Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Kenner Facing Uncertain Future Thanks To Yenni’s Bloated Ambition

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – here comes another anti-Mike Maunoir/Yenni post. And, when all is said and done, you may be correct.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m not particularly prescient. If I was, I would be at Circle K at this very moment buying the winning $500 Million Powerball ticket.

Despite the fact that I can’t clearly see the future (I know, you’re as shocked as I am), I can make some educated guesses and also pull together some fairly logical (to me anyway) conclusions.

Now, before you go off the deep end and think that these are the rantings of a bitter man who lost an election, think again.

One, I’m not bitter.

Two, while losing is never easy for someone like me, it was actually a blessing. Spending the past year and a half healing, learning, observing, and taking a step back to assess things rather than governing has been therapeutic to say the least.

Besides, it’s 2016 – being bitter is so 2014.

And, finally, as I’ve said many times during the past 6 years since his premature elevation as Kenner’s Mayor, this isn’t about me or Mike Yenni – it’s about Kenner and the future of Kenner.

While I didn’t have the pleasure of being born and raised in Kenner as some, I have lived here for the past 15+ years and I am passionate about our city.

Am I disappointed that Mike Yenni was inaugurated today as Jefferson Parish President? Of course.

I don’t think that Mike Yenni has the best interests of Jefferson Parish at heart, just as I firmly believe he didn’t have Kenner’s best interests either. If he did, he wouldn’t have left one year into his second term and loaded Kenner with the uncertainty it currently faces.

Because Yenni bailed on his responsibility and duty to Kenner residents, there is a huge leadership void in Kenner government. Pilfering the ranks of Kenner Department Directors will only widen that void.

For the next year, Kenner will be governed by two men who are completely incapable of managing a city and have no relevant experience for undertaking the task.

First-term Kenner Councilman Mike Sigur will get the first six-month stint. He claims that his KPD experience has given him the background needed to serve as interim Mayor. Sigur retired after a 30-year career on the KPD.

Sigur continued to stir up controversy by accepting paid details after his ascension to the City Council. Among the rank-and-file within KPD, Sigur is vilified.

Sigur also has questionable ethics and a penchant for not being entirely truthful as shown in his campaign (run by Mike Yenni’s Campaign Manager, the vile Greg Buisson) where he denied that he supported Yenni’s plan to double property taxes even after being confronted with a photo of a yard sign supporting the tax plan in his front yard.

Following Sigur’s 6-month stay, will be equally green District 5 Councilman Dominick Impastato, also a Yenni/Buisson loyalist.

Impastato doesn’t have Sigur’s ethical baggage but he has even less experience, if that's possible.

Both Sigur and Impastato were heavy supporters of Yenni’s 2033 Plan, which just had its first ribbon cutting  2 ½ years after the bond debt was sold and hours before Yenni moved to JP (of course).

Waiting in the wings after Sigur and Impastato, it is rumored that Councilwoman-At-Large Maria DeFrancesch is positioning herself for the November 2016 election to serve the remainder of Yenni’s term.

DeFrancesch, Kenner’s resident Slumlord-In-Chief, isn’t qualified to run a bath let alone the largest City in Jefferson Parish. 

Maybe I'm being too hard on her. Perhaps 2017 will be the year Kenner finally gets the Kohl's that DeFrancesch and Yenni promised us in 2010, or the Belk's DeFrancesch discussed 2 years ago, or (insert Store Name here) that will reinvigorate The Esplanade and replenish Kenner's drying up sales tax well. 


Couple this with the fact that in addition to Sigur and Impastato there is another first term Councilmember, an incoming appointed At-Large Councilman who also has no prior governmental experience, the CAO and longtime Finance Director are both retiring, and the exodus of Yenni’s appointees to Jefferson Parish, and it’s not hard to be pessimistic about Kenner’s future.

How will all of this inexperience grapple with the significant economic issues facing Kenner (the continued decline of the Esplanade; commercial blight; an eroding tax base; an aging housing stock; and the largest debt in Kenner’s history, among other issues)?

Leaving Kenner without implementing his 2033 Plan, while leaving Kenner residents the tab, is irresponsible and proves that Mike Yenni is all about Mike Yenni.

Before he left, Yenni did leave a lump of coal in Kenner resident’s stockings by renewing the trash 
contract with Ramelli, again without putting the contract out for bid and without attempting to strike a better deal for Kenner.

Yes, these will be trying times for Kenner thanks to Yenni’s ambition and lust for power.

As for me, well, I’m headed to Circle K to buy a Powerball ticket. 

Wish me luck.

As a resident and someone who cares deeply about Kenner, I'm going to need it.