The first in a series of profiles of the Kenner Mayoral Candidates.
When I received the direct mail piece touting District 3 Councilman Keith Reynaud’s “Record of Achievement” and labeling himself “The People’s Choice”, I literally vomited in my mouth.
In fact, it’s probably a good thing that my vision only enabled me to read the large type or I would have projectile vomited.
Approximately 10 times the amount of people who have EVER voted for the self-annointed “People’s Choice” will read this blog post.
Of course, 5 times the number of people who purchase The Advocate in Kenner will read this blog post as well, but I digress.
At one point in time I actually considered Keith Reynaud to be a friend. Well, friendly might be a better description.
Reynaud advertised his A/C business on the first incarnation of ClickJefferson.com. Through his support of CJ, we became friendly.
I invited Keith to an early Citizens For a Better Kenner meeting. He, and his wife Dona, worked countless hours canvassing and putting up signs to help defeat Mike Yenni’s plan to double Kenner’s property taxes.
After that however, we have been less friendly.
In August 2011, I attended a fundraiser for the Driftwood Country Club. Since Keith and Dona and I were “friendly”, I assumed that they would support my campaign for JP Council.
At the fundraiser, Keith literally ignored me. Dona came up to me and said that Keith needed to speak with me but he was pretty busy cooking for fundraiser. She asked me if I could stick around a bit and I agreed.
I had no intention of asking Keith and Dona to formally support or endorse me. Frankly, I didn’t think I needed to.
As it got later, I sought Dona and Keith out.
Dona said, “Keith has something that he needs to tell you.”
Keith stammered, “Well, uh, I, uh. Umm. I need to…”
Dona jumped back in.
“Keith is going to support Ben Zahn. If Ben wins, Ben is going to endorse Keith to replace him on the Kenner Council. Keith needs to do this. You understand. It’s not personal.”
And that was that. Have a good night.
Keith and Dona supported the unlicensed florist. However, when it came time for Ben to return the favor, Zahn, Mike Yenni, Greg Buisson and others cast their lots with Mary-Sharon Howland and snubbed Reynaud.
Reynaud eeked out a victory with the help of many members of CFBK (myself not included – I was in the hospital during the campaign and election).
“Apologize and Give Me The Credit”
After Reynaud joined the Council, he supported two Charter Changes that were filed to limit political influence of political appointees in City Government and to enable contracts valued at over $100,000 entered into by the Mayor to have a public hearing before the Council.
I, along with CFBK, strongly supported both and pushed for them months before their introduction.
The Advocate wrote a story about the Charter Changes that appeared in a Sunday edition. The article quoted me and then-District 2 Councilman Joe Stagni (who actualy wrote the language for Charter Changes.
About 10:15am on Sunday morning, while I was at St. Clement of Rome Church attending mass, Keith called my cell phone and left me a voice mail.
“The newspaper shouldn’t have talked to you. I am responsible for those Charter Changes. I don’t want anything to do with Citizens For a Better Kenner or you until you publically apologize to me for taking my credit.”
I said that Keith called me. The reality probably was that Dona called me but, when my voice mail answered instead, she thought it was safe to had the phone over to Keith.
Needkess to say, I had no intention of apologizing for a newspaper reporter calling me and asking me questions about 2 issues that I strongly supported BEFORE Keith became a Councilman.
Later, when Yenni pushed his 2030 debt plan, despite his support of Yenni, Reynaud was against the plan, It was only after the projects were announced, and their was a project in District 3 (an overpriced bike path), that Reynaud publically supported Yenni’s plan to saddle Kenner with generations of debt.
When Yenni ran against me for reelection in 2014, despite stabbing him in the back multiple times and labeling Keith as “just an A/C Salesman”, Reynaud strongly supported Yenni, even appearing in a video.
I don’t know what Keith got for that but I hope it was something good.
I mention these instances to illustrate a point: Reynaud is out for himsef and has no political backbone. There is no central political philosophy that he believes. Does it make Keith Reynaud look good – he’s for it. It really is that simple.
Keith is all about Keith.
Don’t believe me? Watch a City Council meeting.
I can’t tell you how many times Reynaud has taken the mic and said, “Uh, Mr. Quigley. I, uh, already know the answer because, uh, we talked, uh, earlier. But, uh, could, you just, uh, tell those watching, uh, what we talked about.”
That’s Keith – always trying (and failing miserably) to prove that he is the smartest guy in the room.
In a battle of wits to the death between Reynaud, District 4 Councilman Lenny Cline, At-Large (and Mayoral candidate) Maria DeFrancesch and Ben Zahn, they would all commit suicide before they got a word out.
It is no surprise to me that he’s had his wife comment at recent Council meetings about the alleged poor treatment of Keith. Don’t get me wrong, I have enormous respect for Dona. Shr does a lot of volunteer work and, when there have been emergencies, she has stepped in and prepared litereally thousands of meals for folks. She has been very nice to me and, even when we’ve disagreed, we’ve been respectful.
And, it’s admirable that she wants to defend her husband. Dona is fiercely loyal.
Her husband could learn a thing or two from her.
Keith faces an uphill road with Zahn and DeFrancesch taking away the Republican vote and Zahn from Reynaud’s home base in District 3. In fact, I believe that, not only will Reynaud not be elected Mayor, he won’t even win District 3 and may not even win his neighborhood.
Despite 5 years on the City Council, Reynaud is relatively unknown citywide and of those who do know him, many have noticed the changes in his personality and his ever growing ego.
When you put your head in every newspaper ad and church bulletin for your A/C company, that tells you all you need to know about Reynaud’s ego.
The bottom line is, Keith is running for Mayor to feed his ego, not because he wants to change things or has a better vision for Kenner. Since it’s a Presidential election, his overall vote total may be higher than mine in 2014, but his percentage of the vote will probably be in the single digits or less than ½ of my percentage.
Perhaps that makes me “The Real People’s Choice’!
Nah. I’m just a lowly blogger according to Nola.com.