Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ASK THE BORED: A few well-placed chicanes on 13th Street should send Tiger Trucking to a more appropriate location for doing its value-extractive business.

If 2017 really is to be the year when the Downtown Grid Modernization Project transitions from the mere rumor of a long overdue, messy compromise of a typically botched Gahanesque half-ass measure to these facets actually appearing in real life, then City Hall's favored minions at HWC Engineering should have long since moved past the stage of ensuring campaign finance rivulets flowing downhill like stormwater from Summit Springs, straight into the mayor's aspirational State Senate coffers, and started the task of rendering splendid Speck into adulterated sausage.

As such, perhaps it isn't too late to reclaim 13th Street for residential quality of life by the simple expedience of chicane installation.

Not chicanery ...


... but chicane, a concept recently explained here.


A chicane is an artificial feature creating extra turns in a road, used in motor racing and on streets to slow traffic for safety. For example, one form of chicane is a short, shallow S-shaped turn, requiring the driver to turn slightly left and then right again to stay on the road, which slows them down.

Yes, we've all been here before.



Last July, NAC explained in great detail (repeated below) that Tiger Trucking's use of 13th Street as an industrial connector, while intended as a petulant middle finger lofted in the general direction of City Hall, actually serves as a daily reminder to people living on this residential street that their quality of life doesn't matter -- and has mattered even less since the city lavished millions on an unnecessary Main Street beautification project, which freed more dysfunctional demons than it rectified.

Isn't it time for the spoiled brat to get a good spanking? Residents of 13th Street deserves better, and a relatively inexpensive chicane or three, backed by a city willing to enforce its own ordinances, might be able to achieve what our 3rd District councilman hasn't bothered recognizing.

Here's the rundown from last July.


Here comes the Tiger Truck Lines rig northbound on 13th Street. The driver has just crossed Market. Behind me is Spring.

Since the advent of the Main Street Beautification Project, Tiger has transformed 13th Street into its own company connector road, regularly using Spring for westbound trucks and Market for eastbound.

Ironically, even though so much of the Main Street project is pure blather, the designers actually did take Tiger's needs into mind when inserting those God-awful medians.

In fact, Tiger never has been somehow excluded from using Main Street, just as it did before.

This is 14th Street, looking south from Dewey. Just over the railroad track is Tiger's scenic headquarters. You can see the K & I Bridge on the horizon.


When a Tiger trucker emerges from its lair on 14th, he or she comes first to Dewey, then Main. Here's the view, looking north toward Main. Prior to the Main Street project, Tiger's employees drove straight and turned onto Main in either direction.


The next three photos show the intersection of Main and 14th. As you can see, the medians are pulled way back to allow for wide turns. It is a huge expanse of asphalt left open for only one reason -- for truckers like Tiger's to use.




And they don't use it.

Rather, ever since the Main Street project came about, Tiger's adolescent management pique has translated into a new access policy. First, let's go back to the intersection of 14th and Dewey, this time looking west, not straight toward Main.

Tiger's truckers now turn left here ...


 ... and then right (north) here, on 13th ...


 ... to come rumbling across Main here (headed to the right, or north), using 13th as the company road to go to Market and Spring.


Obviously, 13th is a residential street, never designed or intended for commercial vehicles of this Tiger's size. Plainly, Tiger's management has undertaken a program of civic vandalism these last two years, operating from a vantage point behind the billows of Padgett's litigious gown.

There's only one logical answer to this problem.

Give 13th Street a two-block-long road diet, with bike paths and 10-foot lanes, and force Tiger's trucks back onto Main, where they belong.

Or, place a weight limit on 13th and enforce it.

The likes of Irv Stumler instinctively side with the vandals in a case like this. Obsessed with flower pots, the Silver Hills resident pays no mind to the appearance of heavy industrial equipment on a residential street. Perhaps these residents are too poor for Irv's taste, or not sufficiently ambitious to get better jobs and move from the trucking ghetto to his neighborhood.

Irv aside (and he needs to be), the city has allowed Tiger to behave like a petulant brat. The city might alter this behavior, and should. The city made changes to Main. It can make changes to 13th.

It should.

The next time One Southern Indiana crusades for environmental consciousness will be the first.



Daddy Oligarch wouldn't want his "economic development" plaything taking positions on nasty liberal ideas about the environment. We need more jobs, more roads, more cars ... and more electronic fund transfers to the Cayman Islands.

How to be environmentally conscious in Southern Indiana; Region is improving, but there’s room to grow, by Danielle Grady (Hanson Motorcycle Club)

SOUTHERN INDIANA — Jeff and Roz Wolverton try to be environmentally friendly.

They live in a small downtown New Albany apartment, drive as little as possible … and pick up about 200 bags worth of trash each year.

The couple perform their self-imposed duty about four days a week: clearing detritus from the riverfront and sidewalks.

They started picking up trash in 2002 after a trip to a remote area of Costa Rica. Numerous discarded Coke bottles lined the nearby beach every morning. They’d be picked up, only to be replaced by a new batch of bottles the next day.

When the Wolverton’s returned, they began to notice the trash present in New Albany — particularly along the Ohio River.

“We figure it’s going to show up in the river, then in the Gulf of Mexico and then circle around to Costa Rica and every other place,” Jeff said. “So you just gotta start where you live.”

Monday, January 16, 2017

In consideration of the Cornish pasty. That's PAH-stee.

Mrs. Confidential prepares pasties. 

Pictured above is a homemade pasty, fresh from the oven. To be more accurate, it was a homemade pasty, because it no longer exists.

While it is true that pasties are a staple in places like Michigan's Upper Peninsula, I'm compelled to remind the reader that my wife's mother was born in English port of Plymouth, which lies in the English county of Devon, just across the Tamar River from Cornwall -- and Cornwall is as much the heartland of pasties as Kentucky is bourbon.

Hence, the Cornish pasty.

In contrast to its earlier place amongst the wealthy, during the 17th and 18th centuries, the pasty became popular with working people in Cornwall, where tin miners and others adopted it due to its unique shape, forming a complete meal that could be carried easily and eaten without cutlery. In a mine, the pasty's dense, folded pastry could stay warm for several hours, and if it did get cold, it could easily be warmed on a shovel over a candle.

I've often wondered why a street food purveyor hasn't embraced the idea here in metro Louisville. To be sure, the classic Cornish pasty is blue collar sustenance, not intended for gentrification, though naturally pasties can and are being converted into hipster conveyances. In 2013, I ate a pasty with something curried inside. That's not a Cornwall thang at all.

The real problem probably results from uncertainties in pronunciation. A pasty (plural pasties) as a foodstuff is PAH-stee, while a pasty that covers a woman's nipples (thus enabling her to evade obscenity ordinances) is a PAY-stee. For obvious reasons, there are usually two of the latter, and thus PAY-steez (plural).

I cannot mention pasties without recommending the nine Devon locations (all on the seaward side of the Dartmoor) of Ivor Dewdney, a regional pasty producer since 1939, owned and operated by Ivor's grandchildren.

REWIND: Milk is liquid snot: "Milk consumption may not only be unhelpful, it might also be detrimental."


Earlier today I posted at Facebook:

I believe that drinking milk is an aesthetic and culinary outrage on a par with Bud Light and McDonald's. Moreover, drinking milk is a conspiracy foisted on us by the multinational diary lobby. Apart from all that, I also dislike milk intensely, though you can make it into cheese or ice cream and I'm golden. Last night I had a dream in which I was drinking milk and commenting about how perfectly it paired with a dish. Now I'm scared to set foot outside the house. Booze is the preferred antidote to this condition, although probably not White Russians at a time like this.

After thinking about it, it occurred to me (as it usually does) that we'd all been here before, and indeed we have ... most recently in 2014 (below). The photo above was taken in Indianapolis in 2012.

---

To me, it's always been aesthetic.

Milk is little more than liquid snot, and to drink it by the glass has struck me as revolting for over thirty years. It's just a bonus to be "un-American" by rejecting milk in liquid form, although I've returned to eating cereal with almond milk as moistening agent.

I adore cheese, cream-based sauces, dairy-laden desserts and Milk Stout; obviously, I can tolerate lactose, but drink it from a glass?

That's just wrong.

Yuck.

Got Milk? Might Not Be Doing You Much Good, by Aaron E. Carroll (NYT)

Almost no one will dispute that when a baby is born, breast milk is the best nutrition a mother can provide. All mammals nurse their young, and breast milk benefits a newborn infant in ways above and beyond nutrition. In fact, until 1 to 2 years of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine and more promote breast-feeding as optimal.

Unfortunately, breast-feeding until that age is often difficult, if not impossible, because mothers have to return to work, and children go off to preschool or day care. So we often replace human milk with the milk of cows or other animals. But at a certain point, we have to acknowledge that we are the only mammals on the planet that continue to consume milk after childhood, often in great amounts.

More and more evidence is surfacing, however, that milk consumption may not only be unhelpful, it might also be detrimental. This is in spite of the fact that the United States Department of Agriculture and other organizations advocate that even adults should drink at least three cups a day.

Flight documentaries: "All Things Must Pass," or the rise and fall of Tower Records.



Nine hour flights home from Italy are a bummer. You can read, nap and drink as many free adult beverages as they'll keep feeding you, but that's about all. The good news is that these days, the in-flight entertainment offers more options than ever before. The bad news: Most of these options include the usual array of wretched mass market films and television series.

On our most recent flight from Rome in November, at least there were a few good documentary films on tap. They paired well with cans of a beer I'd never expect to see on an international flight: SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale. Corporate placement or not, it was a welcome change from the usual Heineken.

The second of four is the story of Tower Records, and this quote sets the scene.

"When the banks came in, we knew things were going to change."

I'm the crazed evangelist for "Death to Chains," and Tower Records definitely was a chain, but the documentary offers a corrective of sorts to my usual default assumption that chains arise from big-money corporate "concept development." Yes, it's true: Chains can develop from just one mom 'n' pop store, and grow to immense economies of scale with papa -- in this instance, Russ Soloman -- still calling the shots.

Until it all falls down.

Pick a cautionary tale. Perhaps the growth is too fast, and size becomes an impediment to adapt to market conditions. Can the founding ethos of laid-back passion be maintained? What happens when an entire world changes? When those bankers come in, is there any hope at all?

Trust me on the latter. There isn't.

Soloman still is with us, at around 92 years of age. I'm left with a rare pang of sympathy, in the sense that for a man like Soloman to live past the demise of his own personal creation must be a very hard thing, indeed. I'd suggest looking for the documentary at portals like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. It's truly worth the time and investment to watch.

Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But that's not the story. All Things Must Pass is a feature documentary film examining this iconic company's explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon.

Previously:

Flight documentaries: "Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans."

Billy Reed on New Albany's Romeo Langford.

Goebbels grins broadly from his desk in Hell. 

With the Indiana class basketball (see below) tournament about to begin, it's the perfect time of year to recall my checkered career of clubhouse lawyering, otherwise known as "my time in high school hoops."

ON THE AVENUES: String music?

However, the son just wasn't wired for that kind of pressure, at least during those hormonally-charged years, and surely it is indicative of my fundamental disconnect that while I always enjoyed the games themselves and still do, my favorite book about sports was (and is) Jim Bouton's "Ball Four," which celebrated baseball while exposing the vacuous and inane nature of jock culture.

Bouton directly spoke to me, fervently and personally. I fancied myself a thinker, not a sweathog. I'd have gladly settled for "lover, not a fighter," except that I hadn't been able to convince girls of my credentials in the former, and in truth, doubted whether any such talent existed, and so it came back to me and my brain against the world.

So, while I'm fond of reminding New Albanians that it would be wonderful if they paid closer attention to matters of genuine significance, like the decisions made by local government, I much admire Billy Reed as a writer, and therefore when he says Romeo is in the house, I can accede with grace.

It's all about the words, and not the distractions. Reed is laudatory, and also provides the necessary context. That's what great writers do.

Billy Reed: Romeo, oh Romeo, legend in the making, where will you go from New Albany? (Northern Kentucky Tribune)

... But on this night, special electricity crackled through the 4,500-seat gym, where fans sat cheek-to-cheek on the hard bleachers and the overflow spilled over into the aisles the fire marshal be damned. It was an eclectic crowd of old-timers and kids, but they were bound by something more than just a rivalry game.

Romeo was in the house.

That would be Romeo Langford, the 6-foot-5 New Albany High junior who already is approaching legendary status in a state steeped in basketball folklore and history. One recruiting guru has described him as “Damon Bailey with more athleticism.”

Reed also makes a point worth repeating. Hoosiers had a golden goose, and shot it dead.

The main thing that will keep Langford from reaching Bailey’s legendary status has nothing to do with his game. It’s the fact that a lot of mystique was lost in 1998, when the state went from an all-comers state tournament to four divisions. This, in effect, sent Cinderella into retirement.

As a sophomore last season, for example, Langford led New Albany to the state 4-A championship. That’s nice, but it’s not the same as being the ONLY state champion. As we learned from the movie Hoosiers, the essence of high school ball in Indiana was the enduring dream of a small rural school coming to the big city and becoming champs of the whole state.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

On the Louisville Orchestra, Debussy, Mozart, Brahms and a lovely meal at La Chasse.

Brahms' favorite
Vienna tavern was
the Red Hedgehog.
We attended last evening's Louisville Orchestra concert at Whitney Hall, and as usual, it was stellar.

Debussy's impressionistic tone poem long has been a personal favorite, and the other two pieces by Mozart and Brahms, while less familiar to me, struck responsive chords.

CLASSICS: BRAHMS SECOND

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
MOZART: Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola and orchestra
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73
Julia Noone, violin
Jack Griffin, viola
Vladimir Kulenovic, guest conductor

In the LO's program notes, written by Mark Rohr, Mozart is introduced.

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart (he never used "Amadeus" except when making a joke) was born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756 and died in Vienna in 1791.

I had no idea about Mozart's name disparities.

The 19th century saw the gradual victory of "Amadeus" over alternative middle names.

Yes, there's always something new to learn, albeit with a twist. Returning home, I watched a brief video biography of Brahms, in which it was revealed that as a very young man, he often performed as a hired musician in bars and brothels.

Alas, it probably isn't true.

Lurid stories of the impoverished adolescent Brahms playing in bars and brothels have only anecdotal provenance, and modern scholars dismiss them; the Brahms family was relatively prosperous, and Hamburg legislation in any case very strictly forbade music in, or the admittance of minors to, brothels.

Damn. Especially nowadays, there's always something to unlearn, too.

The other lesson taught me on Saturday night is that I may have arrived at the advanced age where eating (and drinking) a meal of duck wings, ribeye steak, fixings and two classic Belgian Trappist ales before an 8:00 p.m. show featuring contemplative music from the classical realm may have ceased to be a good idea.

In short, through no fault of the music, my eyelids were heavy. I'm not sure this would had been any different had the main event been Bob Mould and not Brahms.

It's also no reflection on the excellence of La Chasse, at which we indulged in our massive pre-concert feast. I previously mentioned La Chasse in early November.

La Chasse is hosting a Capriole Farms Goat Cheese Dinner on November 14, and you need to go.

I seldom promote events occurring across the wide expanse of water, over yonder in the big city, but this one's special for numerous Hoosier reasons ... the acclaimed La Chasse is Isaac Fox's restaurant. Old-timers will remember Isaac from Bistro New Albany and Speakeasy.

The Capriole goat cheese dinner was superb, and so was the meal last night. Among other attributes, Isaac maintains one of the better short beer lists in Louisville. Wine and spirits are the emphasis, but La Chasse would be a marvelous venue for a paired French Bieres de Garde blowout.

If any beer reps are reading ...

As a closing observation, there was a time not so long ago when the Sunday edition of the Courier-Journal, or perhaps Monday's, would have included a review of the orchestra's performance from the resident music critic. Even during the early 1980s when I couldn't afford to go see the orchestra play, I'd read the reviews and try to find the music at the library. It was my learning process.

When did I get so old?

Martin Luther King Jr.: "A Man on the Street."

Photo credit: New York Times.


See the slide show at the New York Times website.

Here's the prologue:

In America’s poorest ghettos, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait is one of the most popular subjects of public art. These images, which I have been documenting since 1977, regularly appear on the walls of the liquor stores, auto-repair shops, fast-food restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and public housing projects of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and many other cities across the country. The majority are the work of amateur artists. Though Dr. King is usually front and center, he is often accompanied by other inspirational figures: Nelson Mandela, John Paul II, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Pancho Villa. He is often accompanied by his famous phrase, “I have a dream” – a reminder that in many of the communities where these murals exist, the gulf between hope and reality remains far too wide.
-- Camilo José Vergara

THE BEER BEAT: Rarity, beer quality, authenticity, and why it's so difficult to love the beer you're with.

From Roth's essay.
I won't kid you, and I'll confess to a measure of pride about the small regional role I've played in the better beer revolution.

If any one aspect of the seemingly Sisyphean task of supplanting Bud Think obsessed me the most from the late 1980s forward, it was the educational angle.

After university, I ruled out teaching as a career. Then I became a teacher, anyway.

At a time when information was scarce, I taught myself what better beer meant, both objectively and spiritually, and my daily objective once established at the Public House was to try to impart this knowledge to others, so they'd be able to look out upon the expanding range of choice and make good decisions based on their likes and dislikes.

At some point during this mostly upbeat 25-year run in business, I looked around and saw a radically changed landscape. Almost overnight we'd become snobs, not revolutionaries. It was all about badges of braggadocio -- ratings, rarity and a diminished stylistic range. At the same time as we'd exploded outward as a cause-driven category, we'd shrunk inward as advocates for it.

Now it was about social media selfies -- this rare beer I waited hours to purchase; this beer I have, and you don't. Look at me! I'm an expert, and I'm special. In short, there seemed to be numerous factors conspiring to lower the value of beer as worldview; instead, a sort of consumer narcissism seemed to have taken hold, and I felt alienated from it.

When this point arrived, I knew that as a card-carrying contrarian from the beginning, I was about to openly rebel against the wayward edifice I'd helped construct. Truth be told, it was inevitable, and I knew it all along. It was a matter of when, not if.

Just last week I pointed to an essay by Lew Bryson, in which he discussed what he'd like to see more and less of in 2017.

THE BEER BEAT: The beer and whiskey that Lew Bryson wants to drink in 2017.

Many of you know that Lew is a friend of mine, and so my touts aren't entirely unbiased. I'm not a whiskey drinker, and so cannot take a substantive position on Lew's distilled thoughts. However, his beer observations are spot on, mirroring my own.

Lew addressed rarity.

BY GOD, A LOT LESS OF
Waiting in lines for beer releases.
Put away the camp chairs, this ain’t a Phish concert. If anything, you should be in a Stephan Stills state of mind, humming “Love The One You’re With.” Chances are very good that a brewery, a bar or a store near you is selling some excellent beers right now. Go get some and worry less about what you’re missing.

For greater insight as to why people would ever stand in line for rare beers, there is this wonderful essay by Bryan Roth, otherwise known as "my kind of beer writing."

In it, the author considers authenticity, consumer perceptions of quality, marketing, beer ratings, rarity and value systems. The teaser paragraph comes nowhere close to addressing the themes explored herein, so pour yourself a contemplative pale ale and go read it.

Making Snowflakes: An Exploration into Rarity, Beer Quality and Industry Authenticity, by Bryan Roth (This Is Why I'm Drunk)

 ... (It) puts beer in an interesting spot. Not only do industry tastemakers matter in terms of bias and preference that might influence others, but they’re impacted by the psychological cues that make rare beers so good in the first place. Ratings and decisions are based on quality, but there is more to the final score. On top of that, the social nature of beer and an increasing value placed on online interactions means that more people can become an “expert,” or, at least, an influencer. When considering the sum of research presented so far, all this comes back to the power that authenticity – and rarity – wields over us.

Flight documentaries: "Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans."


Nine hour flights home from Italy are a bummer. You can read, nap and drink as many free adult beverages as they'll keep feeding you, but that's about all.

The good news is that these days, the in-flight entertainment offers more options than ever before. The bad news: Most of these options include the usual array of wretched mass market films and television series.

On our most recent flight from Rome in November, at least there were a few good documentary films on tap. They paired well with cans of a beer I'd never expect to see on an international flight: SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale. Corporate larceny or not, it was a welcome change from the usual Heineken.

The first of four:

Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans

The film focuses on the time when film star Steve McQueen tried to take control of his career. After the success of Bullitt and The Thomas Crown Affair, McQueen sought to pursue his dream of creating a film about his passion: race-car driving. The result, Le Mans, was a box-office flop.

The documentary details the making of the film. In his personal life, McQueen was a man's man, with the positives and negatives this characterization implies, and he was not the most admirable of human beings altogether. I have no interest in racing of any format, the motorized versions of which obsessed the actor. Still, I found the documentary riveting, if not pretty, and it's not necessary to be a racing fan to appreciate an explication of how someone does something.

Viewing portals include Hulu, and probably the usual gateways like Netflix and Amazon.

Documentary blog 


Saturday, January 14, 2017

When can we leave? "Vienna Offers Affordable and Luxurious Housing."

From the article: "Karl Marx-Hof, one of Vienna’s most famous government-owned housing developments, was built in the 1920s. It's the longest residential building in the world." (Photos by Heimo Aga)

I remember seeing the blocks-long Karl-Marx-Hof apartment building in 1985, and being utterly fascinated. The article makes clear that the housing policy in Vienna is very much the product of specific circumstances. Still ...

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Vienna Offers Affordable and Luxurious Housing, by Ryan Holeywell (Governing)

Vienna has figured out how to offer high-quality apartments with low-cost rent and renters' rights that would be unheard of in the United States. Advocates say it's a model worth examining.

 ... A unique system nearly a century in the making has created a situation today in which the city government of Vienna either owns or directly influences almost half the housing stock in the capital city. As a result, residents enjoy high-quality apartments with inexpensive rent, along with renters’ rights that would be unheard of in the U.S. The Viennese have decided that housing is a human right so important that it shouldn’t be left up to the free market. Advocates for the Vienna model say it’s something U.S. policymakers should examine closely ...

And:

 ... The idea that everyday citizens should have access to not just affordable apartments but also attractive ones -- and that it’s the city’s responsibility to provide them -- continues to this day. There’s a mindset that housing is a way to link residents to their communities and the larger city through design. “It was never just about housing,” Blau says. “It was always about the city. It was about not just providing private living space but also public living space to people for whom they were also providing housing” ...

And:

 ... Thus, in Vienna, public space and private space are interwoven. Case in point: The city’s first libraries were part of the housing system. Kindergartens and day care, dental clinics and courtyard parks were all high priorities in the early days of public housing. “It made the division between housing and the city really kind of blurred,” Blau says. That trend continues, with the government emphasizing amenities that encourage interaction among residents. Those amenities also happen to be the same type found in high-end American residences. “These places are incredible,” says William Menking, an architectural historian, of the city’s subsidized housing. “There are swimming pools and saunas and bicycle parking.”

Fascinating photographs show the "unrealized potential" of the apartment building.

Singapore, from the article.

I highly recommend clocking through to the photographs.

LIVING THE HIGH LIFE (The Economist's 1843 Magazine)

Too many modern flats are samey and soulless. A new book celebrates the architects coming up with creative solutions for our overcrowded cities

Unsurprisingly, (architecture and design critic Michael) Webb is a strong advocate for flat-dwelling. In the introduction to his new book, “Building Community: New Apartment Architecture”, published by Thames and Hudson, he speaks of an “urgent need to build many more apartments” to relieve housing shortages in our cities, to use land more economically and to avoid long commutes to suburbia – which he describes as a “wasteful delusion”.

Sadly, he explains, most modern apartments are terrible. Risk-averse, profit-hungry developers conspire to produce blocks and towers packed with “claustrophobic cells [that] open off double-loaded corridors. Light and air come from one side only, and balconies are usually vestigial.” A brief survey of the finest modernist and brutalist schemes – from the Isokon building in Hampstead to Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille – is a depressing reminder of our current paucity of imagination.

In an attempt to demonstrate the “unrealised potential” of the apartment building, Webb has gathered together 30 examples of recent developments from around the world.

But can Deaf Gahan somehow outbid Louisville for soccer stadium economic development nirvana?


Previously: ON THE AVENUES: Gahan's stadium arcadium kicks off a new year with hilarity, pathos and own goals.

Now that Jeffersonville has sensibly opted out of the spectacle, New Albany remains part of this story line primarily because the American pastime of sports stadium building requires two municipalities to be played against each other. It makes no sense any other way.

Some council members open to helping soccer club build stadium, by Boris Ladwig (Insider Louisville)

A few Louisville Metro Council members say they are open to providing some government incentives to help Louisville City FC build a soccer stadium in Louisville.

Club management reminds recalcitrant Louisville politicos that the bait's still dangling over on the Sunny Side, where some public officials have been known to "take" used chewing gum in route to their quadrennial spawning grounds.

LouCity Chairman John Neace has said that without a soccer-specific stadium, the club probably would leave Louisville because it cannot generate enough revenue from sponsorships and concessions. All of the concession sales at each LouCity home game go to the baseball team, as do up to $15,000 of LouCity’s annual suite sales. Neace said the soccer club lost more than $1 million last year.

Club officials have said that they would prefer building a stadium in Louisville — but they have not ruled out locations in Southern Indiana. City officials in New Albany, for example, have told IL that they’ve had preliminary discussions with Neace about developing a stadium there. Neace pegged the stadium cost at about $25 million. The club plans to release more detailed proposals in about a month.

But here's the observation that best captures the "business as usual" aspect of it.

Mayor Fischer’s office last week referred IL’s questions to Louisville Forward, the metro government’s economic development arm, which declined to answer questions about whether it would be open to considering specific types of incentives, such as direct financial support, a tax moratorium or the creation of a tax increment financing district. Louisville Forward directed IL to an FAQ that it released along with the feasibility study, in which the city says that it has not yet decided to participate in building the stadium.

It's economic development, y'all -- and isn't Eastridge Drive desperately in need of some?


Friday, January 13, 2017

Ludwig Wittgenstein completely baffles me -- and I was a philosophy major.



For more about the 1989 BBC documentary, check here. Viewing the video, I'm aware of two lost worlds, not one. The first is the era of Wittgenstein's life span. The second is 1989.

Feeling old ...


"I didn't actually count, but I think the name Gahan appears more times in the article than the name Obama."


Gag with me an anchor-branded spoon ... and thanks, Clint.

Roadway in New Albany named after outgoing president, by Aprile Rickert (Hanson Ad Compendium)

... Although the road was named for the outgoing president, Gahan said he looks forward to positive actions by the new administration — President-elect Donald Trump and Indiana's own Gov. Mike Pence, who will take office as vice president Jan. 20.

“We certainly are rooting for them to be successful, too,” Gahan said.

As an addendum, words I wrote at Facebook:

Make no mistake that I admire Barack Obama immensely as a human being. The legacy of his record is likely to be mixed. Posterity will probably enhance this legacy owing to the shambles of what came before it, and what's about to happen next -- that is, if we have anything approximating real news in the future. But very little of this is the point of my post. Jeff Gahan named this street not because of Barack Obama, but because of Jeff Gahan (Deaf Gahan), and this is what we must endure in New Albany. Furthermore, I could make the case that honoring this or any other president should result in a remembrance worthy of the honoree -- and a crappy industrial park street hardly fits this bill. Lastly, in the article itself, Gahan hedges his bets and lauds the incoming administration as well as the previous one, and this is an insult to Democrats and Republicans alike.

Back by popular demand: "Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems."


After reading yesterday's ON THE AVENUES ...

ON THE AVENUES: I can only handle one resistance at a time, please.

 ... a regular offered this comment.

With respect, you can't just throw out the term neo-liberal without explanation. It denotes more than simply accommodationist centrists. And you take as a given that it is a failed enterprise. That you read The Economist does not mean that NAC is comprehensible to your readers. You need to prep a primer.

It's a fair point, and as a reminder to myself to assemble a more comprehensive primer, following is a repeat of a post from April 18, 2016. It links to a commentary by George Monbiot, one that I believe is a good place to begin. If memory serves, Monbiot's essay was one of the most read at The Guardian in 2016.

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Think of it as a concise explanation of how both "major" American political parties are playing the very same hand, operating from the very same fundamental economic assumptions. 

Yes, in a few quantifiable ways, Democrats and Republicans differ on social issues, which have been elevated into culture wars, which in turn keep the 99% at each other's throats while the fundamental assumptions remain unchanged.


Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems, by George Monbiot (The Guardian)

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ON THE AVENUES: I can only handle one resistance at a time, please.

ON THE AVENUES: I can only handle one resistance at a time, please.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

In polite New Albanian society, of the sort currently extinct, one must be eternally cognizant of protocol, so kindly excuse this brief thank you note.

---

Dear Friend,

Thanks for your invitation to join the anti-Trump opposition movement, as advertised daily by your posts on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.

Your feelings are very much appreciated, although I must remind you that my personal antipathy to The Donald, and my disgust with just about everything he stands for, extends all the way back to the year 1988, if not earlier. I’m very proud of my credentials in this respect.

I respectfully note that while there are ample reasons to be disturbed by Trump and Trumpism, there are just as many doubts to be harbored about the presumed movement against him, which is characterized by some as “resistance,” though relying solely on an inchoate Democratic Party for leadership, augmented by frequent derogatory memes on Facebook, might prove in the end to be (shall we say) inadequate and perhaps even feeble as it pertains to direct action.

For this reason, seeing as the “resistance” to Trumpism as currently constituted (or not) is under an explicit obligation to identify itself, what it stands for and why, I eagerly await clarity about these parameters. Let me see what you’ve got, and then we can talk.

Until then, I’ll continue protesting the ongoing Gahanization of New Albany, which is the threatening kakistocracy closest to my front door. I’m older now, so please, one resistance at a time -- and get off my porch.

Your humble servant,

R

---

You never know who you’ll bump into deep in the heart of Luxury-R-Us, Jeff Gahan’s selectively scrubbed and branded downtown Nawbany, soon to be rid of affordable housing because Gahan cannot grasp who actually works in those State Street fast food joints he belchingly frequents.

It was a weird, rainy January day, and the Green Mouse was elegantly ensconced at a picnic table by City Square, under the ritzy big top, smoking a hand-rolled cigarette. Something was bothering me, and if anyone might know the answer, it was him, so I asked.

“Say, have you seen any Democrats around lately?”

His expression was pained. After furtive glances in both directions, he growled.

“Democrats? You mean around here, out on the street, in full view? In New Albany?

“Yes.”

“You’re not from here, are you? That’s crazy talk. They barely show their faces when life’s normal.”

Together we watched as a Kentuckian ran the red light at Bank and Market. I persisted.

“But seriously, shouldn’t there be a local Democrat visible somewhere right about now? You know, a battlefield promotion -- someone to step forward and lead the troops after the platoon leaders all got mowed down by the Trump tsunami?”

The Green Mouse suddenly dissolved into mirth. He was laughing so hard that I feared for the health of the municipal-issue picnic table.

“A local Democrat do that, right here in New Albany? I never took you for a drug user.”

“It’s theoretically possible, isn’t it?”

“Right. It’s also theoretically possible that this gorgeous monument to shifting consumer dollars toward farmers residing far outside the city limits was built with no campaign finance kickbacks. It’s theoretically possible that Breakwind will accept a Section 8 voucher. It’s theoretically possible that Gahan’s human, and not a hologram.”

Well, I'm nothing if not stubborn.

“Okay, but shouldn’t someone be formulating the political game plan for coping with the Mighty Trumpolini?

“Duh -- of course someone should, but first you need to stop asking these stupid questions, as though you’ve forgotten who and where we are. Most of the Democrats in New Albany voted for Trump. The ones who didn’t are sitting obediently, like always, waiting for the Boy Wonder to tell them when to use the toilet.”

“But why would they do that? Adam Dickey’s lost more seats than any Democratic chairman in history.”

The Green Mouse nodded sagely.

“Funny as hell, isn’t it? Fact is, he’s out there with the rest of the chickens, their torsos rocking the gavotte while their severed heads are stacked like cordwood over by the storm water drain. He’s waiting for the Indiana Democrats to tell HIM what to do, and the Indiana Democrats are busy slicing their wrists and falling out of windows – first floor windows, but give ‘em an A for multiculturalism, seeing as defenestration’s not really a Hoosier concept.”

“I don’t understand.”

The Green Mouse’s butt landed in his empty coffee cup.

“They don’t, either. Local Democrats are exactly like that stupid meme, repeating the same action over and over, hoping it might turn out differently next time. Me, I’m flummoxed that Gahan hasn’t annexed the party outright – just call it the Anchor Party, and then he can get on with putting framed photos of himself on every mantle in every house, and also up by the flat screen at all the bars, just like back in the USSR. Boy, those were the days.”

A Tiger Truck rolled past. I spat, and the Green Mouse smiled.

“I almost forgot the latest gossip about our favorite greasy party chairman. Seems our kid wants to take on Ed Clere for House in 2018.”

“Huh? Adam the back-alley gray eminence, actually running in an election with real humans voting?”

“Yeah, I know. It’s like a surgeon operating on himself in the smoldering ruins of a train wreck, with no booze for anesthesia. Dickey had better hope his hands are steadier standing for office than they are driving the bus for others.”

“Could he really beat Clere?”

The Green Mouse just chuckled.

"Maybe he'll run against the ghost of Grooms instead. Then we’ll finally reach peak entertainment, a redevelopment commission Hamlet for the flood plain.”

We watched as David Duggins skulked into Quills for his daily latte.

“Shouldn’t he be at a Motel 6 somewhere in Sellersburg with his favorite inflatable TIF doll?”

---

A rant has been building, and I might as well let it out, so just know this.

If you intend to “resist” Trumpism by doubling down on behalf of the Democratic Party as it currently exists and operates on a daily basis right here in the real world, as opposed to Disney World, then you’re in for yet another apocalyptic shock, because the party requires gutting down to the foundations, and probably beyond.

Speaking personally, I don’t care. Both major parties can go to hell, and the Democrats might as well go first. If the Democratic Party disappears, perhaps something better can be built in its place. How can it be worse?

Our gutless right-wing local version of pretend-Democrats is on life support, and the chairman’s delusional cluelessness seems to have become institutionalized. The humane thing to do would be to euthanize the party, and start all over again.

It’s also time to consider a point that almost none of us are prepared for, including me. This is the element of risk sustained by the resistance during the course of the opposition.

Or, if you will, an occupation.

If you’ve studied history at all, you know that when the going gets tough, the majority usually remains seated atop its collective hands. Meanwhile, the minority resolving to openly act finds that standing up for what they believe requires some skin in the game.

It’s risky, and isn't always pretty, either. Demonstrators are beaten and jailed. Dissidents are harassed and lose their jobs. Neo-Nazis attack people in the street, and Soviets ship them off to the gulag. It’s precisely the sort of retaliation that blacks, union members and Native American pipeline opponents experience as a matter of course, although whites like me tend to think that we’re exempted – because “law.”

Yeah, right.

I’m guessing that precious few Americans have a clue about how painful this “resistance” might become. We’ve taken for granted inalienable rights and freedoms, and when these pipe dreams actually have existed outside our idealized and addled imaginations (again, mostly white), they have been gained through direct action -- agitation, peaceful protest, civil disobedience and at times, regrettably, bloody violence.

That’s history, plain and simple, and a better appreciation of history would at least be helpful, although you may or may not discover the most relevant bits on your iPhone.

Finally, it won’t be enough for the left-of-center resistance to be solely predicated on identity politics and social justice issues of the precise sort that Mayor Gahan routinely and insincerely barters to local Democrats who are sufficiently gullible to accept toothless Potemkin human rights lean-tos in exchange for looking the other way as Gahan’s increasingly self-serving and megalomaniacal “luxury” expenditures exit the rails.

Up and down the line, Democrats have fiddled past the carnage of neoliberal economic orthodoxy for far too long, and it helped bring us to this lamentably idiocratic juncture. Understand that what’s coming over the horizon is very much about economics, too. Capitalism didn’t “win,” and all those –ism frictions have never left us, although we may have left them.

Earlier today, I remarked to friends that there’s nothing like a room filled with annoyed citizens to produce remarkable levels of concentration on the part of local elected officials. Everything changes when humans act together, in concert, as opposed to separately, isolated from each other. I'm a cynic, but I haven't abandoned hope.

Resistance?

I’m trying my best here in Anchor Flats. If there is any time left over, I’ll help you with Trump.

Deal?

---

Recent columns:

January 5: ON THE AVENUES: Gahan's stadium arcadium kicks off a new year with hilarity, pathos and own goals.

December 29: ON THE AVENUES: The 45 46 Most Popular NA Confidential Stories of 2016.

December 22: ON THE AVENUES: For New Albany’s Person of the Year, the timeless words of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

December 15: ON THE AVENUES: Truth, lies, music, and a trick of the Christmas tale (2016).

The Parthenon is coming back to life: "TheatreWorks to Open a Community Arts Center in Downtown New Albany."


The "oldest" item on the following list occurred four months ago.




These folks have been working for a long time to make TheatreWorks a reality, and I'm happy for them. Stay tuned as the project unfolds.

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TheatreWorks to Open a Community Arts Center in Downtown New Albany, by Jason Roseberry

TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana is pleased to announce a new permanent home and community arts center in historic downtown New Albany, Indiana. The former historic Indiana State Bank Building (203 E. Main Street) is the new TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana home, and will provide new opportunities for entertainment, event facilities, and cultural arts events and arts education.

TheatreWorks of SoIN is an inclusive non-profit theatre company committed to creating a performance space for local artists, providing performance opportunities for actors and technicians, offering quality entertainment to the community, and promoting the education of the cultural arts in the region for both youth and adults.

The TheatreWorks building has two different performance spaces. The first floor performance space includes a permanent stage with flexible seating options to allow for traditional theatre seating, dinner theatre, or cabarets. The beautiful second floor domed room is a flexible space that will also be available to the public for artistic performances/events, parties, receptions, etc. Both performance spaces are handicap accessible.

Chris Bundy (former Director of Theatre at Floyd Central High School) is the Artistic Director of Theatreworks. “Of course, providing quality entertainment is a goal,” Bundy stated, “but we also want to have a strong educational component that will provide a variety of arts-centered classes in visual, theatrical, music, and dance opportunities for children and adults alike.”

Dr. Jason Roseberry (former Director of Theatre at Silver Creek High School) the TheatreWorks Executive Director shared, “It is our hope that the availability of the two performance spaces will encourage other arts groups to increase their presence in downtown New Albany as well.”

TheatreWorks of SoIN launched their first season last year with productions of Fools and Pump Boys & Dinettes. While the 2017-2018 is yet to be announced, it will include two musicals, three plays, a holiday offering, and children’s theatre on select Saturdays. Auditions for the productions will be open to the public, and the group will also have a volunteer component to assist with ushering, etc. The grand opening of the center is anticipated for early June.

The group has begun a TheatreWorks funding campaign to sponsor various elements of the operation and hopes to see many individuals, businesses, and organizations lend their support in order to expand offerings to their maximum potential. The group encourages anyone interested in finding out more information about the season, auditions, or becoming a patron, to visit the website or email at info@theatreworksofsoin.com.

A skip in my step: "Why Millennials Aren’t Afraid of Socialism."

Bernie at The Exchange after winning the Indiana primary. 

I always knew it. Merely wait patiently until the pendulum comes swinging back, then assume my role as elder statesman.

Finally, some optimism.

Why Millennials Aren’t Afraid of Socialism, by Julia Mead (The Nation)

It’s an old idea, but the people who will make it happen are young—and tired of the unequal world they’ve inherited.

... When I heard Bernie say, out loud, that the billionaire class was ruthless and exploitative, that sounded groundbreaking. Not only did he name the right problem—inequality, not poverty—he named the culprit. I didn’t know you could do that. To me, and to hundreds of thousands of my peers, Sanders’s (and Corbyn’s) socialism doesn’t feel antiquated. Instead, it feels fresh and vital precisely because it has been silenced for so long—and because we need it now more than ever.

My dad—slightly younger and slightly cooler than Sanders and Corbyn—picked me up from the airport the day before Thanksgiving. In the car, he confessed: “I liked a lot of the things Bernie had to say, but I just didn’t think he could get elected.” He sighed, ran a hand through his white hair, and pushed his glasses up his nose. “I thought Hillary had a better shot, but she couldn’t pull it off. Maybe Bernie could have… Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio…”

My dad sounded humble. Trump’s election, which to so many of us feels like a tragedy, prompted him to consider a new way of thinking. Maybe socialism isn’t a lost cause after all. Maybe it’s our best hope.

Capitol Hill and New Gahania are different, and yet so very similar.

Courtesy NYT.

THE BEER BEAT: The beer and whiskey that Lew Bryson wants to drink in 2017.

One beery ideal, near Cork, Ireland (1987)

Many of you know that Lew is a friend of mine, and so my touts aren't entirely unbiased. I'm not a whiskey drinker, and so cannot take a substantive position on Lew's distilled thoughts. However, his beer observations are spot on, mirroring my own.

I've included just one as a teaser, primarily because I find it sensuous ... or maybe sensual.

No matter.

Session Beer Day 2017 isn't that far away: April 7, a Friday. Last year I celebrated it with a brewery crawl in Louisville. This year, I'm hoping a few downtown establishments (both breweries and bars) will have a sub-5% beer on tap, enough to keep the crawl local -- and maybe a few of you can join me.

More on that as we get closer.

The Whiskey & Beer I Want to Drink in 2017, by Lew Bryson (The Daily Beast)

What one drinks expert would like to see more of and less of in 2017.

Lagers. No, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve been pushing the damned category for almost 20 years! But the problem with most of the cool new lagers is that they are whopper-hopped and cold-matured for IPA freaks who want to take over this style of beer. Brewers: Don’t monoculture another entire classification of beer. Give us Dortmunders, helles, long-cellared bocks and soft, beautiful, Czech-type pilsners.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Indiana's Republican legislative leadership: "The one thing, however, that has always stuck in my throat is the devotion of the Mandarins to Crony Capitalism."

Wait -- this is Democratic Party crony capitalism. Oops.

An interesting perspective, and I enjoy Huston's use of the term "mandarins," a noun that originates in China, but has been adapted for wider, more humorous use.

6. an influential or powerful government official or bureaucrat.
7. a member of an elite or powerful group or class, as in intellectual or cultural milieus: the mandarins of the art world.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a train to Indy ready for boarding. Except I don't.

HUSTON: The Statehouse Mandarins push transportation tax, by Tom Charles Huston (CNHI Indiana)

The members of the General Assembly have barely warmed their seats and the fury is already reaching pitched levels on social media. It is over the proposal by the new Republican governor (washed into office by the Trump landslide) and the Republican legislative leadership (known affectionately as the Mandarins) to hike gasoline taxes and impose a number of new fees designed to raise an additional $1.2 billion a year for highway and bridge construction and maintenance ...

 ... I don’t like the mix of taxes the Legislature has fashioned, which in my view impose a disproportionate burden on lower-income Hoosiers, and I have opposed the continuing shift of the tax burden from businesses to individuals. On the other hand, with property tax relief I think the overall tax burden on Hoosiers is not excessive and in some instances is less than what is reasonably required for state and local governments to do the things that need to be done. This is certainly a minority view among those who generally share my political dispositions, but government exists to perform certain vital functions and doing so requires revenue and, thus, taxes.

Everyone has a view of what the budget priorities ought to be and whether some programs are beyond the scope of what our state government is required to do and accordingly should be eliminated. People of good will are going to differ on these matters, and my inclination has always been to cut my fellow conservative some slack on the details. The one thing, however, that has always stuck in my throat is the devotion of the Mandarins to Crony Capitalism. They are incorrigible, and even such common-sense fiscal conservatives (Mike Pence) once in office fall victim to the lure of picking winners and paying off special interests. It is one thing to pay your fair share of taxes; it something else entirely to have those taxes transferred into the pockets of Mel Simon, Jim Irsay and every corporate supplicant that hires a wired lobbyist.

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: "The shouts of the New Albanians rent the air for the return of sweet daylight."

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

Around this time each week, anguished wails begin seeping out of the bunker's ventilation ducts: Why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, the ones that sufficed during the glory days, in those simpler times before inexplicably naked greed kicked in like a bond-issue-percentage speedball, knocking you back into the turnbuckles but feeling oh so fine, and now, as the Great Elongated and Exasperated Obfuscator of comic book series fame (can Disney World be far behind?) you teach detailed principles of banking to bankers, at least when not otherwise occupied making healthy deposits into your own account?

Thankfully, even if one toils for the Peerless Leader (not to mention Peerless Faucet), a healthy vocabulary isn't about intimidation through erudition. No, not at all. Rather, it's about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one's pay grade or station in life.

Even municipal corporate attorneys reaping handsome remuneration to suppress information and to squelch community dialogue can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate CPIs, IUDs and IOUs, all we really have is time -- and the opportunity to learn something, if we're so inclined.

This weeks words are familiar, with a chronological twist: New Albanian.

New Albanian

[noo al-bey-nee-uh n]

adjective

1. of or relating to New Albany (as opposed to Old Albania, otherwise known as Shqipëri/Shqipëria), its inhabitants, or their psychology

noun

2. a native or citizen of New Albany

For a very long time, we've been speculating as to exactly when New Albanian first was used as a descriptive term.

I've never been shy about my own recent part in popularizing the usage of New Albanian, which became the name of my business in 1994, but was used informally prior to the advent of the company name, often when we'd hoist steins while trying to answer the question, "What is a person from New Albany called?"

"New Albanyite" never seemed right, and New Albanian always was the logical choice. For so long as historical evidence was scant, I was delighted to claim credit, but today, thanks to local physician and city council member Al Knable, there is definitive proof that the use of the term New Albanian to describe a resident of this city extends at least as far back into the life and times of the settlement on the flood plain as the Eclipse of 1869.



It's from the Ledger, a Tribune forerunner. Note the multi-syllable words used in the header, among them obscuration, magnificence, manifestation and protuberances. If cannot be imagined that a newspaper editor today would view these words in any way apart from sheer unmitigated horror. In fact, the News and Tribune recoils in just such a manner, daily.

Thanks to Dr. Knable for making this major etymological contribution to our understanding of the city's history.

Urgent note to Deaf Gahan: More evidence that street design = street safety = social justice, even more so than a doggie fun park.


At this late date, it can't be denied that street safety in New Albany relies on one factor, and one factor alone, to the exclusion of all others.

In short, someone in a position of municipal authority just might consider street safety for all users beyond the same old auto-centric boilerplate, naturally doing so piecemeal for one singular stretch of roadway, though never as an organic citywide whole, so long as the 80-20 federal matching funds come through.

Until then, we cross our fingers and wade into the interstate-rated traffic lanes, as pedestrians have been doing along Grant Line Road for the past 30 years.

Grant Line Pedway Project in New Albany moving forward (Beilman; N and T)

It has taken five years and a second Gahan administration for the ruling City Hall junta to even begin making faint, barely detectable gurgling sounds about public safety in this context.

Consequently, we must not ever forget that in New Albany, public safety has consistently come second or worse, forever submerged behind Gahan's bright, shiny baubles.

New parks and recreation facilities were prioritized, and came first. Doggie exercise was prioritized, and came first. The Farmers Market was prioritized, and came first. Subsidized luxury housing and initiatives to demolish public (read: affordable) housing units were prioritized, and came or is coming first.

In fact, the word "oblivious" has met its match in Gahan. Oblivious surrenders, and says go ahead, shoot me now. Never has a New Albany mayor remained so stubbornly aloof from the reality of everyday life in this city. Agoraphobia is a crippling affliction; too bad the rest of us must pay for it.

ON THE AVENUES: For New Albany’s Person of the Year, the timeless words of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

Gahan’s grandiosely termed Downtown Street Grid Improvement Project might yield a bare minimum return on investment by restoring two-way streets, but otherwise it’s just another of his mock Potemkin façades, dedicated to garnering as much campaign finance lubrication as possible from the usual suspects in engineering and construction without making truly transformative changes to the grid.

It’s why the forever uncomprehending Gahan stripped Jeff Speck’s plan of its most potentially useful recommendations, and it’s why we’ll have to add them back as we’re able, with or without City Hall’s permission.

Street safety?

Clearly it's a social justice issue, not a campaign finance issue. Unfortunately for New Albanians, if "bad street design is disproportionately impacting historically marginalized groups in America," then Gahan's instinctive response is to ship the marginalized elsewhere, not fix the problem.

But there's a funny part to all this.

Gahan thinks he's a Democrat. Cue the laugh track, at least until you try to cross the street outside.

The Hidden Inequality Of America's Street Design, by Diana Budds (Co.Design)

New data shows that pedestrians in the U.S. are more likely to die if they're poor, a person of color, uninsured, or old.

Urban design has a long history of perpetuating racial and economic inequality, and the burden of bad streets is still being disproportionately borne by underserved populations. According to a new report, pedestrians in the United States have a higher risk of being killed by cars if they're people of color, aged 65 or older, uninsured, or from a low-income household.

The report, called "Dangerous by Design 2016," is authored by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a working group within the nonprofit Smart Growth America, which supports socially equitable, environmentally responsible, and economically healthy urban design strategies. The report focuses on designing streets for multi-modal transportation, and ranks every state and more than 100 major metropolitan areas by what it calls the Pedestrian Danger Index, or PDI, which assesses the likelihood of a car hitting a pedestrian by comparing the rate of pedestrian deaths in an area to the rate of people who walk to work. (SGA calls this the best available measure of how many people are likely to be out walking every day.)

"The leading goal is equity in implementation for all avenues of transportation," says Emiko Atherton, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. "It really is about not only treating everyone equitably, but also encouraging departments of transportation to focus on the most underserved."

Put simply: Bad street design is disproportionately impacting historically marginalized groups in America.