The fourth in our series of Kenner Mayoral candidate profiles.
Alright, I confess – I like Al Morella.
Even when Al didn’t have all the facts or trusted what he read in the newspaper and publicly criticized me, I still like Al.
Al religiously attends Kenner and JP Council meetings and speaks out on issues. We need more citizens becoming active and speaking out like Al Morella.
Unfortunately, that isn’t enough warrant election as Mayor.
But, I still like Al and I’m glad he’s trying again.
The Nola.com Mayoral Debate
I have always felt that, even if he is sometimes misguided and doesn’t have all the facts or information, Al Morella’s heart is in the right place.
And, he has a very big heart.
In 2014, Al and I ran against Mike Yenni. Knowing that Yenni, as an incumbent, had a huge leg up, I challenged Yenni to a series of debates. He refused.
Then Drew Broach at Nola.com decided that they would hold a videotaped debate and post it on their web site.
The only problem was the date.
Before the debate, after months of delays, I was finally cleared to have hardware implanted into my foot to fuse my heel, ankle and tibia together. The operation was scheduled about 10 days before the debate.
Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a one-day surgery was a bit more complicated and I ended up spending 8 days in the hospital.
I was released two days before the debate and, while I was still in considerable pain and on crutches, I wasn’t about to miss the chance to debate Yenni.
So, I shrugged off the warnings on my pain meds to not drive or operate heavy machinery, and drove down to the Nola.com offices.
With a bunch of pain meds in my stomach, I was nauseated leaving Kenner. By the time I made it to the parking garage of the office building housing Nola.com, I was fighting the urge to vomit.
After snaking through the parking garage and finally finding a spot, I couldn’t fight it any longer and vomited as soon as I got out of my car.
I found a restroom inside and tried to clean myself up. When I made it to the Nola.com office, I was sweating profusely.
Watching the video of the debate, I look distracted and unable to focus. Now, you know why.
I still think I did ok but I didn’t do as good as I could have.
After the debate, Yenni (along with the Puppetmaster Greg Buisson) immediately left. Being on crutches, It took me a little while longer to get going (and I really didn’t want to ride in the same elevator with them anyway). I chatted with Al for a few minutes and made my way out.
Al and I rode the elevator together and he could see that I was struggling. I was sweating, dizzy, nauseaus and unsteady. Hobbling around on crutches didn’t make it any easier.
Anyway, even though he was parked on a different floor, Al walked with me to my car. I didn’t need his help but I appreciated him being there.
Al went out of his way to make sure that I was ok and I will always remember that and be grateful.
That being said, I don’t think Al is qualified to be Mayor.
Al has nothing in his background that would how that he is qualified to run a City like Kenner. He doesn’t use a computer or email. He is not a team builder and would have difficulty forming a team of folks to work with him and help him operate the City.
So, while I love Al Morella as a person and a civic activist, I cannot support him in his candidacy.
But, I will continue to tell everyone I know that Kenner and Jefferson Parish needs more folks like Al Morella.
Just not as Mayor.