After getting grief from everyone, with the exception of Kenner’s Taxi Companies, over their ill-fated ordinance to regulate Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn called an “Emergency” meeting of the Kenner City Council to reconsider the ordinance and amend it.
Instead, before a packed council chamber filled with Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as taxi drivers and members of the community, the Kenner Council voted to defer adding any amendments to the ordinance.
It is expected that, at the next council meeting, the council will amend the ordinance to remove the imposition of a $50 “Occupational License” on TNC drivers, pushed by District 2 Councilman Mike Sigur, as well as the mandating of trip fees to and from points in Kenner.
The ordinance will still include a $.50 per trip fee imposed on TNC fares. Mayor Zahn has long pushed for a fee, any fee, that would raise money for Kenner.
Since the $.50 per trip fee is identical to what New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and other governmental entities already charge TNCs, Uber and Lyft will not contest this fee.
District 4 Councilman and Council President Lenny Cline said that the reason for the deferral was because two council members, Councilman-At-Large Maria DeFranchesch and District 1 Councilman Greg Carroll, were absent.
The reality is that the council had a quorum and all three members of Cline’s Transportation Committee (Cline, Sigur and Councilman-At-Large Tom Willmott) were present.
Zahn, Cline and Sigur simply didn’t want to listen to comments from the TNC and Taxi drivers that filled the council chambers.
Without any public comment, the Council voted to defer any amendments and adjourn the meeting.
As a resident of Kenner, I want to apologize to all of the Uber/Lyft and Taxi drivers, and members of the community that took time out of their day (and possibly lost revenue) to attend an “Emergency” meeting, not have the ability to offer their comments on an ordinance that will impact their livelihood, and for viewing the dysfunction that is Kenner City Government with Lyin’ Ben Zahn as Mayor and an impotent Council that can’t get out of its own way.
By refusing to sit there and listen to the public that they were allegedly elected to serve and represent, Zahn, Cline, Sigur and the rest of the Kenner City Council proved once again that they are cowards who care little about the people of Kenner.
In the end, the “Emergency” Meeting was a colossal waste of time since this ordinance as written, should never have seen the light of day.
And it wouldn’t have if Kenner City Government had any true leaders instead of clowns and cowards.