Monday, October 24, 2016

Upper Spring work continues as drivers somehow manage to pay attention in spite of their boiling anger.

Not that we don't have comments and questions -- like speculating about the next round of driver complaints?

"WTF? Those are Floyd Central's colors."

More importantly, what's with all the wasted space? Maybe Irv can plant some native grasses there.

A sharrow? Here? Is there any single facet of road design that even approaches a sharrow in terms of Rosenbargerite laziness?

It's a road diet, folks.

Marx revisited: "We invented our social arrangements; we can alter them when they are working against us. There are no gods out there to strike us dead if we do."


A long read, but worth the time. Gotta keep those Republicans guessing, natch.

KARL MARX, YESTERDAY AND TODAY: The nineteenth-century philosopher’s ideas may help us to understand the economic and political inequality of our time, by Louis Menand (The New Yorker)

... Marx was a humanist. He believed that we are beings who transform the world around us in order to produce objects for the benefit of all. That is our essence as a species. A system that transforms this activity into “labor” that is bought and used to aggrandize others is an obstacle to the full realization of our humanity. Capitalism is fated to self-destruct, just as all previous economic systems have self-destructed. The working-class revolution will lead to the final stage of history: communism, which, Marx wrote, “is the solution to the riddle of history and knows itself as this solution.”

"Traveling Through Transylvania With 'Dracula' as a Guide."

The author and his book; from the article.

Next summer it will have been twenty years since my first and only visit to Romania, which comprised two days in Bucharest and a week in the region called Transylvania. An entire day was spent exploring Sighisoara.

I headed further north to the ancient medieval city of Sighisoara, and the home of Vlad the Impaler. Sighisoara is one of the few intact walled citadels left in Europe. Climbing the steep cobbled streets and entering the city gates is like stepping back in time to the 1600s. Indeed, so much of Sighisoara has remained untouched that its whole historic center was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

That's an accurate description. Among the attractions in Sighisoara is the house where Vlad Tepes (The Impaler) was born. What I remember most vividly about it was the public bar, where one could drink beer with the ghosts of the House of Draculesti. The writer Spencer finds it is still open for business.

Traveling Through Transylvania With 'Dracula' as a Guide: Is it possible to use Bram Stoker's 1897 novel to explore Romania? by Luke Spencer (Atlas Obscura)

Nighttime in Transylvania is as atmospherically spooky as you would hope it would be. During the winter, a thick, low-lying mist covers thick forests of pine trees and firs. Above the fog, you can see the silhouetted turrets and spires of ancient castles and fortified churches. Many of the old homes there still burn wood fires, adding to the smoky air, while the towns are filled with gothic and baroque buildings that were once beautiful, but are now marked by peeling paint and crumbling facades.

It is common at night to hear howling in the forests, either from stray dogs or wolves. It’s easy to see why Bram Stoker chose this part of Romania to be a setting for his most chilling creation, Dracula.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Same referendum, same arguments. Same outcome?

Returning to a point we made last spring: Given the advent of early voting, the News and Tribune must move up the release of articles like this, as well as its General Election Voters Guide, so that they'll appear before ballots are cast.

On the other hand, the referendum is the perfect example of emotions outweighing logic. I suppose it doesn't matter, does it?

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: New Albany-Floyd County Schools try another referendum, by Jerod Clapp (News and Tribune)

FLOYD COUNTY — Taking a second shot at securing funding for upgrades and rebuilt schools, the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. has an $87 million referendum on the ballot for Nov. 8.

In May of 2015, the measure failed in the primary, with the vote spread at 45 percent in support and 55 percent against it. Taking some lessons from the failure and regrouping, the district aims to win next month, but an opposition group still raises concerns about keeping taxes at the same level and whether the scope is too great on the projects.

In just more than two weeks, voters will decide whether to take an overall property tax decrease or to allow the district to issue the bonds to renovate or rebuild schools, but both sides argued their points.

The impending grandeur of breaking wind (or, All About The Breakwater).

The Break Wind Lofts at Duggins Flats, sometimes referred to by those enamored of literalism as The Breakwater, soon will be leasing.

More on that in a moment.

First, echoing a question asked on social media, there's the question of parking. Are there sufficient spaces on the old Coyle block for the number of cars we'd expect to belong to Americans residing in 190 units?

Almost certainly not, although I can't find the answer to this question (please direct me if you know), although very early on, the city began referring to parking arrangements with AT&T just across the street, and this likely is a tacit admission of parking inadequacy within the confines of The Break Wind itself.

In turn, it's recognition that non-automotive millennials with bicycles, not cars, actually won't be able to afford living in these apartments, but let's ignore that and consider what it means to offer overflow parking across Spring Street when there is no semblance of a crosswalk mentality, now or in any two-way future -- hence, the photo above, and another view here.

Of course, the dynamic renderings already posit a two-way future -- if not a crosswalk. Recall that City Hall denies ever discussing the street grid with the builder, Flaherty Collins, a representative of which confirmed such talks when asked by a citizen.

The view from 4th and Spring:

These renderings also take a highly stylized view of downtown Louisville's proximity to one-way Nawbany.

Talk about plate tectonics -- Louisville has shifted overnight, and residents of The Break Wind will almost be able to reach out and touch the Yum! Center.

I went to The Breakwater web page to see if the parking question is answered there, and it is:

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiuts smod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua."

Just look at these amenities, this time in English:

"Resort-Style Heated pool, Cabanas, Outdoor Kitchen w/ Grilling Stations, Fire Pit, Pet Spa, Dog Run, Smart Package Room, Bike Room w/ Storage and Repair Tools, Courtyard w/ Pool Deck, Outdoor Movie Screen and Fitness Club."

But what about rental prices? For this, we must visit Craigslist (thanks to T) and dodge exclamation marks.

New Albany Indiana, just outside of Louisville Kentucky, now has BRAND NEW LUXURY apartment homes for rent!

The Breakwater is a brand new luxury community that offers studio, one, and two bedroom apartments for rent in downtown New Albany, IN.

As you step into your apartment home, you will enjoy 9 foot ceilings, 42" kitchen cabinets, granite counter-tops, hard wood floors, full size washer and dryer, stainless steel appliances, and blinds.

Our residents will enjoy upscale, resort style amenities, including a heated salt water swimming pool with cabanas, outdoor movie screen, bike storage, pet wash room, fitness studio, dog walk, club room, and an outdoor kitchen with grilling stations and a fire pit. Attached and Unattached garages are available to rent also! The Breakwater is just minutes from shopping, dining, entertainment, and provides easy access to the freeway. Take advantage of the upscale amenities available to you at The Breakwater today!

We have the following floor plans available:

* Studio - 517 sq to 622 sq - $705 to $830
* One bedroom - 769 sq - 912 sq - $910 to $1190
* One bedroom with a Den - 1148 sq - $1195 to $1215
* Two bedroom/Two Bath - 1180 sq to 1204 sq - $1495 to $1670

Call now to pre-lease your new apartment home today, we are filling up fast!

I suppose this means the Bocce Ball court didn't make the cut.


Just imagine what these units would cost had the city not waived sewer tap-in fees ...

Read it, Irv: "Design Is Better Than Enforcement To Make Cities Safer For Everyone."

I apologize for doing this, but since the article is very short and directly addresses current social media yammering over the Upper Spring road diet and (impending?) two-way street plan, I'm reprinting it in its entirety. Look at these ideas as the antidotes to the Stumlers, Padgetts and Seabrooks of our community.


Design Is Better Than Enforcement To Make Cities Safer For Everyone, by Charlie Sorrel (Fast Coexist)

Ticketing drivers isn't the answer to create streets that are friendly for pedestrians and cyclists.

Much as cyclists might like to see bad drivers punished for their distracted driving and their bike-harassing crimes, enforcement isn't the most effective way to make the streets safer. The best way to stop "accidents" is to design better roads.

Slower cars means safer roads, and while adding speed cameras and reducing speed limits can help, nothing beats a design that stops drivers from speeding in the first place. Also, slower cars mean less injury in the case of a collision, but again, avoiding the collision to begin with is even better.

Alon Levy, writing for Pedestrian Observations, makes the argument for better infrastructure. One of the main causes of accidents is driver fatigue and sleepiness, which is in turn caused in large part by monotony. You're a lot more likely to doze of on a long stretch of featureless highway, with mile after mile of unchanging scenery, then you are to fall asleep while navigating curved country lanes or narrow city streets.

"It is better to design roads to have more frequent stimuli: trees, sidewalks with pedestrians, commercial development, [and] residential development," writes Levy. Another trick is to make lanes narrower. Drivers speed up in wider lanes, and they're also pedestrian-hostile, making it harder to cross streets safely. Narrowing them helps in both cases, and could create more space at the side of the road for bigger sidewalks or wider bike lanes.

Levy cites Sweden as a good example of road redistribution. In Stockholm, the few arterial roadways in the city have "seen changes giving away space from cars to public transit and pedestrians." Many roads only have one lane in each direction for cars, with other lanes given over to pedestrians, buses, and bikes. Levy also covers "setbacks," the wasted land in front of a building that sets it back from the road. Some U.S. zoning laws mandate these setbacks, and these should be repealed, for a more pedestrian-friendly space.

Another urban problem is drivers using residential streets as shortcuts between larger roads. In the U.K., these are called "rat-runs." The problem chokes otherwise quiet streets at rush hour, as well as making the streets more dangerous at off-peak hours, as cars hurtle down roads where children should be playing and bikes should be ambling. The solution, common in the Netherlands, is to block one end of the street to motor vehicles with posts that let cyclists and pedestrians pass unmolested.

Urban sprawl, and the unchecked ingress of the automobile into every area of our cities, is clearly the problem. And better infrastructure, designed to make driving more difficult in order to make cites better for everyone, is an obvious solution. But it requires bold decisions, like the Barcelona's controversial Super Block scheme, and those decisions require a political will that is often too weak in the face of bullying from car drivers. Design may be more important than enforcement, then, but it's strong politics that will make those changes.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekend history lesson: "Are the Republicans Going the Way of the Whigs?"

Just imagine printing your own ballots ...

Are the Republicans Going the Way of the Whigs?, by Michael F. Holt (Center for Politics)

... Does the Whigs’ sorry story provide a template pointing to what might become the GOP’s fate now?

There are striking similarities, but also some crucial differences, between what befell the Whigs in the 1850s and Republicans’ fractious situation today.

Politics, good judgment, social media, and why I refrained from voting in the Floyd Circuit Judge race.

On October 12, I posted this paragraph to Judge Terry Cody's campaign page at Facebook. According to the page, the campaign is "very responsive to messages."

Hello. It's impossible for me to vote for Keith Henderson, but I'd like to vote FOR Terry, whom I respect and admire. However, there's the matter of two-way streets in New Albany. Some might say that this topic falls outside the judge's jurisdiction, but I view it differently. Being able to survey facts and gauge research surely impact a voter's view of a candidate's fundamental judgment, which after all is of critical importance for a judge. Besides, a sitting judge is an undisputed mover of community opinion whether or not he's actively politicking. I don't think it is asking too much to get a clarification of Judge Cody's position on two-way streets. Thanks.

Yesterday was the 21st. I'd received no reply, and it was time to go to the clerk's office and vote. I couldn't vote for Henderson, who in effect asks us to allow him to adjudicate his own ethical violations.

But I couldn't vote for Cody, either, because my question went unanswered. The judge declined to explain when asked, but I will -- even if you didn't.

The last time I brought this up on social media, several readers made the point that a judge's campaign isn't political. Cody himself soft-pedaled his involvement with politics when asked during Harvest Homecoming by the News and Tribune's Elizabeth Beilman.

J. Terrence Cody, Democratic Floyd County Circuit Court judge who is running for re-election, was among them.

Cody is running for his fourth term.

"Judges cannot participate in the political process except in years in which they are on the ballot," Cody said.

That means he can't campaign five years out of his six-year term.

To which I must respond:

Cody may well lie low in non-election years, but he is constantly and intimately involved with local Democratic Party politics. See whose name is at the top of this list?

I was at the Tree Board meeting in May when Cody attended and let it be known that he wanted trees removed from city-owned property around his house. Does anyone reading really believe that once a man as prominent as Cody indicated his preference, that there'd be a check-and-balance in place to fairly review the request?

Plainly, Cody is a privileged political figure in the community, and here's the kicker: That's exactly as expected, and should come as no surprise. It's disingenuous to insist otherwise. Politics is about power; who has it, and who uses it.

Does anyone reading seriously believe that Cody does not have power -- every day, every year -- or that he declines to exercise the power he obviously has?

I didn't think so. Henderson exercises power, and so does anyone seeking an elected office, and as such, in spite of rote protests to the contrary, it is perfectly legitimate for me as a voter to acknowledge this reality, and to base my vote (or non-vote) for a candidate on real-world political grounds -- and, in the case of a candidate for judge, to ask myself a simple, pointed question: In his political undertakings, is he or she exercising good judgment?

See what I did there?

Quite apart from the clear-cutting instincts, one he unfortunately shares with other ranking Democrats and more than a few historic preservationists, Cody has let it be known that two-way streets are not to his taste, and when he says this, whether aloud or privately, it's not the opinion of John Q Public. It's coming from a political figure who possesses and uses power.

It's also poor judgment.

I offered Cody the opportunity to clarify his stance, and whether or not he even knew about the Facebook posting is irrelevant, because social media works a certain way, and anyone connected to his campaign knows it. There was no answer to my question.

Consequently, there was no vote cast for Terry Cody.

Reality in Memphis, impossible in Louisville: Cantilevered “wagonways” on an old bridge, adapted as shared-use paths.

The cantilevered K & I, off-limits to non-trains. 

To which I can respond in only one way: Nationalize the Norfolk Southern.

Say Hello to America's Longest 'Rails-with-Trails' Bridge, by Ben Schulman (CityLab)

After nearly 60 years unused, the Harahan Bridge’s wagonways have been converted into pathways for bikes and pedestrians.

 ... This coming weekend marks the official opening of Big River Crossing, a reworking of the Harahan Bridge, a Union Pacific railroad crossing over the Mississippi River. The truss bridge, designed by preeminent civil engineer Ralph Modjeski and completed in 1916, connects Memphis and the city of West Memphis, Arkansas. Modjeski configured the bridge to accommodate automobile traffic by devising cantilevered “wagonways” that flank the bridge’s railroad track. Now, after almost six decades without being used, those wagonways have been converted into pathways for bikes and pedestrians.

Big River Crossing rolls out for almost a mile over the Mississippi, making it the longest rails-with-trails bridge in the country. Development of rails-with-trails projects have accelerated in recent years—the nonprofit Rails to Trails Conservancy noted in a 2013 report a 260 percent uptick since 2000—but the scale and scope of BRX, as it’s been nicknamed, carries added weight to its unveiling.

Friday, October 21, 2016

"Does this dangerous street look familiar?"

I'm reprinting this e-mail verbatim. It is self-explanatory. New Albany has dozens of "dangerous by design" candidates, but surely Grant Line Road between Wal-Mart and Beechwood nears the top of an infamous list.


We need your help.

For too many people, a walk is a deadly risk. Poorly designed streets have led to an epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, especially among people of color and in our nation’s poorest neighborhoods.

You might live near or have to use one of these dangerous streets or intersections every day. We want to see what you see.

This fall, Smart Growth America's National Complete Streets Coalition will release Dangerous by Design 2016, a report that will again rank the nation’s most dangerous places to walk using the Pedestrian Danger Index. This year’s report will dive deep into how income, race, and place play an outsized role in how likely people are to be killed while walking.

Help us illustrate the hazards you face everyday. Send us photos of streets in your neighborhood that are “dangerous by design.” Streets like these:

Poorly designed streets like these above—often built or designed with federal dollars or guidelines—endanger pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike. And as Dangerous by Design will continue to illustrate, people of color and census tracts with below average income are disproportionately represented.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Send in photos via email to This email address can only receive 10MB of attachments at a time.
  • High-resolution photos are preferred for maximum quality.
  • Please indicate how photos are to be credited if used online or in the report.
  • Provide information about the photo. Where was the photo taken? Is this a street that you have to use regularly?

We want to see the missing crosswalks, missing curb ramps, and the long and dangerous treks along busy highways. We want to see every way that our current road designs have failed to provide for the safety and convenience of everyone that needs to use them. View photo submissions from our past reports.

Send us photos of the deadly conditions for pedestrians near you. We’re preparing our report now, so please pass them along as soon as you can. And stay tuned for more about Dangerous by Design 2016.


Emiko Atherton,
Director, National Complete Streets Coalition
Smart Growth America  

Stop your grousing and read about "A Los Angeles Road Diet That Worked."

A road diet like the one being implemented on Upper Spring, in an auto-centric city like Los Angeles?

"This is an encouraging message for other towns considering the viability and impact of a road diet."

Cool. We just might be able to pull it of right here in Nawbany.

A LOS ANGELES ROAD DIET THAT WORKED, by Rachel Quednau (Strong Towns)

... This road diet didn't occur without some pushback. From the article:

Some nearby residents, however, complained that the new street design — though well-intentioned — increased traffic and decreased safety by diverting drivers onto neighboring residential streets. They organized a much-publicized petition calling for the city to provide an alternative solution to its road diet plan.

But the road diet persisted with excellent results. Recent data collection efforts show that average speeds on the street decreased and motor vehicle crashes went down. Unfortunately, speeding and crashes have not been completely eliminated, but it seems the road diet has had an overall positive effect and safety has improved. Most significantly, the data shows that all of this was accomplished while traffic on the street remained at a similar volume. From the article:

We analyzed the average traffic counts on Rowena both before and after the project and found that typical traffic volume was unchanged after the road diet was implemented. [...] These results challenge the perception that Los Angeles is too auto-centric for road diets to work.

This story not only reinforces the value of road diets, it also stresses the need for adequate data collection and analysis both before and after their implementation (or, indeed, the implementation of any project like this) ...

Barge meets water at ACBL/Jeff Boat.

Launching a barge is routine if you work at Jeff Boat (American Commercial Barge Line). After all, there's one each day, no champagne required. It's interesting to observe as a first-time viewer, as my Leadership Southern Indiana class did on Wednesday.

There are fascinating facts aplenty about ACBL/Jeff Boat, but this one does it for me: There's been a shipyard operating here continuously since 1834, as founded by the Howard family.

Summit Springs roulette: It's a wonder that they still know how to breathe.

BREAKING: The Plan Commission has agreed to continues pimping Team Gahan's redevelopment ambitions as coupled with the Covetous Kelleys.

In other words, more of Dave Duggins' trademark boilerplate.

Shall we yawn in unison?

Summit Springs plan in New Albany moves ahead; Two hotels, restaurant planned off State Street, by Elizabeth Beilman (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — A development project that has been in the planning stages for several years and garnered opposition from nearby residents is closer to construction after a New Albany Plan Commission vote Tuesday.

The preliminary plan for Summit Springs, a 65-acre proposed commercial development on top of Fawcett Hill, was approved by the commission with a 6-1 vote. Member Doug Hosier was the only dissenting vote.

If the plan shown Tuesday night is the one put into action, the site would become home to two hotels and a restaurant along an extended Daisy Lane. Developers are calling the 37-acre portion of the land the first phase of development.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ON THE AVENUES: Key events in the New Albanian rebirth, but first, a piccolo of grappa, per favore.

ON THE AVENUES: Key events in the New Albanian rebirth, but first, a piccolo of grappa, per favore.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

In a recent piece about forward progress in downtown New Albany, the Courier-Journal’s Bailey Loosemore makes an attribution, and with the reader’s forbearance, I’d like to begin today by offering a gentle corrective to what strikes me as a significant omission – actually, two of them.

“Five years after the commission's creation, (David) Barksdale and commercial realtor Mike Kopp approached the city with an idea for attracting new restaurants to those now preserved buildings.”

Specifically, the idea in question refers to the Riverfront Development District, a concept minted by the state of Indiana, and conveniently defined by our compatriots in South Bend.

I hear that it is possible to apply for a 3-way license in parts of Downtown South Bend that only costs $1,000. Is this true?

Yes, within the boundaries of the defined Municipal Riverfront Development District.

What is a Municipal Riverfront Development District (District)?

A district where 3-way licenses are made available to eligible establishments for $1,000 as a way to spur development near a river.

How did South Bend find a way to create this District?

A piece of state legislation made it available and the Common Council approved the District and with the goal of spurring development in the District.

When I first read Loosemore’s piece, something quickly began nagging at me, but I couldn’t pin it down until a good friend reminded me that Paul Wheatley was New Albany’s economic development director in 2006. These days he’s a private development consultant.

I wrote to him seeking clarification.

“Paul, I was thinking back to 2006, when you were still in New Albany and the riverfront development district was passed. Obviously, those alcohol permits have been crucial. Was this something with which economic development guys like you were widely familiar at the time? I'm curious as to how the process got started. Ten years later, I remain shocked that our city council at the time passed it unanimously. It may have been that particular group's single greatest achievement.”

Wheatley’s reply:

“If you want to know the truth, I patterned it almost 100% off the district that Dave Duggins and Phil McCauley set up in Jeffersonville. We used the TIF District and the Historic District as the boundary area (which had to stay within 2500 feet of the river). It’s been really neat to see all the entrepreneurs take advantage of this incentive over the years. The special district + YMCA + Steve Resch (and others) has really turned the tide.”

Mind you, I’m not suggesting that the impetus for the riverfront development district didn’t emanate in some fashion from Barksdale and Kopp, only that Wheatley deserves his measure of recognition for drafting the legislation and leading the effort to get this measure through the under-achieving labyrinth of a council often hostile to any initiative undertaken by Mayor James Garner.

This is the second point of importance.

In 2006, Garner was this city’s mayor. Because the riverfront development district didn’t come into wide use until 2008 and beyond, casual observers tend to associate it with Doug England, but while England certainly supported the district once he returned to office, the commemorative plaque in this instance must go to his predecessor.

Facts are pesky little critters, aren’t they?


Frankly, it’s astounding that Loosemore was able to write an article about New Albany without serial photo-bomber Irv Stumler inviting himself into the narrative – tossing his own peculiar word salad, pontificating about city life from Peterbilt’s unique perspective, and positioning himself in direct chronological contrast with the story's header: New Albany's rebirth attracts young residents.

I’ve been speculating about what Irv will do when the streets finally run both directions. Will he accept the will of the voters (on the Board of Works, at least), and make a clean, orderly transition to two-way traffic, or continue to drive as before, eastbound in the westbound and down, attired in camouflage, one hand on the wheel and the other shaking a grubby penciled–in petition from the driver’s side window?

But I digress.

Loosemore identities "three key events in the city's history that most New Albanians agree led to the downtown's rebirth," and let me be the first to congratulate her for using the term New Albanian.

Gee, I wonder who coined it?

  • 2000: The creation of the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission.
  • 2006: David Barksdale and commercial realtor Mike Kopp's idea to establish a riverfront development district, "which allowed restaurants within three blocks of a waterway to purchase three-way liquor licenses for $1,000."
  • 2008: The Floyd County Family YMCA opened its doors.

Assuming most New Albanians agree on these key events, which almost certainly isn’t the case, it is noteworthy that the first one occurred on Regina Overton’s watch, and the other two as a result of Garner’s advocacy.

In turn, this is why the gauging of legacies can take a little time.

There’s something else: The most recent “key” event occurred eight years ago. Hasn’t anything of importance happened since then?

I’ll nominate three; feel free to disagree.

1. Two-way streets. They’ll have been stripped of many potentially valuable features and taken far too long to implement, but at this point anything will help.

2. The sale of Floyd Memorial Hospital. While this has nothing whatever to do with city government, county government receiving nutrients again after a decade-long, self-imposed starvation diet is bound to affect the city. The outcome might even be positive.

3. Matt Chalfant’s new building at 137 East Spring. It is small, and the palatial “luxury” pressboard of Break Wind Lofts at Duggins Flats will get all the ink, but Chalfant’s unsubsidized infill is a far better measure of success in terms of market forces and entrepreneurial flair.

I tried fitting the dog park in there somewhere. Square pegs, round holes – you know.


As I write, the election is 19 days away, but it’s the third Tuesday in November currently holding my rapt attention.

The Green Mouse has been told by multiple sources that the most likely date for a final Board of Works vote on whether to accept Option B – the return of two way traffic on Bank, Pearl, Market, Spring and Elm – is Tuesday, November 15.

(Warren Nash wants us to know that just because the federal money is in the bag, bidding dates set and construction schedules carved on a stone tablet, it’s an insult for Irv to suggest the decision has been made. Couldn’t we trade both Warren and Irv to Birdseye for a Bud Light Lime-powered canine shampooing station to be named later?)

It’s all fairly clear to me: If my karma will indulge me, Trump will lose, two-way streets will win … and then we'll go to Sicily over the Thanksgiving holiday to clink wine glasses and devour the grilled sardine pasta I mentioned last week.

The respite will be short, but no less appreciated for its brevity. By January, the coffee break will be over, and we'll be back on our heads.


October 13: ON THE AVENUES: They're coming to take me away.

October 6: ON THE AVENUES: His nose knows tolls and polls (2010).

September 29: ON THE AVENUES 3-PK, PART THREE: Survey says … Irv’s street grid agitprop won’t be putting Diogenes out of work any time soon.

September 29: ON THE AVENUES 3-PK, PART TWO: Inkem binkem notamus rex, protect us all from the city (still) with the hex (2014).

A diffident Dickey on the Democratic endorsement of two-way streets: "Our party supports this effort," just not OPENLY.

I asked ..

Since the Floyd County Democratic Party has endorsed a "yes" vote in the NAFC bond referendum, thus taking a position on a matter of importance, will we see an endorsement of HWC's Option B for two-way streets? I'd ask this question at the party's site, but -- well, you know. Thanks.

... and Adam Dickey legalistically answered, though to be sure, it's an improvement on previous non-answers from the local Democratic hierarchy.

In regard to your question, the study and plan has been pursued and advanced by our Democratic administration and elected officials and our party supports this effort. Our local platform supports complete streets and investment in our infrastructure and this plan is consistent with that plank.

At this time, I do not anticipate the central committee would adopt a separate resolution, but members are free to propose such an item at the next committee meeting.

"They are slinging so much mud, and I’m wearing a white suit.”

Our corporate class.

“My name is Lucy Brenton, but you probably don’t know who I am because I haven’t spent $30 million to win a job that pays under $200,000 a year.”

The Libertarian candidate's quip probably was the highlight of Tuesday's senatorial debate. Charlie Pierce noticed, so let's skip to the end -- but first, one of Pierce's classic lines:

"The essential patriotism of the American corporate class can be measured in a thimble, and you'd still have room left over."

No, Hillary Clinton Should Not Go Business Class When She Gets into Office, by Charles P. Pierce (Esquire)

... On Tuesday night, because I could not sleep and do not have a life, I checked in on a replay of a recent debate between the candidates for the U.S. Senate seat from Indiana. The Democratic candidate is Evan Bayh, a classic Simpson-Bowlesite who left the Senate once before because the political climate had gotten too hot and the Senate too wild for his delicate constitution. He then became a lobbyist. Now he wants to get back to the Senate because…oh, hell, who cares. I tuned in just in time to hear Bayh brag that he was opposed to the estate tax and that he would vote for its repeal.

Except he didn't call it that.

He called it "the death tax."

The death tax.

I'm amazed that he isn't telling people he's running for the Senate as the candidate of the Democrat party.

Evan Bayh is half an anachronism and I suspect he doesn't know it. The country has changed. So has the Democratic party. I remain cautiously optimistic that its presidential candidate realizes that as well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Amor fati, or "Friedrich Nietzsche Goes to New Albany."

Welcome to another installment of SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

But why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, like the ones you're sure to hear when asking the city's corporate attorney why the answers to my FOIA/public records request for Bicentennial commission finances, due to be handed over on July 8, still haven't arrived on October 19?

Bicentennial commission financial trail? What's two (yawn) weeks (shrug) after 463 days?

October 19 update: Make that 15 weeks since the FOIA record request's due date and  553 days since I asked Bullet Bob Caesar to tell us how many coffee table books were left unsold, and how much the city's 200-year "summer of love" fest actually cost us.

No, it's because a healthy vocabulary isn't about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it's about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one's pay grade or station in life.

Even these very same iniquitous, paving-bond-slush-engorged municipal corporate attorneys who customarily are handsomely remunerated to suppress information can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate what they knew and when they knew it, all we have left is plenty of time -- and the opportunity to learn something, if we're so inclined.

Today's word is amor fati (Wikipedia):

Amor fati (lit. "love of fate") is a Latin phrase that may be translated as "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one's life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not.

Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one's life.

This acceptance does not necessarily preclude an attempt at change or improvement, but rather, it can be seen to be along the lines of what (Friedrich) Nietzsche means by the concept of "eternal recurrence": a sense of contentment with one's life and an acceptance of it, such that one could live exactly the same life, in all its minute details, over and over for all eternity.

Here is handy help for the pronunciation:

And in a sentence, made famous by Nietzsche:

“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it.”

Pre-election striping: By Mayor Gahan's usual standards, this ALMOST qualifies as political courage.

There hasn't been an explanation for why it took so long, but on Tuesday the striping finally began on Spring Street between Beharrell and Vincennes. Weird and confusing, to be sure, but under way.

You could tell it was underway because social media went ballistic. It was entertaining, I must say.

NAC doubted the striping would happen until after the election, because that's been Jeff Gahan's previous default setting; recall that he refused to discuss two-way streets until after last year's re-election campaign, when the race might have served dual purposes as educational opportunity and political mandate.

If the choice is between open communications and bunker, Gahan's headed down those stairs to the down-low almost every time.

But on Tuesday, I was proven wrong.

As usual, the road diet between Beharrell and Vincennes is a cautious compromise that doesn't go far enough. It's being offered as the sole corrective for toll-dodging, and this probably isn't enough. Worse, it's predicated conceptually on automotive considerations alone, and squanders yet another opportunity to teach the community the value of calming, walking, biking and other manifestations of modernity.

But (perennial advocate of a rational street grid sighs wearily) ... it's something, rather than the usual nothing, and a glimmer of political courage coming from a mayor who seldom shows any.

The city's official explanation is here, and when finished, the street is supposed to look like this.

Maybe it even will.

On an Ecuadoran retirement plan.

I've known Shawn since college, and met Bill when they began coming into the Public House in the early 1990s, when their son was still very young.

When I congratulated Shawn on their emerging media notoriety, she replied "We're both thrilled and terrified, but it just feels right."

And that sounds about right. Cheers to them.

MOSSWORDS: To uncertainty and sunshine; Shawn and Bill Turner plants roots in Ecuador, by Dale Moss (News and Tribune)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ASK THE BORED: Restripe Upper Spring Street for traffic calming BEFORE the election? And risk an even higher Luddite turnout? Adam has priorities, you know.


In terms of weather, Thursday of last week (October 13) was acceptable, wasn't it?

But it came, and it went ...

... and Upper Spring Street -- our first and only line of defense against pass through toll dodging -- still looked like this (photos taken yesterday).

However, the Green Mouse spotted two Yellow Jackets making hash marks ...

 ... but considering the roadway was only recently repaved, these must be utility company vandals, right?

I mean, isn't that the way it always works? We pave the street, and as soon as the asphalt sets, the water company tears it up again?

In fact, the restriping sloth probably is intentional.

The Green Mouse Says, "If and when the city finishes the job and restripes the street, the mouth breathers will go berserk."

Meanwhile, the new and improved New Albany City Hall agitprop site now includes information on ongoing projects and current street closures -- assuming, of course, that they bother listing a specific project or street closure.

You'll see nothing there about Upper Spring's missing stripes-for-calming, or prospects for a BOW vote on the Downtown Grid Modernization Project (local Orwell-speak for two-way streets), which the mayor continues whispering about even as the bored insists the fix isn't in.

And, still nothing from Keep New Albany Clean and Green about the clear-cutting at Judge Cody's.

All that steeple work -- and now this. You'd think Irv would be entirely apoplectic.

Look it up, Shane.

"The Future of Retirement Communities: Walkable and Urban."

When all is said and done, it's a great deal more likely that NA's Breakwind Lofts at Duggins Flats apartments will attract empty-nesters rather than millennials.

As this and hundreds of other news items attest, what these age groups have in common is an interest in walkability. In the massive irony for which New Albany is renowned, the foremost opponent of walkable, bikeable two-way streets is Padgett Inc, which sits atop a slam-dunk redevelopment acreage bonanza, one made potentially even more valuable by the very mobility reforms Padgett opposes.

Literally, Padgett might have its cake and eat it, too -- but no. It's in the water, folks, and what comes of the water?

We use it to make Kool-Aid, of course.

The Future of Retirement Communities: Walkable and Urban, by John F. Wasik (New York Times)

FEW people in America walk to work. Most of us drive to the supermarket. But more older people these days are looking for a community where they can enjoy a full life without a car ...

... Enter a new paradigm: the walkable, urban space. It may range from existing neighborhoods in places like Brooklyn or San Francisco to newly built housing within city and suburban cores from coast to coast. Though not primarily for retirees, places like Reston, Va., and Seaside, Fla., were early examples of the new urbanism built from the ground up. Among senior housing projects, examples include Waterstone at Wellesley along the Charles River in the Boston area and The Lofts at McKinley in downtown Phoenix. The theme is simple: Get out and walk to basic services.

Walkability, though, is much more than a hip marketing pitch. It’s linked to better health, social engagement and higher property values.

Corn King IPA at Bank Street Brewhouse on Wednesday.

What is Corn King?

Time’s running out to get one of the nation’s most unique beers, by Tristan Schmid (Brewers of Indiana Guild)

Today 3 Floyds bottled a one-of-a-kind IPA that represents one of the most unique ways in the nation to support and enjoy craft beer, and time is running out for you to get it.

This morning, Corn King IPA hit 22 oz. bombers and kegs, destined for the tastebuds of IN Beer Brigade members at release parties around the state in October, the first of which will be held at 18th Street Brewing’s stunning Hammond location on Oct. 3, followed by others to be announced this week.

The only way to get Corn King IPA is by enlisting in the IN Beer Brigade. You can’t buy it at 3 Floyds or anywhere else.

Last month, 3 Floyds and Hoosier breweries from across Northwestern Indiana collaborated on the Corn King IPA brew day, mashing in locally grown corn malted by Sugar Creek Malt Co. of Lebanon, IN to create a highly sippable hoppy beer with crisp citrus notes and a smooth finish.

The 74 IBU, 7.3% ABV beer will pair excellently with a Sunday brunch or a local burger.

Enlist in the base membership level for access to buy pints of the beer at the release parties.

What is the IN Beer Brigade?

Become an IN Beer Brigadier to receive access to one-of-a-kind limited edition collaboration beers brewed by Hoosier brewers at members-only parties as well as specialty glassware, a digital membership card for use in Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and more.

Your membership in this exclusive program directly supports Indiana's fast-growing brewing industry and the mission of the Brewers of Indiana Guild.

When and where is the local Corn King release party?

Happening this Wednesday, October 19 at 6 p.m. on the patio at NABC Bank Street Brewhouse: Corn King IPA - brewed by Three Floyds Brewing in collaboration with Northwestern Indiana breweries - will be EXCLUSIVELY available to Indiana Beer Brigade Brigadiers! (Information on how to become a member) ... memberships may be purchased at the door.

The membership program is something that was minted during my tenure on the board of the Brewers of Indiana Guild, and I'm delighted to see it lifting off. Now that I'm a civilian in terms of brewery ownership, I'll be joining the program myself. This event isn't for everyone, but those for whom it is should stop by on Wednesday.