Jefferson Parish

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

In Jefferson, a peaceful changing of the guard — but war is imminent

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 6:44 PM

Former state Rep. Joe Lopinto (left) will become interim sheriff of Jefferson Parish after the resignation of Sheriff Newell Normand.
  • Former state Rep. Joe Lopinto (left) will become interim sheriff of Jefferson Parish after the resignation of Sheriff Newell Normand.


Things are rarely dull in Jefferson Parish politics. I still recall the factional wars of the 1980s and early ’90s between then-DA John Mamoulides and then-Assessor Lawrence Chehardy. No election was insignificant.

Some see the resignation of Sheriff Newell Normand and the rise of interim Sheriff Joe Lopinto as triggering another era of political warfare in Jefferson. Truth be told, war has been coming to Jefferson for some time. The factional leaders are Normand and Parish President Mike Yenni. Everyone else has to choose sides. Normand’s decision to turn in his badge for a talk-radio mic at WWL-AM is merely the latest run-up to open hostilities.

As sheriff, Normand often took sides at election time, but between elections he stayed in his lane. Now, as a radio talk show host, he can talk about any issue that concerns him. He will be a very interesting talk show host, to say the least.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Normand steps down as Jefferson Parish sheriff; will join WWL-AM as radio host

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 3:03 PM

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced today he'll be stepping down as sheriff Aug. 31 and soon after will start a new career: as midday talk show host on WWL-AM, taking the slot held by Garland Robinette, who retired earlier this month.

In a statement provided by Entercom, the company that owns WWL-AM, Normand said, "I always listened to Garland and admired his voice in our community. He played a pivotal role in New Orleans' recovery & rebirth from Katrina. Plus, good leaders know when it's time to move on. I'm satisfied that Jefferson Parish is in great shape. The crime rate hasn't been this low since 1974. And strong leadership is ready to step in and take over a great team — one I care about deeply and will miss dearly,"

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

'Recall Yenni' campaign rebrands as 'Defeat Yenni,' targets Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 4:27 PM

Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.
  • Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.
Metairie attorney Robert Evans, who spearheaded the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni earlier this year, is now launching a new movement he calls "Defeat Yenni," targeting those he sees as Yenni's political allies — specifically Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn.

Evans has sent a letter to a selected list of registered voters in Jefferson Parish, asking for their support. "I am writing to you to once again ask for your support in making sure that Parish President Mike Yenni does not get re-elected," the letter reads, adding, "Wherever, a Yenni ally seeks election or re-election, I will advocate the defeat of that ally to weaken Yenni’s attempted re-election effort. The next election of a pro-Yenni ally is the re-election campaign of Mayor Ben Zahn of Kenner. Qualifying for that election is just 9 months from now. This summer, I will begin a Defeat Yenni campaign focused on exposing every connection that has existed and still exists between Mike Yenni, Ben Zahn and other allies to keep the public informed."

Evans' earlier petition recall effort ended in March, when the recall committee had gathered only about half the 90,000 signatures needed to force a ballot referendum.

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Three people arrested during demonstration at Sen. Bill Cassidy office

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 2:55 PM

Three people were arrested outside U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's Metairie office during a sit-in urging Cassidy to vote against the Senate's health bill. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Three people were arrested outside U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's Metairie office during a sit-in urging Cassidy to vote against the Senate's health bill.

As part of a national demonstration urging Senators to vote against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, three people were arrested July 6 while inside the Causeway Boulevard building that houses U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's Metairie office.

Roughly 20 demonstrators demanding Cassidy vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act joined a nationwide "sit-in" at Senate offices across the U.S., a multi-pronged effort coordinated by Democratic Socialists of America chapters as well as Democracy Spring, Our Revolution, #AllOfUs, Progressive Democrats of America, Ultraviolet, The People's Consortium, ResistHere.org and The Working Families Party. The national Sit-In to #StopTrumpcare also calls for single-payer health care through a Medicare For All platform.

The organizations also called for Senators to protect Medicaid, which likely faces a chopping block if the bill passes. More than 436,000 people in Louisiana have qualified for Medicaid coverage following the state's 2016 expansion of the health program.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall: Fractious and furious constituents shout down the senator

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 8:02 PM

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a fractious town hall today in Metairie. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a fractious town hall today in Metairie.

Town halls around the country are fractious affairs these days for Republican members of Congress, but the crowd of hundreds that showed up at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library in Metairie today for a town hall with U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy was so raucous and furious that CNN began carrying it live.

People began arriving around noon to line up and hold a parking lot rally before the doors opened at 3 p.m., so attendees already were tired of waiting when Cassidy arrived 22 minutes late to the 3:30 p.m. town hall. The senator apologized, saying he was touring New Orleans tornado damage, an explanation that didn't go over well in the crowd of 200 or so who were allowed in, which jeered and booed him. And that was just the start.

"If all you want to do is vent," Cassidy said early on, "this will not be profitable."

They did. It wasn't.

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Slideshow: Protesters, supporters at Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall in Metairie

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 3:05 PM

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Congressional town hall meetings have become heaty affairs back home, and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall today at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Public Library is no exception. Several hundred people — mostly protesters — gathered outside starting at noon for the event, which was not scheduled to begin until 3:30 p.m.

Here are a few of the signs and people in the crowd.


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Friday, February 3, 2017

All-out war in Jefferson Parish: Chris Roberts and Mike Yenni

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 2:46 PM

Jefferson Council Chair Chris Roberts (left) and Parish President Mike Yenni are at open war.
  • Jefferson Council Chair Chris Roberts (left) and Parish President Mike Yenni are at open war.

Who would have guessed a year ago that New Orleans politics would seem tame — boring, even — compared to that of Jefferson Parish? The city’s heated debates over crime, streets and Confederate-era monuments look like Junior League socials compared to the political war in Jefferson these days.

The two principal combatants are Parish President Mike Yenni and Council Chair Chris Roberts. They never got along very well, but their previously muted hostilities are now out in the open — and spreading.

Last week’s parish council meeting erupted into a barrage of cross-accusations that included graphic sexting, conflicts of interest, ethical lapses and criminality. Yenni and Roberts accused each other being “unfit” to hold public office — and that’s a polite summary.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

In Jefferson Parish, now it’s the DiMarco scandal

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 11:36 AM

Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco said the private voting machine in his office was “really a convenience for those whose time is, for lack of a better word, maybe more valuable than others’.”
  • Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco said the private voting machine in his office was “really a convenience for those whose time is, for lack of a better word, maybe more valuable than others’.”


As if the Mike Yenni sexting scandal weren’t embarrassing enough for Jefferson Parish voters, now the feds have been notified that parish Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco set up a special VIP voting machine in his private conference room during early voting week.

DiMarco told WWL-TV’s Paul Murphy the private voting machine was “not a big issue,” but the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Secretary of State Tom Schedler begged to differ. Louisiana law expressly states, “Each voting machine shall be placed inside the polling place and shall be in full view of the public from the time the election begins until the last elector has voted.”

What part of that sentence does DiMarco not understand?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mike Yenni insists he's staying as Jefferson Parish President, as council unanimously casts vote of no confidence in his leadership

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni leaves parish council chambers after the council unanimously cast a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
  • Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni leaves parish council chambers after the council unanimously cast a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni made his first appearance before the parish council since news of his sexting scandal broke earlier last month. The regular council meeting began with Yenni making a statement to councilmembers, repeatedly citing God and his Catholic faith, but stressing he was not stepping down from his job, despite calls from councilmembers and constituents to do so.

It only got more heated from there.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Y@ Speak: the deadline to register to vote in Louisiana is Oct. 11

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 7:41 PM

In this week's edition of an election cycle in which candy must clarify its positions on refugees and sexual assault: Louisiana officials denounce Trump's comments (but not Trump) and we watched some "debates." Meanwhile: LSU thought it could take on a hurricane, and Mike Yenni won't step down despite many calls to do so after inappropriate and likely illegal sexual behavior. Sounds familiar!

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