The Yenni/Zahn/Buisson Machine must be very worried about the Jefferson Parish Council District 4 race between their boy, Kenner Councilman Dominick Impastato, and State Senator Danny Martiny.
We've posted about Impastato's 'Politrics' and about Impastato's lies about endorsements, but now the Yenni/Zahn/Buisson Machine has kicked it up a notch employing the Kenner Police Department and, possibly, the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office to help in their Dirty Tricks Campaign.
In the past few days, many Kenner and Metairie residents received a robocall from Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn promoting the Impastato campaign.
In the call, a response to a Martiny direct mail piece that slams Impastato's claim that he has done more in less than one term than many politicians do in their entire careers, Kenner's Pathological Lying Mayor says, "I learned long ago that figures lie and liars figure."
I have listened to the call about a dozen times and I still have no idea what Zahn is talking about, but, when it comes to lies and liars, Ben Zahn is THE EXPERT.
Zahn further claims that Impastato is "the real deal" and has "the experience, the energy and the effective leadership style to bring 'fresh ideas' to life."
Zahn asserts that Impastato single-handidly engineered a "$10 Million dollar fix from the Corps to protect you from flooding."
This is patently false. No Kenner Councilman or even the Mayor of Kenner, was responsible for or could make the Army Corps authorize a $10 Million project on their own. The Army Corps is funded through Congress using our Federal tax dollars.
Did Impastato sit in on a meeting with the Army Corps? Perhaps, although if Impastato were present, he sat in a chair silently taking notes. The Army Corps couldn't care less what a part-time Kenner City Councilman who is an Attorney and not an Engineer thinks about levees.
But, I know what you're thinking: what does this have to do with the Police.
When a robocall is placed, the party making the call needs to enter a telephone number that appears on your Caller ID. This is to alert you to telemarketers and other folks you may not want to speak to.
The return number on the Zahn robocall (which was paid for by the Impastato campaign), originated from a 225 area code telephone number and the name listed was "West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office".
Who wouldn't answer the phone if they got a call from a Sheriff?
The problem is, using a government agency's equipment (in this case, their phone number), for political purposes is a violation of Federal law.
Since the Impastato campaign paid for the robocall, why would Impastato use a West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office telephone number on their auto-dialer? Was it an attempt to intentionally deceive voters?
In an email, the Sheriff of West Baton Rouge Parish said this:
"The phone #225-***-**** (number omitted by ClickJefferson) belongs to the WBRSO. No one was authorized to use that # for any reason & specifically no one had the authority to use that # in connection with any robocall. And, furthermore, at no time was anyone authorized to use that # in connection with the political campaign of Dominick Impastato.
Sheriff Michael B. Cazes
West Baton Rouge Parish"
So, it's either a crime or a lie - take your pick.
The second instance of Zahn and Impastato employing the police in an attempt to intimidate Martiny supporters occurred Saturday.
As I drove to the Registrar of Voters Office in Rivertown to early vote, I noticed several Kenner Police Department vehicles at The Castle where Martiny was having a social event for his supporters.
At first, I thought the KPD was there to provide security for the crowd as the KPD often provides police details (for a price) at events with a large group of people.
After I voted, I stopped by Martiny's social to inquire about the KPD, which were gone by then.
I was told that two Martiny supporters with "Elect Danny Martiny" signs in their vehicles were parked too close to the Registrar of Voters Office around the corner, in violation of the 600 feet rule regarding polling places.
Because of the event, JP Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco (a Yenni/Zahn supporter), posted signs designating the 600 feet proximity.
While the vehicles were not violating DiMarco's measurement, someone from the City of Kenner said that the Registrar's measurements were incorrect and used a different standard.
In any case, one of the offending vehicles was moved and the owner of the other vehicle (a pickup truck) placed their signs flat in the truck bed. All of this could have been done without KPD involvement.
Since the Martiny social was posted on social media and invitations were sent to many via email, I'm certain that Impastato and his campaign were aware of the event and the location. Whether Impastato himself or someone from his campaign complained about the vehicles is unknown. But, the KPD would not have responded unless there was a complaint and, given that it was political, I'm certain that KPD Chief Michael Glaser and Mayor Zahn were notified BEFORE a police unit was dispatched.
But, why send multiple KPD vehicles to ask a citizen to move their parked vehicle? Doesn't the KPD have better uses of it's time than to send several officers to the scene of a parked vehicle?
Clearly, it was a show of intimidation on the part of Zahn, Impastato and Glaser (who has also endorsed Impastato) - and that is sad and tells you everything you need to know about the sad state of affairs in Kenner Politics.
It's also curious that John Tobler, a Buisson operative that Zahn wants to be his "Special Mayoral Assistant in charge of Economic Development" (despite the fact that Tobler isn't even a Kenner resident and has no background in Economic Development), was across the street taking pictures of the Martiny social and those attending.
And Zahn wonders why the people of Kenner approved a Charter Change for an apolitical workforce.
Hopefully, someone offered Tobler a donut and some water. I would hate to see a City of Kenner employee with low blood sugar or suffering from dehydration while they were doing the dirty work of Ben Zahn and Greg Buisson.
Putting unwanted signs in people's yards, lying about endorsements, violating Federal law and using the police and political appointees to intimidate supporters - yeah, those sure sound like "Fresh Ideas" to me Dominick.