As topic sentences go, this one by the Courier-Journal’s Ben Zion Hershberg provides a textbook capsule of the May 19 City Council meeting:
“The New Albany City Council approved most of Mayor James Garner's plan for a $2.8 million, state-ordered budget cut, but it rejected his request to borrow $500,000 from the sewer utility.”
Of course, Hershberg’s account doesn’t seek to convey the expected circus-like atmosphere last evening, one enhanced by raging rain and storms outside, and generated from within by the usual litany of grandstanding theatrics.
Surprisingly, most of last evening’s chewing of scenery would seem to have emanated from the public in attendance, and not the usual sources on the obstructionist Luddite wing of the council itself.
At least one citizen from the “no progress at any price” sect was removed for unruly behavior, and the council’s president, Jeff Gahan, was obligated to invoke the five-minute speaking limit (three times?) during a histrionic, rambling presentation by local businesswoman Valla Ann Bolovschak, who demanded that the Floyd County Prosecutor’s office conduct an investigation of the obvious links between Mayor Garner, the Teapot Dome, Manuel Noriega, and the assassination of President Kennedy.
Uh, calm down, Beavis.
Even more bizarrely, some accounts have gone so far as to suggest that 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey actually clambered down from his perch high atop the good ship Lollipop and tried to play a constructive role in the budgetary deliberations.
I missed it all, having chosen to remain downstairs at the Constituency for Progress teach-in rather than view the unfolding spectacle on the third floor.
Our special correspondent Rick Carmickle, source of the preceding observations, took lengthy notes, and his account of the proceedings will be published on NA Confidential when he’s finished.
Back to Ben Hershberg:
“An estimated three dozen residents joined the budget debate last night in a demonstration led by a group that has taken the name Constituency for Progress.
“Randy Smith, an organizer of the demonstration in support of the mayor's budget plan, said he was disappointed to hear the City Council didn't approve the entire plan, since he believes it would be best for the city.
“But, Smith said, he and other group members were pleased with the turnout at their "teach-in" in front of the City County building, and they plan to remain engaged in city affairs.”
Credit Hershberg for his ability to see past the orchestrated diversionary tactics staged by the obviously frustrated Brambleberries, and to discern that the nascent CFP’s positive message during the evening-long teach-in represents a progressive futurist option during currently troubled times.
Council accepts budget moves; No layoffs in New Albany; sewer loan is rejected By Ben Zion Hershberg of the Courier-Journal (limited shelf life on C-J links)
11:00 a.m. update - In Amany Ali's coverage for the Tribune, it is revealed that Councilmen Bill Schmidt and Steve Price both supported Bolovschak's proposed investigatory set piece. While this is to be expected from Price, who believes that "cerebral" is just another way to get a breakfast sugar buzz, we must express sincere disappointment that Schmidt would lunge for such transparently delusional bait.