Upon returning from the continent, I nestled in the vicinity of the espresso machine for an intimate hour, with a song in my heart ("Sweet Neo-Con" off the new Stones album, to be exact) and two weeks of New Albany Tribune back issues by my side.
Although you’d be forgiven for concluding that irony has been bred out of the American gene pool, the fact remains that life brims over with it, and during a span of time when all forms of media were justifiably focused on covering the unprecedented catastrophes in and around New Orleans, most of the news emanating from New Albany was delightfully favorable, at least for men and women of taste and vision.
Mind you, it's not good news for one political party or the other. It's simply good news for the city. Off the top of my head, here are just a few of the headlines since our departure on September 8:
Ordinance Enforcement Officer Pam Badger on the job, and approved by the City Council in a rare, though in a few individual cases reluctant, show of unanimity.
City Council’s obstructionist Gang of Four currently rocked on its heels, and increasingly exposed to public scrutiny.
County Commissioners and County Council on board Scribner Place, then the Scribner Place bonding issue approved, and finally the contract awarded for Scribner Place site cleanup.
Cannon Acres sports park another step closer to reality.
Jeffersonville getting serious about the approach to the Big Four bridge bicycle and pedestrian link to Louisville, and New Albany businesswoman Valla Ann Bolovschak appointed to the Greenway Commission.
Brandon Smith appointed to the Historical Preservation Commission, and work underway to save an historic home on Paoli Pike.
And, to give credit where it is due, two fine editorials by Managing Editor Chris Morris, both berating New Albany’s regressive tendencies, happily indicating that the Tribune itself is increasingly confident and willing to say what needs to be said as we get this thing on the move.
I’m probably omitting a few welcome nuggets, but it’s worth noting that with the sole exception of the ongoing Sanitation Debate and the predictably emotional, partisan wrangling that it has generated, progressivism is on the march in New Albany.
While Mayor James Garner is not personally responsible for all of the preceding, it remains that the city of New Albany is visibly moving forward as we approach the midpoint of his tenure in office -- and that's powerful electoral medicine.
Of course, all this good news is taking place against a comic opera backdrop of rumblings and grumblings from the terminally and perpetually disaffected, who are at the point of vein-bursting disagreement with the Mayor if he were to announce that the sun is expected to rise in the eastern skies and set in the west, and who have yet to offer an alternative vision for the city of New Albany beyond the vacuous "gallantry" of the lynch mob.
Progress indeed is ascendant. It may be disturbingly slow, it cannot be taken for granted, and there is much work yet to be done – but we’re getting there.
And that’s good news for New Albany.
With Harvest Homecoming on the horizon, I've got some good news of my own, but it must remain a secret for a bit longer. Stay tuned.