Monday, February 3, 2014

Bennetti Enters Kenner Mayor’s Race



Press Release
For Immediate Release
02/03/2014


Bennetti Enters Kenner Mayor’s Race

Civic Activist Walt Bennetti announced today that he is entering the Spring election for the position of Kenner Mayor.

 The Primary Election is scheduled for April 5th, 2014 and a runoff, if necessary, will be held on May 3rd, 2014. Qualifying for the election runs from February 12-14th.

“We cannot change Kenner and move it forward if we continue with the Politics of the Past and keep electing the same names, even those who have changed their name. Mike Yenni has had 8 years to make Kenner better. Instead, he has made his campaign contributors and friends richer, tried to double property taxes and taken on the largest debt in Kenner’s history without voter approval,” Bennetti said.

Bennetti said his campaign will stress getting politics out of Kenner City Government; hiring an experienced, competent City-Manager and Department Directors; consolidating city departments and reducing the number of political appointees; ending wasteful spending including immediately rescinding Mayor Yenni’s controversial policy of giving auto and
cell phone allowances to his political appointees; and investments in public safety and recreation.

"Kenner City Goverment shouldn't exist to enrich Mike Yenni's Millionaire friends and campaign contributors. It should exist for the betterment of all Kenner residents and business owners. I will not accept campaign contributions from city contractors and as your Mayor, Kenner and the Mayor’s Office won't be bought and sold to the highest contributor," Bennetti said.
“Reducing the size of Kenner City Government is a priority for me as is hiring a qualified, competent City-Manager and Department Directors. Unlike Mayor Yenni however, I won’t fire the workers and hire more Chiefs. We can’t grow the top of Kenner’s payroll at the expense of the hard-working men and women who keep our city moving.”

He also will focus on improving Kenner’s business climate and Economic Development.

“It is irresponsible for Mayor Yenni, or any Mayor, to say that ‘Kenner has too many jobs’ and that ‘Kenner is a dying city’”, Bennetti said. “Kenner isn’t ‘dying’. Mike Yenni’s lack of leadership and the toxic environment in Kenner City Government is stopping Kenner from growing. I guess when you’ve never held a non-political job in your life and you rely on Millionaires and political mentors like Aaron Broussard for advice, it’s easy to lose touch with reality. Instead of taking in Hundreds of Thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, perhaps Mayor Yenni should ask his Millionaire Friends to invest in Kenner and create jobs instead of ‘donating’ Public Art that will cost the city to maintain while they get a large tax deduction.”

“It is also irresponsible for Mayor Yenni to be ‘blindsided’ when major stores announce that they are leaving The Esplanade Mall and businesses of all types are fleeing Kenner. For Kenner’s economy to flourish in the future, we need a proactive Mayor who doesn’t cede Economic Development duties to a hand-picked committee of his Millionaire friends and a group like JEDCO that doesn’t make Kenner a priority.”

“We need a Mayor who will work hard to retain our existing businesses and attract new businesses, provide jobs and job training so our workforce can grow and prosper and provide able consumers for Kenner’s retail shops and restaurants."


Regarding Yenni's recent unveiling of his plans to develop Laketown, Bennetti said, 

"The people of Kenner need a concrete plan for Laketown, Rivertown, The Esplanade and other retail corridors like West Esplanade and Chateau Blvd. We don’t need drawings of Giant Ferris Wheels at Laketown or the idle promises of an out-of-touch Mayor who claims that stores like Kohl's are coming and then they never do, or a Mayor who says that ‘Kenner is a dying city’. If you went to a bank and sought financing with phony 'concept drawings' and no real plan, you'd be laughed out of the banker's office. Why would anyone finance a company whose leader says that it is 'dying'?" 

"Kenner has many advantages that we could and should use to our advantage to help us continue to grow and prosper. Advantages like our location near New Orleans; our low Property Taxes; convenient access to shopping; the natural resources at Lake Pontchartrain; easy access to I-10 and the Armstrong Airport and many more."

"We need to leverage those advantages. Not publicly state that 'Kenner is a dying city' as Mayor Yenni has."

Discussing Yenni's $42 Million bond debt sale to finance aesthetic projects, which Bennetti filed a lawsuit to delay so the public could provide more input and his attempt to force a voter referendum to approve Yenni's plan, Bennetti said, 

"We don’t need a $42 Million facelift funded by debt with an additional $17 Million in interest and we don't need a plan formulated by one person that requires the city to pay for it for the next 20 years without voter approval. This isn't a 2030 Plan - it's a 2033 Plan because Kenner tax dollars will still be paying for it in 2033.”

“Kenner doesn’t need a ‘facelift’ – we need a Spring Cleaning. With the help of the people of Kenner, we will start that Spring Cleaning on April 5th at City Hall.”

Bennetti is the President of Citizens For a Better Kenner a citizens group formed to defeat Mayor Yenni’s 2011 plan to double property taxes for Kenner home and business owners.

He is a past Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Board Member of the Pelican State Pachyderm Club; and a member of St. Clement of Rome Catholic Church in Metairie. He was also a member of Stop The Tolls, a citizens group that helped defeat the plan to extend the Crescent City Connection toll for another 20 years.
In 2013, he was appointed to the City of Kenner's Code Enforcement Advisory Committee.

Bennetti operates a blog, ClickJefferson.com, that focuses on Louisiana and Jefferson Parish politics, is a frequent guest on talk radio shows in Louisiana providing political commentary and is a Member/Spokesperson for the Gulf Coast-East Coast Coalition, a citizens group with members in 17 states that is working to provide a permanent fix to the Biggert-Waters Act that will result in skyrocketing flood insurance premiums.

He has also worked as a media consultant and as a Regional Manager in the Convenience Store industry.
Bennetti ran for office in 2011 and lost in the District 4 Jefferson Parish Council race to Ben Zahn.
The campaign web site is http://www.electwaltmayor.com

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