Kenner Mayor Phil Capitano's stormy dispute with Police Chief Nick Congemi has divided Louisiana's sixth largest city. Three candidates running for Capitano's old 5th District City Council seat are vowing not to take sides, but to work for calm and progress at City Hall. They are Republican businessmen Kent Denapolis and Bob Pastor, and lawyer Lawrence Radosta, a Democrat. All have families and are longtime residents of Kenner.
Kent Denapolis is a veteran civic leader who owns an office supply company and serves as a volunteer playground coach. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for the council seat won by Capitano in 1996. "I have a lot of energy and a lot of plans for District 5," Denapolis says. He vows to continue the Ole Miss Canal drainage improvements, work for synchronized traffic lights, improve access to I-10, and build soccer fields. He is endorsed by the Alliance for Good Government, HISPAC, a group of Hispanic business and civic leaders, and Republican Party Leaders of Jefferson Parish.
Bob Pastor is a civil engineer and "third-generation" home-builder who owns a warehouse and distribution business in New Orleans. Pastor says the Capitano-Congemi fight compelled him to make his first run for political office. "I knew it was time to jump in the shark tank," he says. Pastor says he is the best candidate because of his business experience, personable demeanor and ability to "think outside the box." He says he will work to attract more economic development to Kenner and will post more detailed information about city operations and contracts on the city's Web site.
Lawrence Radosta, a Democrat, says the Capitano-Congemi dispute also motivated him to run for the office, but takes no sides. "I am only pro-Kenner," Radosta says. He says his 16 years of past service as a prosecutor for the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office best qualifies him for the job. He promises to introduce ordinances to institute competitive bidding for city services contracts and other reforms. He also promises not to accept campaign contributions from city contractors and to support pay raises for all city employees. "I will be a true, independent, reform councilman," Radosta says. He is endorsed by the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO. District 5 is comprised of neighborhood subdivisions. New residents include novelist Anne Rice and congressional hopeful Bobby Jindal. The district boundaries are the Ole Miss Canal, St. Charles Parish Line, Lake Pontchartrain and Furman Drive at I-10. Major subdivisions include Woodlake Estates, University City, Place Pontchartrain and Seton Park.