-Chief, Maria DeFrancesch thanked the attorney who negotiated the settlement and looked gleeful at the prospect of  “all the wonderful projects it would pay for.”

Excuse me? Doesn’t Kenner have enough projects (and no, not YOUR kind of projects Maria) like Rivertown, Laketown, the 2033 Plan, et al?

Mike Yenni took on the largest debt in Kenner’s history without voter approval (and is borrowing more, again without voter approval) for a mishmash of projects including an almost $1m bike path to nowhere, and we need more projects?

Kenner can’t even complete the ones Yenni has planned and the people of Kenner have had no accounting of which projects are being funded and by how much, what the status of the projects are, and when they will be completed. 

And yet, Kenner's Police Department has not increased manpower; Kenner's Fire Department is woefully underfunded and undermanned and the national standard of 4-men-on-a-truck is still a pipedream for Kenner (as is a Class 1 Fire Rating, despite the imbecilic mumblings of Chief John Hellmers);  the City is privatizing playgrounds (yeah, that will bring in young families); and sewerage still backs up into the homes of Kenner residents whenever there's a heavy rain - but we do have the largest debt load in Kenner's history! 

Way to go Mikey!

Since none of the 2033 projects were vetted or approved by the people of Kenner, it’s no surprise that we don’t know what the status is either right? Or how much regional, state and federal funding has been acquired and what is happening with the money that was budgeted for those projects funded by other revenue sources.

We also don’t know why those other revenue sources weren’t tapped BEFORE borrowing money, accruing additional interest, and tying up a chunk of Kenner’s sales tax revenue through 2033.

Yeah, and I cost the City $2m. Go back to sleep Councilman Cline. Someone will nudge you the next time you’re required to rate contractors.  

Now, I’m not one to look the proverbial gift horse in the also proverbial mouth, but, with Kenner attempting to borrow another $15m for sewerage projects (some of which are not necessary), why not apply the BP money to those projects and borrow less money?  

Or, as I suggested in the Nola.com debate, apply it to the 2033 debt?

Those are rhetorical questions. Because you’re reading this, unless your name is Cline,DeFranchesh, Sigur or Yenni (who probably has someone read it to him. I know, I should use smaller words), I’m making the assumption that you are reasonably intelligent and you already know the answer:

Contracts for Political Contributors.

No folks, that sound you hear is not an air raid siren - it's the sound of Mike Yenni's pigs, I mean Campaign Contributors,  cuing up at the pay for play taxpayer trough at 1801 Williams Blvd. 

Oink. Oink.

While I do enjoy a good Pulled Pork sandwich from time to time, these pigs at City Hall seem particularly fat and probably wouldn't even make good Cracklin material.

Ever wonder why EVERYTHING in Kenner must be initiated NOW – it's in the event that the people of Jefferson Parish get the wool pulled over their eyes like their Kenner brethren and Yenni is elected Parish President.Of course, projects won’t be finished on Yenni's watch but every last peso will be borrowed, budgeted, committed and, essentially, spent, NOW.

The people of Kenner don’t know where the 1st dollar of the 2033 Plan has gone (except for debt service), we’re borrowing more money for more unnecessary sewerage projects (a building to house generators? Really?), and we’re getting $9.3m dropped in our laps.

Is that money going into the “Rainy Day Fund”? Being used to pay down debt?

Of course not.

At the mayoral debate, Drew Broach asked a hypothetical question that happened to become factual.

Here’s some hypothetical questions: What happens to Kenner’s sales tax revenue if The Esplanade closes and Wal-Mart decides to move from West Esplanade to a new Metairie location? What if Ronnie Lamarque and Best Chevrolet determine that the grass might be greener in Metairie? What if nothing ever materializes regarding Laketown other than a drawing of a giant ferris wheel that was scammed from a London photograph?  What if Rivertown continues to languish? What if the airport flyover ramps at Loyola hurt Loyola Avenue and other area businesses (as I predicted could happen)? What if, God forbid, there’s another Katrina or other devastating disaster?

Now, I don't want go all doom and gloom on you and rain on your Saturday but, what if ALL of those things happen?

Those things, and more, could happen before the debt is paid from the  2033 Plan and the proposed additional sewerage bonds.

Why is Mike Yenni tying the hands of future mayors, councils, and the people of Kenner in his manic search for more contracts for his friends?Why borrow and spend and borrow more without your approval?

And, if you’re reading this, why are you letting them and why aren’t you outraged and calling his office and telling his “Consensus Team” to stop spending money they don’t have? 

 Mike Yenni - 468-7206
***Maria DeFrancesch (At Large) - 468-7247
***Keith Conley (At Large) - 468-7252
Gregory Carroll (District 1) - 468-7253
***Mike Sigur (2) - 468-7248
***Keith Reynaud (3) - 468-7249
***Lenny Cline (4) - 468-7251 (Note: If you talk to Lenny, please speak slowly and use small words)
***Dominick Impastato (5) - 468-7250

*** - A member of Yenni's "Consensus Team" (Now you know why I like and respect Councilman Carroll).

I know. I know. You wanted Cell numbers. Maybe next time.

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