Just a few months after Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn pulled the rug (and the funding) out from under the feet of Kenner’s Hispanic Community by reallocating money that was pledged to rebuild the Hispanic Resource Center, Zahn is back to his old tricks using Kenner’s Hispanic Community as a pawn in his political game.
Since he can’t use the Hispanic Resource Center as a tool, this time Zahn is using a festival.
At issue is the Kenner Hispanic Summer Fest.
For the past 7 years, the Kenner Hispanic Summer Fest has occurred during the Summer (makes sense, right?). Last year, it was June 10th and 11th.
So, this year, you would logically think that the 8th Annual Kenner Hispanic Summer Fest would occur during June, July or August, right?
This year, for some unexplained reason (which we will attempt to decipher in a minute), the Kenner Hispanic Summer Fest has changed its name to the Kenner Hispanic Fest and occurs…wait for it…this weekend – in March.
Why would you change a successful 7 year festival that was a Summer highlight and even included the word “Summer” in its name until now?
The answer dear readers is simple:
The 1st Kenner Hispanic Fest “just happens” to be held this Saturday, March 10th and 11th. Curiously, Saturday is the first day of early voting for the March 24th primary in which Zahn and other fellow members of the Buisson Machine, including Kenner Councilman-At-Large candidate Kristi McKinney and JP Sheriff candidate Johnny Fortunato are on the ballot along with current Kenner District 4 Councilman Lenny “Mumbles” Cline (who is in a heated battle with George Branigan).
While it is the 1st “Kenner Hispanic Fest”, the Zahn Administration led by Cultural Diversity Director Rafael Saddy (who, I'm told, just happens to be one of the promoters of the Fest) is trying to pull the wool over Kenner Hispanic’s eyes again by promoting it as the “8th Annual Kenner Hispanic Fest”.
The problem is – it isn’t the “8th Annual Kenner Hispanic Fest” since the first 7 were called “Kenner Hispanic Summer Fest”.
So, why the games and the date and name changes?
Like I said, it’s purely political.
The 1st “Kenner Hispanic Fest” will give Zahn and his fellow Buisson Minions another opportunity to get in front of a large crowd, press the flesh and try to get some votes. Of course, other candidates not affiliated with Buisson (or endorsed by Zahn as McKinney, Fortunato and Cline are) will be told that “No Politics Are Allowed” at the Fest.
But, the same rules won’t apply to the Buisson Team.
I’m certain that Zahn will be up on the stage and probably introduce McKinney and Fortunato, at least. If he’s smart, he won’t introduce Cline (and he certainly won’t hand Cline the microphone and ask him to say a few words. A few words from Lenny could take all day).
Even if current Kenner Councilman-At-Large Maria DeFrancesch (McKinney’s opponent) attends, I seriously doubt that she will be invited on stage and introduced to the crowd. After all, DeFrancesch along with outgoing District 3 Councilman Keith Reynaud were the only members of the Kenner City Council who raised objections to Zahn pulling the HRC funding.
Zahn certainly wouldn’t want to promote DeFrancesch to a crowd of Hispanics when she was against Zahn’s reallocation of the HRC funding. In fact, DeFrancesch stood up for the Kenner Hispanic Community more than Zahn’s hand-picked “Cultural Diversity Coordinator” Saddy or the politically-appointed HRC Director.
In addition, there is little doubt that Zahn/McKinney/Fortunato signs and volunteers wearing campaign t-shirts will be strategically milling through the crowd, along with vehicles with more campaign signs parked near the entrance and in the Laketown parking lots.
I bet there won’t be any t-shirt wearing DeFrancesch volunteers in the crowd.
No Branigan or Sheriff Joe Lopinto volunteers either and surely no volunteers for Zahn’s opponents Dona Reynaud (the wife of the other Councilman who stood up for the HRC) and Al Morella.
So, instead of celebrating Kenner’s Hispanic community, the 1st Kenner Hispanic Fest is just another political stunt that the Buisson Team of Zahn, McKinney, Fortunato and Cline can use to their advantage.
But, when they use free food as a means to garner votes, are you really surprised that Mayor Zahn and the Buisson Minions would use an event with a few thousand potential voters for their own selfish means?
For those wondering, that was a rhetorical question.
I do have a couple of unanswered questions though:
1). Is Kenner’s biggest sellout, I mean, Cultural Diversity Coordinator Saddy, who thought so much of Kenner Hispanic Community that he didn’t say a word when Zahn pulled the HRC funding (and its future), making any side money from his “promotion” of the Fest in addition to his City of Kenner paycheck? This is a major question since the City of Kenner is one of the primary sponsors of the event.
2). Is the Campaign Manager for Zahn, McKinney, Fortunato and Cline, Greg Buisson, pocketing any cash from the Fest?
If you go this weekend, I hope everyone enjoys the 1st Kenner Hispanic Fest. But, don’t look for there to be a 2nd Annual Fest, at least not in March 2019. No, my guess is that in June 2019 we will be celebrating the 10th Annual Kenner Summer Hispanic Fest.
Just do me a favor: please make sure you loudly boo any politicians on stage.
Except Maria DeFrancesch, that is, assuming Zahn would actually allow her on stage.
Councilwoman DeFrancesch deserves your applause - and your vote.