Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Calendar check: STORIES BEHIND THE STONES -- Tour of Fairview Cemetery.

This just in ... thanks, B.

STORIES BEHIND THE STONES: Tour of Fairview Cemetery
Friday September 23, 2011 & Saturday September 24, 2011
(Rain Date-Sunday September 25, 2011)

Enter the Fairview Cemetery at the main entrance on Culbertson Avenue between East 5th and East 7th Streets. The one-hour tour is a ½ mile walk around the Cemetery - First tour starts at 6pm with tours every ½ hour until 9 pm

Tickets may be purchased at Great Harvest Bread Company, 4214-5 Charlestown Road, New Albany, IN 47150

Purchase early so you can choose your tour time.

Advanced Tickets are $10 for Adult and $5 for Children – K-8th Grade.
(If available - $12 & $6 at the Cemetery)

50% of the net proceeds will go to the Fairview Cemetery Restoration Fund and 50% to the Living History Committee of the 2013 Bicentennial Commission.

http://www.facebook.com/newalbany200

Any questions, contact kkessinger@juno.com or 812-987-2132

Riverfront three-ways: Alcoholic beverages vs. square meals?

Earlier today, the discussion turned to legal esoterica, and as I should have known, it wouldn't be simple.

CeeSaw whiffs on a fat pitch as council considers expanding the booze zone.

Having now received a copy of G-06-15 from the city attorney, I may need help from a legal mind (not Legal Bagel, mind you).

I recall at the time of G-06-15's passing in 2006 that council members mentioned "50% food sales" language in the ordinance as making it difficult for those seeking a riverfront area three-way permit to run a booze-only joint (bearing in mind that all permit holders must have foodstuffs available at all times), as opposed to a restaurant dedicated primarily to meals.

Disregarding how convoluted these variations of "bar" and "restaurant" can become, such language is not stated in the ordinance passed by the city council, although reference is made to following the procedures and stipulations included in the state of Indiana's legal playbook:

IC 7.1-3-20-16
Airport restaurants; restaurants in certain economic development areas; redevelopment projects or districts, historic river vessels, cultural centers, historic districts.

However, the only mention I can find of 50% food sales comes under the heading of "service bars" at IC 7.1-3-20-17, which does not seem to apply to the topic at hand.

And yet I trust my memory, and recall council members assuring themselves that the legal language therein would preclude evil dive bars from brandishing cheap three-ways. I'm throwing this out for discussion and clarification, because I'll be tied up with work most of the day:

Exactly what, if anything, exists to prevent a special riverfront three-way permit holder from operating a gin mill, wherein the bare minimum foodstuffs required by the state (and seldom witnessed by customers) are theoretically available, and practically all revenues come from liquor?

CeeSaw whiffs on a fat pitch as council considers expanding the booze zone.


In today's One Southern Indiana Newspaper*, reporter Daniel Suddeath provides coverage of a proposed amendment before the city council. The amendment to G-06-15, which established the Riverfront Development Project Area's boundaries five years ago and made possible the issuance of special three-way licenses, would expand the area as pictured and described above.

We all agree: Apart from developer/builder Steve Resch, G-06-15 is the primary reason for a downtown dining district evolving in New Albany.

“Let’s make no bones about it — the riverfront liquor license program has been an excellent, effective incentive for New Albany to establish what we’re now referring to as our downtown dining district,” (Carl) Malysz said.
Not unexpectedly, councilman Bob "Downtown by Accident" Caesar, while expressing tepid support for the expansion measure, displays confusion as to the reasoning for it:

Councilman Bob Caesar said he will likely vote in favor of expanding the district, but added city planners and officials should be wary of the state’s intentions for approving the riverfront licensing program. He added that while he’s not opposed to patrons safely enjoying an alcoholic beverage, he believes the “city wants to see families with their kids walking out on the street.”

“The need here is restaurants, not more bars,” Caesar said. “This was done so that restaurants could serve liquor, that’s what you want. It does no good at all to have bars that can serve a bratwurst.”
Perhaps I might begin dispensing professional advice about diamonds, seeing as I comprehend so little about them. Let's go down the list ...

First, not only does G-06-15 contain language about food sales percentages at establishments using the special three-way (I'll provide exact wording once I've located the ordinance, which does not seem to be on-line), the state of Indiana always has stipulated that permit holders, including bars, must have foodstuffs available at all times. Given that these mandated edibles might constitute a moldy package of bologna, having bratwurst available would be a giant leap forward for foodie (and New Albanian) civilization.

Second, while it is touching to note Caesar's concern for families, I'm not sure that "kids walking out on the street" has as much to do with three-way alcohol permits as with the overall state of the street grid in the context of systematic traffic control and calming, which of course would be greatly facilitated by two-way streets -- and (surprise) Caesar has yet to publicly clarify his oddball, self-aggrandizing position on such matters as it applies to his own commercial interests versus the remainder of the city's.

Third, rather than Caesar resorting to perpetuating the stereotypical teetotaler's notion that bars somehow are guilty of malicious intent from inception, while steadfastly refusing to define his terms (i.e., are we talking dive bar or specialty martini bar?), Caesar might ask harder and better questions: With an ongoing shortage of housing conversions and retail, do we really need more restaurants downtown?

If so, why, and for what purpose? Suddeath's article provides a hint from the mouths of City Hall:

" ... There are some projects in the works that would benefit from having liquor licenses at the ready."

Sounds to me like a follow-up question waiting to happen, one that Mike Kopp would be able to answer -- and I'll wager Dan Coffey asks it come Thursday evening's meeting.

*Over the years, NAC has directed a huge volume of web traffic toward OSIN's web site via links, but this morning, feeling surly, I don't feel like providing a link that will result in the reader being afflicted by a pop-up ad.

Interested in community gardening?

From Ted Fulmore and Midtown New Albany comes this:

Area resident Michele Finn working to get a Community Gardening effort underway in New Albany. Interested?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"No Tolls" was great, and "No Funds" applies to 1Si, too.

New Albany's city council led the way in denouncing bridge tolls, and now Jeffersonville's legislative body points to a bright future of defunding One Southern Indiana. Let's hope New Albany's council follows suit in 2012. It would be great fun to deliver the "no funds" verdict to 1Si's compound by bicycle messenger, seeing as we know one currently living in Ohio.

Jeffersonville City Council to cut funding for One Southern Indiana; Group’s decision to endorse candidates called a ‘conflict’, by David A. Mann (OSIN)

The Jeffersonville City Council plans to cut funding for One Southern Indiana, the area’s economic development agency. The cut is being made as the agency plans to make political endorsements of candidates in the upcoming mayoral election.


Having an agency that takes public funding make such endorsements could create a conflict of interest, council members said. No vote was taken but the action was proposed and a majority polled after the meeting said they would support the cut.

Your continuing beer education: "Here's to Beer" non-credit IUS course returns this Fall, 2011.

My "Here's to Beer" Indiana University Southeast non-credit course returns on Wednesdays this fall, with sections starting in September and November. Enrollment is underway now. Both sections are identical, designed for "beginners" just coming to the sunny side of beer enthusiasm, so don't fear the dark, and consider picking one of them and attending.

September 21, 28; October 5, 12

November 2, 9, 16 & 30

Yes, you must be 21, and classes take place at the NABC Pizzeria & Public House at 3312 Plaza Drive (just off Grant Line Road) in New Albany. For $69, you get four class sessions, generous beer samples, and a mode of presentation that hasn't yet devolved to power point. It's oral history, sometimes incisive, other times rambling.


Official Course Description: Here's to Beer! (101).

Is beer the new wine? It's definitely no longer your grandfather's fizzy lager, and you'll learn why with the help of NABC's longtime brew guru, Roger A. Baylor, who will guide you through the brewing process, discuss beer's history in society and culture, and survey beer's many styles from Dark Mild to India Pale - all with appropriate samples.

Note: After successfully completing 101, students become eligible to register for Even More to Beer (202), an advanced beer education class that will be offered in Spring, 2012.
Get on board by visiting Indiana University Southeast’s web site via the links above, and for more, read this IUS Horizon newspaper article from spring, 2010: "Non-credit course educates students on history of beer."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thinking "local," and ROTFLMAO.

I glanced at Think Local Southern Indiana's page at Facebook, and noticed a tout (from Think Local's very own page administrator) for networking:

Networking Opportunity: Connect Clarksville's September meeting will be at Chuy's, one of Clarksville's newest dining hot spots!
A quick web search revealed this January bit from Business First:

Chuy’s, a Texas-based restaurant chain that opened its first Louisville location last fall, already is expanding its local presence. The company is slated to open one of its Tex-Mex restaurants on the Clarksville side of Veterans Parkway in April, said Chuy’s marketing manager Hilary Delling.
Good work, One Southern Indiana! Your embarrassingly faux "buy local" group apparently has no clothes, either ... and your former honcho is bicycling to work.

Bob Ostrander, his book & a pub quiz at the Public House on Wed., Aug. 31.

Check out the retro Public House signage!







This Wednesday, August 31, Bob Ostrander will be in New Albany to discuss his new book. Stay tuned for further details, and get the scoop on Bob's book.


One bridge? No tolls? No kidding.

The obvious is just as obvious when written down in the permanent record, especially the Bridges Politburo doing exactly what's expected of it when it gets the answers it didn't want to the questions it didn't dare ask out loud.
Comments favor one Ohio River bridge now - Tolls not popular in feedback after project adds possibility, by Marcus Green, Courier-Journal

Build one bridge now. Make it in eastern Jefferson County. And don’t ask us to pay tolls.

That’s the public’s early reaction to the most recent proposed changes to the Ohio River Bridges Project, according to a Courier-Journal analysis of hundreds of public comments obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Outside, it's New Albania.

We take the staircase to the first floor
We turn the key and slowly unlock the door
A man breathes into a saxophone
And through the walls we hear the city groan
Outside it's America
Outside it's America
-- "Bullet the Blue Sky" by U2

Downtown New Albany's ongoing revival is profiled in a Business First article from July 29.

Historic downtown New Albany comes back to life with new shops, restaurants opening in wake of Scribner Place’s arrival, by Sarah Jeffords Pister (Business First)

"(River View) is going to be a public space we think will be on the order of a square or plaza you typically see in Europe,” (Carl) Malysz said.
When it comes to whoppers, questioning eases stress, and so one's first query of the deputy mayor should be this: Which Europe? NAC provided one such answer, a full two week's prior to the Business First reference.

Stop the presses: Exciting new plan for Trickle Platz at River View.

We also offered a vision of Reaganomics Platz with a human face:


Come to think of it, no one connected with River View ever so much as attempted to modify the unfortunate analogy wherein the benefits would "trickle out" to the community at large.

Any of them want to give it a belated shot? We're all ears.

Two in the eye for 1Si.


Does the man on the left look familiar? It's One Southern Indiana's former president Michael Dalby, who now holds the same position with the Columbus (OH) Chamber of Commerce. Out from under the regressive 1Si thumb, the photo shows Dalby in Columbus celebrating a Bike to Work day in support of 2 BY 2012, an initiative whose slogan is "Change your commute. Change your life. Change your city."

As explained on the Consider Biking web site:
The goal of 2 BY 2012 is for each citizen of central Ohio to bicycle to work 2 days per month by the Columbus bicentennial in 2012.

2 BY 2012 is both a challenge and a movement. If we can rise to the challenge of changing how we get to work, we can start a movement that will significantly benefit our lives and our community.

And it all begins with you: the individual. Whether you are already a cyclist, or are interested in using cycling to improve your health, choose now and join 2 BY 2012.

We can achieve this goal! And when we do, it will mean that Columbus successfully increased its green transportation by 300% — and Columbus would surpass Portland, Oregon as the greenest transportation city in the U.S.

And as noted on the Two Wheeling blog whence the photo came:
It speaks volumes for our CEOs to get out on a day like today to show their friends, families and colleagues that it's not only ok to bike to work, but that biking is a viable, even preferable, form of urban transportation in the 21st century. We all love our cars, but we don't need to use them for short urban trips of 2-5 miles. The Columbus CEO community knows that biking to work and other forms of active transportation are good for their employees and their companies' bottom lines--studies show that employees who bike and walk to work are healthier, happier, more productive and miss less work. Check out http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2010/08/20/walk-cycle-obesity.html. And new economy workers, and the companies that wish to employ them, are increasingly attracted to cities with vibrant, active transportation systems--that's why 2 by 2012 is important to the economic development of our region.

Of course, Dalby's path to such an encouraging stance was smoothed by other civic groups in the region like the League of Women Voters and other Columbus Chamber folks, who facilitated and released a transportation study a little less than a year before he took his newfound reins:
Mobility is a growing priority for consumers—and a growing source of frustration.

Ideally, people should have at least five choices as to mode of transportation: feet, bike, transit, taxi, and private vehicle, along with the ability to mix and match them. It was recommended by Ohio’s 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force to “give Ohioans more options for getting where they want to go...by developing a balanced and efficient system that ensures connectivity among all modes of transportation.” The Ohio Department of Transportation website is currently featuring ODOT’ s 2010-2011 Business Plan, which is a follow-up to the task force report.

Steve Tugend of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce told members of the committee that the economic advantages of transit are: 1) It attracts business to the area, 2) It helps retain and grow business, and 3) It builds the capacity for growth by attracting skilled young people to the area. A survey was conducted for the Chamber that found that a good transit system, especially one with fixed guideway, is an important factor in attracting young workers to an area and in keeping them there. (A “fixed guideway” refers to any transit service that uses exclusive or controlled rights of way or rails, entirely or in part. The term includes heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, monorail, trolleybus, aerial tramway, inclined plane, cable car, automated guideway transit, that portion of motor bus service operated on exclusive or controlled rights-of-way, and high occupancy vehicle [HOV] lanes.)

It is estimated that every $10 million in capital investment for public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales, and that every $10 million in operating investment for public transportation yields $32 million in increased business sales. Further, every $1 taxpayers invest in public transportation generates $6 in economic returns.

At any rate, it's refreshing to see Dalby advocating for something sensible for a change. Let's just hope the rest of us don't have to take jobs in other cities to experience the positive results.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coe: "If you’re going to argue 'no tolls' be fair and honest."

Blogger is glitching (imagine that), and Spencer Coe has made three stabs without success at posting this as a comment. He agrees to have it lifted to the marquee, and so here goes. Let the discussion begin!

Spencer Coe has left a new comment on your post "Fetter: "Clere should represent the will of the people, business, and local government entities (as to) how tolling will negatively affect them."

Vocalizing support for actually building the bridges project with alternative financing, whether it be tolls (which I support), public private partnerships (which I support) or any other means is immediately countered by a plethora of comments about oligarchs and insinuations that supporting infrastructure and creating jobs is some how evil. This is immediately followed by flowery comments about “local business owner” Paul Fetter, “ Clark County Business” and their dedication to the poor and oppressed.

Let’s set the record straight, if there is an Oligarch it is Mr. Fetter. Manheim, Inc., his employer/partner (whatever the arrangement) has over 26,000 employees, over 100 locations in more than 15 countries and sold more than 10 million vehicles last year representing sales of over 50 billion dollars in 2010. Its headquarters is not in Clark County or in Indiana it’s in Atlanta Georgia and it is against tolls, the Bridges project, and moving our community forward. Manheim is about one thing, selling cars and they oppose tolls for one reason, they feel tolls will have a negative effect on their business. Obviously, Manheim/Fetter feels that if there are tolls fewer people will drive to Indiana and buy vehicles at his facility which will adversely affect his profitability. It’s not about driving to Louisville, or Indiana paying a disproportionate share of tolls. It’s about money. The “no tolls” group fears that a toll will adversely affect them financially.

On the opposite side of the argument there are those of us which support the Bridges Project. There are several reasons I support this project. These are the points that the “no tolls” folks over look or refuse to admit. The first and foremost being the economic development the project will bring to the area. This project will create jobs. The project will allow companies, including the one I work for and hundreds more in the region, to keep and hire workers. The project will stimulate home sales, commercial sales and encourage investment in our region. It has been consistently estimated that the construction alone will provide in excess of 4000 new jobs to the area during the 8-10 years of construction. These are good, skilled labor jobs paying, $25-$40 per hour federal wage rate jobs with benefits. These are jobs with which people can raise families, not minimum wage service industry jobs. Moreover, after construction the economic development benefit will be thousands more.

Contrary to the “no tolls” folks contentions, this project can not be built without some source of funding other than normal transportation funds. It is disingenuous to suggest that an additional one billion dollars can be cut from the project and no one can specify where these additional cuts will occur.

If you’re going to argue “no tolls” be fair and honest. If you’re against tolls you are against the bridges project, against new high paying jobs for our community, against economic development and against progress.

SIProgressives.

I've been made aware of this new web site: SIProgressives.com. The group is looking to have regular discussions, perhaps at the NABC Public House, and I will keep readers posted.

We are not sponsored by any party--in fact, we are disappointed by both parties in many ways. We are also not directly associated with any of the national organizations--we are local, southern Indiana residents trying to form a real grassroots organization to represent our progressive positions.

Moss: "Community Park is under attack, by (Scott) Klink’s reckoning."

Earlier this week, Dale Moss picks up where my recent column, ON THE AVENUES: The usual suspects, and a future held hostage, left off.

Scott Klink's defining moment for Floyd County

Does Floyd County have enough park land? Can it have enough? Scott Klink is certain of the answers.

He feels fairly sure of yours, as well.

In any event, Klink wants to believe that people believe a county must be more than its storefronts. Business matters but so does getting away from business. Klink asks that his county believe it is high time — the clock ticks — to stand up for a better quality of life.

“It’s not about taxes and revenue all the time,” Klink said. “At some point, it needs to be about what’s good for people.”

The county is considering the future of land on and around its to-be-shuttered annex — its one-time poor house — on Grant Line Road. Options seem to include selling some, most or perhaps all of what Klink said totals 18 acres.

Klink is involved officially as president of the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board, which operates Sam Peden Community Park right behind the annex. He is involved unofficially as a citizen who, when traveling, marvels at how well some places make the most of nature. They appreciate that more and more pavement is not the only sign of progress. Anyway, Community Park is under attack, by Klink’s reckoning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fetter: "Clere should represent the will of the people, business, and local government entities (as to) how tolling will negatively affect them."

Paul Fetter responds to "Dave" on the OSIN thread mentioned yesterday, and we thank him for his valuable input, seeing as no one has done more than Paul during the battle against proposed bridge tolls.

Respectfully, tolling is a serious issue for Southern Indiana. It is easy for someone in Floyd County to say they want tolls, because the Sherman Minton Bridge is no longer going to be tolled. Well Dave, you can thank our group No2bridgetolls.org and Roger, Jeff, and friends for that, because it was through our efforts that tolling for the Sherman Minton was removed.

The tolling issue is still out there and is a serious concern for Clark County residents and businesses. We in Clark County appreciate that Roger and Jeff are still staying involved with the topic, because it is now less relevant for them.

Representative Clere may not feel that this is his problem anymore, but his own New Albany City Council, with 8 other municipal councils, and the Southern Indiana Tourism Bureau passed resolutions opposed to tolling. Over 11,000 people and 200 businesses signed petitions opposing tolling. Both of these things happened in about 2 months last fall. If we had continued looking for signatures on the petitions, there would easily be over 50,000 signatures by now. People are still asking for them. We felt 11,000 signatures in 2 months was a very telling statement and no further action was necessary. Tolling is a very serious concern for Southern Indiana, and I think Representative Clere should represent the will of the people, business, and local government entities that understand how tolling will negatively affect them.

Our two states have $1.9 billion pledged to build a bridges project. What makes the most sense for Southern Indiana is making the rest of the necessary reductions to the Ohio River Bridges Project and build it with the money the states have available. If we are going to spend $1.9 billion, this should be project we can all get behind. This can happen if our politicians like Representative Clere will help by representing this to our state and federal leaders.

No further comment here necessary. I will gladly discuss the Ohio River Bridges Project with anyone interested anytime. You can reach me through our website or Facebook page.

Paul Fetter, Co-founder,
www.No2bridgetolls.org

Give 'em hell, Matt: 1Si's candidate endorsements "unethical."

In his column today, Matt Nash offers clear thinking on One Southern Indiana's controversial candidate endorsements. It continues to amaze me how many of 1Si's own people oppose the oligarch enrichment organization's star chamber approach to interfering in the governmental process, but cannot offer an opinion openly for obvious reasons.

It's more than ironic ("hypocritical" springs to mind) that 1Si now purports to support localism with one hand (Think Local, or some such ineffectualism), while the other hand endorses candidates and positions actively designed to deter localism.

Perhaps 1Si thinks we don't notice, but we do. Too bad the same cannot be said of local politicos like Councilman CeeSaw, whose conflicts of interest v.v. 1Si continue to embarrass.

NASH: Who is paying for 1si

... I cannot stop One Southern Indiana from making whatever endorsements that they see fit. I believe it is unethical for them to ask local governments for money if this is the path that they have chosen.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Def Leppard.

Def Leppard is a favorite of mine, and I’ve seen the lads from Sheffield UK perform live on four separate occasions, most recently last Friday night (August 19) at Freedom Hall.

The show was good, and the crowd energy was high, a condition that might well have derived from low-quality, high-priced alcohol flowing through many of the attendees’ bloodstreams. After all, the Kentucky State Fair is not an institution noted for top-shelf discretion, and ironic detachment is as unwelcome on the grounds as bicycles.

However, as has been the case at all my previous shows, I found the Lepps’ version of my favorite song, Hysteria, to be wanting. That’s curious, given the band’s well-earned reputation for recreating heavily produced studio tracks with precision while performing on stage, but perhaps its difficulties with Hysteria reveal more than one flawed conception.

First, for all its deafening guitar hero riffs, Def Leppard has been perpetually miscast as heavy metal. The band itself always has described its aim as uniting AC-DC’s music with vocals by the Beach Boys, and on the 1980’s version of “Hysteria,” on the hugely triumphant album of the same name, legendary producer Mutt Lange steered the group’s pop shadings into compelling subtleties of wistfulness and longing that make the listener feel the ache of yearning in his or her gut, even these many years later.

Second, the instrumental metal and massed vocal choruses required to give Hysteria its unique sheen must be played at stadium volume for full effect, thus rendering the necessary subtleties all but inaudible. Acoustically unplugged is not an option, and with octaves already dropped to accommodate singer Joe Elliott’s aging voice and a slightly speedier pace, Hysteria simply doesn’t translate into an easy number to pull off.

And yet, how can Def Leppard omit Hysteria from the set list? When the economy is bad, the fans want the hits, and when the economy gets better – the fans still want the hits. At Friday night’s show, only one album the group has recorded since 1991 was represented, and with a solitary cut: Rock On, a cover of the 1973 David Essex hit, which appears on Def Leppard’s 2006 all-covers album, Yeah!, which I heartily recommend.

Yeah! is a loving homage to the glam and glitter that inspired the founding members of Def Leppard, and unlike many collections of covers, there is a method to connecting the dots of influence; the mature professionals rediscovering the music that filled their youthful heads and propelled their meteoric rise. From the Kinks to Thin Lizzy, and especially T Rex, the cover love is palpable.

Def Leppard’s members are no longer young, and the group’s well-documented trials, tribulations, deaths and dismemberments hopefully are all in the past, yielding to a well-oiled touring machine with a work ethic to match. Music is a business like any other, and it remains fascinating to me to go “behind the music,” not in the tabloid sense, but to examine the plan of operation. How do musicians like these survive and even prosper in a rapidly changing market? The answers are many and varied, and often compelling.

Until next time – and as Elliott always reminds the audience, “There WILL be a next time” – I’ll retain my credentials as a Def Leppard supporter, hoping the band makes new music, content to hear the familiar material yet again, and gauging the mysteria of hysteria as we grow older.

ON THE AVENUES: A multiplicity of toxicity.

ON THE AVENUES: A multiplicity of toxicity.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

It’s been almost exactly one year since the infamous Clere Channel Facebook Massacre, and it appears the statute of insinuations has at long last expired, because on August 21, in a comment posted at One Southern Indiana Newspaper’s web site, a public explanation for the X-ACTO brand stiletto attack finally was offered by State Representative Ed Clere’s wife, Amy Clere.

But first, here’s a brief reprise from my News & Tribune column last year:

In the aftermath of the New Albany city council's wondrous resolution condemning tolls on existing bridges, I decided to canvass local politicians to learn their views on tolling, and to publish these at the NA Confidential blog. Of prime importance are those candidates on the November ballot, whose position on tolls obviously is important for informed voter choice.

Consequently, I was delighted to see that Chuck Freiberger and Ron Grooms (candidates for State Senate, District 46) and Shane Gibson and Ed Clere (candidates for State Representative, District 72) all have campaign pages on Facebook.

Social media sites represent immediacy and two-way communications, something especially valued when it comes to politicians. Once you are a “friend,” or in certain cases “like” a Facebook page, you may post comments and interact. I followed social media protocol, and posted my question at three of the four candidate pages, omitting Gibson, who'd already taken an anti-toll position in his Tribune guest column.

"Can you explain your position on tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project? Thanks."
Only now, twelve months later, can I offer eager readers the reasoning for the deletion of my question and the expunging of my “like.”

Here is some information for the record.

Ed has never written any comment on the News and Tribune website and certainly not on his own column. As someone who sees how very busy Ed is, I can attest that he has little time to even look at his column online, much less post comments. In addition, Ed is a former newsman who would only write on this or any other newspaper site using his own name.

If you look back at Ed's columns online, you will see that comments come from a wide array of individuals. As far as we can tell, most of these are people with whom neither Ed nor I are acquainted. Ed appreciates all constructive comments on this site whether or not they are complimentary. The same is true of Ed’s Facebook page.I am the administrator of the State Representative Ed Clere Facebook page. I set up the page so that people could get information, link to Ed's columns or write comments. In order to write comments, you must first 'like' the page. This language suggests that FB intends that this be a positive medium. Again, Ed welcomes constructive comments.

On only one occasion have I deleted any comment from Ed's FB page.


It occurred late one weeknight. One individual posted a comment intended to politically undermine Ed and to engage him in an argument that this individual and his cohorts were working hard to create. A couple of other people copied and pasted the same comment and posted it on Ed’s FB page. Over the course of several minutes, additional identical comments lined the “wall” of the page, some written by outside agitators who do not live in Ed’s district or even in Indiana. Before 24 hours was finished, I fully expected to see additional disingenuous comments lining the page.

Like Ed, I have precious little time to mind a FB page and cannot log on at the school where I teach. Therefore, I took immediate action. I deleted the copied and pasted comments and denied some individuals access to the page. I did the deleting, and Ed has never deleted anything on his FB page.Bullying Ed or any other public official is not a productive way to communicate. Ed appreciates constructive conversation and provides easy ways to reach him.

Amy Clere … August 21, 2011, 11:21 PM
Apparently, when you’re the hardest working, most selfless power couple in two centuries of local politics, there’s just no time for any activity requiring the subtlety and discernment necessary to sense the fundamental difference in asking a question and “politically undermin(ing)” someone whose job description as legislator includes tasks like answering questions.

The doo doo’s gotten deeper and deeper during the intervening year, as the layers of Rep. Clere’s expedient centrist deceptions have been peeled away to reveal the ideological right-wing extremist behind the mask, and the reason NAC stays in the crosshairs of the smitten is that we remain among the only coherent voices of opposition in town where business-as-usual is terrified to point openly to the emperor’s terminal nudity -- politically speaking, of course.

---

But, dearest reader, please know that cults of personality are no mystery to me, for they are just as useful to publicans as politicians. Consequently, the fact that Rep. Clere is electronically trailed by a loving band of adulatory groupies, long since identified as fluffers in the finest traditions of the urban dictionary, comes as no surprise, but we must strip away their superfluous praise and the choreographed, regimented hosannas borrowed from the playbook of Kim Il Sung to burrow into the very diseased heart of the matter – clerely, paranoia of a breathtaking and locally unprecedented intensity.

---

From the first moment last August when NAC and others began publicly questioning Rep. Clere about tolling and the attendant idiocies of the Bridges Project, his reaction has been consistently and aggressively Nixonian – the immediate circling of wagons, the vilification and censorship of honest questioners, the unfounded suspicion that a vast oppositionist conspiracy has been arrayed against him, and the sheer, pervasive, unnecessary “they’re all out to get me” bile of it all.

It is very important to note that I intentionally use “his reaction” to describe the phenomenon, rather than “her” or “their.” That’s because as an elected official, the buck in such matters stops with Ed Clere himself, and as such, onlookers are advised to look past the “good cop, bad cop” black comedy routine, wherein Mrs. Clere defines and redefines what her husband knows and does not know, about what is said or not said.

Rather, it’s time to understand that he damn well knows the score, because if he’s as bright as we’re told, then he’s too bright not to know it, and anything less than perpetual brilliance would be more than a disappointment: It would be utterly divorced from the marketing program for the ascendant cult of personality, as was the case with Richard Nixon, as well.

As deities go, you simply cannot be all-knowing without being all-knowing, or else you’re not all-knowing ... and the genie leaps back into the bottle.

---

Meanwhile, the questions that have been peremptorily shunned, sneeringly dismissed and excised outright remain just as valid as when they were first asked.

Haven’t we every bit as much a right as other voters and taxpayers to ask legitimate questions about the legislative agenda an elected official pursues?

Haven’t we the right to offer evidence in rebuttal, and to explain our position to others in the community?

How does the mere act of asking questions – of articulating our disagreement – qualify us as disrespectful, conniving enemies of the true gospel?

Yes, we find the legislative positions espoused by Rep. Clere repugnant and at odds with our core system of beliefs, and so we articulate and perpetuate lawful opposition to them. At root, that’s what the Clere Channel detests the most: That we refuse to be obedient, when disobedience represents not only our civil and governmental philosophies, but embrace personal, ethical imperative.

What infuriates Rep. Clere, and what has succeeded in exposing the nannying, hectoring bully lurking just beneath the “aw, shucks” public façade, is that we dare to openly occupy roles as oppositionists at a time when subservience is being mandated by the ruling junta as a means of squelching dissent.

Moreover, we insist on being true to our core system of beliefs at the expense of new age patriotism, Indiana-style, defined as saluting via auto-tumescence in the presence of icons like Mitch Daniels, Tony Bennett, Ron Grooms, Ed Clere, Kerry Stemler, One Southern Indiana and all the other architects of theocratic, reactionary, class-war-encouraging Hoosierstan, circa 2011.

During the run-up to last year’s election, the Clere Channel Network’s genetic paranoia was manifested in identifying any question as an overt threat, invariably linked with the incumbent’s opponent, Shane Gibson, as though it was unimaginable that principled dissent in matters of tolling, teaching and taxpaying might exist apart from partisan electoral prerequisites.

And yet it does, and speaking for myself, muzzles qualify as neither viable alternatives nor fashionable accessories.

I'll content myself with truth-telling.

---

One final point, to which I’ll return in greater depth another time: When it comes to purely partisan attitudinal “bullying,” perhaps it takes one to know one, seeing as Rep. Clere is not above practicing this delightful art himself whenever the paranoiac mood seizes him.

Evidence? Let’s just say that I know of which I speak, and so does he, and because such tactics have been directed against me, I suspect that our harried hero comprehends far more of what is uttered in cyberspace than either he, she or their Clere Channel operatives let on.

Then again, maybe it’s just the toxicity in me. You know how we dissidents can be, so is it time for Tiananmen Square NA?

"Business owner urges no tax dollars for 1Si."

Paul is one business owner who feels this way. I'm another.

It is both funny and sad that now, on cue, one of 1Si's functionaries will deny there's any connection between oligarch enrichment and the star chamber's political endorsements.

Anyway, who else is with us? Kudos to Paul for being a business owner who is not afraid to elucidate a core values system that differs from the unelected Kerry Stemler's.

---

Business owner urges no tax dollars for 1si

Last week’s article by Daniel Suddeath in the News and Tribune reaffirms that One Southern Indiana — a special interest group that works most specifically for the benefit of local big business — is backing political candidates. This, by definition, also makes them a political lobbying group.

Jeffersonville and New Albany have given tens of thousands of dollars to One Southern Indiana in the interest of economic development. It is terribly wrong for our tax dollars to fund any lobbying group that publicly backs candidates. Our communities must cut 1si’s funding if they continue this practice. Call your local councilman and mayor and demand that they do not fund One Southern Indiana as long as they continue publicly supporting candidates.

One Southern Indiana’s No. 1 topic for endorsing a mayoral candidate mentioned in this article is the Ohio River Bridges Project. This is a mirror of last year’s election in their backing of candidates. They will pressure their chosen candidate to go along with their goal of building the project at “whatever cost.”

The chosen candidates tend to reciprocate by not listening to what the citizens are telling them. A candidate that goes along with this is only representing the special interest groups that will profit from this project at “whatever cost” and not representing their constituents.

If tolling is used as a funding mechanism on this project, Hoosiers representing a little more than 10 percent population of the Louisville Metro Area will be paying a disproportionate amount in tolls. One of the reasons is far more workers commute from Southern Indiana to Louisville than vice-versa.

Hoosiers know this, and this is why:

• In nine short weeks last fall, 11,000 people in Clark County signed petitions that said they were opposed to tolling.

• During the same period of time, nine local representative councils passed no-tolls resolutions.

• Southern Indiana’s Tourism Bureau passed a no-tolls resolution.

• The Jeffersonville Main Street Association passed a no-tolls resolution.

Our community is overwhelmingly in favor of an East-End Bridge and whatever other parts of the project that can be built without tolls. We need leaders that listen to their citizens and stand up for our community. Do not support candidates that will not.

— Paul Fetter, Clarksville

Urbanophile: "How big a boondoggle does a highway project have to be...?"

This bit of commentary comes from Southern Indiana native and well-recognized urban development consultant Aaron Renn, aka the Urbanophile, written soon after the latest bridges "deal" was announced. Offered as part of one of his Urbanoscope updates in January, it's worth a look for a quick, objective opinion from an experienced professional. Thanks to Save Louisville for pointing it out. Also worthy of review is Renn's previous, more in-depth support for 8664.

Ohio River Bridges Project Is Still a Boondoggle, by Aaron Renn, The Urbanophile.

Indiana and Kentucky have supposedly agreed on a plan to chop $500 million off the cost of the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville. Now the project will cost “only” $3.6 billion, or almost $3000 for every single man, woman, and child in the entire metro area – and a heckuva lot more than that once financing costs and user delay cost during two decades of construction are taken into account.

This project seems to be a quest for an answer to the question: How big a boondoggle does a highway project have to be before even the most fiscally conservative of politicians will go for a rethink? It’s amazing that leaders on both sides of the rivers continue to push for this plan that will be little more than a cash drain on the region. And a destructive one, obliterating a number of historic buildings in downtown Louisville and erecting an even more gigantic barrier across the riverfront.

There is a better way: 8664. This project will save a couple billion – and reconnect downtown Louisville with the river to boot. Much better, much much cheaper. What’s not to love? Go forward with the adjustment to move the pedestrian path the Big Four, then take the rest of the steps to make 8664 a reality.

By the way, the Star said this was a “Kentucky delegation” and didn’t mention any Southern Indiana representation. I noted one of the cost saving measures was downscoping the east end bridge. Did Kentucky pull a fast one on Mitch? The east end bridge goes through Louisville’s equivalent of Zionsville and the big money types there – who are hugely influential – have never and will never give up on cancelling that bridge outright or, failing that, reducing it as much as possible. This looks to me like Kentucky maneuvering for position moreso than cost savings. Watch out, Indiana.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Peering into Todd Blue's cranium.

The web site http://www.louisvilleky.com/ seems to be making strides toward justifying its "pulse of the city" claim. Lamb's account of an oligarch in waiting and his variable communication skills touches an appropriate note of Kurtz ... but I may be giving Blue too much credit.

Turning Blue – Todd Reminds Activists “People need to get a life.”, by Cindy Lamb

Trying to contact Todd Blue for a comment or suggest an interview has been difficult but not without it’s enlightening and frustrating moments over the past seven months. I’m trying to make sense from a volatile email I received a week ago from Cobalt Ventures CEO Todd Blue, so the following timeline leading to the outburst is hopefully therapeutic for this scribe.

Enforced? Where is this mysterious place?


It's Holland, Michigan.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My vacation: It only bothers you if you are one.

Just in case you care -- and it doesn't bother me one bit if you don't -- here's a handy compendium of our recently concluded road trip to the Great Taste of the Midwest (Madison, Wisconsin) and back. Above, I'm pictured laughing with Ted Miller, owner of Brugge Brasserie and president of the Brewers of Indiana Guild (photo credit).

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Thursday, August 11.

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Friday, August 12.

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Saturday, August 13 (GTMW)

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Sunday, August 14.

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Monday, August 15.

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Tuesday, August 16.

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Wednesday, August 17.

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Thursday, August 18.

New Albany First: Membership list and member information.

Here's the current membership list for New Albany First, the city's first ever grassroots organization devoted to small, local, independent business. More information is at the Facebook page.

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Antiques Attic - Katrina Jones, owner

145 East Market St. New Albany

812-941-0437

A two-floor private antiques and collectibles shop - owned and run by antique-aholics. New merchandise added weekly with great variety.

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EarthlyGoods.com and Mind's Eye Creative - Ann Streckfus and Stephen Brown, owners

620 East Main Street New Albany

812-944-3283

www.earthlygoods.com

www.mindseyecreative.com

EarthlyGoods.com sells eco-friendly ad specialty/promotional products, including personalized seed packets, seed paper and conventional items like pens, bags and other promotional products.

Mind's Eye Creative is a visual communications company specializing in branding graphic design of web sites, logos, print materials, advertisements, environmental graphics and packaging

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Earth Friends Cafe - Stacie Bale, owner

3211 Grant Line Road, Suite 3 New Albany

812-725-9393

www.earthfriendscafe.com

A locally owned cafe and coffee bar, specializing in organic, fair-trade, cruelty-free and eco-friendly products.

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River City Winery - Melissa Humphrey, owner

321 Pearl Street New Albany

812-945-9463

www.rivercitywinery.com

Produces award winning wines with a full menu including appetizers, salads, pastas and gourmet pizzas. Entertainment on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Kid friendly!

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Sew Fitting - Cisa Barry, owner

430 Pearl Street, Suite 2 New Albany

502-548-8733

www.sewfitting.com

Affordable alterations and custom creations for all your clothing needs.

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RE/MAX Advantage - Paul Kiger Realty Group

1420 East Market Street New Albany

502-314-6748

www.paulkigerrealtygroup.com

Real estate services in the southern Indiana and Metro Louisville area.

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New Albanian Brewing Company - Roger Baylor, Carnival Barker

3312 Plaza Drive New Albany

812-949-2804

www.newalbanian.com

Since 1987, New Albany's craft brewer with pizzeria and gastrobrewpub (Bank Street Brewhouse), providing great times and memories for the community.

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Schmitt Furniture Company, Inc. - Louis Schmitt, President

101 East Main Street New Albany

812-944-2285

www.schmittfurniture.com

Since 1936, we have continued the time-honored Schmitt family tradition of providing families in the Kentuckiana area with quality, affordable, brand name home furnishings supported by superior customer service. We continually strive to exceed our customer's expectations with total satisfaction being our number one goal.

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Able Alarm and Electronic Protection - Randy Blessinger, owner

PO Box 54 New Albany

812-948-2601

www.ablealarm.us

Able Alarm provides solutions for burglar alarm, fire alarm, gate control, cameras and access control.

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Faith, Ingle, Smith LLC - Brandon W. Smith, Managing Member

412 East Main Street New Albany

812-542-0048

www.faithinglesmith.com

Law firm focusing on injury law, criminal defense, family law, wills and estates.

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Big Value Advertising Services, Inc. - Pete Good, President and General Manager

1101 East Spring Street New Albany

812-948-8133

Advertising specialties, promotional advertising, printing, signs, flags and poles.
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Pacers and Racers, Inc. - Michael Stallings, President

3602 Northgate Court New Albany

812-948-7865

www.pacersandracers.com

"7-step" custom shoe fitting. Running, walking, casual, work, cross training and dress sshoes. A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Locally owned and operated.

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Destinations Booksellers - Randy Smith, owner

604 East Spring Street New Albany

812-944-5116

www.destinationsbooksellers.com

New books in all genres, plus textbook rentals and 24/7 online service.

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Coffee News - Stacy Marshall, publisher

P.O. Box 135 Greenville, IN

812-786-2224

www.coffeenewssunnyside.com

Coffee News is a free weekly publication delivered to restaurants, coffee shops and waiting areas. It has the week’s funniest and most unusual news stories, amazing facts, trivia, local events and more.

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Friends of New Albany First! -

Councilman Jack Messer

Carnegie Center for Art and History

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Individual Members -

Jessica Potish

Todd and Marsha Bailey

Jeff and Karen Gillenwater

Kate and Greg Caufield

Marcey Wisman

Andy and Sandra Terrell

Monday, August 22, 2011

Caption contest: OSIN's automotive pop-up ad.

If you save the background photo, the car dealership names disappear!

How should the caption read? We know who will win, which is why I'm no longer offering prizes, but just for the sport of it, here's mine:

"Piss on you -- I work for the Alabama State Retirement Fund."

The outrages of the Bridges Politburo.

I believe Steve Magruder has coined the perfect monicker for the entity previously known here as the Tolling Authority: The Bridges Politburo. His reasoning is impeccable, and has to do with Нада (nothing; zilch, zero), or in this case, an absence of genuine choice:

Thus the 'Politburo' moniker. With choices like Nada, Something Akin to Nada, and a still-too-big project with toll taxes, it's the Louisville transportation choice equivalent to a food market in the old Soviet Union.
I've been to food markets in the old USSR, and yes, that's it: Brown lettuce, pickled beets and Kerry Stemler atop the Robert Moses Mausoleum in a furry cap with a hip flask of vodka, It's such an obvious image that I'm surprised it didn't occur to any of us previously.

Steve has a lot to say about the Bridges Politburo's accumulated outrages, so head over to his place and read all about it: The Ongoing Shenanigans of the Bridges Politburo — Community Action Requested on New and Old Outrages, by Steve Magruder (Louisville History & Issues).


Merchant Mixer venue moved ... and I had the perfect parking place in mind.


It's Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m., with a change of venue.

Because of Prestons' sale, the Merchants Mixer scheduled for Tuesday morning at 8:30 will be moved to the Vintage Fire Museum location in the Coyle Chevrolet Building, 411 E. Spring St. Coffee will be on. Bring a food item to share if you care to, but that is not necessary. We will talk about recent developments downtown, flowers and beautification, signage on I-64 and in the city, empty buildings that are poorly maintained, one-way streets, and anything else on people's minds. AND YOU GET TO SEE THE AMAZING COLLECTION OF FIRE EQUIPMENT. Tours of the museum collection will be offered after the mixer.

Farmers market in Holland, Michigan on August 17, 2011.




Sunday, August 21, 2011

Michele Bachmann: "A religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions."

After reading this article by Rolling Stone's masterful Matt Taibbi, I finally realized that Michele Bachmann has never been a member of the New Albany - Floyd County School Board.

Or has she?

Geez, it's getting really hard to tell the nutjobs without a scorecard. Could it be that New Albany's wonderfully delightful Open Air Museum of Ignorance, Superstition and Backwardness finally has gone national?

By the way, how'd you like that ice-cold Budweiser "down by the riverside" this weekend?

Michele Bachmann's Holy War, by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone)

... In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you've always got a puncher's chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she's living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she's built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

Step One: The rag soaked with chloroform ...


According to Step Two of our action plan, State Representative Steve Stemler would awaken in a secret re-education center devoted to proponents of oligarch enrichment and bridge tolls, who somehow still insist on being called "Democrats" against all prevailing evidence.

Unfortunately, our own Doctor Wu decided that Rep. Stemler was too far gone to be helped, and so the rag soaked with chloroform was replaced with a regular old handkerchief.

Foiled again ...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It is difficult to imagine bicycles making Kentucky State Fair transport any less organized.

But seriously, folks, the management of the Kentucky State Fair barely handles the needs of automotive traffic, much less have scant brain cells left over for bicycles.

State Fair Bicycle Ban ‘UN-FAIR!’ Some call for boycott, Kirk Kandle (LouisvilleKY)

As a Bicycling for Louisville board member and a vocal advocate for active transportation such as cycling and walking, I find it amazing that I’m even writing the following post. Our city is at the bottom of the National Fitness Index. Our state is among the most obese in America. Yet, we go out of our way to keep people from becoming more active by limiting their transportation choices.
On Friday night, in addition to the usual bedlam, there were two big musical events at the KSF. We attended the Def Leppard show at Freedom Hall, which let out at about 11:45 p.m.

Attempting to backtrack along the shortest route possible to our far-off parking area behind the baseball stadium, we learned that the indoor fair exhibition areas were closed, making the skyway entry portal inaccessible.

Several hundred exiting concertgoers were told in cursory fashion that they'd have to fend for themselves, unless of course they chose to fight over the few available seats on "shuttles" -- wagons pulled by tractors piloted by veterans of the Spanish American War, moving toward the longest route possible to distant parking areas at speeds approaching 5 m.p.h.

Naturally, the mob veered left, entirely undirected by fair employees who weren't willing to leave the air-conditioning, and began the trail of tears the longest way around, past the animal sheds. Dodging traffic coming from all directions, our group of pedestrians made it back to the original parking area, where lines of autos were splayed in all directions with little assistance from a handful of traffic assistants who were completely overwhelmed by the long lines of cars.

Occasionally, police added to the fun by driving past sans evident purpose, hurriedly in route to somewhere else. It took almost an hour to complete the walk back, and to successfully exit the grounds onto Crittenden Drive.

Surveying the chaotic state of vehicular disorganization last evening, I'd say it's small wonder that smaller minds at the Kentucky State Fair are nonplussed by two-wheeled transport. They have bigger fish to fry, and lack two sticks to rub together for flame.

It's Holland, all right.







It's Holland ... Michigan.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

ON THE AVENUES: The usual suspects, and a future held hostage.

ON THE AVENUES: The usual suspects, and a future held hostage.

By ROGER BAYLOR
Local Columnist

Community Park Developers LLC’s plans would include the entire 18-acre tract. James L. Shireman, Larry Timperman and John W. Lopp make up Community Park Developers. The three propose that their development would create 520 jobs, provide about $100,000 in tax revenue for the county each year and as much as $1 million or more after all lots are sold.
-- News and Tribune

520 jobs at a strip mall, generating only $100,000?

Am I supposed to laugh, or cry?

Hello?

There are the times when you look at the acreage and occupants comprising the places where you live and work, and you say to yourself (but only after a snort of very strong drink): Seriously, the only thing that can possibly explain this degree of absurdity is an overall genetic deficiency.

Truly, it must be something in the water.

As my blogging colleague Bluegill noted yesterday, it’s the usual suspects, all the way across the board.

It’s the same so-called thinking downtown (River View, anyone?), as the same purported thinking along the Grant Line corridor, to the effect that the same exurban developers, and the same feather-bedded architects, make a proposal to the same tired political functionaries, the latter representing the same two clueless political power-sharers, and we decide, without voting, to chew up and spit out some of the last remaining green space inside the beltway for the same short-term development to benefit the same inveterate, eternal, close-minded small-timers as always.

Yes, there is another proposal on the table, and it would protect a portion of the open character of the land. Label me unimpressed, because two options are two options: Black, or white. This, or that. Democrat, or Republican. Does anyone have a bucket?

Moreover, given the almost laughable non-choice being offered, why am I the one declared “toxic” for asking questions like this one: Why can’t there be a third option that calls for leaving the space clean and green, at a time when we continue to battle the storm-water implications of rampant pavement?

Why must there be another parking lot?

---

I believe that in large measure, the current New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board has the best interest of Floyd County’s park system in mind. I accept that high on its list of priorities is preserving the territorial integrity of the existing parks. When Scott Klink, the board’s president, and other correspondents say they do not favor yielding park lands to variously conjectured proposals for sale and development, I take their protestations at face value, even as I cock an eyebrow and wonder if a future Little League baseball complex is their ultimate goal for Community Park.

I like baseball, but doubt if that’s the answer, either.

But it is a measure of the suspicion and non-transparency enveloping this topic that in defense of its laudable goals, the Parks Board chose its own somewhat less than transparent strategy during the most recent state legislative session, by persuading State Representative Ed Clere to introduce a parks district law behind the backs of the city’s and county’s elected officials.

Such a district would take the county’s parks entirely out of the jurisdiction of elected officials, as well as provide funding from tax revenues outside the reach of their grasping hands.

And yet, the parks district surprise attack may have seemed like the only viable option available to the Parks Board, given persistent insinuations (some would say, “threats”) made by certain elected officials whose names begin with Ted to the effect that lacking the political courage to tax the populace, they’d happily develop parklands to resolve short-term funding problems.

When the county’s planner, Don Lopp, began running interference for his paymasters in recent comments right here at this blog, the course became considerably more obvious. I’d say Lopp’s circuitous logic surely outed the political Philistines in the county, except there was no need for outing; they’d have sold the Community Park frontage already if the recession hadn’t intervened, and have said so often enough.

We’d have another dollar store, another chain restaurant, and another flea market, sans any commensurate uptick in political courage on the part of our masters … except that they’re no masters of mine, and it saying so aloud makes me toxic, then so be it.

---

In the end, amid the lies, threats and unreconstructed, pure dullness of the folks we’ve elected to chart the future, there finally is revealed an instance when Ed Clere might have been of some use to the citizenry.

Rather than same armchairs in the back room, he might have expended mere farthings of his voluminous political capital, gone to the residents of the county with the case for a “pledge” on the part of elected officials in New Albany and Floyd County, and made the case that “green” is a unifying theme.

Something like this:

“We recognize the value of green space, and will eschew short term gains by observing the long term benefits of our parks. The territorial integrity of the NA-FC parks system will be preserved, even as we seek to expand these boundaries.”

Or something like that. Alas, even if Rep. Clere had taken the high road, I can no easier imagine either Doug England or Ted Heavrin saying these words than I can picture me drinking an ice-cold Miller Lite.

The mayor would flip Valley View at the drop of a hat, and Heavrin, the county council president for life, reappointed to office after electoral defeat by a party hierarchy that lives in the 1940’s, would do the same with the Community Park frontage.

I don’t mind pointing it out: Damn, we’re dumbasses here in New Albany and Floyd County. It is really in the water, or is there something we can do about it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why doesn't Dave Matthews object to this degree of embarrassment?

Jump ball: Who can forget Trashy Women, anyway -- particularly when Jesus approves?

Straight up: The committee admittedly works hard to make the riverfront functional, but it takes three huge steps back for every small one gained by lurching forward with acts like Confederate Railroad, although at least there'll be plenty of ice cold swillwater for the night.

Verily: We cannot have a new political regime too soon. Get out your brooms, bring on the election, and let's just hope the Urban Enterprise Association survives until then.

Attribution: Develop (yee-haw) New Albany sent this notice to us.

Confederate Railroad in Concert Friday August 19th @ Amphitheater at 8pm

Confederate Railroad has had more than 20 of their singles on Billboard’s Country Charts with hits like ‘Queen of Memphis’ and ‘Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind’ and who can forget that country classic "Trashy Women". From rowdy country to raw emotion, a Confederate Railroad concert today covers a wide range of feelings. Young people will be there rocking to "Trashy Women", while their parents and even grandparents will likely be singing along to "Jesus and Mama".

Two new park proposals but a common theme.

Two pitches: one from a non-profit that would preserve some of the green space and the other from a developer that would install a strip center and other accoutrements of decay.

Design details are lacking in News and Tribune and Courier coverage thus far but I was struck by the inclusion of one particular name: Larry Timperman. Timperman is one the usual suspect architects hired for seemingly every public job in the area, including advising the County on the potential reuses of the annex building. End result? A proposal to make money for his own LLC.

Sound familiar? Sound like River View? Sound like every day in the open air museum?

It's time for the super self-interested to be identified as such rather than treated as allies to the public interest.

Candidates, are you listening?

Two submit proposals for New Albany's North Annex, by Chris Morris (News and Tribune).

Family Scholar House and Community Park Developers LLC both want to acquire all or part of the 18 acres surrounding the North Annex along Grant Line Road, which currently houses the Floyd County Youth Shelter.

It will be up to the Floyd County Commissioners and Floyd County Council to make the final decision.

Floyd County Planner Don Lopp presented the two proposals to the commissioners Tuesday evening. No action was taken and Mark Seabrook, president of the commissioners, said there would be public meetings before a decision was made.

Beyond the Bridges Project, Part 2.

If Kentuckiana ever decides to pursue transportation solutions, Streetfilms has done us a favor with its 10-part video series, "Moving Beyond the Automobile", which provides a primer on strategies implemented around the country and worldwide. We'll share a couple at a time, though any of them could act as antidote to the "our way is the only way" poison to which we've become so accustomed.





Beyond the Bridges Project, Part 1.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Now fear this: The chair's too big for the chair's feet to touch the ground.

What follows is a series of emails sent to party acolytes from Floyd County GOP Chairman Dave Matthews concerning opinion pieces published by the News and Tribune. A link to each piece is provided below his commentary on them. I wonder what must have happened to him earlier in life to lead to such grievous insecurities.

My fellow Republicans,
Please forgive me if I am about to do something that might annoy you. But, I am becoming so concerned about the blatant, ultra-liberal bias of our local paper that I am about ready to call us to action. I am going to send you three separate "opinion" columns that they have printed just recently. Please feel free to just delete each of these emails if it does not interest you. However, I wanted you to be aware of what is being printed in our local, predominantly conservative part of the State to maybe alarm you as well. It would not be inappropriate for you to send the editor, Shea Van Hoy, an email at his address: Shea.Vanhoy@newsandtribune.com. I am not necessarily encouraging anyone to terminate their subscription, although as little as ten cancellations would sound a very loud message.

I do not subscribe myself, so I would not feel right telling anyone what they should do about their subscriptions. I do watch this section of the Tribune every day on the internet and, as I have previously said, I am alarmed at so obvious an attempt to force a view that is so far left. The Courier Journal is already a lost cause....everyone knows that. I hate to see the Tribune go down the same path. Shea is the new editor, taking the place of Steve Kozarovich. At least Steve made attempts to try to achieve some sense of balance. It appears that may be all but totally gone now.

So, if you feel led, take a look at this email and the following two. They demonstrate views that should outrage us as conservatives. If you prefer not too, I won't be offended....just delete those emails. Hey, you can even email me back if you disagree with my point of view....I'm open to others' opinions. However, if you share my opinion about these, please consider what you might want to do to have your voice heard and to help our local press realize that they in no way represent the majority of readers in our community. I will also list the web site address where you can find the articles. If you go there, note the comments submitted by readers. Some of them will surprise you, several will make you mad and a few you will applaud. Maybe add a comment of your own. Thanks for considering this.....we want to help you keep informed and realize that the battle is right here in Floyd County....not just in Washington D.C.

God bless, Dave Matthews
Chairman, Floyd County Republican Party

HARBESON: The honor in war
........................


The second set of articles (yes, there are two of them) establish the agenda. As a society, it is not enough that the homosexual lifestyle is legislatively accepted. Now, the demand is that all in society must accept this type of lifestyle as just as normal and moral as the heterosexual lifestyle. A Biblical understanding of what God says about this particular immorality is not only criticized but is also called hateful, demeaning and socially unacceptable. Our beliefs and values are under attack.

These articles are perfect examples to look at on the website and see the long list of back and forth comments from the readers. I strongly encourage you to join in and make your opinions known. The "Left" is certainly screaming their opinions from the rooftops.

Dave

GESENHUES: Being gay isn’t wrong
NASH: Tolerance and understanding is common sense
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Third and final article from the Tribune. These two are actually letters to the editor. I hesitate to even add this to the list, primarily because it was directed at me. I also hesitated because Steve Fetter tends to come across as obtuse and hard to understand. After all, who would possibly use the fact that children might be unwanted as justification to support abortion. But here it is anyway.

I also add my response as a demonstration of how you can also send a letter to the editor (Shea.Vanhoy@newsandtribune.com) to get your opinion heard. I have often told people that we have more conservatives in this part of the country and State than liberals. The only problem is that the liberals are the ones screaming loudly, demanding that we agree with their philosophy and being published. The stakes are too high for us to stay silent. Let your voice be heard. Make sure the Tribune and Floyd County know that we care about moral, conservative views on these issues.

Thanks for considering this,
Dave Matthews
Chairman, Floyd County Republican Party

FETTER: Remember the unwanted children (letter to editor)
MATTHEWS: Party head responds to abortion letter (letter to editor)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beyond the Bridges Project, Part 1.

If Kentuckiana ever decides to pursue transportation solutions, Streetfilms has done us a favor with its 10-part video series, "Moving Beyond the Automobile", which provides a primer on strategies implemented around the country and worldwide. We'll share a couple at a time, though any of them could act as antidote to the "our way is the only way" poison to which we've become so accustomed.



Sunday, August 14, 2011

A crack in the shade: More Ohio River Bridges comments sought.

When the Bridges Authority sought input during a previous, federally mandated public comment period, it was perhaps less a question of what the public wanted and more a time to ponder (again) whether the Bridges Authority, elected officials, and other proponents of the project as proposed would actually listen.

I'm cautiously optimistic but, in response to the many prescient voices that have emerged from the trenches over the past few years, perhaps they're starting to do that. As Paul Fetter of No 2 Bridge Tolls said, "This has been a very long, tiring process, but as I look back, we have achieved many great accomplishments." That getting the requisite heavies to a point of at least considering genuine discourse has been so laborious isn't exactly a source of regional pride. The community strength developed through that labor, though, most certainly is.

Along those lines, more public comment is both requested and necessary.

Straight from the Ohio River Bridges Project:
The Ohio River Bridges Project is currently developing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. As part of this process, we are seeking comments on key documents being released Aug 10, 2011. One document explores the Range of Alternatives being considered, click here to view. The other compares the 2003 EIS Selected Alternative to the 2011 Modified Selected Alternative, click here to view. Public comments will be received through August 25 at 5 p.m. To submit comments via email, click here or send written comments to:

John Sacksteder
Community Transportation Solutions
305 N. Hurstbourne Parkway, Suite 100
Louisville, KY 40222

Important to note is a change in the descriptions of possible alternatives, even if they're not yet reflected in action.
6 Recommended Range of Alternatives

Based upon funds in the 2003 FEIS/ROD, preliminary studies and staff input, we propose considering the following range of alternatives in the SEIS

*No Build

*Selected Alternative (without Tolls) This alternative is the same as the Selected Alternative approved in the ROD; it does not include tolls. It is not a reasonable alternative because it is not financially feasible; it is being considered in the SEIS as a baseline for comparison with the proposed modifications to this alternative.

*All Alternatives Previously Evaluated in the 2003 FEIS The alternatives, considered in the 2003 FEIS and previously discussed in this document will be reevaluated to the extent necessary to determine if they warrant detailed study as viable alternatives.

*Modified Selected Alternative (with Tolls) This alternative would include many of the elements of the Selected Alternative, with tolls, but would also include reducing the Far East Bridge, and roadway, and evaluate design options to reduce the cost of constructing the east end tunnel; reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange in Downtown Louisville in-place; and removing a pedestrian/bikeway facility from the Downtown Bridge.

After considering public and agency input on the alternatives presented above, all findings and the bases thereof will be presented in the Draft SEIS. Although TSM as a standalone alternative will not meet purpose and need, it will be evaluated in the Draft SEIS for further consideration a part of any selected alternative.

Have at it, and know that you're at least making it more difficult for narrow if well-connected interests to dictate the terms of debate. That's a step toward real discourse.