Regular readers will recall NA Confidential’s running dialogue with fellow New Albanian citizen Laura Oates, who recently was appointed to the J. Goebbels Chair of Public Policy Debate at Bazooka Joe University in Oz.
Touchingly concerned that differing opinions might disturb the bucolic equilibrium of the civic-minded “squeeze cooperation out of my cold, dead hands, pointy head” denizens frequenting her blog -- a forum laughably purporting to espouse free speech so long as it doesn’t nudge past the Tribune’s editorial standards in reading comprehension or embrace a viewpoint that doesn’t jibe with the gospel according to anonymous “little people” (their choice of identity, not ours) -- Ms. Oates also recently banned NA Confidential and “Bluegill” from sullying the corridors of her daily exercise in anti-intellectual mob empowerment.
Consequently, when she and her bedazzled fans make preposterous claims and subject the reading community to the tender crayon mercies of Luddite logic (2 + 2 = whatever I feel like -- today), there is no way to respond or to further the discussion without expending precious bandwidth here at NAC.
And this we’re prepared to do yet again, at least until the “little people” decide to take the unprecedented step of reading an American history book and considering the inconvenient topic of censorship – something apparently not broached in Sociology 101.
Today at Speak Out, Lout (NA), Ms. Oates asks:
Infrastructure or swimming pools? The City Council has planned another “workshop” session on the Scribner Place project that will be held Tuesday night, June 28th, at 6:30PM on the 3rd floor. However, no public comments or questions will be allowed. Great way to get some support back under this thing, don’t let anybody ask questions and don’t listen to anybody’s opinion.
Currently there are more opinions about Scribner Place than there were cicadas last summer.
It has been at least three years since Regina Overton introduced the plan. How much time is necessary for the “little people” to become familiar with it and to formulate an opinion? Haven’t most done so already? Ms. Oates’ blog is all agog with the graffiti of anti-Scribner Place “concern taxpayers” and “new albany residents,” many of which have attended city council meetings regularly for years.
Did they not catch occasional references to Scribner Place in all that time? Haven’t they spoken against it during the public communications segment? Aren’t they taking turns frightening their “little” friends by creating vast conspiracies, and then fawning over knights in aluminum armor like Dan Coffey, who will deliver them from the future?
But, why should we be surprised? This thing is going to happen one way or another, and those who don’t like it better just shut up and keep their opinions to themselves. Most are just plain too stupid to know what’s good for them anyway. Right Baylor?
On several occasions lately, Ms. Oates actually has reminded her readers that Scribner Place is inevitable, with only the manner of funding remaining to be shaped by public participation, which she obviously hopes to influence, or would not be blogging in the manner she has. So, it’s fairly obvious that no one is asking the community’s troglodytes to shut up.
Rather, we’re asking them to make sense. With respect to opinions, NA Confidential has advocated a consistent policy throughout its existence:
You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts. *
Laura consistently has confused the two – opinion and fact -- during her stewardship of the “little people’s” blog, often indulging in the ham-fisted and non-discerning censorship of facts and factual discussions, while promoting flatulence as fact, and maintaining in a yet-to-be-determined fashion that the more downtrodden one is, the less that rules of civilized discourse and etiquette apply.
They’ll turn on you, Ms. Oates. Anyone seen our old chum Robespierre lately?
By the way, you’ll notice that consistently throughout the history of our debates, NA Confidential has referred to Laura Oates as “Laura” or “Ms. Oates,” opting for the more formal usage today because of her increasingly strident and intemperate treatment of my own given name.
Real smarts would tell you that since it's the ONLY plan, well then it must be a good plan.
After much deliberation, we choose to regard this sentence as intended in the satirical sense. Since it fails satirically, might it be regarded as a miscarriage of rhetoric?
Might this handy designation be extended to the whole of Speak Out, Lout (NA)?
We have all been witness to the rantings of the insolents who support the proposed city investment into the YMCA-Scribner Place project, and we are all well aware of the nasty, rude remarks they have hurled at those who do not support their point of view. Rather than discussing the issue with some measure of decorum, they resort to name calling, insults on intelligence, and accusations of political agendas.
Insolent? Who’s telling whom to shut up?
Time and time again, the “little people” have used Ms. Oates’ forum to vociferously demand the “agenda” of NA Confidential, Volunteer Hoosier and other progressive advocates in the city, and these entities have responded in essence that their agenda is progress, plain and simple.
Some of you are aware that when our friend Bluegill carefully and methodically responded to the opinions on Ms. Oates’ blog, and did so factually and utterly without “nasty” or “rude” hyperbole, his reward for doing so was being asked to leave, as his thoughts were deemed just too long-winded for the opinionated “little people” to be expected to digest.
It’d be like a person stepping into the cockpit of a plane and demanding to fly it, not because he has any factual proof that he knows how to fly an airplane (license, documentation, training), but because he “believes” he can do it (his opinion), and when you offer to teach him, he won’t listen because that’d take too long – and he’s in a great rush to go nowhere in particular.
The folks who do not agree with the city’s involvement in the project have been accused of an attitude of “no progress at any price”. I assert it is quite the contrary. The pro-spending crowd doesn’t seem to hear the pleas to invest in improvements and repairs to the inner city rather than plunking down huge amounts of money and resources into a venture that could potentially fail. Now, before anybody starts jumping up and down on that statement let me clarify. I personally would love to see a development such as the YMCA come to town, and I truly hope it will be successful. I am not against the YMCA development.
Advocates of progress take the view that public financing should be utilized in order to do as much as possible with the resources we have at hand, whether by low-risk expenditures in infrastructure development that will help broaden the tax base and revitalize downtown, bringing needed jobs to the city and priming the pump for further growth, or by continuing the work of repairing and improving the existing infrastructure. There is no reason why these two strategies cannot be pursued at the same time – other than a lack of will and the inherent defeatism of a minority of the city’s citizenry.
However, I do not believe that New Albany city government is in any position to be involved in the commercial end of this endeavor. Particularly when there are so many problems with our infrastructure, and a desperate need for code enforcement, along with many other issues that affect quality of life here. Speaking of code enforcement, since the Council passed the approval of the position and salary, we have made no apparent progress towards implementing the job. Are we still getting one? Or are we being told there’s no money?
There is no disagreement with respect to ordinance enforcement, although NA Confidential would like to see its scope broadened beyond the bare minimum proposed earlier this year.
LO: As for the Coffey Plan, I’m not so sure his plan would back this thing up all the way to zero’s. The city has already purchased land, and is in process of clearance and environmental cleanup. I believe that is a $1.5 million cost that has already been undertaken. The city plans to lease the cleared and cleaned land to the YMCA for $1 per year. One hell of a deal that would help any business get off to a good start (any hint of how to spawn more businesses?).
Entrepreneurs spawn businesses. They do so by taking stock of the requirements necessary for their chosen field of expertise, and then seeking to utilize those factors in a business plan. Cities everywhere attempt to influence entrepreneurs by establishing favorable conditions for business operation, which today involves more than tax abatements and giveaways. It involves making a city a place where the workers of the future want to live, and if the workers of the future live in a city, the jobs created by entrepreneurs will in part come to the city because the workers' skills and outlook are the valued commodities in today’s economy.
Quite simply, the YMCA’s target demographic is roundly and loudly detested by the people who seek to kill Scribner Place – and they make no effort to hide this fact.
But more significantly, the YMCA’s target demographic is precisely the one of most immediate appeal to the entrepreneurs Ms. Oates seeks, and with a more crucial long-term applicability to what we need to expand this zone into more residents downtown, which she also says she wants. One cannot simultaneously decry the lack of entrepreneurs, and attack the means of attracting them. We suggest that Ms. Oates take a long, hard look at Richard Florida’s body of work, among others. It’s obvious that she hasn’t thus far.
Now, the Redevelopment Commission has received its first $1 million payment from Caesar’s, and I’m not sure if those funds were used towards this aspect of the project or not. If so, that would mean our current investment is nominal. I suggest we leave it that way.
A new and exciting motto (i.e., pathetic excuse) now emerges: “No investment at any price.” It has a nice ring to it. Give Councilman Coffey two more years, and he’ll even find it in a dictionary.
But he doesn’t read. Too bad for his constituents, and for the remainder of the city, which he’ll willingly hold hostage to his own excessive vanity ... if we permit it.
One question that is nagging at me is… if there is going to be a bond issue, how can the City Council vote on issuing bonds that will be tied to a Grant designated to the Redevelopment Commission and the YMCA, but not to the City? I'm still digging for more on the original plans, and will hopefully have more details later this week.
It might be because the Redevelopment Commission is the city, but perhaps this is too simple a concept to build another conspiracy theory around.
A final thought: This may come as a surprise to many, but there is no doubting Ms. Oates’ sincerity. It is her methodology that is suspect, and her willingness to foment cultural warfare that is regrettable.
* Thanks to the Courier-Journal for reminding me of that one.