Until exercising the presidential veto of a May 16 ordinance capping development fill at three feet across Ascension Parish, Kenny Matassa’s legacy would have been escaping justice after bribing a candidate for Gonzales City Council. Insiders, highly-placed, question the legitimacy of State of Louisiana versus Kenny Matassa, especially the non-prosecution by AG Jeff Landry’s office, but also multiple curious rulings from the bench. But now, President Matassa will be remembered for selling out east bank Ascension for a few development dollars.
The veto stood because three east bank council members stood with Matassa; a west bank member refused to vote. And now they are scrambling to mitigate the political damage, unlike all those developers who have trucked in all that fill material in dozens of east bank subdivisions.
Matassa, the lamest of lame-ducks, doesn’t care since his exit from the political stage is scheduled six months, and 13 days from now. We’re hearing he’ll be back in the parish’s employ “one (1) year after the expiration of the term for which (he was) elected” (see Home Rule Charter Section 3-06) if Murphy Painter wins the presidency on October 12. And the machine keeps on rolling.
Painter’s team is Matassa’s team. To hear the erstwhile Ascension Parish Sheriff’s hopeful’s take on Matassa’s trial and (not really) tribulations tells one all he/she needs to know about Painter’s plans for governing. Painter can “empathize…with Matassa” because the former had “been through the same” although Painter “wasn’t trying to bribe anybody.” The candidate applauded Matassa’s presidency during a recent campaign event.
Neither was determined “innocent” since that is not a criminal jury’s (or a St. James judge’s) role as factfinder. A “Not Guilty” verdict means, according to that trial’s arbiter, there was not sufficient evidence to determine their “guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt.” The same applies to OJ Simpson.
Speaking of OJ’s…we’ll get to that briefly.
So Painter knows Matassa was guilty; he simply does not care. It’s not the first time the self-aggrandizing former Alcohol and Tobacco Control head has turned a blind eye to crime. That’s a story for another day.
Why would any council member, especially Chairwoman Teri Casso, agree to participate in the politically-motivated charade that is President Kenny Matassa’s “fill ordinance committee?” In a recent press release Matassa is supposed to have said:
“We all agree we have to do something, but it must be the right thing. My administration will work with the Council to find the best possible solution for all of the people.”
Five members (one shy of a quorum) of the governing authority, i.e. the Parish Council were included. Three of those sided with Matassa, voting “NO” when it came time to override Matassa’s veto of an ordinance, over two years in the making, capping fill material for all development at three feet.
Needing eight affirmative votes (out of 11 members) to override a presidential veto, it failed because a fourth member chose to cast no vote at all.
Oliver Joseph’s June 6 abstention created an awful lot of outrage on the east bank, not that he cares one whit. But his colleagues and political allies certainly do as many of their constituents are furious. Was Joseph’s inclusion just too harsh a slap in the face to east bank voters? Enter…
Is there a doubt in anyone’s mind that Johnson would have sided with Matassa’s veto if his vote had been necessary? We figured he would be absent on June 6, which would have had the effect of a “NO” vote. Apparently, it was John Cagnolatti’s turn to face the wrath of constituents.
What about Teri Casso?
Why did she agree to sit on this committee “empaneled” by Kenny Matassa? Does she not see the obvious pitfalls?
Why did Matassa choose Casso? While she occupies the council chair, Casso has demonstrated no grasp of the subject matter. Additionally, pocketing over $4.2 million from the developers of Jamestown Crossing has compromised her perceived objectivity beyond repair.
And then it hit us. Casso joined Dempsey Lambert, Randy Clouatre, and John Cagnolatti at Murphy Painter’s recent campaign event on April 26 at Gonzales Civic Center. Oliver Joseph, singled out by Painter for special treatment, was there too.
What makes anyone think this group can deliver a coherent, effective ordinance after doing nothing…
for nearly three years after the Great Flood of 2016.