FAGAN: Is The Kenner City Council Fleeing From A Public Backlash Against Its UBER Ordinance?

Things are a bit circus-like at the Kenner City Council these days. It’s hard to expect little else when six money grubbing, big-government politicians interfere with the free market and punish ridesharing companies to benefit the taxi industry. The vote came after a chaotic three-hour debate last week. They offered a dozen more amendments to the already-convoluted 43-page ordinance. The ordinance passed by a vote of 6 to 1.

Uber said the ordinance would mean the ride sharing company would no longer operate at the airport. Uber drivers pick up more than 1000 passengers a day at the airport. Can you imagine the mess if Uber pulled out?

It took fewer than 24-hours for the Kenner City Council to realize it screwed up big-time. They’ve called for an emergency meeting on Monday to fix their mess.

Councilman Dominick Impastato, the only no vote told me this is all about money. “It’s their desire for the city to generate more revenue and I am just opposed to that. To me I see it as taxation. That’s what it is. You can call it [a] fee, you can call it an assessment. It’s taxes and it’s being passed onto to our consumers who are constituents. As far I am am concerned I don’t care of the city makes a lick on it.”

Impastato says he believes his fellow council members rushed to pass the ordinance quickly and without thinking it through just in case the legislature approved a ride sharing bill in the last few days of session with a local carve out for cities already with regulations.

Impastato also suspects his fellow council members thought Uber was bluffing when threatening to pull out of the airport. Impastato does not believe Uber is bluffing.

Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn spoke out against the Uber ordinance the day after it passed. He is expected to try to convince council members to rescind or alter the ordinance on Monday.

If the Kenner City Council digs in its heels and refuses to clean up its mess the ordinance won’t go into effect for several months. Then the showdown will begin.

Is Uber bluffing? If so you can expect delays, chaos, and plenty of angry passengers at the airport. Passengers who won’t forget come election time.

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