Sunday, January 25, 2015

Word: "Modern corporate capitalism is anything but natural."

Relating Atkins' eloquently simple reminder to the local scene, it's an election year.

Among the likely candidates for mayor, both hopefuls running as Democrats -- Jeff "Corporate Welfare" Gahan and David "My Career in Big Biz" White -- adhere to the "natural economy" myth punctured here.

The eventual chosen Republican, whether Dale Bagshaw or Steve Burks or Mark Seabrook (maybe he's calculating odds again, maybe not) will accept the inevitability of "natural market forces" as holy writ; in Burks' case, it'll be so tightly wrapped with scripture that Jesus will be swaddled in Armani.

In short: They're all conservatives, differing only by tiny incremental degrees.

Then there's me. I've never been much for "if you can't beat them, join them." Insofar as possible, I'd rather shift toward playing by different, localized rules. If we accept New Albany as a construct personifying "wonderfully and delightfully us," then I favor keeping our resources here as often as possible, and seeing just how wonderful and delightful we can be.

Corporations are Artificial, Too, by David Atkins ("Political Animal" blog at Washington Monthly)

... But there’s another key lie in the conservative “natural economy” story, which is that modern corporate capitalism is anything but natural. It’s an artificial system encoded arbitrarily into law and interpreted in a specific way that tends to give maximum advantage to executive and shareholders at the expense of society.

Actually, MOST movies are "too dumb to criticize." Time for some book-readin'.

It's a preachin' kind of Sunday.

I tend to avoid American mainstream movies, as they tend to be depressingly stupid. Two hours expended to glare in pained annoyance, while books await reading, strikes me as a poor bargain even when drunk.

Lately I've been avoiding social media expressions of polarized dumbassery, whether emanating from knee-jerking parties to the right or left. It is increasingly evident that social media was developed to be abused by the 99%, go the glee of the 1%, as the ones who should be marching together to take back what is theirs instead attack each other.

It's called divide and conquer, folks, and you buy into it every single day. Rather than emulating 19th-century peasants prostrate on their knees, praying to the Tsar (or the Koch Brothers, or "fill in the blank: with the name of any multinational corporation) for some measure of hope, perhaps we might commence a shift aimed at taking some of it back.

Without knowing or caring why the sniper was sent to Iraq in the first place -- why soldiers are sent anywhere throughout history -- it's all diversion and fluff. Metaphorically, we cannot all work "for" ourselves, but we needn't work for the Man, either. Ideas and words matter, and it's never too late to invest in the time required to grasp their meaning.

Sermon concluded.

'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize, by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone)


 ... Filmmakers like Eastwood, who could have cleared things up, only muddy the waters more. Sometimes there's no such thing as "just a human story." Sometimes a story is meaningless or worse without real context, and this is one of them.

Low comedy? It's in DNA's DNA, but the Speck proposals offer a final chance for redemption.

I got your networking, guys: Two way streets.

But you must want to learn what the possibilities mean, and stop planning prom parties.

For a full eight days after Jeff Gahan’s vest-hugging, muffler-dragging politburo peeked timorously out of its down-low bunker and at long last allowed Jeff Speck’s Downtown Street Network Proposal (which it had possessed for a whole month) to be seen by city residents, Develop New Albany remained silent.

Nothing unusual there ... and that's the big, recurring problem.

Finally a link appeared on DNA’s Facebook page. Previously, the best our formally chartered Main Street organization could manage was a bizarre web poll asking if we’d rather have bagels or two-way streets downtown.

Unsurprisingly, the National Main Street Center, DNA’s purported policy parent, has not stated a position on bagels versus English muffins or whole wheat toast.

However, it has been interested in one- to two-way street conversions since at least 2006 – and DNA has been avoiding discussion of this and other matters of genuine significance for just as long, citing ad nauseam its non-profit status as proof of an inability (read: unwillingness) to follow its own organizational mandate and take a stand for something that supports its mission.

Of course, there are embarrassing exceptions. When the topic is Susan Kaempfer's quarter-million dollar farmers market build-out, DNA hurriedly sheds ballast and tramples napping house cats in a rush to the front of the queue in support of politically-motivated pork-barrel expenditures.

Somehow, that's different -- and the "somehow" never manages to get explained.

Again and again, one witnesses the mind-numbing conceptual numbness, thinking that surely by sheer law of average even DNA’s perennially stopped clock has an outside chance to be right twice in a decade, give or take a leap year, but somehow it succeeds in forging consistent group-thought capable of freezing time dead-ice solid.

Instead, DNA functions as a random billboard generator, merrily touting whomever will pay it, from churches to retail, and from eateries to realtors, although precisely one retailer is represented at the board level, and no restaurant or bar owners or managers can be found seated there.

Come to think of it, that's no coincidence, is it?

After all, small indie retailers and food service businesses are the entities that have by far done the most for downtown with the least governmental assistance (is there a number lower than zero?) They simply have no time to coddle bad actors.

Indies also are the ones that might finally get some help from City Hall if Gahan can bring himself to lead for once, and implement Speck’s proposals in a timely fashion, instead of dragging feet of concrete through an election season that stands to place progress in an even colder deep-freeze than New Albany's unenviable historical standard.

It's just my opinion, and feel free to disagree, but the advent of Speck's street network proposals is last call for DNA, which must support street reform explicitly and publicly, and contribute to advocacy for implementation. Anything less, and it's time to dissolve DNA and start from scratch.

The city needs a Main Street organization with cojones, don't you think?

Put it on the platform.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Editorial cartoon: Our Leashes of Command.

Bridge opens early + tolls in 2017 = Gahan MIA.

Tolling is not slated to begin until 2017, but that's water under a future bridge. The question for New Albany remains the same: What can we do pro-actively to plan for the repercussions?

Jeff Speck's downtown street network proposals address this vital need to address prospective pass-through traffic. They also illustrate how a comprehensive civic lifestyle rejigging downtown would support numerous other aspects of economic development and future municipal planning with integration and connectivity.

Mayor Jeff Gahan claims to understand the former, but refuses to discuss the latter, presumably owing to the fact that modernity to local DemoDisneyDixiecrats is like garlic to a vampire -- or Lite beer to the Publican.

Gahan's re-election campaign officially begins next week. His current Speck timetable calls for year-long delays in courage and resolve. The early arrival of the new downtown bridge provides additional proof that Gahan's politically-motivated delays can only hurt New Albany.

SPANNING TIME: New downtown bridge to open ahead of schedule, by Matt Koesters (News and Tribune)

LOUISVILLE — Two summers ago, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear predicted that in three years’ time, a new bridge connecting downtown Louisville and Southern Indiana would be open to traffic.
Beshear admitted Friday that he doesn’t mind that he was wrong.

“This time, it’s a good thing that I was wrong, because I’m excited to announce that just a year from today, three months ahead of schedule, the mighty towers of concrete and steel that you see rising behind me will be complete,” Beshear said, speaking at a press conference on the Louisville bank of the Ohio River. “The cables will be strung, the deck laid, the stripes painted and cars and trucks will be flowing across the first new bridge in more than half a century across the Ohio River into downtown Louisville.”

The accelerated schedule for the opening of the new bridge will allow for more in-depth work to be done on the existing John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge. When the new downtown bridge opens, Interstate 65 traffic in both directions will shift to the new bridge for six months.

“In recent weeks, we made the decision to invest in a more complete and long-lasting overhaul of the Kennedy Bridge,” Beshear said. “We made that decision for two reasons: First, more extensive improvements are needed to add decades of life to the 52-year-old bridge, and second, completing the work now will save money and reduce impacts on drivers long-term.”

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gahan's plan for keep Pillsbury: A $7 million bond issue.

Props to the News and Tribune's Daniel Suddeath, who is tweeting about the city's offer to General Mills.

New Albany City Council to consider $7 million bond package Tuesday to update Pillsbury Plant in hopes of keeping facility open.

The bond incentive resolution for General Mills deal states the Pillsbury plant in New Albany would have to stay open a min. of 5 years.

If resolution approved, New Albany Redevelopment Commission and NA Council would have to take additional votes, same as any bond issue.

According to city, Pillsbury plant paid $661k in property taxes in 2014 and $7 million over last decade.

The financing plan would be a mix of tax-increment financing and possibly EDIT money, per David Duggins, city economic development director.

11 reasons why reading comprehension eludes the Gahan team.

There are more, but you already knew that.

ON THE AVENUES: Leadership? It depends on the entity Jeff Gahan is pretending to lead.

ON THE AVENUES: Jeff Gahan, the Speck proposals, and City Hall's $75,000 roll of toilet paper.

ON THE AVENUES: Pretty in pink slips, aren’t they?

ON THE AVENUES BOARD OF WORKS SPECIAL: City Hall’s shelf life for excuses expires today.

ON THE AVENUES: To the third floor -- but first, we throw the rascals out.

ON THE AVENUES SUNDAY SPECIAL: How many businesses already have died because of City Hall’s street grid procrastination?

ON THE AVENUES: The Adamite Chronicles: Have muzzle, will drivel.

ON THE AVENUES: Better access, quality of life, public safety, and various other Orwellian aspects of the New Albanist’s experience.

ON THE AVENUES: Really, the word “progressive” embarrasses you? That’s okay, because political cowardice disgusts me.

ON THE AVENUES: Why not a progressive movement in New Albany? It sure beats a two-party debacle.

ON THE AVENUES: Does New Albany even have an intellectual history?

A classy sendoff for Greg Balmer.

The Bookseller has posted a video of the funeral procession, as viewed from a bit further up the street. It was a first-rate sendoff for former coroner Greg Balmer.

A good candidate is hard to find. You always get another kind.

Nowadays, they're really hard to find.

NASH: Looking for a few good leaders, by Matt Nash (News and Tribune)

While candidates for election this year that run as Democrat or Republican have less than two weeks to file for their candidacy, anyone wanting to run as an independent in the general election in November has until the end of June to declare. There has been some talk on social media about the possible run as an independent for mayor and another for the fifth district council seat, but there has been no official announcement. Also, if any of the positions up for election this year are not filled, the party leaders may enter a candidate in one of those positions for November.

Yes, I'm running for mayor. No, I haven't submitted the papers. But you can count on it.

In an article earlier this week in the News and Tribune, the GOP chairman claimed that at least two people were interested in running for mayor, but they would decide between themselves who would be the candidate. This makes me think that neither candidate wants to be mayor very badly.

I had this impression, too. However, please let it be Pastor Burks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Is Pastor Burks eyeing the mayor's chair?

The Green Mouse says that at tomorrow's big mayoral nominee announcement by the Floyd County Republican Party, the invocation (no, not a pause for reflection) will be given by Pastor Steve Burks, who'll then be revealed as the party's candidate.

If true, this could be really interesting. Remember when Pastor Burks was peeved about the removal of the rote council prayer?

ON THE AVENUES: Separating church and council (January 9, 2012).

But lest we scoff, Burks is on a two-contest political winning streak. He was the top vote-getter in the 2012 Floyd County Council at-large race, then traded sideways to become a trustee just two months ago.
County Councilman Burks wins New Albany trustee’s seat

FLOYD COUNTY — Republican Steve Burks will be trading one seat for another after scoring a victory over an incumbent Tuesday night.

Burks received 5,540 votes, or 52.9 percent, while Democrat Jeannie Freiberger received 4,926 votes, or 4,926 votes, in the New Albany Township Trustee race.

Burks is a pastor and also an at-large Floyd County councilman, so he will have to resign his seat.

“I do benevolence all the time. That is what I do,” he said of his new post, which is largely tasked with helping the less fortunate. “I will try to be more efficient in that department. I want to give people a hand up instead of a hand out. I want people to be accountable."

Let's return to Twitter for a taste of what we'll be in for, apart from another candidate espousing the virtues of Mitt Romney:

"The greatness of our nation is diminishing because we have lost our moral compass. In order to be great again morality is not an option."

ON THE AVENUES: Leadership? It depends on the entity Jeff Gahan is pretending to lead.

ON THE AVENUES: Leadership? It depends on the entity Jeff Gahan is pretending to lead.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

I met with a journalist yesterday to be interviewed for a forthcoming article about civic affairs, and eventually the conversation turned to Jeff Speck’s Downtown Street Network Proposal for New Albany, and a good question followed:

“So, what does the mayor think about it?”

Well, Jeff Gahan doesn’t think much about Speck, at least as we are left to guess from sparse, cautious public pronouncements that might be mistaken for the oracle of Delphi’s vapor-induced gibberish, except that the latter had a far better feel for genuine poetry.

As I write, tea leaves will magically reconstitute the Gettysburg Address before Gahan emerges from the Down Low Bunker to lead on this issue. The candidate who once promised vigorous action for street change – privately, of course – now has adopted the pose of elderly, buzz-kill, petty-local-bureaucrat-in-chief:

“You can rest assured that we won’t do anything to let those anti-establishment inmates run your asylum.”

Of course, as remains plainly evident, the asylum itself is to be taken for granted, and the founding principle of any local political party is immutable: Our inmates, not yours. It may be the only promise a local DemoDisneyDixiecrat ever kept – and that’s the problem.

Especially in an election year.


In fact, the current governing cabal may well comprise the most uniformly anti-intellectual grouping witnessed hereabouts since the 1990s milieu of England Doug, Guido and His Angry Inch, but even then, there was Carl Malysz, who while often bizarrely mistaken in terms of job performance, could converse quite fluently about the history of Poland and Central Europe, areas that lie to the east, somewhat beyond Silver Creek, and must be feared as a result.

Thus, it is quite possible that what we have here is a failure to recall vocabulary lessons from halcyon days of ScribnerWood. I’m happy to be of assistance.




1. cause (a person or animal) to go with one by holding them by the hand, a halter, a rope, etc., while moving forward.

2. be in charge or command of.
"a military delegation was led by the Chief of Staff"
synonyms: be the leader of, be the head of, preside over, head, command,govern, rule, be in charge of, be in command of, be in control of, run,control, direct, be at the helm of


1. the initiative in an action; an example for others to follow.
"The US is now taking the environmental lead"
synonyms: first position, forefront, primacy, dominance, superiority, ascendancy

2. a position of advantage in a contest; first place.
"they were beaten 5-3 after twice being in the lead"
synonyms: the leading position, first place, the van, the vanguard

There you have it.

Clearly, Mayor Gahan stopped reading after the first definition. He intends to lead, and desires us to be led, not unlike a tethered animal – perhaps a burro, alpaca or camel. Naturally, as an authoritarian, he must be in charge, but in the sense of taking the initiative, providing an example and occupying the vanguard, not so much.

My view is that the animal should break into a trot. This would illustrate an important lesson about ropes, bridles, leashes, and the proper identification of the real parties responsible for leading the issue of street network reform from the very start.


Hence the most telling reflex of Gahan’s hermetic politburo, which is a profoundly passive-aggressive daily exercise in “divide and conquer” politics.

There are New Albanians favoring Speck, and others opposed, and all of them will be reassured privately that the forever “principled” mayor and his minions are in complete agreement with the public, whatever the public’s proclivities.

But aloud and for attribution, a pose of lofty and vacuous mayoral distance will be maintained as the respective camps are encouraged to compete with each other to curry Lord Gahan’s favor by bestowing kisses, showering flattery, reaffirming fealty – and most important of all – ensuring the big guy’s re-election in 2015.

In short, Gahan will not “lead” in any coherent sense of leadership.

In effect, having all but ceded the possibility of substantive action on street network reform until 2016, the mayor instead is demanding to be rewarded first, with another term. Only then can anything happen, and if anything happens at all, it will do so owing to the bare, stated minimum of traffic alterations aimed at preparing for a changed dynamic when Ohio River bridge tolls come on line.

As for the second and far more transformational aspect of Speck’s proposals, altering social conditions and facilitating a civic lifestyle change, Gahan’s silence speaks volumes.

It would be easy for rational observers to formulate the situation like this: Gahan does not understand the sweeping potential impact of such a social transformation, because if he did, he would not press forward with fluffy and unnecessary enemas like the farmers market debacle on the corner of Bank and Market.

But that formulation is incorrect. You see, Gahan actually does understand the transformational stakes, and he cannot allow them to occur, because his only guiding principle as a political party-bound mayor is to maintain the continued dominance of the DemoDisneyDixiecrat local power and patronage machine.

And the DemoDisneyDixiecrat local power and patronage machine simply cannot survive a sweeping civic lifestyle change. To implement Jeff Speck’s Downtown Street Network Proposal on any basis of its lifestyle component, however slight, is tantamount to glasnost, perestroika and the French revolution rolled into one, or put more succinctly: A swift and painful demise for the local DemoDisneyDixiecrats.

To do so would be to reward the party’s critics, not its Luddites.

To do so would be to concede that the best-ever idea for reality-based economic development in New Albany originated so far outside the DemoDisneyDixiecratic Party’s wheelhouse that it might have been mailed to us from … Poland and Central Europe.

However, Speck's from the East Coast, and there is a serious flaw in Gahan’s brutally deceptive “Me or Nothing in 2016.”

We need not play along … politically.

Ongoing efforts on the part of the citizenry to advance the cause of Speck’s street network proposals and to advocate their immediate implementation, are fitting and proper. They must and will continue, but they are utterly separate from the politicized blackmail being practiced at present.

Since Gahan has determined to do nothing in 2015, it follows that nothing will happen in 2015. That’s regrettable, but doing something in 2016, beginning on the first of January, is not reliant on Gahan’s presence. Rather, it relies on the disposition of his replacement. If the replacement is not beholden to a political patronage machine, all the better.

Select the correct replacement, and we’re one step closer to rational streets … and rational politics.

"Locals Everywhere Want to Know: What's Wrong With America?"

My personal experience with questions like these began in Europe during the summer of '85.

What baffles so many of them, though, is how ordinary Americans in startling numbers have been persuaded to dislike "big government" and yet support its new representatives, bought and paid for by the rich.

The answer is the same now as then, although arguably it's far worse: Vote cultural myth instead of bread 'n' butter reality, and see what happens.

Locals Everywhere Want to Know: What's Wrong With America?, by Ann Jones (The Nation)

Other things I've had to answer for include:

* Why can't you Americans stop interfering with women's health care?

* Why can't you understand science?

* How can you still be so blind to the reality of climate change?

* How can you speak of the rule of law when your presidents break international laws to make war whenever they want?

* How can you hand over the power to blow up the planet to one lone, ordinary man?

* How can you throw away the Geneva Conventions and your principles to advocate torture?

* Why do you Americans like guns so much? Why do you kill each other at such a rate?

To many, the most baffling and important question of all is: Why do you send your military all over the world to stir up more and more trouble for all of us?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"He probably never wore a top hat or a frock coat; he had no pomp or manner."

The full article is worth more than a glance.

Naturally, we interpret a 91-year-old essay by reading into it all we know about the events unfolding since. It is a useful exercise to try to suspend those judgments and look fresh at items like Bertrand Russell's depiction of Lenin as a high priest of the "Marxian gospel," or that "compromise was another of his strange virtues."

The USSR came into being an unprecedented experiment in "economic revolution," against the express wishes (and active intervention) of world capitalism. From the vantage point of 2015, we know how it worked out there, but it's hard not to feel a tremor of recognition now, in the age of the Kochs and their 1% plutocracy, when reading this:

"Political democracy without economic liberation is a farce."

January 21, 1924: Vladimir Lenin Dies (The Nation)

... Lenin is dead. His country has had to make many painful compromises since his ragged crew took power, but it is running the railroads and marketing the wealth of Russia today. The Communist Government preaching and, to the best of its ability, practicing the gospel of economic revolution, still fills the breast of [Secretary of State Charles Evans] Hughes with alarm. Whatever may come of it in Russia that doctrine—that political democracy without economic liberation is a farce—has swept the Western world, and the Western world will never again be quite the same. The French Revolution was crushed, but it molded the history of nineteenth-century Europe. The Russian Revolution is compromising; Lenin is dead and Trotzky is ill, but they will long continue to make history.

Speck program: "Rather than embracing this opportunity, (Jeff Gahan) is pre-emptively knee-capping it."

To so very much of merit, I can add only this explanation for my belief in an activist stance: My reaction to this or any mayor pre-emptively knee-capping my city's future is to pre-emptively knee-cap his (or her) political future, in whatever way works best, or by multiple paths.

By not implementing Speck's proposals now, Jeff Gahan is knee-capping independent small businesses as well as neighborhood quality of life. He is knee-capping economic development.

That said, I respect Randy's point of view and strongly urge you to read this column. To those attending tonight's two-way planning meeting, see you at seven at Sew Fitting.

The Speck Report and New Albany’s Future: A Contrarian View

by NewAlbanyBooks

I understand that some readers can still say of New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan that "He's my guy." I only ask, "Why?"

Almost from the moment I arrived in this city, I've pushed, prodded, and pleaded for city officials to pay some attention to our broken streets, most often in the downtown area, but elsewhere, as well. At first, my quest was relatively simplistic. I asked why we couldn't change our one-way streets back to the two-way traffic patterns they were designed for. As the years passed and I educated myself and others, "my" quest became "our" quest and our petitions to our elected officials metamorphosed from simplistic to sophisticated, though no less simple to accomplish.
This is my 11th year working on this. Coincidentally, this is Mayor Gahan's 12th year as an elected official. These were years where he could have educated himself and perhaps even become a champion for our cause. After 8 years as a city council member, Gahan put himself forward to serve as the city's executive. Many of you voted for him. All of you believed Mr. Gahan when he said he supported two-way streets.
Today, we have available to us a comprehensive street design program that is, as they say, shovel-ready. Prepared by Jeff Speck, the most prominent city planning professional in this country, and his team, the program is elegant, simple, and inexpensive to implement. Whether you read the 60-page justification or the 40-page section-by-section program for street change, you are likely to feel your heart leap while imagining the probable outcomes if New Albany embraces the program.
Yet, as recently as this past weekend, the mayor said to the News and Tribune that he "want[s] to emphasize this is just a study." (emphasis mine)
Rather than embracing this opportunity, this mayor is pre-emptively knee-capping it. He is unwilling to claim it as his own. He is unwilling to step out in public and say "This is what I want to do. I believe it's in the best interests of this community. And here's why" ...

As GOP combs church belfries for a mayoral candidate, White laps Gahan.

I'm more convinced than ever that the single best GOP candidate for mayor of New Albany already has filed to enter the race.

His name is David White.

Inconveniently for the GOP's Chris Lane, White is somewhat weirdly contesting the primary as a DemoDisneyDixiecrat.

White's platform is 48% state chamber of commerce "economic development" boilerplate, 49% recitation of his own business career, and in the main, utterly indistinguishable from Mitt Romney's trickle-down, one-percenter pats on the head.

To be sure, White mostly steers clear of right-side social issues, and espouses a libertarian stance in matters of conscience. I'll credit him for that. He might be ready to support downtown street network reforms -- publicly, no less. However, I'm not the one to issue that particular press release. We'll see.

In a perfect local cosmos, White would be a shoo-in to defeat Jeff "Down Low on the Ohio" Gahan, the DemoDisneyDixiecrat incumbent, who cannot run on the basis of economic plans he obviously has not bothered to concoct. White is in a position to smash to kindling Gahan's dubious record of scattershot non-connectivity by relentlessly questioning the deficit financing making possible the mayor's shiny new beads.

White's big problem?

Gahan is the club. He looks in the mirror each morning and sees an amalgam of RFK, FDR and Dr. King, and while this brings to mind Hans Christian Andersen's famous trouserless formulation, it undoubtedly appeals to local DemoDisneyDixiecrats who purchased their mirrors at the same delusional chain store ... or who reside on the accredited side of the gravy train's seemingly limitless tracks.

My own electoral territory come autumn encompasses everything and everyone to the left of White, excepting those few diehards who choose to ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and persist in the belief that local Democrats are democratic. I see this terrain as more expansive than commonly imagined. How would we know when so few have ventured into it?

It's hard to see how a Republican fits into any of this. Perhaps the GOP will dispense with economics entirely, and run a fundamentalist preacher instead.

Wait continues for GOP mayoral candidate in New Albany, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — Floyd County Republican Party Chairman Chris Lane expects to present a candidate for New Albany mayor by the end of the week.

Though he declined to name the people, Lane said Tuesday two candidates have emerged and are basically deciding among themselves which will file for the race.

“They’re just trying to make it a cooperative effort,” he said. “They really don’t want a primary.”

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 71: Neighborhood "quality of life," 80,000 lbs at a time.

This baby was flying.

It's amazing how they can block whole houses. It's more amazing that City Hall still insists there is no truck-through issue worth conceding.

Lots of Fast Tracks coming past lately. I'd guess average speeds are around 45 mph.

Of course, the 13th Tiger Trucking Cut Through Street is heavily traveled. Tiger used to go racing past the house full throttle. Now, we can hear three gear shifts as the trucks pull onto Spring from 13th. Jeff Gahan seems to think this approximates quality of life. Perhaps that's why he diverted these monsters from Main Street, where property values need enhancing -- and who cares about the cost to the rest of us?

How many normal car lengths is that?

Great place to ride a bike, isn't it Mr. Rosenbarger?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

BREAKING: Rogar Bayler leaks plan for new city hall at 922 Culbertson.

Duh -- I mean, he left Ceausescu out.

Keep me posted on that public access request, will you?

Change of venue for Wednesday's planning meeting of Two Way Streets Now.

Take note.

Not only are those damned outsiders conspiring against NA's peculiar one-way institution as the mayor blissfully snores and Warren Naps, but so many residents are interested in Two Way Streets Now's meeting that the venue has changed.

Due to a larger than anticipated crowd - the meeting this Wednesday January 21 at 7pm will be moved to SEW FITTING 156 East Main Street. I anticipate short (30 minutes or so) informational and planning meeting with the goal of establishing talking points, enlisting volunteers, compiling an email list of attendees, rallying support and scheduling follow up meetings. I expect after adjourning the meeting, those that would like, could meet us at a local watering hole to get to know each other better. Please share!

Meanwhile, the best and most succinct comment yet on the topic of the streets comes (as usual) from our dear friend Ted.

I'm supportive restoring 2-way traffic in New Albany. The Speck study is a good document. It's all really just common sense. In fact, it was common sense 10 years ago to slow traffic and remove our one way drag strips. I'm confident the brain trust at the city understood this perfectly. But maybe a connection was lost between brain and balls. Alas, we will fight the fight for what we shouldn't really have to fight for. To be honest, all I really want to know is the implementation schedule. But we will do a little dance for a year or so. It's all a tad frustrating.

An absence of brain trust balls surely has been a recurring feature of life in New Albany, and I share the frustration. Isn't it regrettable that we must outwork both whacked-out opponents and city hall itself,?

But there it is, and we must. Yesterday Jeff Speck himself posted these two photos on Twitter.

That's right: It is a view of Quills, and the two-way signs I was hoofing about, placing in windows, in October of 2013 -- two years after candidate Gahan said he'd do something about the streets, and one and a half years prior to the mayor's present coordinates in his down low bunker, hiding from the issue he formerly claimed was his.

Balls. Where?

ESNA's signs started popping up early in 2014, placing it well ahead of the typically timorous political curve. Oddly, as someone noted recently, the local Democratic Party mentions the word "walkable" in its official platform ...

 ... although to find it, one must be prepared to endure music that sounds like it was borrowed from the restroom audio at Disney World. That fantasy land approach seems to pervade the party's customary stance of non-action. Wonder why?

In truth, there will be a price if local politicos don't take ownership of this issue, but even if they awaken and do so, they're only borrowing ownership because we're allowing them to do so. That's because this issue, and the streets themselves, belong to residents -- and the residents have been on top of it for a decade or more.

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 70: BOW takes a bow as Warren Naps.

On Monday morning, there were three Tiger trucks this size on the street between 3:00 a.m and 3:30 a.m. I'm starting to feel them later in the evening, and earlier in the morning. The one above was spotted in early afternoon Monday. He was coming from Vincennes, and took a turn so wide that he was almost on the sidewalk on the southwest corner -- and not far from that parked car's ass.

Isn't he a beauty? 80,000 lbs loaded, and no longer plaguing the waking and sleeping hours of Main Street residents in desperate need of having their property values raised by Mayor Jeff Gahan, even as residents of other streets cope with the diversion that doesn't exist, according to a City Hall well versed in Orwellian fabrications.

And there he goes, a couple of blocks down to take the now customary left turn onto 13th. He'll be back in a bit, coming back out from 13th onto Spring. Refresh my memory: John Rosenbarger lives on Main Street, doesn't he?

See that Fast Track Mack? See those parked vehicles? See Doug England's half-hearted bicycle lane? Does that look like a safe place to be riding a bike? Could this be why ever since the two bike lanes were drawn, and Hizzoner declared victory over a tanker truck of red wine, most adult bicyclists are riding on the sidewalk?

One after the other, as Warren Naps and the Bored of Works listlessly rubber stamps the mayor's back alley directives. That's New Albany. Had enough of it yet?

A belated goodbye to A Costumiery.

In January of 2012, Dale Moss (then still writing for the C-J) wrote about the owners of A Costumiery, who were having a very hard time of it.

Trouble hard to mask for New Albany costume shop (paid archive only)

Jean Crook struggled for the best way to sum up her predicament.

"I'm stuck," she said softly, eyes downward. "I truly am."

Along with husband John, Crook operates A Costumiery in what was built long ago as a grocer's mansion on Spring Street in New Albany. There, the elderly couple lives, and there a business dies. Not one customer came calling during my recent visit. At least no bill collector did, either.

A Costumiery was always there, ever since we moved into the neighborhood, just a block down the street. I saw Dale's piece and got the chills, because wasn't this every independent small business owner's nightmare? The Crooks were well past retirement age. Their business was dead in the water. They could afford neither to carry on, nor to quit. The house was falling part before their eyes and ours, and they were still living in it ... stuck.

It was so very sad, and maybe that's why I filed it in the anxiety closet and forgot. Some demons are too close to home, both literally and figuratively.

I've walked past the old grocer's mansion several hundred times since then. Until last weekend, I didn't even know that John Crook died in March of 2013, or that Jean Crook was ill and had moved away to live with family. Late last week, a small "Yard Sale" sign was out in the yard, and we began seeing items big and small being carried out -- couches, gowns, U-Haul boxes. We stopped in on Saturday to see what was left, and there was a lot.

Someone asked what would happen to the rest of the business inventory and personal items once the yard sale concluded. "I suppose into the trash," came the answer. We ran into Dave Barksdale, and he observed that although the house (once emptied) needs love, the bones are good. The house itself probably has seen this process a few times; if walls could talk.

The former grocer's house and costumery is for sale; there's a phone number on the door. I took photos to remember A Costumiery as a business, and perhaps also for comparison's sake, some day, when it has been renovated and is being showcased during the annual Historic Home Tour.

The PC: Ripped straight from the pages of an Onion satire: “13 white males not really so eager to discuss issues like racism and sexism.”

I don't always use space at NAC to tout my beer writing at Potable Curmudgeon, but today is an exception. The column appears on Mondays. You may or may not agree, but in any event, thanks for reading.

The PC: Ripped straight from the pages of an Onion satire: “13 white males not really so eager to discuss issues like racism and sexism.”

 ... I’ve changed my mind many times when presented with persuasive evidence contrary to my previous assumptions. I used to be satisfied drinking Stroh’s – then I wasn’t. My mind and my tastes evolved, and an immensely enjoyable 30-year journey through the world has followed. Changes in latitude could not have occurred without changes in attitude.

Monday, January 19, 2015

BREAKING: Proposed yard signs for the new "There's Only One Way to NA" anti-Speck group.

I'm told the first organizational meeting will take place in Clarksville, the second one in Floyds Knobs, the third ...

Damned outsiders conspiring against NA's peculiar one-way institution as mayor blissfully snores.

When John Smith first divulged his status as an outsider in Stay Inside City, he was greeted with the predictable pleasantry from a New Albany lifer (paraphrasing):

Why don't ya go back to Lanesville if you don't like our indigenous neighborhood interstates?

At least there were no obscenities. That's progress.

Meanwhile, there'll be a Two Way Streets Now planning meeting on Wednesday, because owing to persistent public expressions of quaking fear and non-committal indifference on the part of city officials who can't be seen supporting a study they (supposedly) instigated, proponents of the Speck proposals are going to have to do every bit of the heavy lifting, and they might as well get started.

One influential vote already has been cast: The band Houndmouth posted this on Facebook:

Fellow New Albanians and Southern Indiana folks, what do you guys say about getting some Two Way Streets downtown? Needs to happen. This Jeff Speck guy nailed it.

Here's the News and Tribune piece.

Notice how Gahan consistently cannot bring himself to publicly reference any other aspect of Speck's study beyond what is needed to cope with tolling pass-throughs.

Do we even trust them for just that?

 ... “I want to emphasize this is just a study,” Gahan said. “(Speck) brings up some really good points. Our job now is to make sure we’re prepared so that the tolling doesn’t have a negative impact on our downtown.”

Proponents of the study believe converting streets to two-way traffic will make downtown safer and help businesses.

With city elections to be held this year, Smith stressed the issue isn’t partisan, but added there’s support from many in the community for a candidate who would back changes to the street grid.

“Quite frankly if Republicans are intent on using their momentum from last election to challenge in the city election, this is an issue they should jump on,” he said.

Dr. King, Pa Hibbard and some Public Enemy.

With characteristic tone deafness, several Southern Indiana school systems (including NA-FC) are using MLK Day as a snow make-up day. I can't think of a better reason to skip class.

The Meaning of The King Holiday, by Coretta Scott King

I had no idea that conservatives are now taking to claim Dr. King as one of them. I can't think of a better reason to cringe.

Why conservatives call MLK their hero, by John Blake (CNN)

"We must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving."