Wednesday, May 3, 2017

$40+ Million And We Get Fake Bricks? Only In Kenna Brah

When former Kenner Mayor and current Jefferson Parish Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni took on the largest debt in Kenner’s history for “beautification” and public art in medians, I don’t think the good people of Kenner thought they would be getting fake bricks painted with stencils.

After all, we’re talking about the medians of some of Kenner’s most trafficked roadways, not a grade school art project.

But, if you drive down many Kenner streets including 32nd Street from Williams Blvd. into The Esplanade or Williams Blvd. through Rivertown or many other streets in Kenner, you don’t see public art in the medians or trees or anything that would remotely be considered “beautification”.

What you do see is fake bricks painted over the concrete medians.

It was almost 4 years when I sat down with former Times-Picayune columnist Jim Varney to discuss the largess of Yenni’s 2030 Plan and the excessive spending involved in the Yenni Administration. If you want a refresher, here’s a link to the article.

In the nearly 4 years since that article appeared, in addition to the $42 Million or so in debt that Yenni sold, the City of Kenner has received Millions in Federal, State and Regional grants that went towards many of the road projects involved in Yenni’s scheme.

In addition, Kenner received $6.9 Million from the BP Oil Spill Settlement and over $1 Million more from permits and fees involving the new Armstrong Airport Terminal.

And, a few short weeks ago, voters in Kenner approved the renewal of property tax millage for road maintenance costing property owners several Million more for the next ten year. 

When he discussed the BP Oil Spill Settlement money, Yenni said,

"Imagine how those funds will be put to good use as we reshape Kenner for generations to come." He gave no hint of his administration's plans for the money.

And this is on top of the supposedly transformative $42 Million from the 2030 Plan debt that was supposed to remake Kenner into a pedestrian-friendly suburb that young millennial families would flock to.

So, where did all the money go?

Was the money spent on making the intersection of Williams and Vets more “pedestrian-friendly”? After all, that was one of the topics that Jim Varney and I discussed 4 years ago.

No. The City did build a bike path on Williams Blvd. under I-10 for the thousands of bike riders that traverse up Williams Blvd. daily. Ok, maybe it’s not “thousands” but I have seen more than 1 person riding his bike under I-10. Sadly, I’ve never seen more than 1 at a time though.

Kenner also got another overpriced bike path on David Drive that is also lightly used.

Ok, was the money spent on making Williams Blvd. safer? After all, that was one of the largest projects in Yenni’s 2030 Plan.

No, Williams Blvd. has changed much except for the repair of the sinkhole near the Circle K at Williams and Vets.

So, again I ask, where’s the money?

4 years after the bond debt was sold and the people of Kenner have never received an accurate accounting of not only the 2030 Plan Debt, the amount of grants received, or the funding of the projects, and, if grant funding was used for the projects and replaced money that was budgeted, what was the budgeted money spent on?

Kenner is building a $1.5 Million shed though.

I guess when Yenni was talking about all the projects that would “reshape Kenner for generations” and some folks foolishly believed the lines about the need for “beautification” to attract young, affluent families to Kenner, we should have known that the priorities were building “The Taj Mahal of sheds” to keep outdoor generators secure and buying stencils and paint for fake bricks in medians.

Well, I guess it’s better than spending tourism money for decorative street lighting, right Lyin’ Ben?

Only in Kenna Brah…