Saturday, December 08, 2012

Nash on making good decisions: Can he locate any to analyze?

I'm sure Matt appreciates that since my newspaper column was Lucy van Pelted by management following an abortive council run in 2011, he gets double the slagging from New Albany's nattering nabobs of troglodytery.

In this week's installment, Matt ponders decision-making. Excerpted (italics mine) is the part of the column addressing bridge tolls, a topic that New Albany's city council desperately wished we'd stop bringing up, especially since the body once standing in the forefront of opposition to tolling has decided it's more important to fluff local oligarchs than consider the interests of New Albanians.

As ever hoodwinked by his desperate need to be seen frolicking at the respectable adults' cafeteria table, Bob Caesar claims to grasp tolling's toll, but nonetheless suckles at Kerry Stemler's teat to advocate finishing something, anything, however monstrous, and in spite of how adverse or costly it is. Caesar is able and eager to "lead" by calculating future property taxes to the last digit in order to defeat a bid to redevelop a rotting building a block away from his shop, and cares not at all to do the math on the Ohio River Bridges Project's fifty-year drain.

Perhaps one reason for our legislative body's newfound timidity on bridge tolls is an unwillingness to reference the Horseshoe Foundation, which provides critical social service funding via potentially mutable grants, money that local politicians must obtain to avoid vexing themselves with leadership and thoughtfulness on taboo topics like revenue enhancement, and furthermore, is headed by Jerry Finn, who also sits on the Tolling (Bridges) Authority's board, and exerts even more non-elected influence on the life of the city by co-chairing Keep New Albany Clean & Green with failed Republican-turned-Democrat mayoral candidate Irv Stumler, who now uses the Board of Public Works as a convenient steno corps for taking flowerpot dictation, and noting finally that the Tolling Authority has vowed to keep the Sherman Minton Bridge, i.e., the direct route to Horseshoe, toll-free.

Whew! Someone get me Donald Sutherland, a park bench and a DC backdrop. At any rate, throw all these factors into the Random Connectivity Generator, give that wheel a mighty heave, and then head straight to the News and Tribune to read all about it. But don't stay there long, because the newspaper hasn't bothered.

Verily, those gleaming new trash bins in Jeffersonville are perfect for certain types of disposal.

NASH: Making good decisions

NEW ALBANY — This time of year there are parts of my life that seem to slow down to a snails pace while other things are moving as fast as ever. When the holidays are in full swing, sometimes it is hard to concentrate on one topic when writing a column. This week I discuss a few topics that have been in the news over the last few weeks ...

 ... Another big topic that I have followed for the last few years that seems to be taking off is the building of the two new bridges across the Ohio River. A few weeks ago a contractor was chosen to build each span. Also over the last few weeks the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau along with the town of Clarksville and the city of Jeffersonville have each pledged $10,000 to fight the use of tolls to pay for the bridges on the Interstate-65 corridor. Their argument is that while an East End Bridge will lead to more economic development, the new downtown bridge does exactly the opposite.

One of the questions I have is why is there still no answer on the cost of the tolls? They know how much the bridges are going to cost. They have been studying the traffic for over a decade so they know how many cars are crossing the bridge. It seems to me that someone that has gone to college to study statistics should be able to give some estimate of what the cost of tolls would be by now. Why are the cost of tolls not being made public?

I seem to think that they are waiting until they get too far into the project to turn back and then will announce their final cost. I predict it will be closer to the original projection of $3 than 25 cents — a prediction that was announced before a New Albany City Council meeting a few years ago.

A year ago I wrote about tolls or the Ohio River Bridges Project. On the day that that column was published one of the members of the board that is overseeing the project sent me an email claiming there were seven inaccuracies in my column and he was willing to sit down and set the record straight. I agreed to meet him but he later withdrew when he realized that I would write about our conversation. I am still waiting for him to let me know what exactly those inaccuracies were.

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