Thursday, October 08, 2015

Hash it #gahanhypocrisy: A mayor who doesn't bother attending council meetings criticizes KZ for poor attendance.

Jeff Gahan's first "attack meme" comes to us from the Democratic Party's page at Fb, which is well on its way to purging all dissenters by prohibiting their comments. It's a repugnant twist emulated at the mayor's campaign page, and in some recent instances the city's social media feed.

That's right: Taxpayer dollars not only are spent to tout Gahan's re-election campaign, but to prevent comments. Those of Gahan's supporters with a passing interest in human rights might consider this quote.

Meanwhile, as Mark Cassidy asks ...

Inquiring minds want to know:

Why does Jeff Gahan not attend city council meetings? He was so mad at Doug England for not attending, that he, as council president, would not allow anyone to speak in the Mayor's slot on the agenda but the Mayor. Now, as Mayor, he attends even less frequently that England did and routinely sends someone to speak in the Mayor's slot. Hypocrite or not?

Far less frequently, in fact. As for me, I intend to attend as many council meetings as I can once elected mayor. Hell, I already do. I will answer questions, throw rhetorical punches, and do so for as long as they wish. It should be like question time in the House of Commons.

A discussion followed Mark's post about Gahan's chronic non-attendance.


Clint: It depends on what the meaning of attending is.

Stephen: I was told by the current Council president that there was no reason for him to be there just to get "attacked" by the council members. This was at least two years ago, maybe three, when I raised the issue of his absence. That was when my disillusionment began.

Mark: Takes one to know one, I guess. At least England was man enough to show up considerably more often than Gahan has. Not to mention that he told many of us, when he ran four years ago, that he would be a regular attendee at meetings. Pshaw.

Steven: Mayor Garner almost always showed up and was almost always attacked by the Council.

Mark: True. I started attending on a regular basis during his last year.

Roger: But Gahan completely controls this council. Last night was vivid proof. It was as though their teleprompters went blank, and in the absence of instructions, flailing was the order of the day: "We'd tell you what we think as soon as Gahan tells us."

Stephen: From my perspective, being there is part of the job. No one else can answer for you, but you. Be a man, Gahan.

Roger: Only if manhood pertains to monetizing or propaganda. Cults of personality mean never having to be yourself. The fear needs to stop.

Clint: "Ve half vays of making you think."

Roger: Even in New Albany?

Clint: I didn't specify useful or logical thinking.

R.I.P. Ralph Griggs. It is belated, but heartfelt.

And then you get sidetracked.

30-odd years ago, when I was working nights at Scoreboard Liquors (razed in 1988), we'd rope off the parking lot during Harvest Homecoming and charge people $5 to park -- unless they were paying customers.

The idea eventually arose among my friends to just leave our cars parked there, purchase some Stoli, Rose's Lime Juice and plastic cups, and stroll the festival at our leisure.

Thus was born the concept of Vodka-Thon, and one of those years, Ralph came along.

Ralph was a regular customer. He was a few years older than me, short of stature and heavily bearded, and if memory serves, he'd been in the army in Vietnam. He was smart, soft-spoken, and a tad eccentric -- he actually read books, regretted not being an undertaker, and once gave me a textbook about mortuary science. I still have it somewhere.

How did I know these things?

Because Ralph came in a lot, at all hours of the day, and what I didn't know -- what I chose not to know -- was that he was an alcoholic. Functional, perhaps, but still.

Vodka-Thon was a lark for us. It was everyday reality for him.

Later in the 1980s, after the liquor store had moved to the corner of Spring and Beharell, we lost touch. I heard from a mutual acquaintance that things had gotten bad for Ralph in every respect. Evidently I did nothing with this information. He had become one of those faces lost in the huge crowd of past lives.

This morning Vodka-Thon occurred to me, and Ralph's face popped into view. I did some googling, and it appears he's been dead for 15 years. This doesn't surprise me. I believe he had children, and they may still be around, grown now. If so, and if they read this, please know that none of these ruminations are intended as flippant or disrespectful.

In fact, I feel awful. I didn't know then what I know now, but that's hardly an excuse for doing nothing when it was obvious something was wrong. Ralph seemed like a good fellow, tormented by demons, at least one of which was the disease of alcoholism.

Ralph, I'll always remember our chats about book and life. I'm sorry I was oblivious to the other part of it.

Rest in peace, sir.

ON THE AVENUES: There’s an indie twist to this curmudgeon’s annual Harvest Homecoming column.

ON THE AVENUES: There’s an indie twist to this curmudgeon’s annual Harvest Homecoming column.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

You may have noticed that in 2015, I’ve consciously soft-pedaled blog references to Harvest Homecoming.

In completely unrelated news, there is an amazing concept called “pragmatism.” It has taken me 55 years to be introduced to it, and I thought I’d give it a whirl. Being pragmatic actually has little to do with running for mayor. It’s about reformatting for the future, and getting something important accomplished.

Those detailed annual critiques of Harvest Homecoming, as regularly offered here since 2005, remain far more applicable than not. They’re objective, factual and easily searchable. You are invited to indulge, read and learn.

Apart from impeccable reasoning of the sort I’ve offered in this space previously, I have three primary reasons for taking a break in 2015.

First, there is escalating personal exhaustion.

Numerous metaphorical 800-lb. gorillas roam the mean streets of New Albany, and without occasional exercises in triage, energy conservation and gin, wrestling with them all at once can be quite tiring. It’s better to pick selected battles and topple the behemoths each in turn – or, failing that, drink more gin.

Second, I’m experiencing mounting personal changes, many of them delightful.

My decision to uncouple from NABC has been liberating in several ways. Among them is a boomerang of sorts with regard to my terms of engagement with Harvest Homecoming.

The advent of downtown New Albany’s first wave of indies (i.e. Bistro New Albany, circa 2006), and then later Bank Street Brewhouse (2009), brought me into annual downtown contact with Harvest Homecoming for the first time in decades. BSB’s concurrent Fringe Fest was and is a direct response to the myriad challenges of happy harvesting for local independent businesses.

Dependent on my future job status, perhaps now I’ll be free to revert to that halcyon pre-2006 default condition of avoiding upcloseandpersonal contact with Harvest Homecoming, especially as it is manifested in its enduringly invasive “booth days.”

Frankly, it’s never been my kind of event, and there’s not much of substance in it for folks like me. So be it, and it takes all sorts to fill a planet.

As such, I envision a future family custom of departing for vacation on the Monday following the parade, because parade day has taken on a renewed significance for me, which brings us to Reason Number Three.

There’s a new tradition called Biers on Parade.


This year the New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association “popped up” a beer garden at the Farmers Market, intended to coincide with the parade. The weather didn’t cooperate, but we got it done with the active help of the New Albany Farmers Market and Harvest Homecoming. Even the captive Board of Public Works and Safety gave prompt and courteous approval.

See, various entities actually can row in the same direction. Kudos to them all.

We’re eager to build on this year’s Biers on Parade experiment as the capstone to an entirely different and yet complementary concept for the week preceding Harvest Homecoming’s downtown takeover.

This is the cause of heightened economic localism, and a week-long spotlight placed directly on local independent businesses.

Let it be known that enhanced localism should be the basis for the city of New Albany’s overall economic development strategy, and if I’m elected mayor, it will be. The American Independent Business Alliance offers one reason why.

“Multiple studies show locally-owned independent restaurants return twice as much per dollar of revenue to our local economy than chain restaurants. And independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors.”

As we continue working toward this goal, pragmatic adjustments to the fall calendar are in order. Harvest Homecoming’s parade always takes place on the first Saturday in October. Henceforth, we’re hoping that the last Sunday in September provides a handy annual localism kickoff with Indie Fest, followed by New Albany Restaurant & Bar Week, concluding with Biers on Parade.

Taken together, it’s a ready-made Indie Week to bookend Harvest Homecoming. It extends festive times over two full weeks, not just one. It provides the opportunity to trumpet the merits of “we’re here all year” alongside those of “come to Harvest Homecoming once a year.” It can be adapted to all downtown stakeholders, not just food and drink businesses.

It restores balance, and takes a necessary step toward democratizing downtown.

What it cannot do is completely relieve the stress points created by Harvest Homecoming’s “booth days” presence in an evolving, working, beating heart of a city. In years to come, dozens of people will be living upstairs in previously vacant buildings. Festive noise and clutter are one thing, and access to living space something very different. Something’s got to give.

However, I’ve become convinced that a younger generation of Harvest Homecoming movers and doers understands the need for evolution. We worked together to stage Biers on Parade. This year’s official Harvest Homecoming program contains a centerfold map of downtown, highlighting local independent businesses. It isn’t perfect, but reformers need encouragement.

Better communication helps. If I’m elected mayor, transparency is a guarantee, and we’ll move along the process. If not, irrespective of my new life, I intend to remain involved with independent local business activities preceding Harvest Homecoming.


A final word about my parade non-participation in 2015.

This year, I couldn’t bend the parade committee to the notion of common sense, which to me implies an acceptance of walking as the simplest, most basic form of human transportation.

There was a surreal, 1960s-era quality to the conversation (paraphrasing): “You’re the candidate of walkability, and walkability is the future of our downtown? That’s nice, but don’t you want a shiny car for that? After all, it’s Hot Rod Harvest.”

No thanks. I’d just like to walk the parade.

Yes, bureaucracies usually evolve accordingly. Rule books cease being living documents, and become immutable commandments for facilitating control. But if there is any single thing I’ve learned in the craft beer business, it’s that creativity freshens stale orthodoxy – and creativity is best inspired by letting loose, as opposed to tightening up.

I believe the parade is redeemable, and should be multi-modal – just like the streets it uses each year.

We’ll get to THAT, too.

If you venture into the weekend's Harvest Homecoming scrum, remember the buildings behind the booths. The businesses inside them -- and the people living above them -- are here all year.


Recent columns:

October 1: ON THE AVENUES: No more fear, Jeff.

September 24: ON THE AVENUES: Almost two years later, Mr. Gahan has yet to plug in this clock, and so it's time for him to clock out.

September 17: ON THE AVENUES: Dear Neighbor: If you’re tired of the same old story, turn some pages.

September 10: ON THE AVENUES: Lanesville Heritage Weekend comes around again.

September 3: ON THE AVENUES: When even Mitt Romney can run to the left of New Albany’s Democrats, it's a very big problem.

August 27: ON THE AVENUES: Whips, chains and economic development (2010).

August 20: ON THE AVENUES: In the groove.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Can anyone volunteer a few hours to cover at the New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association booth at Harvest Homecoming?

(Sorry about the faulty header -- I intended it as draft, not for publication)

The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association has all shifts covered in its Harvest Homecoming booth save for one: Saturday morning from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (noon).

The booth is informational only -- just spreading the word about NARBA. If you're connected with the NA food and drink scene and would be able to volunteer to cover these hours, please let me know. 


Bringing back Portland?

An interesting photo essay about Portland: Bringing Back Portland at Lending My Lens

As noted in the past, the natural configuration of Vincennes Street is as a portal to Portland, via the K & I Bridge, which remains closed to traffic of any kind apart from trains. The railroad closed the bridge more than 35 years ago, and Uptown began dying when it did.

Reopening the bridge for walkers and bikers would re-energize the Vincennes corridor overnight, and reconnect us to the Portland neighborhood ... assuming it wants to be linked. There's the rub. People in New Albany are fond of saying they don't want Louisville's West Enders to have access to the bridge.

Louisville's West Enders say precisely the same about us.

It flummoxes me, this party politics Kool-Aid drinking thing.

The Horizon (IU Southeast) reporter does very well with one side of the story.

The problem for longtime observers of the local scene remains the perennial disconnect between what is viewed in the bathroom mirror, and what exists in reality, out beyond the front door of one's home.

I know that both Cliff and Greg are being sincere in their pronouncements. What I'll never understand is how one can accurately diagnose pressing issues, express favor for various cures, and then remain a loyalist of a political party (our Democrats) holding an absolute, unassailable majority of municipal government seats for the past 12 years, but failing to act on either.

It flummoxes me, this party politics Kool-Aid drinking thing.

How can they publicly support a mayor, Jeff Gahan, who has failed to address their issues apart from vacuous private expressions of support hinging on his re-election, and has made prospects for their cures even more remote owing to massive spending for wants, rather than needs?

What am I missing?

Is it cognitive dissonance?

The Stockholm Syndrome?

The insidiousness of group think?

IU Southeast faculty run for New Albany City Council, by Jordan Williams

 ... For Phipps, the interest in city council started in a way similar to Staten’s.

The desire to make a change came about in response to his 2001 move to downtown New Albany.
“I didn’t have a lot of involvement in politics when I lived in the suburbs. I was out of touch with what was going on,” said Phipps.

“I moved downtown and started to see the urban problems that I didn’t see while living in the suburbs.”
Phipps began his crusade for change by going to city council meetings and bringing attention to the variety of concerns being neglected in the surrounding city.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Bike commuting is on the rise, except in New Albany, where Jeff Gahan cowers in terror.

A headline like that is reason enough to read the article, isn't it?

Yes, the cities cited are far larger than New Albany. The point: As Gahan dithers and delays on street grid reform, we sacrifice opportunities to re-position ourselves as a metro Louisville option.

Time and again, Gahan's "thought" process exalts suburban by-the-numbers rectitude at the expense of what actually works in urban areas -- and biking and walking work in a way that Padgett's cranes cannot.

Bike Commuting: Still on the Rise, by Laura Bliss (City Lab)

... More Americans are biking to work, as cities roll out necessary infrastructure and road-safety policies. Nationwide, from 2000 to 2014, bicycle commuting has grown 62 percent. Yes, it’s easy to grow fast when you start with small numbers. But that doesn’t take away from the larger point: If you build the lanes, cyclists will come.

Must read: Drew Curtis explains exactly how an independent (like me) can win the New Albany mayoral race.

Kentucky gubernatorial independent candidate Drew Curtis actually was at the Public House just a few weeks ago when my old friend Mark Kocher came into town to represent at a Stone Brewing Company tap takeover.


And Mark, for that matter.


I'm sure Drew and I would have been discussing the points he makes in this amazing essay. Ostensibly, it's about his race in Kentucky, but the gist is applicable here in New Albany.

Op-Ed: Taking Parties Out of Politics

In the 1800s, political parties were candidates' social networks. Drew Curtis, founder of social networking news site and Kentucky gubernatorial candidate, now asks if we still need parties in 2015.

 ... I believe a disruption is coming to electoral politics. If I don’t manage to pull off a disruption this November, it’s clear to me that someone else will manage it very soon. We’re seeing cracks appearing already within the parties themselves—nontraditional candidates are faring far better than traditional ones even within the parties on both sides of the aisle, with Donald Trump wreaking havoc among Republicans and Bernie Sanders steadily disrupting what seemed like a preordained win for Hillary.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Counting the ways -- that stop signs can be used as storm water grates?

If we've spent $6 million to prevent flooding, and flooding still occurs, is the price of admission to the water park higher on weekdays for out-of-state guests, or less on weekends during the blue light special?

What if you drink five Bud Light Limes first?

Then what?

How many additional alco-pops does it take before we reach "fundamentally better"?

Sewers are one side of the coin, and stormwater the other. Thanks to pro-active sewer rate increases during the third England term, which were opposed by then-councilman Gahan, the now-mayor Gahan takes credit for progress in the sewer utility -- which means it's time to give back to the ratepayers with a reduction in sewer rates, even if only a symbolic one.

However, it makes little sense to declare sewer "victory" when stormwater is in shambles and getting worse. As Bluegill recently noted:

It's a system that many around the city, who still experience regularly flooded streets and homes, can tell you is failing and not being adequately addressed. Given it's riverside location, New Albany is part of a massive drainage basin for the region, so I'd immediately start with cleaning up and maintaining our much neglected natural waterways, including putting a check on development patterns that block and otherwise obstruct them. Once they're properly functioning again, we can address the man made portions of the system that are still an obvious problem.

Plainly, the original stormwater master plan has been cut, pasted and abridged numerous times for short-term political motivations, as when then-councilman Gahan jumped the master plan's prioritization queue to have massive engineering work done in his own 6th district.

It's long past time to revisit the stormwater master plan, and conduct an audit of what's being done and what isn't.

As currently constituted, New Albany's stormwater control regime is a top-down, fee-based and expensive ongoing engineering project that utterly lacks citizen input. In fact, nothing at all is expected of residents, some of whom might be motivated to some degree by carrots and sticks with respect to the installation of rain barrels, or matching grants for restoring permeable surfaces.

There are many examples nationwide of small efforts over a larger area combining to help alleviate drainage problems. These begin with city government's willingness to engage with ordinary people, and to make all of us part of the solution, which of course includes engineering according to a science-based plan -- not a politically-based one.

Either that, or it's more of those $6 million stop sign plugs.

Transformational vs transactional, and why Gregg Popovich invited John Carlos to speak but Mayor Gahan never would.

Dave Zirin is one of the few sports writers who matters, and this brief essay pertains to John Carlos' recent visit with the Spurs.

But it's more than that.

Zirin also provides a priceless insight by means of a brief reference to being transformational as opposed to transactional in player development (or similar situations; passage underlined below).

In short, never would Gregg Popovich "present" the San Antonio Spurs, and never has he built a cult of personality around himself. It's been about developing humans, not stoking egos.

Then there's Carlos himself.

"It felt great to spread the message that it has to be about more than just the game, the check, the fortune and fame. It’s imperative for me to let them know they can do so much more and just how they can make nonviolent change in such a violent world. I’m just blessed I had the opportunity to be here."

These are selfless men, and I live in a selfish city. JeffG finds the center of the target.

Legit question: How many hundreds of thousands of public dollars could we save in New Albany if we just stopped making plaques, banners, billboards, signs, videos, and electronic ads that prominently feature Jeff Gahan? I've never seen that much spent on self-promotion. Boy, egos are expensive.

There's simply so much to learn, and you never know where the next lesson will originate.

John Carlos Meets the Spurs, by Dave Zirin (The Nation)

This past weekend, I traveled to Texas with 1968 Olympic Sprinter and medal stand protester John Carlos to speak to the San Antonio Spurs. At the request of their head coach, Gregg Popovich, Dr. Carlos addressed the team and then we attended a practice. I delivered an intro about the social context of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and then turned it over to Dr. Carlos for a brief talk and Q&A ...
The main reason I am not going to write about any of this is that if I learned one thing about Gregg Popovich this weekend, it’s that praise legitimately makes him uncomfortable. Pop is cool as hell ... even though he wouldn’t want to hear it, 
Popovich embodies what InSide Out Coaching author Joe Ehrmann means when he writes that coaches need to be “transformational” instead of “transactional”; in other words, caring about developing players as human beings as opposed to using them to gratify their own egos.

"The Reign of Recycling": Environmental necessity or religious ritual?

The topic of recycling was discussed at the recent annual meeting of Trash Force, making Tierney's essay timely. It is well-reasoned and provocative.

Would partial recycling of certain valuable items accompanied by a carbon tax on garbage be better calculated to help the environment?

The Reign of Recycling, by John Tierney (New York Times)

IF you live in the United States, you probably do some form of recycling. It’s likely that you separate paper from plastic and glass and metal. You rinse the bottles and cans, and you might put food scraps in a container destined for a composting facility. As you sort everything into the right bins, you probably assume that recycling is helping your community and protecting the environment. But is it? Are you in fact wasting your time?

In 1996, I wrote a long article for The New York Times Magazine arguing that the recycling process as we carried it out was wasteful. I presented plenty of evidence that recycling was costly and ineffectual, but its defenders said that it was unfair to rush to judgment. Noting that the modern recycling movement had really just begun just a few years earlier, they predicted it would flourish as the industry matured and the public learned how to recycle properly.

So, what’s happened since then? While it’s true that the recycling message has reached more people than ever, when it comes to the bottom line, both economically and environmentally, not much has changed at all.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Baylor for Mayor announces Economical Prayer Service for Thursday, October 8.

This is too good of an idea to let pass. Thank you, LDP. You are a twisted and brilliant thinker.

I hereby propose that you and the other mayoral candidates hold an 'Economical Prayer Service' on Thursday following the Ecumenical Prayer Service for Harvest Homecoming. We can all pray that Jeff Gahan will learn about how an economy works* or that someone will be elected that actually knows what they are doing.

*Namely: how to support local business, how to bring jobs to your own city instead of neighboring ones, how infrastructure works, and how to actually help the needy/working class in your community instead of building puddles to splash in.

The only question is where to hold this vital service.

Seeing as Harvest Homecoming will be at full volume, I'm suggesting the corner of 5th and Spring, by the Coyle site, at 1:00 p.m. on the 8th -- flasks mandatory.

Yes, Jeff, we know you're The Luxury Mayor: "Working so hard, to keep you from the poverty."

Jeff Gahan and the local Democratic Party are really excited about subsidizing the construction of luxury apartments just a few blocks away from the city's most concentrated areas of poverty.

As New Albany Census Facts (2009-2013) readily attest:

NA median household income: $39,607 ($48,248 overall in Indiana)
Persons below poverty level in NA: 22.2% (15.4% overall in Indiana)

We all know the parts of town most affected by these numbers, so think about this.

Our Democrats are monetarily supporting Bocce ball, "Gigabit Internet access" and other upscale amenities for the few, as Gahan's campaign vows from 2011 (jobs and education) go entirely unmentioned. Even those whom we'd have expected to denounce such coded social engineering have fallen into line.

“When I came on the council, philosophically, I was opposed to ideas like this,” Phipps said. “I called it corporate welfare as well. For some of the naysayers out there that say this isn’t a thing for Democrats to do, I thought renewing urban environments, cleaning up blighted areas and bringing residents to the community so they can support locally owned business, is very much a Democrat thing to do.”
-- Greg Phipps (3rd district council) in supporting the Coyle site subsidies

But Greg: What about the message these subsidies send, not to just to the desperate and impoverished in our community, but also to working families just managing to get by, who are struggling with income inequality and low-wage jobs, and destined to be excluded by the ethos of privilege?

Can someone in the ruling elite explain to them how the "ripple effect" (Duggins' words) is going to lift them up?

What has Jeff Gahan, a supposed Democrat, done in four years for those most in need of hope, apart from hand them nicely suburbanized (and frightfully expensive) parks?

Now listen, I'm a proud man, not a beggar walking on the street
I'm working so hard, to keep you from the poverty
I'm working so hard to keep you in the luxury, oh yeah
I'm working so hard, I'm working so hard
Harder, harder, working, working, working

Insulating Democratic voters from the poverty isn't exactly what Mick and Keith had in mind, but that's how our governing clique rolls.

And that's why #gahanmustgo

Video: "Philly Without Cars."

Or, "subverting the parking-space-by-the-door suburban ideal for downtown."

Thanks, W.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Parade? What parade?

Thanks, everyone. You were reading and sharing yesterday, and I think the point was amply made.

Me? I just want to walk the parade route tomorrow.

What it comes down to is this: The parade committee's word is the eleventh commandment, and to be a politician aspiring to use nothing except his own two legs to traverse the parade route is to risk arrest.

And if I'm to be arrested, I prefer it occur as an act of principled civil disobedience in support of a cause slightly more important than a parade. One picks certain battles, retains a share of dry powder, and goes to the mattresses only when necessary.

Daily life in New Albany is provocation enough, isn't it?

Today I'll be at Biers on Parade, the New Albany Restaurant and Bar Associations's pop-up beer garden at the Farmers Market. It runs from 1 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The last known photograph of me in a suit.

It is an indescribable honor to be recognized by Freedom of Speech.

I believe TIF bonds should be safe, legal and rare.

As for the suit, this photo shows what mine looks like. The photo was taken the last time I wore it, in 2009.

With stylish Che wallet and glass of red wine. 

It needs alteration, given that I've lost about 40 lbs since then. But I know where to do that, right Cisa?

Fringe Fest 2015: For the 8th year, it will be refuge from harvest culture on the skids.

With numerical appropriateness, NABC’S 8th annual Fringe Fest at Bank Street Brewhouse begins next Thursday, October 8.

Once again, it will serve as shelter from both prevailing swill walk and periodic booth bloat during Harvest Homecoming. NABC strives to offer alternatives to harvest culture on the skids, with occasional marks of its own.

(Notice I'm beginning to learn how not to use words like "us" and "our")

My personal favorite is back: Wet Knobs Harvest Hop Ale, released on the 8th. It's an American Pale Ale brewed with “wet” (unprocessed) locally grown Floyds Knobs hops. Sadly, the Lloyd’s Landing Estate Grown hop program did not yield hops in 2015, but Josh Hill foresees a return to form next year. Meanwhile, the hops remain local, and the batch small. It usually doesn’t survive Fringe Fest, so get it while you can.

I can't imagine better campaign fuel.

Gahan the human rights mayor? Spare us, please.

It was never Jeff Gahan's idea to enable a human rights commission, but in the grand scheme of political maneuvering, there was sufficient support that he acquiesced, pausing only to be assured that he'd receive credit for the sham he at first opposed, and would extract payback chits from those duly assuaged, redeemable for bonded boondoggles down the road.

Consequently, New Albany was gifted with vintage Gahan intellectual infrastructure: An entity neutered and defanged at birth, suitable primarily for posturing and press releases. The sycophants were delighted, and so little of merit occurred (for once, actually by design) that a whole other entity (Southern Indiana Equality) was privately created.

If you can find anything in this story to suggest a vote to re-elect Jeff Gahan, please let me know. While you're pondering this, consider yet again the "human rights mayor's" abysmal record in matters such as ... well, human rights.

ON THE AVENUES: No more fear, Jeff.

Case studies: Street safety is vital ... unless an election cycle interrupts the equation.

Especially in densely populated urban areas, and even in England, speeders assuredly surely are criminals -- and it isn't unusual anywhere on the planet for politicians to be cowards.

We wouldn't want to disturb suburban Democratic commuters, would we Jeff?

Is that why the Speck study is up there on the shelf, collecting dust, even as you take credit for downtown revitalization you've done nothing to support?

The Benefits of Slower Traffic, Measured in Money and Lives, by Eric Jaffe (City Lab)

In May 2014, three school kids in New Brunswick, New Jersey, were hit by a car on Livingston Avenue while in the crosswalk. They were each injured—one seriously—and rushed to the hospital. A cell phone video taken at the scene is pierced with anonymous screams.

Fortunately, according to news reports, the kids recovered. Unfortunately, the trauma they and their families endured is all too common on the streets of U.S. cities. What makes the situation in New Brunswick so much more regrettable is that city leaders knew about the safety hazards on Livingston Avenue but hesitated to change traffic patterns for fear of offending drivers.

That’s the frustrating conclusion one gets from a new case study about implementing a road diet on Livingston. The analysis finds that the safety benefits of reducing automobile space and speeds on the street would far outweigh any losses from driver delay. But the report’s authors state that officials were concerned from the start about upsetting the car-centric status quo:

This was expressed in an early meeting with city staff. There was a desire to complete the work prior to the start of a mayoral election campaign, since the plan was seen as controversial and would likely be opposed by voters.

An earlier version of this same report was presented to the city back in March 2014. Officials praised its findings to the press and spoke of doing whatever it takes to make street safety a priority. But they didn’t take any urgent measures, and two months later the children were hit.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Top Ten posts at NA Confidential for September, 2015.

The September Top Ten is determined by numbers of unique hits, as reported by Blogger.

The list begins with five honorable mention posts, before concluding with the Top Ten, escalating to No. 1.

Thanks for reading.

Obviously, you are reading, even if some observers in City Hall are fond of pretending otherwise. Isn't it funny how they invariably reply publicly to what they haven't read on the down-low?


183 (tie)

Green Mouse asks: Who knew the city "abated" almost $1 million in lease payments for Valley View Golf Course?

183 (tie)

As Team Gahan snoozes, the intersection of West 1st and Main is an accident waiting to happen.


Opportunity costs and fiber optic communications: A closer look at Jeff Gahan's luxurious incomprehension.


NAHA candidate forum: Adam gets all irate with opponents who won't play by his rules.


This is New Albany's economic development challenge: "Developing the Cure for Corporate Welfare."


Of cuisine, great and humble.



Gahan's signature pettiness ensures we'll not see a mayoral debate with all three candidates present at once.


On the advent of Underground Station, rank political poseurs and a dangerous street without crosswalks or stop signs.


Jeff Gahan's "nothing positive" comment is an admission of malice as it pertains to local independent businesses.


Huzzahs all around as Mayor Gahan finally delivers jobs ... to Charlestown.


Rosenbarger's plaque, Gahan's yard sign, ethical quagmires, and the urgent need for deep cleansing in City Hall.


Birdseye, here we come: Is Vincennes Street to be the next victim of non-Speck "beautification"?


ON THE AVENUES: Dear Neighbor: If you’re tired of the same old story, turn some pages.


Baylor for Mayor: Consider walking with me in the Harvest Homecoming Parade.



Me? I just want to walk the parade route tomorrow.


I just want to walk the parade route tomorrow, because that’s what walkability is all about.

It's about walking.

As of Friday morning, walking the parade route is an option being denied me. I hope this changes.

Before I explain this in greater detail, know that I’m sticking with my 2015 resolution not to re-ignite the annual controversy over Harvest Homecoming, New Albany’s annual autumnal civic festival, best known for its “booth days,” when downtown is given over to a temporary street festival format.

I can compromise on my own two feet, thank you.

I just want to walk the parade route tomorrow.

The usual arguments about Harvest Homecoming, pro and con, have been hashed and rehashed. Revolutions of rising expectations are never easy. In the absence of principled municipal governance, nothing’s going to substantively change any time soon, and yet I’m satisfied that a younger generation of Harvest Homecoming’s management truly grasps the need for evolution and accommodation.

Reform is a process, and while painfully slow, there is movement on some fronts. Let’s accept progress in this process, and celebrate this fact.

As for me, I just want to walk the parade route tomorrow.

I’m especially grateful to Art Niemeier, who joined the group effort planning tomorrow’s Biers on Parade at the Farmer Market, and has been invaluable. I don’t want to say or do anything that might compromise my gratitude to Art. We’re in possession of an idea (parade day festivities) with significant future promise, one uniting multiple entities. It's a good thing, indeed.

And me?

I just want to walk the parade route tomorrow, because walking is the basic form of human movement.

It comes down to this: As written, Harvest Homecoming’s parade rules do not explicitly acknowledge the possibility that an independent political candidate might participate.

There is a clause restricting the use of convertibles to current office holders, and another confining non-office-holding candidates to their political party’s respective floats.

I hold no office, and I have no party.

Given that I’m probably the foremost local proponent of walkability, I just want to walk the parade route tomorrow.

First I was asked by the committee if it could provide a vehicle, and I said thanks, but no thanks.

The walkability guy in a truck? It doesn’t make sense.

In the beginning, all I wanted to do is walk the parade route tomorrow with a group of supporters. Just walk down the street, nothing more, while making the point that it isn’t unusual to walk.

Because it isn’t.

Except when you’re told it cannot be allowed.

At some point during the past months, it was mentioned that perhaps bicycles could be included, though while it would be nice to have bikes represented, actually riding one in a slow-moving parade doesn't compute, although if the idea helped move the negotiation, I thought it acceptable to at least consider pushing a bike.

Although what I’d like to do is just walk the parade route.

As of yesterday, the committee is holding to its interpretation of rules that aren’t explicit in the first place, and has offered this ruling: I can’t walk, because candidates for office must use a wheeled vehicle, and if I choose to ride a bicycle, which is suitably wheeled, there can be only five bikes total.

Have I mentioned that nowhere in the committee’s rules is this wheeled clause mentioned?


I just want to walk the parade route.

I’ll walk alone, if that helps.

As the candidate of walkability, all I want to do is walk the Harvest Homecoming parade route.

Granted, irony never plays well here, but note that at a time when walkability is one of downtown’s best hopes for continued regeneration, the Harvest Homecoming theme in 2015 is Hot Rod Harvest.

Please, can I just walk the parade route and illustrate that life in this city can be about people, and not just their cars?

All I want to do is walk the parade route tomorrow, just me alone.

Surely this isn't an imposition.

Thanks for your consideration.

Biers on Parade at the Farmers Market tomorrow, parade day, starting at 1:00 p.m.

Biers on Parade is a go tomorrow. If you're downtown for the Harvest Homecoming parade, stop by and visit. It's a "pop-up" beer garden format and entirely casual.

The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association (NARBA) is partnering with New Albany’s Farmers Market and Harvest Homecoming to stage Biers on Parade, a family-friendly food and drink showcase at the newly remodeled Farmers Market pavilion at the corner of Market and Bank on Saturday, October 3.

Biers on Parade coincides with the Harvest Homecoming Parade through downtown New Albany, and also will conclude New Albany Independent Restaurant Week.

NARBA member businesses will be selling food, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks from 1:00 p.m. through 6:00 p.m. on October 3. The Farmers Market will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. earlier that day.

Biers on Parade will offer beers from two out of three of our city’s breweries: New Albanian Brewing Company and Donum Dei Brewery. Having only recently opened for business, Floyd County Brewing Company isn't yet equipped for kegging, so it will be unable to send beer this year.

There’ll also be food prepared by Feast BBQ, The Exchange and Taco Steve, and wine from River City Winery.