Friday, March 10, 2006

The week that was.

It’s been a busy week, and time for a glance at the rear view mirror.

----

As reader Ed Parish already noted, the IUS men’s basketball team lost yesterday (C-J link):

Unseeded Mid-America Nazarene (Kan.) upset sixth-seeded Indiana University Southeast 72-62 yesterday in the first round of the NAIA Division II Men's Tournament in Point Lookout, Mo.

Disappointing, but it was a great year for the Grenadiers as well as a timely reminder that the overall excellence of Indiana University Southeast simply doesn’t carry sufficient weight in this community.

----

Ironically, the original choice of venue for last night’s Gloria Allred visit was IUS, but the deal fell through, and instead, Allred spoke and signed books at the Culbertson West on Main Street in downtown New Albany.

With all due respect to the Ogle Center, Culbertson West proved to be an inspired choice for the event, which was attended by around 125 people, with perhaps as many as 70 upping the ante by paying $45 each for the privilege of meeting the author in a cocktail reception beforehand.
Kudos to Destinations Booksellers, Third Century Services, LEO (Louisville Eccentric Observer) and the other event sponsors for making Gloria Allred’s appearance an entertaining evening, but more importantly, for drawing attention to timelessly pertinent issues of equality for women and children, and also fulfilling the symbolic significance of her chat in the context of New Albany’s evolving renaissance.

As event coordinator Greg Gapsis noted in the Tribune:

“There are a lot of residents and people here who see downtown as a vibrant community with a lot of promise, not only because of the historic district but because of its easy access to Louisville,” Gapsis said. “Downtown’s renaissance and entrepreneurs, like (Randy) Smith, and new (bed and breakfasts) and restaurants are what made a visit by a national author possible.”

From: Gloria Allred to speak at Culbertson West; Local bookseller says such a visit long overdue; by Jennifer Rigg (News-Tribune).

In the end, it was an evening of education and consciousness far transcending what some may have mistakenly assumed was no more than a public relations and bookselling exercise, with frequent references to Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the late Louisville area civil rights activist Anne Braden, and conversations embracing topics like human rights and justice.

Predictably, those members of the community most in need of a refresher course in such matters were glaringly absent: The Siamese Councilmen, “For All” Brambleberry, the “Potty Police,” the postal executioner, and so many others who wail incessantly about injustice, but tend to confuse the genuine article with far more mundane expressions of their own persistent failures and cosmic insignificance.

But that’s their loss. If only such crassness and ignorance would be borne stoically, rather than being wielded as a bludgeon against the greater good of the community, then progress might be faster in coming.

It will come, nonetheless.

----

Mayor James Garner was in attendance last night, but 4th District Councilman Larry Kochert was not. However, their paths crossed earlier in the week:

Garner, Kochert clash during budget meeting, by Eric Scott Campbell (News – Tribune).

It's deserving of an extended excerpt.

District 4 city council member Larry Kochert and Mayor James Garner disagreed vehemently at Wednesday night’s city budget revision meeting when Kochert suggested eliminating a second vacant building inspector position to free up money for the animal shelter. The city currently has one building inspector and two vacant inspector positions, one of which controller Kay Garry already suggested removing.

“We can’t live with that,” Garner said.

“We’re not doing them (inspecting buildings) anyway,” Kochert replied.

Garner said that wasn’t true. As council president Jeff Gahan tried to quell the disagreement, Kochert said to Garner, “You’ve got a building commissioner who’s not qualified,” referring to interim building commissioner Ron Hartman.

“Larry, that’s full of crap,” Garner responded.

Kochert said it was his opinion and that Garner had his own opinion.

The preceding was provided as a sidebar to the main story:

Most city services spared in budget cuts; Building inspector job eliminated after state tells city to trim spending, by Eric Scott Campbell (News –Tribune).

At this point in time, there is a growing recognition in New Albany that of all the manifestations of the city’s dysfunction, none are so glaring as the cancerous culture of non-enforcement that has been allowed to grow and fester through long decades of apathy.

In fact, this recognition – that the city of New Albany has little future hope if it can’t enforce its own ordinances -- is perhaps the sole point of agreement uniting otherwise vastly disparate elements of opinion in New Albany.

An embryonic effort is underway on the part of City Hall to address this situation, and it is widely understood that the effort is hamstrung by a lack of resources. Our city attorney is funded only for part-time work, and there is no city court, which was eliminated by a previous mayoral administration as a cost-cutting measure.

Into this steps the ward-heeling CM Kochert, who once famously observed that every instance of ordinance enforcement costs his Democratic Party a vote.

With a pedigree of pettifoggery like his, one wouldn’t expect CM Kochert to step vigorously to the forefront of efforts to address enforcement problems that have grown steadily worse during his long tenure on the city council and various boards – but it would be reasonable to expect that he show more subtlety than to publicly suggest further gutting a department that already struggles to perform its mandated tasks.

Ann at Diggin’ in the Dirt minces no words when it comes to CM Kochert’s remarks: Building Inspectors? Who Needs 'Em!

During the session outlined in the reporter Campbell’s two news stories, both CM Kochert and CM Dan “Wizard of Westside” Coffey offered remarks critical of the qualifications of the interim building commissioner, Ron Hartman.

NA Confidential has met Hartman only once, and although it is too early to tell how effective he’ll be on the job, one thing’s for certain: He is of like mind with all those who are disgusted with the city of New Albany’s historic culture of sloth and permissiveness, and he is appalled at “Third World” housing conditions.

Sounds to us like Hartman's just the man for the job. How out of touch with the real concerns of his constituents and the citizens of New Albany can CM Kochert remain?

----

Earlier in the week, we reported on an outbreak of campaign signage: Pencil us in for the fundraising duck shoot with Dick Cheney.

As many surmised, it wasn’t the work of Valla Ann, who wrote NAC to clarify:

I have no idea who is putting these stickers all over the place and didn’t realize it was going on until I just read your blog a few minutes ago. I would never support such a thing and don’t appreciate it …

NA Confidential persists in its belief that the political street spam is emanating from a VAB Internet fan club inspired by the blushing schoolgirl crush of the confusingly transgendered Erik/Erika.

Can a “for mayor” sign take the place of a valentine?

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Tim Deatrick said...

i wonder if Erik or erika also put the 'Jimmy G you work for me" stickers on the city county bldg. elevators too? perhaps Valla would like to disapprove of this as well