Monday, April 20, 2015

Tort claim notice offers preview of Padgett's lawsuit against modernity.

Narcissus gazes at his erection.

Four days ago at NAC:

BREAKING: Padgett, Tiger, EM Cummings Veneer, et al, are suing City Hall over the Main Street dishevelment project.

 ... Don't forget that it is Padgett and its toady "business as usual" trucking minions who don't give a damn about neighborhood interests apart from despoiling them for profits. They'd run a toxic waste dump by S Ellen Jones School if they thought it would turn a profit.

Admittedly, they're not an easy read, but here are the pages of the tort claim notice of March 23, precursor to Padgett, et al versus New Albany's neighborhoods and independent small businesses. There'll be more as it comes to the Green Mouse.

Strictly speaking, city officials are being sued, but let's harbor no illusions: Padgett and friends are attacking each one of us living in the designated areas. Padgett and friends are staking claim to the supremacy of their interests over those of retail and service businesses downtown. Padgett and friends are trying to make the point that our infrastructure exists primarily for their use, with any remaining scraps and thread grudgingly ceded to the citizenry.

Plainly, Padgett and friends are attacking the sovereignty of the city of New Albany.

Already we see Jeff Gahan and his down-low bunker dwellers in full pre-emptive capitulation mode, and so the question must be asked, and not for the first time:

Who's fighting for US?

News release: "Greenville Concerned Citizens, Inc. (has) voted to oppose the upcoming $80 million school bond referendum."

This release was forwarded to me by the Floyd Action Network:

“A benefit of membership in Floyd Action Network is the opportunity for member organizations to communicate with FAN’s members. So, without endorsement, FAN passes this message from Greenville Concerned Citizens, a member organization."

I now follow suit, sans endorsement.


To Floyd County Property Taxpayers:

May 5, 2015 is our next primary election when cities and towns in Indiana will elect their governing officials. Floyd County also has a referendum on the ballot on whether to approve bonds for building/renovating more schools in Floyd County. This will be the only item on the ballot for residents of unincorporated Floyd County. After reviewing this matter and discussing the school board’s rationale for their proposed new tax at its March 19th Board of Directors meeting, Greenville Concerned Citizens, Inc. voted to oppose the upcoming $80 million school bond referendum.

The school administration’s stated plan is to build new schools to replace the current Green Valley Road and Slate Run Road schools, as well as some renovation at Prosser Vocational School and Greenville Elementary and Floyds Knobs Elementary schools. The cost of this building plan to taxpayers will be approximately 80 million dollars and we would begin paying the bill in 2018, when the present school bonds will be paid off. Without this new building plan, the most recent (i.e. current) bond will be retired and our property taxes would decrease by approximately $230 for each $100,000 of assessed value (i.e. drop from approximately $.55 per $100 of assessed value to $.32 per $100).

Supporting public education is one of the most important uses of our tax dollars. However, using those tax dollars in the manner proposed is debatable. For example, there appears to be no claim of needing to build these new schools because of overcrowding, or because of safety concerns based upon any actual problems or incidents. Rather, the school board wants this tax primarily because they feel that the present schools are not as new as the recently renovated schools. Well, many of us also have older homes but we manage to keep them properly maintained while living within our budget. We should not incur $80 million in new debt just to improve the aesthetics of several schools, especially when such a debt would handicap future school boards’ ability to raise funds that may be necessary for actual education. Our schools are among the best in the region because we focus on education, not appearances; on books, not bricks; and on quality teachers.

The school administration admitted that they have $2.5 million in “discretionary funds” (their own words) in each year of their budget. This means that, over the same 20 year period as their proposed new tax increase/bonds, they could have up to $50 million dollars at their disposal. Why won’t they use some of those funds instead of incurring another $80 million in debt?

When you receive your property tax bills in April notice how much of your tax dollars go to Schools. If you are concerned about that amount, please call the Floyd County Voter Registration office at 948-5419 to find out when and where you can “early vote”. Or, go to a voting site on Election Day, Tuesday May 5th. But vote, and vote “NO”.

Please pass this information along to your Floyd County family and friends. We need participation by all county residents, especially the taxpayers, and not just those with a vested interest or a personal stake in the outcome.

Your vote counts! You can make a difference!

Greenville Concerned Citizens, Inc.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

R.I.P. Hank Jacoby.

It came to pass that our dear friend Mindy and Hank were an item, and a fine pairing they were. This wonderful fellow became known to all our other friends.

Several of us had dinner two months ago, and by this time Hank had filed to run for mayor of Salem in the primary on the Democratic ticket. We talked about politics campaign strategies between bites and drinks, amid his monumental capacity for good humor.

Those commonly viewed as "larger than life" aren't always so convivial, humble and self-effacing. Salem will suffer from his absence in the civic tense. His was a journey well played, and ended far too soon.

Much more than that, our hearts go out to Mindy and Hank's family.

Hank Jacoby (Dawalt Funeral Home)

Hank Jacoby, mayoral candidate, dies unexpectedly (Salem Leader)

It's the hologram, Adam: Jeff Gahan's refusal to debate David White insults New Albany voters.

Late last week, the sycophants inhabiting Team Gahan circled their rickety wagons and condemned the Courier-Journal for not somehow compelling Jeff Gahan to return phone calls.

Jeff Gahan texts Greg Fischer: "OMG, the CJ called, LOL."

Shunning the C-J is inexplicable, but for Gahan to duck David White's frequent invitations to publicly debate the issues is all too understandable. The mayor is incapable of improvisation, and simply cannot hold serve in unscripted settings. Team Gahan knows this, and shelters him accordingly.

We might appeal to the Democratic Party chairman, but Adam Dickey is anything but neutral. He sits on the Redevelopment Commission, instigator of TIF-funded capital projects designed to serve as re-election photo ops. Gahan's corporate attorney, Shane Gibson, manages the party's money. The incumbent's campaign war chest is sufficient to spend in excess of $10 per voter, with cash left over to buy multiple rounds of Bud Light longnecks at the Roadhouse.

David White is on the outside looking in -- into an incestuous political fix, that is.

Matt Nash on voting.

For some strange reason, I'm beginning to feel a renewed interest in this topic.

NASH: It’s time to vote

 ... Over the years I have not been a very big proponent of early voting. I really enjoy getting up early and voting on Election Day. I sometimes worry that there might be something that changes my mind leading up to the election and by that time it would be too late to change my vote. What if there was an “October surprise” and I voted for the wrong guy? After last year’s problems at the polls I have changed my tune on the subject.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Calm down, Irv: "Why one-way streets are bad for everyone but speeding cars."

As the rock group once suggested, shout it out loud.

"What we’re doing when we put one-way streets there, is we’re over-engineering automobility at the expense of people who want a more livable environment."
-- William Riggs

Irv Stumler thinks none of this matters so long as we plant some flowers, because after all, successful folks like him live in neighborhoods like Silver Hills, which wouldn't ever tolerate one-way streets.

It is my understanding that Irv comes unhinged at the mere mention of these words: Dr. John Gilderbloom.

That's a mode of derangement worth remembering. As the nation absorbs and applies Gilderbloom's impeccable research, Irv lurches from door to door, spinning tall tales about street closings, Spring Street medians and gulags for truckers.

I've heard Xanax can help with that, Irv, especially when sprinkled over corn flakes.

Why one-way streets are bad for everyone but speeding cars, by Emily Badger (Washington Post)

... By making these roads work more efficiently for cars, we made them more dangerous for people, we depressed the value of property around them, and we created places that also became a magnet for crime.

On satire in this place, and punching in all directions.

NAC's first-ever helpful link to the definition of satire occurred on December 19, 2004. We've been periodically baffling New Albanians with satire, often impenetrable, ever since. Doonesbury's cartoonist recently mulled the position of satire within the larger topic of free speech.

The Abuse of Satire, by Garry Trudeau (The Atlantic)

... Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.

But to borrow Trudeau's usage, have we at NAC always "punched up"?


Even if underachieving local officialdom has tended to offer the best targets, phenomena like the defunct Kitchen Table Issues blog and others before it, as alleged to spring from the hearts and minds of "the little people of New Albany," always provided material too rich to ignore, as on April 10, 2007.

Sunday evenin’ comin’ down … way, way down.

... Damned if it didn’t look like a genuine backwoods, old-style camp meeting. The cigar boxes were lined up like dominoes, and luminous pocket pen lights covered the walls. Kids were roasting Lucky Charms over a Sterno blaze in back, and the way the light came peeping through the cracks from weathered linoleum covering the barroom floor upstairs looked like stars twinkling.

History will record that during the last three years of Jeff Gahan's term, prior to his primary loss to David White in 2015, New Albany's "little people" seemed to disappear from the map. Perhaps that's because there were only three of them to begin with, given the persistent anonymity involved -- itself a topic sure to fertilize a bumper crop of satire.

Lately a bountiful new vein has opened. New Albany has a Trucker Class, and by gawd, it wants to preserve the Eisenhower-era street grid for its own enrichment, because Trucks Come First.

Padgett Inc. appeals for National Guard deployment to maintain civil trucking rights.

“As a Republican, I’m completely opposed to federal intervention in local matters, but I’ve given a lot of money to Todd, so now’s the perfect time for me to demand federal intervention in local matters.”

Satire ... and alcohol. It's how we survive in this decrepit theater of the absurd.

Friday, April 17, 2015

City Hall's street grid surrender: "All the extra expense, time, and proposed iterations have nothing to do with securing federal funds."

Perhaps owing to the approach of the primary, hell has broken loose these past few days, and I'm struggling to keep up with the daily proliferation of reasons to vote against Jeff Gahan.

Just the other day, someone asked a very good question about the destructiveness of one-way, arterial interstate highways running through our urban neighborhoods, and by extension, about waning hope for the principled implementation of Jeff Speck's downtown street network proposals.

They (city government) have been talking about fixing this problem for quite a while! Why can't they get it done?

The Bookseller succinctly answered.

This administration has never taken ownership of the idea and will continue to straddle the issue, pretending that no one will notice that they have had four years to do this. Now they are ginning up a high-cost solution so as to spread the money around to preferred vendors.

The "high cost solution" of which the Bookseller speaks is discussed here: The predicted gutting of Speck begins as Mayor Jeff Gahan gives the finger to complete streets advocates.

Also, we now know that this week's Bored of Works decision to award a consultancy contract to one of the usual street engineering suspects, thus delaying action on streets for up to 18 months, was at least in part a pre-emptive response to Padgett, et al, in the crane erector's forthcoming legal challenge to the Main Street project.

(Once again, it has proven impossible for Team Gahan to be publicly truthful about its motivations v.v. street grid reform.)

It's probably moot, given that City Hall has botched the entire streets issue to a possibly irreparable degree, but nonetheless, prior to yesterday's revelation of the lawsuit filed against the city by our charmingly civic minded value-extractive looters, a question arose with regard to the stated Bored of Works rationale of delaying Speck so to garner federal lucre.

I am confused by the notion that we need more time and consultancy expenditures to get federal money. Haven't we been told privately for years that the federal money already was in place?

Jeff G gave the answer, pre-Padgett lawsuit.

Yes, we have been told that and it's long been reflected in the KIPDA budget. An engineering plan of some sort is likely necessary for federal qualification but nowhere near to the multi-option, stray-from-the-original extent they are talking about. All they actually need to do is produce engineering/construction plans for the Speck plan with minimal justification and environmental review, justification that Speck himself has already largely provided. All the extra expense, time, and proposed iterations have nothing to do with securing federal funds. 
Again, the recent Main Street example (that used federal funds over and above the state's long-term maintenance money) shoots them in the foot. Honestly, given the low cost of most of the Speck plan, it's questionable whether we even need federal funding as using it will require adhering to more stringent (and sometimes nonsensical) federal guidelines which, in turn, will drive costs up -- something that, again, happened with the Main Street Project.

Redevelopment Commission sycophants do Gahan's bidding, and so Carl and Steve must be scourged.

If only Mr. Disney would fall on HIS sword.

As neighborhood residential values plunge, a fact verified by the arrival yesterday of the household property tax statement, it has become ever more apparent that the Hauss Square Gang's economic "revitalization" efforts (see what I did there?) have amounted to little of substance.

However, we must concede that when it comes to economic retribution, Team Gahan shows unfortunate and persistent aptitude ... and all the while, City Hall's handy TIF ATM continues to merrily spew Gahan re-election campaign monetization. Awash in the ceaseless cash, with almost all decision-making levers controlled by his innermost circle, the current occupant's vindictive nature now enjoys free reign.

Meet local businessmen Carl Holliday and Steve Goodman, who recently publicly criticized New Albany's enduringly toxic Main Street Improvement Project (last night we learned that others have mounted a legal challenge to Rosenbarger's Folly).

Concurrently at NAC, we've pointed out on numerous occasions that whatever conceivable rationale supports public expenditures and free (and utterly unprecedented) sewer tap-ins to enable residential construction at the Coyle site, simultaneously argues against the farmers market build-out at Bank and Market, which is on the verge of becoming one of downtown's prime infill locations, its potential value only capable of being enhanced by new apartment buildings around the corner at Coyle -- and killed by the farmers market expansion.

Now, back to Holliday, Goodman and New Albany Horizons, their downtown development entity. We'll pick up the narrative afterward.

Developers dispute price for downtown New Albany lots, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — A group of developers still hopes to market six lots along Bank Street for commercial and residential use, but they want the New Albany Redevelopment Commission to readjust its asking price for the properties.

But unlike the previous extension, the city ordered two appraisals of the property, and raised the asking price for the lots to $137,000.

“It’s never been paid for, and the value of the property has gone up,” said David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city.

As usual, Jeff G cuts to the chase with this observation.

The Gahan administration is hassling these local guys over $30K while simultaneously trying to give away millions in public funding to another, out of town developer just a few blocks away. Maybe this is what Dave Duggins meant by "branding effort".

To summarize: New Albany's Redevelopment Commission, which is helmed by Gahan sycophants and the local Democratic Party chairman, proposes to change terms on the purchase of undeveloped property at Bank and Main because the value of this empty land has increased (neighborhood stakeholders, register your envy as the semi rigs rumble past your house), while at the same time, the city insists on expanding the farmers market on similarly empty land a block away on Market, when it might be sold at a higher price to developers for infill construction, the odds of which can only increase as Coyle site development proceeds.

No wonder Gahan won't debate David White. In terms of economic development, these parts simply don't fit together.

But in terms of retribution against Holliday and Goodman for their temerity in questioning the top-down Main Street "Improvement" Project, it makes perfect sense.

This is how Team Gahan works, folks, and yet we close with good news.

You can vote them out, right now.

The Edwardsville Gateway Festival is Sat., April 25 at Garry Cavan Park.

My friend P.J. Moore provides notice of the Edwardsville Gateway Festival, coming on Saturday, April 25.

Here it is:

Edwardsville Gateway Festival
Saturday, April 25 (rain date is May 9)
Garry Cavan Park

Edwardsville Gateway Festival is looking for artists, craftspeople, musicians, and other performers to demonstrate their art form any time from noon to 6:00 pm in Garry Cavan Park on Corydon Ridge Rd. (just off I-64 Exit 118). Participants may display and sell their wares but the primary purpose is to engage the public and expose them to the arts (and crafts), and so demonstrations are essential. There is no charge to participate and the only condition is that participants not engage in political, religious, or other 'hot topic' subjects as this is a family-in-the-park type of event. For details, contact P.J. Moore at (812) 630-2971.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

BREAKING: Padgett, Tiger, EM Cummings Veneer, et al, are suing City Hall over the Main Street dishevelment project.

Well, now at least we know why the city of New Albany is prepared to spend another few hundred thousand dollars and wait 18 months merely to sabotage Jeff Speck's downtown street network proposals.

It's the Main Street Improvement Project, or rather, a lawsuit demanding compensation for lost earnings and the removal of the beautification "improvements" on the Main Street corridor, as filed by our selfless "friends" in the trucking and heavy vehicle trade.

There'll be more on the details when they emerge. For now, it's revenge by the 18 wheelers, as well as Jeff Gahan's puzzling inability to tell the truth about anything at all, like why the Board of Works did what it did on Tuesday. As noted, now we know why; it was a defensive mechanism against the lawsuit they knew was coming.

Meanwhile, I just received our property tax bill. 

The value of our property declined yet again this year, by somewhere around 5%. This surely is due in part to our house facing a stretch of one-way, pass-through urban interstate -- precisely what Jeff Gahan refuses to fight to modify and improve, but do you know what?

Just forget him.

He's little more than a doomed politician. Rather, know this, and remember: Through this lawsuit, "pillars" of the community like Padgett are proclaiming to the world that their value is more important than yours ... that their investments trump yours.

I loathe the Main Street project. It's wrong in almost every way imaginable, and we've been telling you that for three years. Verily, heads should roll. But two wrongs do not make a right, and in fact, Padgett, Tiger, Cummings and others are directly attacking our neighborhood.

Gahan has revealed himself far too weak and ineffectual for us to even care, and I'm not sure what can be done about any of it at present ... just don't forget.

Just don't forget.

Don't forget that it's Gahan who has spoiled this broth perhaps irreparably with the Main Street Project, and has refused to fight for neighborhood interest.

Don't forget that it is Padgett and its toady "business as usual" trucking minions who don't give a damn about neighborhood interests apart from despoiling them for profits. They'd run a toxic waste dump by S Ellen Jones School if they thought it would turn a profit.

I believe it's time to fight back, don't you?

Let's do that.

Can you spot the missing yard sign?



And that's exactly the way it should work, because ...

The predicted gutting of Speck begins as Mayor Jeff Gahan gives the finger to complete streets advocates.

If you are an advocate of Jeff Speck's downtown street network proposals, and yet a Gahan for Mayor sign remains embedded in your yard, it's time to gaze into the mirror and realize that you've been misled, all along, by the sitting mayor and his inner circle. Don't feel bad. You're not the only one.

It's been more than a year since Speck came to New Albany, and Jeff Gahan has yet to speak coherently and openly about complete streets. At this point, it's naive to imagine he will. In fact, Gahan does not believe that an 18-month delay in (only maybe sort of possibly) implement what now surely will be a watered-down version can cost him votes.

If he thought it would, he'd calibrate differently, wouldn't he?

Consequently, these votes must be withheld. There's just no other way to view it, is there? To paraphrase the Bookseller, calculated indifference toward the concerns of street grid reform advocates constitutes a compelling electoral metric.

ON THE AVENUES: Say a prayer for NA Confidential as it conducts this exclusive interview with Councilman Cappuccino.

ON THE AVENUES: Say a prayer for NA Confidential as it conducts this exclusive interview with Councilman Cappuccino.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

It’s an election year in New Albany, and to prove it, tonight’s city council meeting will be devoted in part to a consideration of whether the Lord’s Prayer should be reinserted into its twice-monthly agenda.

That's right, reinserted, when naturally this particular variant of invocation is nowhere to be found within the ordinances defining council. Mind you, the non-issue of how council conducts its meetings is not destined for the top of the charts with a requisite bullet, but of course this isn't the reason for Dan Coffey’s latest diversionary tactic.

When Coffey demands a resolution on the Lord’s Prayer, or bemoans the absence of a crucial audit, or abstains from a vote immediately following his vicious denunciation or hyperbolic praise of the precise topic at hand, you can be sure he is doing so for the very same reason your cat purrs, rubs your leg or piddles on the blanket.

Which is: He demands to be fed … and fed right now.

For those just tuning in to the abysmal shambles of New Albany’s underachieving city council, this is hardly Coffey’s first dance. As Yogi Berra probably never said, it’s déjà vu all over again.

We’ve been following his self-serving antics since the very advent of NA Confidential, having dubbed this most conniving of all local ward heelers twice, both as Councilman Cappuccino and the Wizard of Westside, the latter nickname coming from awed recognition of his unparalleled ability to catastrophically inject himself into city-wide matters from his tin pot’s perch in the numerically tiny 1st council district, while all the sheltering his constituents from any trace of genuine progress.

Unfortunately, the same might be said of the city at large. Turning back the pages of NA Confidential to April 17, 2005, we find remarkable symmetry between the times of our New Albanian lives then, and now – so much so that the drinking lamp might be lit today well before lunch.

In New Albany, we coddle the anti-social dim bulbs and purge the creative, bright lights.

Decades pass. Our worthiest sons and daughters – the bright, capable and eager future leaders of the city – get away from New Albany as fast as they can, far away from institutionalized slum lord debasement not just tolerated but welcomed over a period of four or more decades, away from the overcrowded and down market Harvest Homecoming that is our sole and only claim to infamy, away from a place where any good idea, any sign of intelligent life, any revolt against the lumpy mashed potato norm is dismissed and derided as craziness emanating from a book-reading, un-American queer who can just move the hell out if he or she doesn't like it here.

Do you think this characterization of traditional New Albany is somehow unfair? If so, we submit with all due respect that you have a strong coffee, look around you, and face the unpleasant facts of the matter.

All of it is true, it’s inexcusable, it's embarrassing, and the inescapable conclusion is that we’ve been purging the wrong elements all these years.

Go ahead. Pour the java and have a glance ... if you dare. Disturbing, isn’t it?

Apart from the recent frenzied construction of numerous shiny campaign empowerment objects via the gleaming ATM known locally as TIF, nothing much has changed here in New Albany. Granted, the Wizard has a grand new role, portraying an ever-faithful Sancho Clemenza to Jeff Gahan’s power-crazed Godfather Quixote, but insofar as Coffey’s real political life renders satire nearly moot, we’re stuck in a time warp.

Following is an “interview” first published on April 18, 2005. We hope Sherreff Duggins will note the proper use of quotation marks, although breaths are not being held here in the office.


NA Confidential: Today in the studio we have a very special guest, the esteemed city councilman of long standing, Mr. Cappuccino.

Councilman Cappuccino: Thank you (preening) … now, where’s that red light? Citizens, just last week, as I spent quality time with my beloved hobby of antique furniture refinishing, which I’d gladly settle for doing in a heartbeat if not for the hopes and dreams of dozens of honest, salt-of-the-earth West Side families, who depend on me to bring home their bacon, improve their drainage, install their water heaters and protect them from the Ordinance Nazis – hah! Boy, that’s a real knee-slapper – I gotta thank my friend Li’l Stevie here (Cappuccino hoists a doll atop his knee) for coming up with the Ordinance Nazi phrase, right Li’l Stevie?

Li’l Stevie (former 3rd district councilman Steve Price): Yes sir, Mr. Cappuccino, you’re dead right, just like always … hey, there they are! NAZIS! NAZIS! Hide the video poker machine!

NAC: He’s certainly well-tanned.

CC: Did you say well tamed? It runs in the family. Hmm, like I was piously intoning … anyway, my downtrodden westsiders need me, and as the Wizard I whiz only for them, even if it kills me.

NAC: All right. Here’s our first question, Mr. Cappuccino. Do you support ordinance enforcement in the city of New Albany?

CC: Well, Knack, when it comes to enforcing the prevailing laws, we have to be extra careful to avoid those questionable practices that might be conscrewed as discriminatory. We must understand at all times that there’s a higher principle involved than just the exterior design tastes and storage practices of fine, church-going, taxpaying people who have chosen to make New Albany their homes, and that’s because they have a right to expect a certain level of respect for the lifestyles they’ve chosen to lead.

NAC: Are you talking about the higher principle of fairness?

CC: (Rolling his eyes) Fairness? That’s what those godless Louisvillians are always pushing. Heck, we have plenty of fairness in New Albany, just so long as you’re normal. (Cappuccino strikes a theatrical pose) No, not, fairness, but the very lifeblood of the city itself, without which we’d have nothing.

NAC: The rule of law?

CC: (Exasperated) Law, schmaw. No, VOTES! Can’t live with ‘em when they’re cast by those hoity toity East Enders, and can’t live without ‘em if they’re my neighbors on the West Side! They don’t call me the Wizard for nothing, you know. At the same time, my world-famous barbecued bologna cookouts only go so far, and at some point, you have to earn the respect of your constituents, and one great way to do that is to protect them from the heat.

NAC: Wait -- did you say barbecued bologna?

CC: Yes, I can smell it and taste it right now. My neighbor Marcelene cooks it up right. Cube the bologna, cook some onions in oil, throw in your favorite barbecue sauce, let it simmer … man, let me tell you, that’s living. Right Li’l Stevie?

LS: And you can put it in Tupperware, Mr, Cappuccino! Save it for a rainy day! Save it for a rainy day!

NAC: Mr. Cappuccino, what were your thoughts last year when the city of New Albany began enforcing the right of way for street sweeping?

CC: Quite frankly, it was a blatant attack on our cherished West End way of life – family, church, iced tea and the ice cream social, all under siege by the Silver Hills elite and the book-readin’ snobs. You know, I’d call it discrimination, maybe even genocide … if I knew what genocide meant …

NAC: To be perfectly honest, that sounds somewhat paranoid.

CC: You book learners are all the same, and it’s a good thing I don’t have to read those books to know what’s in ‘em for me. Listen, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean the pointy-heads aren’t out to get you. Every self-respecting ward heeler knows that ordinances are just like women – you’ve got to squeeeeze ‘em a little until they start making sense. Go and clean up the porno shop, and the people in the district love you. But when it comes to making them move the old appliances off the porch … well, that’s different. They’ll turn on you, vote against you, and all that tasty bologna’s wasted.

NAC: So, can you explain your vote in favor of ordinance enforcement?

CC: Of course I can. Like I said, I’m for it.

NAC: And what about your public statement that you are in favor of rental unit inspections?

CC: I’m for that, too.

NAC: But won’t you lose votes if such measures are adopted?

CC: There’s the rub, knacker. Being for 'em is one thing, but you didn’t hear me say anything about FUNDING them properly, did you? Or writing that ordinance so it'd have any chance of working?

NAC: Perhaps we’re beginning to understand the central equation.

CC: Don't you see? If we give the uppity East Enders and City Hall what they want, and then it doesn’t work out in the end … well, you just try and guess who gets blamed when it tanks – right Li’l Stevie?

LS: Right, boss!! My friends, I’m not anti-parks, and I’m not anti-progress … I’m anti-success!! No, wait, I mean I’m anti-egress!! No, that’s zoning-speak. I’m anti-Garner!! That’s it!! It's all his fault!!

CC: Yes it is. It’s kind of like the good spy, bad spy thing in Mad magazine.

NAC: Oh, so you read Mad magazine?

CC: NO! For the last time, I don’t read … but I know what people are writing. It’s a trick that Dick Nixon would have taught me if he would’ve been a Democrat … not that I was ever a Republican, mind you. Like I always say, be proud, be Democrat!

LS: NAZIS! NAZIS! They’re coming now, and they have books!!

NAC: But I thought the Nazis burned books?

CC: Who knows, but I’ve found that the biggest words tend to make the best open fire underneath that skillet of barbecued bologna.

NAC: But isn’t there an ordinance against open fires?

CC: Not where I come from, tenderfoot: The Wild, Wild West.

NAC: Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have today. Thanks to Mr. Cappuccino and Li’l Stevie for speaking with us today.

CC: Thanks, and just a quick reminder to my constituents – I have the keys to the crapper, if any of you need to use it.*

* At the time, Coffey was lobbying strenuously to be awarded the keys to the public toilet located at the park across the street from his house, so that he could lock it up each evening. The county parks department responded by demolishing it.

Jeff Gahan texts Greg Fischer: "OMG, the CJ called, LOL."

"Governing" (note proper use of quotation marks) by press release precludes exposure to the unscripted, as the free-lancer Esarey has discovered. In short, Mayor Gahan has no time for what remains the largest area newspaper.

Gahan faces former city controller in primary: Current New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan faces businessman David White in the May 5 primary, by Jenna Esarey (Courier-Journal)

Incumbent mayor Jeff Gahan is being challenged by businessman David White on the May 5 primary Democratic ballot for mayor of New Albany.

The winner will face off against Kevin Zurschmeide who runs unopposed on the Republican ballot, and likely Independent candidate Roger Baylor, a co-founder of New Albaniana Brewing Co., who is working to accumulate the needed signatures to appear on the fall ballot.

Gahan, who did not respond to several requests for comment, took office in 2012 ...

The entirety of the article that follows is devoted to White, who gives mostly good interview.

... White, 56, does not agree that the city is financially stronger, pointing to $89 million in bonded debt, the loss of some important businesses, and a near quintupling of the budget for the parks department, among other things.

"We're losing Pillsbury," he said. "We're losing Indatus — they just invented a new software that no one has in the world. Obama flew in just to meet with them. In a decade we've not had one major business move in. We're not investing in things that have recurring revenue."

White closes strong, observing that the mayoral hologram is remaining cloistered.

White said he has attempted to engage Gahan in a public debate before the election. "I've sent him a certified letter every week asking him," he said. "He's hiding from his record, because it's abysmal. He won't debate me, and I'll be honest, if I was him I wouldn't debate me either."

"I'm going to win this race and I'm going to win for all the right reasons."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Break out the Bud Light, because the Sanctioned Monument to the Glorious Usual Heroes of the Bicentennial Park Cash Unlimited Uprising is scheduled for unveiling soon.

10:06 p.m. update: It has been pointed out to me that Vic Megenity's name does not appear on the plaque shown below. Remember that time he came before council and asked for a Bicentennial Commission audit ... nah, that couldn't be the reason. 

The devil's in the "details," or so "they" say.

But most would agree that BicenPk is a "fun"damentally better corner, as implemented by "courageous" and "selfless" public servants ... say, wait: Isn't that the new, "unofficial" city seal/marketing tool/branding mechanism right there, engraved on a plaque meant to last forever, even beyond the time when Shayruff Duggins has been exiled all the way back to Clark County?

Like they always say: Every tarp costs a thousand bucks.

Let's all rejoice in the promise of a "better" tomorrow, and a plaque at every house, even as we speculate whether the required tithe on the part of the stone mason has pushed Team Gahan over the $100K mark.

Please "like" the New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association's page at Facebook.

It's only been a month since the press release below was published here, but because the New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association (NARBA) now has a public page at Facebook, perhaps a repeat is in order.

New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association ...

The Facebook page is public, and for anyone and everyone to see what we're doing. Please "like" it, and share with friends.

To any on-premise restaurant and bar owners, operators and managers reading, note that there'll be another organizational meeting soon. A core group has been working toward getting this idea up and running, and we've made enough progress on legalities to begin convening the wider food service and drinks community to discuss the way forward. The working definition for membership is as follows (from the by laws):

Article III
§1 NARBA membership shall be limited to businesses operating within the city limits of New Albany, Indiana, as defined by these bylaws.

§2 A business is eligible for NARBA membership if all of the following conditions are met: (a) The business is licensed and in possession of all permits required by local, state and Federal government; (b) The business meets the standard of definition of “independent” as defined by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA): (I) Private, worker, community or cooperative ownership. (II) At least 50% locally-owned. (III) Decision-making authority is vested in the local owners and not subject to conditions dictated remotely. (IV) The business has a limited number of outlets, which are limited to a 150 mile radius.

§3 The Board of Directors may authorize formation of ancillary groups of individuals or businesses that support NARBA’s ideals. Participants in such programs may enjoy benefits as the Board deems appropriate, but shall not vote.

§4 A qualified business may seek membership at any time.

The official press release below (edited slightly for timeliness) has more information. Please spread the word to fellow owners and operators, and contact Ian (below) or me for further information.


For Immediate Release
Contact: Ian Hall
Tel.: 502.338.2960

New Albany, IN (March 13, 2015) New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association is formed.

The idea for the New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association (NARBA) has been discussed for a few years by locally owned restaurateurs in downtown New Albany. The food and beverage business has been a vital part of the growth of downtown New Albany’s revitalization, and the need for this organization and for a common voice among its members has become more important.

In 2014, local businesses participating in beverage catering for the Boomtown Ball concert agreed to devote a portion of the proceeds to fund the non-profit’s startup, thus The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association was formed as a corporation with the State of Indiana in early 2015. We now are pursuing federal government approval as a 501(c)6, business/professional league.

The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association (NARBA) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit trade organization serving the independent restaurant, bar and on-premise food and drink industry in New Albany, Indiana. NARBA serves as the unified voice of its members on government and public relations issues. It also provides programs that offer educational and operational benefits for members. NARBA represents New Albany’s best known and most vibrant local independent business segment, and is dedicated to the advancement and preservation of New Albany as an urban community.

NARBA will also organize and hosts annual fundraising events in order to give back to the community that has so generously supported its members.

Ultimately, the goal of the association is to educate, brand and organize its members to best inform residents and visitors about the local food and dining scene in New Albany.

There was an informational meeting on March 19, and another meeting will be scheduled soon. Interested businesses are invited to contact NARBA to learn more about the association and how the membership is awarded.

For more information on the NARBA please contact Ian Hall via email

The predicted gutting of Speck begins as Mayor Jeff Gahan gives the finger to complete streets advocates.

If you'd like to see complete streets on your lifetime, removing Jeff Gahan from office has become the sole option.

Firm hired to provide options for changing New Albany street grid, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — New Albany will likely take at least six more months to decide upon any changes to the street grid in downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.

The New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety approved a contract Tuesday to hire the Scottsburg firm HWC Engineering. The firm will review planner Jeff Speck’s proposal for changing the street grid, as well as input received by the public during three meetings earlier this year, and provide three options for the city consider.

It’s expect the conceptual design will take at least six months to prepare. If the city elects to move forward with one of the options, the project engineering is estimated to take up to another year to prepare.

What they're saying: A candidate overview, and Tonye Rutherford on the radio.

As the weeks go past in route to May's primary election, I'm providing periodic candidate statements of substance, mostly unretouched, as lifted from social media and news reports. Familiar gems such as "yard signs win elections, not people" and "donate to my campaign first, and maybe I'll have something of merit to say much, much later" will be omitted. That's because it is my aim to determine whether our declared candidates have anything to say at all, and I'll quote all candidates, from any and all parties, whether or not they're in a contested race. Just promising change and new ideas without divulging them won't cut the mustard, aspirants.


We've been listening to what they're saying, and before turning it over to Tonye Rutherford (below), here is an overview of contested primary races in the context of what we've heard.

Unsurprisingly, candidates without primary opponents have tended to reveal little in terms of platform content, although there are exceptions (Al Knable and Cliff Staten spring to mind).

There are three contested Democratic Party races. For mayor, the incumbent Jeff Gahan defends against a challenge from David White. In the city council at-large, returnees John Gonder and Shirley Baird are joined by four candidates in "pick 3 from 6": Brad Bell, James Garner, Adam Keeler and Hannegan Roseberry. In District 5, Dustin Collins is pitted against two-termer Diane Benedetti.

Not much of substance has come from the mayoral duo. Gahan merely releases numerous photos of TIF-financed public works projects, and White tends to fall back on long-since released, poorly edited position statements emphasizing sales-oriented economic development.

Gonder has revealed a bit more than Baird. Garner has been completely invisible on social media, and Bell more concerned with state issues than local ones. Keeler has been better, and Roseberry easily the best when it comes to moving outside the box with content.

In terms of social media, Collins has been ubiquitous, easily outpacing Benedetti, who does not seem to embrace the medium. Unfortunately, some mud has been slung in this race, arguably diverting attention to points both candidates have made about 5th district concerns.

On the Republican side, three District 6 candidates are vying for the nomination: Larry Belcher, Noah McCourt and Nick Vaughn. McCourt has gained confidence as the campaign has progressed, taking positions and delineating himself as a libertarian among Republicans. Vaughn has a young person's instinctive feel for social media and casts himself as an up and comer in perpetual motion. Belcher has had little to say.

In District 5, it's Danita Burks and Tonye Rutherford for the GOP. Rutherford lost to Benedetti by less than two dozen votes in the 2011 general election. Burks has been silent, but on Sunday, Rutherford was a guest on the Black Heart Conservative radio show (970 AM), and you are recommended to listen to the podcast. It is very revealing.

Among the topics of discussion are storm water drainage, potholes, snow removal, the Louisville West End Wal-Mart, campaign finance and even the Ohio River Bridges Project. Rutherford reveals that he doesn't wear a Fitbit, but has been hitting the streets in his district, and he logs more local substance in this podcast than most of the other primary contestants have managed so far.

The link is at Soundcloud: Black Heart Conservative 04-12-15.

What they're saying: On school buses, prayers and the Bard.

As the weeks go past in route to May's primary election, I'm providing periodic candidate statements of substance, mostly unretouched, as lifted from social media and news reports. Familiar gems such as "yard signs win elections, not people" and "donate to my campaign first, and maybe I'll have something of merit to say much, much later" will be omitted. That's because it is my aim to determine whether our declared candidates have anything to say at all, and I'll quote all candidates, from any and all parties, whether or not they're in a contested race. Just promising change and new ideas without divulging them won't cut the mustard, aspirants.


We begin with a housekeeping note. Incumbent at-large council members Shirley Baird and John Gonder, both Democrats, have updated their Facebook campaign pages. Gonder also still has his blog, and yesterday  -- perhaps in a nod toward this recent post at NAC -- he published a short piece about schools and public transit.

Food for Thought

Why not have an arrangement between the school system and TARC which uses TARC buses rather than school buses to transport students to and from school?

In a risky move seemingly designed to dissuade Dan Coffey from ever voting for her, Hannegan Roseberry (at-large council, Democrat) has chosen to speak publicly about ... Shakespeare.

Here is an excerpt; click through for the complete post.

Kentucky Shakespeare is bringing its parks tour production of "the Scottish Play" to New Albany's Bicentennial Park on Friday, April 24th at 8:00 pm. What a delight to look forward to! I am pleased that this event got scheduled as a result of a passing conversation between my family and a friend of ours who is an actor with Kentucky Shakespeare. We ran into him at a show in Louisville, he mentioned the tour, and my husband mentioned that the tour should come to New Albany, gave him some names of who he should talk to to get it scheduled, and voila: several weeks later, the schedule was released and we were thrilled to see New Albany had been added to the list!

Coincidentally, Coffey has his own Shakespearean prayer plot line coming tomorrow night, although screenwriting for The Dukes of Hazard comes closer to describing his resolution's overall intent. At-large candidate Al Knable (at-large, Republican) has thoughts on the matter.

It seems the current NA City Council is sailing into waters that have been charted many, many times before.

Like many of you, I have my religious beliefs. They are sacred to me. These beliefs, along with my parents, my life experiences and many secular readings have helped frame my personal behavioral codes. I take these moral and ethical bulwarks to work with me each day and would use them to guide me if elected to the City Council.

But as I would resist anyone imposing their religion upon me, I would not attempt to do so to anyone else.

The "moment for reflection" now held before Council meetings is a working compromise. I suggest leaving it in place and getting on with the actual work of governing our City.

A novel idea, this governing. Is that the same thing as ward heeling?

Democratic at-large hopeful Brad Bell provides today's coda.

The City Council will take up a resolution to re-adopt the saying of the Lords Prayer before every City Council Meeting. Dan Coffey brings the measure for a certain fail on Thursday's agenda. To say that i'm opposed to this resolution is an understatement. I personally think that the moment of reflection is a perfect compromise between the 2 sides. I do happen to agree with my opponent, John Gonder, that a Municipal building is not the place for a cross. I have no problem with organized religion, but there is, though greatly overlooked within the past several years, a separation of church and state in our country. Our founding fathers adopted this legislation for a reason and we have turned our back on it.

You can not cater to one religion over another in a matter such as this. We would literally be sitting through prayer after prayer for hours on end to cover the vast cultural diversity of our city. My opinion stands, that a moment of reflection is perfectly suitable during the start of the City Council meetings. Should I get elected, and should this resolution pass, it would be first on the list for immediate repeal.

Happy voting, folks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

NA food & drink news: Coqui’s Café, Mom and Pops and Ian Hall's new concept.

Lately there has been news in this space about the move of Habana Blues, the advent of Big Four Burgers + Beer NA, the expansion of Aladdin's Cafe and the return of Israel Landin (Delicias de Mexico). Of course, Earth Friends Cafe now occupies the kitchen at Bank Street Brewhouse.

But there is more.

As though to answer the question asked by NAC just last month ...

STIR THE MEMORIES: Little Chef to receive new life, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — A local couple plans to reopen the former Little Chef restaurant under a different name, but still incorporating the “greasy spoon diner feel” that made the café a New Albany staple for more than 50 years.

Elvin and Stephanie Torres are eying a soft opening of Coqui’s Café in mid-May at the former Little Chef, which is located at 147 E. Market St.

Isn't it odd that the composer of N and T headlines chose to provide the name no longer used, rather than the one the building soon will bear? Ah, the mysteries of journalism.

Meanwhile, Mom and Pop's Cone Corner has returned.

Keeping it in the family: Mom & Pops in New Albany has new owners, but familiar faces, by Chris Morris (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — Jill and Casey Hornung decided about six weeks ago to open Mom & Pops Cone Corner after purchasing the property three months ago. While the two have never owned a business, they know plenty about Mom & Pops.

It’s in their blood.

Casey’s uncle, Bob Hornung, owned and operated the business for 29 years and Casey helped with cutting the grass and with some other maintenance issues. Jill worked at the business from seventh grade through high school. And the two just happen to live right next door to Mom & Pops.

C'mon, editor guys: Pop's -- the possessive, and all that.

I'd have enjoyed breaking the story on this one, but vowed silence.

New Albany Exchange owner working on a new concept, by Caitlin Bowling (Louisville Business First)

Ian Hall, owner of The Exchange Pub and Kitchen, is planning a second restaurant — but it won't be another Exchange.

I heard through the grapevine that Hall was looking at opening a steakhouse in the former Habana Blues space at 148 E. Market St. in New Albany. Habana Blues closed in the last couple of weeks. The restaurant is moving two blocks away to 320 Pearl St. but has not reopened.

I gave Hall a call, and he confirmed that he is in the preliminary planning phase for a higher-end steak and seafood restaurant.

“We are working on a project, but nothing has been confirmed yet,” Hall said.

Verily, blog readers generally only tolerate blog articles about sexy dog sweaters and theocratic prayer cabals, and then, when a local food and drink establishment is discussed here -- zoom goes the page views.

Work is ongoing toward the New Albany Restaurant and Bar Association (NARBA). The question now: Will NARBA be represented at Boomtown? Only that guy writing checks to clothe canines knows for sure.

Rinse and repeat: "Complete Streets Are a Bargain."

The primary election approaches. As your district candidate explains the importance of sign planting efforts, consider asking him or her to explain the importance of complete streets.

Consider your vote with reference to the answer ... or the absence of one.

Complete Streets Are a Bargain, by Laura Searfoss (at Sustainable Cities Collective)

... As a recent analysis by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition demonstrates, using a Complete Streets approach is one of the best transportation investments a community can make.

Examining before and after data from 37 projects redesigned with Complete Streets goals, this study found:

Streets were safer: Automobile collisions declined in 70 percent of projects, and injuries declined in 56 percent of projects.

This safety has financial value: Each collision that a safer street helps to avoid represents avoided costs from emergency room visits, hospital charges, rehabilitation, and doctor visits, as well as the cost of property damage. Within our sample, Complete Streets improvements collectively averted $18.1 million in total collision costs in just one year.

Complete Streets encouraged multi-modal travel: The projects nearly always resulted in more biking, walking, and transit trips.

They are remarkably affordable: The average cost of a Complete Streets project was just $2.1 million—far less than the $9 million average cost of projects in state transportation improvement plans. And 97 percent of Complete Streets projects cost less per mile than construction of an average high-cost arterial.

They play an important role in economic development: These findings suggest that Complete Streets projects were supportive of higher employment, new businesses, and property values. Several projects saw significant private investment since their completion.

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 85: Ya wanna ask a question? The meeting's at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, sonny boy.

At least when docked amid the squalor of Tiger's "warehouse," they don't rattle the windows on the house. Scroll past the weekly trucking fetish porn to a revealing Fb conversation, recounted below.

As a courtesy because he finally said something after these many months of self-imposed laryngitis, I'll play it straight and refrain from the satire ... well, a bit.

Following is a Fb chat between me, Warren Nash (Board of Works) and some other fellow I don't know.

Roger: It's just a tad disingenuous to criticize a civilian's comments when you, as a high-ranking functionary, enjoy looking the other way when the questions don't suit you. Just because it's an election year, this doesn't give you a free pass, does it?

Warren V Nash: No Roger it really isn't - I have never ducked a question - the Board that I am on meets every Tuesday at 10:00 am - I don't/can't speak for the Board between meetings and for many reasons, including liability, I don't answer question about City Government on social media. I am sure you can understand that.

(at least one sycophantic council candidate "liked" the preceding)

MB: Warren is right about the social media thing. The board's social media site or webpage would be more appropriate.

(eyebrow cocked)

Roger A. Baylor: Then perhaps the board needs such a portal. As it stands, I believe we're being told that physical attendance at a 10:00 a.m. board meeting is the requirement. I can do that, but many people DO work. It's things like this contributing to City Hall's current reputation for non-transparency.

MB: I am sure the City has an official website

(after I stopped laughing)

Roger A. Baylor Go look at it and tell me how useful it is for two-way communications. The city's web site does not even include information about its Ethics Commission, which was established three years ago. Again, we're being told that the single best (social) medium for actual communication cannot be used (except by the city's public relations contractor), so maybe something else will come up, some time, preferably after the election. That's simply inadequate -- and purposeful.


Notice how quickly the silence was reinstated?

Altogether, now: Warren, what about the traffic issues borne of poor street design on Spring, Elm, and Market?

Is your board, the one ostensibly formed to "operate" the city's infrastructure, going to do anything, ever?

Do I need to come to your 10:00 a.m. meeting for you to answer these questions?

And when I do, and you still don't ... what's the excuse then?

R.I.P. Günter Grass.

To be entirely honest, I have not read The Tin Drum, considered Günter Grass's classic. In fact, the only novel of his I've read is The Flounder, which was greatly enjoyable.

To me, the point is that the life of Grass was a mirror held to the complicated post-war questions of Germany, and what it meant to be German after the conflagration. If, in the end, Grass was a hypocrite for not divulging his Waffen SS experience, it's best understood against a backdrop of what his or any other society would remember -- and might seek to forget.

As Americans, we speak often of the Greatest Generation and its passing. It's a phenomenon occurring in other countries, too, as active memories disappear. As it stands, we happened to win the war. Germany might well have won the peace.

What does it all mean?

Günter Grass obituary, by Jonathan Steele (The Guardian)

Nobel-winning German author who arrived on the literary scene in 1959 with the bestselling novel The Tin Drum

Günter Grass, who has died aged 87, was Germany’s best-known postwar novelist, a man of titanic energy and zest who, besides his fiction-writing, enjoyed the cut and thrust of political debate and relaxed by drawing, painting and making sculptures. Bursting on to the literary scene with his bestselling novel The Tin Drum in 1959, Grass spent his life reminding his compatriots of the darkest time in their history, the crimes of the Nazi period, as well as challenging them on the triumphalism of unification in 1990, which he described as the annexation of East Germany by West Germany in which many citizens became victims.

Study sez: "Louisville has the potential to support an NBA team."

Or is it The "Urban" Triangle?

Now that the dismal fraud of "amateur" college basketball is finished for another year, it's time for the intense reality of the NBA playoffs.

REWIND: A labor theory of basketball value.

At any rate, there's been a study.

Study could support argument for bringing NBA to Louisville, by Rachel Aretakis (Louisville Business First)

Attracting the NBA to Louisville might seem far-fetched these days, but that doesn't mean it could never happen.

A recent study shows that Louisville has the potential to support an NBA team. The report, conducted by American City Business Journals (the parent company of Business First), finds that Louisville, along with Austin, Texas; Rochester, N.Y.; and Virginia Beach-Norfolk, are virgin markets that the NBA might want to think about for the long term.