Sunday, June 30, 2013

Indiana Chamber of Commerce awards its apples.

The weirdest rumor I've heard lately is that State Representative Ed Clere will have a Tea Party challenger in the primary next time around. Seems unlikely, although perhaps someone might ask Dave Matthews, or at least launch another rumor to the effect that Matthews started the first one.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its annual "scorecard" for state legislators, finding that "The highest full-time voting record for 2013 was Rep. Ed Clere (R-District 72 of New Albany) at 97%."

2013 Legislative Vote Analysis (29th Edition)

It is informative to examine the components of the chamber's yardstick. As such, and for much needed balance, here's a 2010 article at Mother Jones. It's about the US Chamber of Commerce, but birds of a feather ...

Fact-Checking the US Chamber of Commerce; America's most overblown business lobby, busted, by Josh Harkinson

With a name that evokes Main Street and Little League teams, and with millions of dollars to spend on lobbying, the US Chamber of Commerce has long been a powerful force on Capitol Hill. But as it's taken more extreme positions on a range of hot-button issues, from flirting with climate change denial to fighting health care reform, its reputation as a predictable pro-business group is crumbling.

Last fall, Nike, Apple, and three major utilities quit the Chamber or its board of directors over what one company called its "extreme rhetoric and obstructionist tactics." Companies such as Dow and General Electric distanced themselves from the group as environmental and labor groups piled on with criticism of the Chamber's cozy relationship with special interests ...

New Albany Crit ... NAC ... now where have I seen that acronym?


Go here for a glimpse of New Albany's "crit" past: Da Vinci Downtown 2003.

For more information on this new event, hit Facebook. Can NAC be the official blog of the NAC? It sure looks like great timing for the Bloody Mary Bar at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Presented by the Clarksville Schwinn Racing Team, the New Albany Crit is a classic six corner criterium in the heart of historic downtown New Albany taking place on July 28th, 2013.

At WFPL: "After Two Years, Louisville's 'The Paper' Will Close in August."

Time and money.

Yep, that's pretty much always how it goes.

After Two Years, Louisville's 'The Paper' Will Close in August, by Gabe Bullard (WFPL)

The Louisville Paper, a monthly print publication that first hit newsstands two years ago, is ending production this summer. The last issue will be its 24th. It will come out in August.

"Our decision to stop producing The Paper came down to resources—time and money. Although we were always able to pay our print bills and our contributors, we were never able to make The Paper much more sustainable than that," says editor and co-founder Stephanie Brothers.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Democrats address "controversy" over Health Department's actions.

The Floyd County Democratic Party has posted on Facebook with reference to PourGate, The Floyd County Health Department's ongoing campaign to compel beer vendors to purchase temporary food service permits.

Now, wouldn't you think usurpation of this magnitude might merit ... nah, never mind. That other party bunch has issues of their own.

Thanks to the Democrats for the party's consideration. Really. I genuinely appreciate it.

---

There has been a controversy growing at the local level over the Health Department's decision to require temporary food permits for vendors of alcoholic beverages. The enforcement of this rule has been challenged by some of the vendors, with local brewer Roger Baylor being the most prominent among them. He’s chronicled his fight on his blog which can be accessed online: http://ow.ly/mtMxW

FCDP believes in food safety and the important and often underappreciated work the Health Department does to keep our citizen safe from disease or other harm. Yet, we also admit that in this matter the actions of that department seem ill timed and perhaps even heavy handed. Unconfirmed reports have been given that neighboring counties don’t have the same requirement and local code seems ambiguous on the issue.

Floyd County has a rich history of community events and this issue hasn’t surfaced in the past. Sometimes first educating individuals on legal requirements are a better tactic than unapologetic enforcement. As Develop New Albany President Joe LaRocca said last week - “Honestly we just didn’t know” the permits were required.

Ignorance of the law is never an excuse, but FCDP will pay close attention as the appeals are considered by the Health Board and further explanation of the policy develops.

BicenPk concert of Jun 28: Let's just Occupy the Health Department.


(Update: Read what the Floyd County Democratic Party has to say about this controversy)

Last week it was a bag of chips. This week, there was an awkward question of theoretical beer pouring procedure, proffered by the youthful, reluctant health department inspector as he desperately tried to make it appear as though his visit had some semblance of merit.

If one of us were pouring a beer and the cup started to slip, how would he or she catch it? 


An interesting question, as I observed to him, considering that the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission requires those of us serving alcoholic beverages (as opposed to handling food in the strictest of statutory senses) to complete a training course, whereas the food handling certification ordinarily required of the health department for temporary food preparation specifically exempts beer and wine servers from having to know its provisions.

By the way, was he or anyone at the health department even aware of the existence of an ATC training course?

No, and probably not.

So, I continued, is the question about cup slippage an alcohol question, or a food question?

If the former, why is the health department asking and not the ATC?

If the latter, how could we know the answer, given the exemption from handler training?

And if we're exempted from food handler training, why is the health department extorting $20 from us each time we pour liquid that both statute and precedent do not regard as food?


Oh, well. Even funnier is the photo above, illustrating what happens when bureaucratic connivers send newbie minions to do their dirty work.

In short, tables touch. Here's why.

Our oppressed rookie inspector could not quite fathom the resolution of a thorny question: Two permits are posted on the truck, one from the ATC (for alcoholic beverages; on the left in the photo above) and one from the Health Department (for food; on the right), and given this clash between two entirely separate state regulatory regimes -- ones that didn't overlap until the health department's own unprecedented campaign of revenue enhancement and regulatory over-reach began on June 14 -- which permit actually takes precedence?

Put another way: Given an alcoholic beverage catering arrangement of the sort existing under the ATC permit, does the inspector treat master caterer and sub-caterer as one unit for the purpose of harassment, or as two?

As I explained to the inspector, he's somewhat shamefully being asked to resolve a fundamental issue lying at the crux of the current dispute, even as his bureaucratic superiors refuse to support him by defining these very same terms. Hardly seems fair to expect a guy on the shop floor to make such a determination. In point of fact, they're hanging him out to dry.

Consequently, he then rendered an admirably Solomonic decision in the absence of coherence from his own cowardly agency: Tables pushed together henceforth means we are working as a unit, while tables not touching signifies separateness. We touched tables, and were redeemed in the eyes of the nanny Health Department, even though the ATC grasped it all along.

Monday will be two weeks since the appeal was filed, and I've heard nothing from the Floyd County Health Department unless I've been the one doing the asking. It's been more than a week since the public access request was submitted, and now the department must be given a "reasonable" amount of time to comply.

The department's wacky Orwellian fabrications ("nothing has changed, nothing to see here") are fooling absolutely no one in the community. It's a massive waste of time for vendors, but even worse, imagine the lost hours potentially better used by the health department itself, to address genuine public health issues.

Someone, anyone ... even Bueller: Why is this happening?

Guardian video: Tour de France in numbers.



Better riding through chemistry?

With the 100th Tour de France starting from Corsica on Saturday, this short film highlights the differences between the first race in 1903 and the 2013 contest. Using data from the original Tour de France and contemporary races, we look at what has changed between then and now

Friday, June 28, 2013

Concert tonight, but the PourGate saga continues as we prepare to vend Progressive Pints under protest.


Tonight will be the fourth installment of the city's summer concert series at Bicentennial Park in downtown New Albany.

The band is Quiet Hollers, and the format is precisely as before: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For the third consecutive Friday, NABC and its sub-caterers will be serving adult libations under explicit protest, pending an appeal of the Floyd County Health Department's decision to enhance its revenue by harassing drinks dispensers who already possess all necessary temporary permits from the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission.

The most recent development came yesterday, with a prompt e-mail reply to me from the state's Public Access Counselor. So far, the health department is complying with the requisite deadlines for disclosure, according to the process for providing the information I've requested (a five-year history of temporary food service permit citations).

Earlier in the week ...

On Monday morning, I provided readers with a complete update from the front: Updating the Floyd County Health Department's "Beer Pour War" of 2013.

Not unsurprisingly, it turns out that searching the Floyd County Health Department's web site for the word "beer" yields zero results: Isn't this an indictment of our entire American society?

Ground Control "reached out" to Doctor Tom: "In an effort to facilitate seemingly scant communication," my e-mail to Dr. Harris.

He didn't reply, but a subordinate did, informing me that NABC's request would serve as a brilliant example of county government's habitual in-breeding: Health Department refers public access request to same attorney who advises commissioners -- making a full circle.

Having received valuable advice from an unlikely source, it was time to notify the state's ombudsman -- just to preclude stonewalling: My note to the Indiana Public Access Counselor, informing the office of my request of the Floyd County Health Department.

That's where we stand as another week concludes, and I'll venture only one further observation: Public opinion overwhelmingly is registering disdain for the health department's usurpation in this instance.

Strangers have been stopping me on the street to chat about the situation, and in spite of the impetus for this non-food based harassment landing squarely on one side of the county's political aisle, what I'm hearing is firmly bi-partisan annoyance with the department's excesses ... at all levels.

Significantly, public opinion mirrors my own, in the sense of support for the health department's mandated surveillance of food and food preparation, but exasperation as to its frequent over-reaching and meddling in areas outside its statutory authority.

That's what this is about. The state ATC regulates drinks; health departments regulate food. It's as simple as that. No other health department in the state is laying claim to what Dr. Harris sees as is his department's sudden obligation to control temporary draft beer pours. It seems that the opinion of his fellow bureaucrats is against the FCHD, too. Shouldn't that tell you something?

It's time for the 100th Tour de France.

On Saturday, it's the 100th Tour de France, and the first since Lance Armstrong fessed up. Drugged or not, he was especially ferocious on the mountain stages.

Tour de France: five classic mountain climbs

Ahead of the 100th Tour de France, which begins on Saturday, Giles Belbin, author of Mountain Kings, recalls the dramatic cycling history of five of the race's most famous climbs – and then tells you how you can ride them yourself

Riding them myself probably isn't an option, seeing as I have (maybe) 100 km so far this year.

Tour de France 2013: interactive guide (Guardian)

The 100th Tour de France starts in Corsica on Saturday 29th June - here's our guide to the stages and the teams

In 2011, I wrote a bit about the Tour. It's still an amazing spectacle for me, and I hope it's in the cards to be in the neighborhood again, some day.

THURSDAY, JULY 07, 2011


ON THE AVENUES: Vive le beercyclist!



ON THE AVENUES: Vive le beercyclist!

By ROGER BAYLOR

In a perfect and thus unattainable world, Bank Street Brewhouse’s opening hours would be precisely synchronized with European clocks and Tour de France starts, allowing me to begin most of my July mornings with espresso, baguettes, gnarly goat cheese and beer.

I'm a voyeur. I was there to watch the show, not instigate it.


Given New Albany's legacy of the Battered City Syndrome, perhaps it's inevitable that someone at Develop New Albany would suggest that the Floyd County Health Department visited last week's Exculpatory New Albany bash only because I called in a bureaucrat's strike.

The tedium. Folks, obliviousness is not a solid recommendation.

Kindly note that NABC is actively contesting the health department's arbitrary and baseless harassment, not phoning them with hot tips (I've considered misleading them with phony tips, however), and that if successful, NABC's protest will be for the good of all vendors in a similar position.

In fact, in addition to publicly screaming about the health department's myriad usurpations until I'm hoarse and in urgent need of the sort of soothing medication being applied internally via growlers while seated in Sandra's back yard last week, I privately warned certain members of DNA about the probability of the health department's interest. And still there were FOOD (not alcohol) vendors on hand, as yet unaware that those legitimate FOOD rules apply to them.

Is this because American rules somehow don't count in Englandia? All along, I've been asking DNA and others to join me in this struggle. I do my best to make them aware. Hey, you're welcome. As usual, Bluegill writes it best.

Don't worry. After you win, they'll join you. Or rather, suggest that you should have joined them, since they won.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

ON THE AVENUES REWOUND: The Weekly Wad? It was a modest start.

ON THE AVENUES REWOUND: The Weekly Wad? It was a modest start.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Another weekend of commemoration has arrived. For the class of 1978 from Floyd Central High School, it is our 35th anniversary reunion. 

Over the years, I’ve written quite little about my high school memories, perhaps because they were sufficiently grim to compel an active suppression of as many as possible.

Anyhow, aren’t present times stressful enough without reliving past traumas?

This isn’t to be construed as negativity toward my classmates, most of whom I’m quite fond. It’s just that for many of us, teenage years are not unlike wartime conscription, in the sense of extreme emotional turbulence shared in proximity to others by sheer geographical accident. None of us exactly “chose” to be attending school together. Later in life, these choices tend to broaden. 

The following column about the Weekly Wad originally was published in the Tribune on March 24, 2010. When signposted at the blog, I corrected an oversight, which is repeated today: The column is dedicated to the memory of the late David Roark, whose boundless wit so enlivened those times.

---

Not so long ago, an old friend observed that my meek and unobtrusive writing style – as displayed over thirty years in letters to the editor, a beer appreciation newsletter, Internet blogs and finally newspaper and magazine columns like this one – can be traced back to baby steps at the Weekly Wad.

I’m not entirely sure he meant it as a compliment.

For the record, the inaugural Weekly Wad was an underground “newspaper” of four crudely mimeographed pages. A dozen Floyd Central freshmen collaboratively wrote and “published” it in 1975 by purloining paper and supplies from the audio-visual department, running off 200 illicit copies, and distributing them free of charge to a subscriber list made up of friends whom we trusted not to tell on us.

The first Weekly Wad is widely remembered for a front page illustration depicting our principal as wearing a Nazi armband and giving the requisite Hitler salute. Seeing that he’s now on the school board, and recently voted for neighborhood school closings, the mature adult in me is resisting the temptation to draw obvious parallels.

Another feature of our first born was an open advocacy of beer consumption on the part of a group still well short of legal drinking age. There were a few unflattering references to fellow students and teachers, and a music review of a group long forgotten, or elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or neither – maybe both.

Floyd Central’s corridors were teeming with excited readers when one of our distribution associates was collared by the heat. After a brief round of water boarding, he was coerced, sans Miranda Rights, into a full confession. In short order, the entire staff was taken into custody. Parents were called, suspensions were plotted … and then the scandal became even more bizarre than before.

Much to our surprise, our folks (two of whom were teachers, including my mother) took the case full bore against the somewhat befuddled administrators, arguing that for 15-year-olds like us to seek creative literary and journalistic outlets apart from the pre-ordained curriculum surely denoted abject failure somewhere in the chain of educational bureaucracy, and that we might better be rewarded for educational initiative rather than punished for illegality.

After all, we were writing, albeit poorly, and not painting graffiti on the walls.

There was the small matter of materials we’d appropriated in the name of the revolution, and so after a cooling-off period, cursory wrist-slappings and assorted pieties intended to channel our youthful energies into more conventional artistic directions, we were permitted to remunerate the school corporation for its dead trees and resume our journalistic careers, so long as we had a faculty advisor and refrained from A-V pilferage.

Belated thanks to you, Mr. Neely, for agreeing to sponsor the “new” Weekly Wad, circa 1976, and to my mom for letting me use her 1950’s-era manual typewriter to compose screeds against cafeteria food, undemocratic cheerleader selection processes, and turncoat hall monitors. These were cut out with scissors, pasted into place, and when an adult was available to play taxi, taken to a long-departed business called Pronto Press in New Albany.

Our allowances and odd job monies were pooled to pay for these sporadically released opuses, which decreased in frequency as we advanced toward graduation. A final farewell issue planned for the autumn of 1977 was completed and printed, but never released owing to the possibility that the athletic department might object to the strident tone of an expose on individual versus team sports.

It has become known as the “Lost Wad,” and occasionally pops up on Ebay at vastly inflated prices.

Throughout the 1980’s, during my tenure as part-time clerk at the late and lamented Scoreboard Liquors, I staged periodic revivals of the Wad. Most of these were undertaken with the help and connivance of my primary co-conspirator Byron, whose colorful accounts of high life in low places appeared under the banner, “And Now for the Truth,” which I believe we lifted in its entirety from a Herbert W. Armstrong religious tract.

My favorite episode detailed an unfortunate incident with a loaded taco on a crowded Market Street during Vodka-Thon, an annual walkabout through the bedlam of Harvest Homecoming’s Saturday night booths, when we’d be armed only with plastic cups of Stolichnaya previously passed through the shadow of a Rose’s Lime Juice bottle to produce the best ambulatory Gimlet in town.

During this second Weekly Wad era, with the subject matter turning toward topical downtown New Albany issues like the stone-deaf construction of the canvas-topped waterfront Trinkle Dome, I first took to referring to the Wad’s newsroom as occupying an opulent suite high atop the glittering Elsby Building.

More than anything else, these developments foreshadowed endeavors to come. When the NA Confidential blog was founded in 2004, it stemmed from an escalating personal interest in the downtown area. Recalling my nascent interests in the topic during the late eighties, and how these peeked through the nebulous haze, I almost named the blog the Weekly Wad before changing my mind at the last minute.

It’s stupefying and quaint to consider the history of an underground newspaper in that dusty, pre-wired era. Kids today build interactive web sites at the age of five – that is, if they haven’t already abandoned the Internet for sophisticated journals of cultural critique disseminated by their handheld mobile devices.

My generation had subversion in our brains, and larceny in our hearts. If the Internet had existed then, we’d probably still be in jail.

My note to the Indiana Public Access Counselor, informing the office of my request of the Floyd County Health Department.


Just in case of stonewalling. 

Having received a choice bit of unsolicited advice, for which I'm quite grateful, I've sent the following note to the State of Indiana's Public Access Counselor, providing details of the ongoing PourGate imbroglio, wherein the Floyd County Health Department decides to begin inventing interpretations from thin air

It may at last be time to contact the state health department, although so far, at least two calls have been made, with no coherent reply.

This is becoming somewhat fun.


-----

Good day,

I have sent the following letter to the Floyd County Health Department. The reply I've gotten after four business days is that my request has been forwarded to the board's attorney for review, and that the attorney will be contacting me. I am confused, given that your template shows replies and actions emanating from the agency itself, not the agency's attorney.

I am making this request because recently, for the very first time ever, the Health Department has been enforcing temporary food service permits for beer vendors, hitherto under the control of the ATC and permitting procedures of the ATC. The Health Department is not being forthcoming in providing evidence of some as yet undisclosed change in the law. I am asking for five years' citation history in order to determine whether the department's claim to have been enforcing this "all along" is accurate.

Thanks for you input into this situation.

-----

Roger A. Baylor
1117 E. Spring Street
New Albany IN 47150
502-468-9710

June 21, 2013

Floyd County Health Department
Attn.: Dr. Tom Harris
1917 Bono Road
New Albany IN 47150
(Hand Delivered)

Re: Public Records Request

Dear Dr. Harris:

The Floyd County Health Department is a public agency as defined by Indiana Statute. Pursuant to Indiana Public Access statutes (Indiana Code 5-14-3), I am requesting copies of all citations and/or tickets issued by the Floyd County Department of Health to any vendor, person, company and/or individual regarding “Temporary Food Service Permit” for the last five (5) years. In addition, I am requesting that each citation and/or ticket be identified as to whether those cited were serving food or alcoholic beverages.

If there is a cost associated with this request, please inform me of the amount. I look forward to the response and compliance with this request. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Roger A. Baylor

Crashers, fireworks and NABC — Wednesday, July 3 at the Riverfront Amphitheater.


The story and beer list are at the NABC web site.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Health Department refers public access request to same attorney who advises commissioners -- making a full circle.


Dr. Harris has not replied to the e-mail, but there was a prompt response from a subordinate. 

Do you think they'll grant me a stay of obfuscation until vacation's finished? Gee, I really hope so. 

---

Mr. Baylor,

I have attached a copy of your permit that you didn't receive. Please let me know if you would like us to send you a hard copy of the permit.

I have also attached a copy of FCHD's response to your public records request. A copy of that letter has also been mailed to the address at the top of your request.

Dr. Harris and/or the Floyd County Health Department Attorney will contact you with a date and time for the appeal hearing.

Please let me know if I can be of any additional assistance.

Sincerely,

Julia Hayes, EHS
Environmental Supervisor
Floyd County Health Dept
P: (812) 948-4726 X627
F: (812) 948-2208

"In an effort to facilitate seemingly scant communication," my e-mail to Dr. Harris.

(Sent today; most recent PourGate update here)

Good morning, Dr. Harris

In an effort to facilitate seemingly scant communication, please allow me to offer this update, and to ask just a few questions of you.

(1) It has been more than a week since I dropped off a letter detailing points of appeal, v.v. the newly ordained temporary food service permit requirement for beer vending, when we already possess a Type 222 supplemental catering permit (ATC) for such activity. I’ve heard no definitive word on when a hearing will take place on this matter, apart from your entertaining comments made to the newspaper. Can you please inform me of the hearing date, and whether I am allowed to attend it? Seems the media is very curious, and I’m the accommodating type when it comes to transparency.

(2)  It has been several days since I dropped off the Indiana Public Access Request (reprinted below for your convenience). Has it been considered? It’s all very straightforward, I believe; merely a collection of pertinent facts.

(3) You will note that following the advice of counsel, I am acquiring these temporary food permits for beer under written protest, until resolution of the appeal (and subsequent actions, if any). As such, I came to your office last Friday and paid $160 to accompany eight temporary permit applications, for which I subsequently became aware only seven green sheets had been processed and returned to me. The one for Friday, June 28 at Bank Street Brewhouse (outdoor grilling) was not included. Of course, I have the cash receipt to prove payment. Can you please tell me with whom to speak so that this can be rectified? Or should I stop by and just ask anyone?

Thank you for your prompt attention to these matters.

Roger

---

The Public Access request follows.

---


Roger A. Baylor
1117 E. Spring Street
New Albany IN 47150
502-468-9710

June 21, 2013

Floyd County Health Department
Attn.: Dr. Tom Harris
1917 Bono Road
New Albany IN 47150
(Hand Delivered)

Re: Public Records Request

Dear Dr. Harris:

The Floyd County Health Department is a public agency as defined by Indiana Statute. Pursuant to Indiana Public Access statutes (Indiana Code 5-14-3), I am requesting copies of all citations and/or tickets issued by the Floyd County Department of Health to any vendor, person, company and/or individual regarding “Temporary Food Service Permit” for the last five (5) years. In addition, I am requesting that each citation and/or ticket be identified as to whether those cited were serving food or alcoholic beverages.

If there is a cost associated with this request, please inform me of the amount. I look forward to the response and compliance with this request. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Roger A. Baylor

"Raw abuse of power?" Why, that's the Republican way.

Isn't that right, Commissioners Bush and Seabrook?

I'd ask Keith Henderson what he thinks, except he's amid the cedars of Lebanon, up Boone County way, Groucho mask in hand, preparing to conduct the shadow prosecution in the Third Time Lucky case.

Not really. He's convening a grand jury in pursuit of missing information. It is unclear whether Dan Coffey will accept company in pursuit.

I'm sure powerhouse GOP chairman Dave Matthews much appreciates the Supreme Court's appeasement of Southerners perpetually re-fighting the Civil War a full 150 years after Gettysburg, with the ostensible topic this time being voting rights.

Todays SCOTUS rulings on same sex marriage cases have churchgoers nationwide biting their nails and contemplating flight to human rights sanctuaries like Belarus, where the gays aren't permitted.

Meanwhile, in Texas ...

Texas abortion bill defeated after missing deadline, by Helen Davidson (Guardian)

... Wearing pink trainers, (Senator Wendy) Davis rocked from hip to hip and slowly paced while she read testimony from doctors and women who would be affected by the bill if it were passed. "What purpose does this bill serve? And could it be, might it just be a desire to limit women's access to safe, healthy, legal, constitutionally protected abortions in the state of Texas?" she said.

Hmm, could be. What do you think, Steve? How 'bout you, Mark?

Texas Vote Passing Abortion Bill Is Rendered Moot, by Manny Fernandez and Erik Eckholm (NYT)

... The reversal served as an embarrassing episode for Mr. (David) Dewhurst and Republican senators on a divisive bill that was closely watched around the nation, both by anti-abortion activists and supporters of abortion rights.

“The G.O.P. Senate leadership comes out of this whole process looking somewhat disingenuous, deceptive and disorganized,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

Perhaps it isn't the appearance at all. That's the way it is here, too. It's what today's Republican reactionaries are, at root ... whether in DC, Texas, or right here at home.

Hilarity at Horseshoe as Deen becomes disposable.

Harrumph.

When Horseshoe dropped NABC from draft sales (it took two frigging years to navigate the casino bureaucracy and get those beers pouring in the first place), local media completely ignored the story.

Well, maybe I should have told someone in local media, but by that point I really wasn't up to giving a damn.

Can we be truthful?

Any casino in the world is about one thing, and one thing alone: Gambling, and the profits to be derived from it.

The rest, whether NABC Black & Blue Grass or Ku Klux Kobbler, is secondary. That any benefit whatever to the community is accrued through the offerings of the Foundation results from indirect taxation on casino patrons, when local government refuses to do the deed itself.

Irony. How very elusive hereabouts.

Paula Deen Buffet Dropped By Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, by Zach Everson (Eater Louisville)

Rumor has it Guy Fieri might be available...(and he likes to visit Louisville for Derby).

Last week, of course, a deposition leaked in which Deen admitted to casually dropping n-bombs and other racist behavior.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Isn't this an indictment of our entire American society?


Did you know that searching for the word "beer" on the Floyd County (Indiana) Health Department's web site yields zero results?

At any rate, having heard nothing back from the department since delivering NABC's appeal early last week, I thought I'd look on line for the Floyd County Health Department's board of director's meeting schedule. Maybe if we're not invited, I can attend anyway, perhaps in a gorilla suit.

I found the board's meeting schedule on the second Google hit, complete with an updated agenda and much useful information.

The only problem is that the page I found is from the health department's board in Floyd County, Iowa.

Not the most communicative of bureaucrats, are they?

Updating the Floyd County Health Department's "Beer Pour War" of 2013.

"Sometimes, marketing enables a pickpocket to steal a wallet--and be thanked for it."

Ground control to Doctor Tom: Do you have a dog in this fight?

The perfect crime, by Seth Godin

Sometimes, marketing enables a pickpocket to steal a wallet--and be thanked for it.

Marketers are responsible for what we do, it's not an activity without effects.

Last year, just one of the big fast food companies made more than $1,300,000,000 in profit (billion with a 'b'). They've also paid their CEO nearly $200 million in salary in the last five years. Sometimes, a big profit is the sign that you're doing something right, creating real value for people able to pay. Sometimes, though, it means you're exploiting a weakness in the system.

The big food companies are brilliant, relentless, focused marketers. Marketing works. It gets people to take action, to change their minds, and most of all, to do more of what they might have had an inkling to do in the first place. Sometimes a lot more. When the ideas of marketing (and the products are part of the marketing, optimized for high consumption) are weaponized like this, they are extraordinarily effective at achieving their goals.

The side effects of this marketing are obvious: both short-term satiation and long-term health degradation.

Bike commuting workshop: "Diversity of roadway use can be restored with conscious policy decision."


Just imagine if one of several year-long themes of New Albany's bicentennial celebration would have been "back to the future" in the context of topics precisely like this one (bicycling, street usage and the urban grid).

Think how the money spent on the celebration would have been twice as useful, because it would have helped to raise consciousness about lives to come.

Ponder how instead, we've had living white people focusing almost entirely on dead white people. It's been such a profound, sad waste of time and money, purposefully placed outside the realm of accountability.

See Eric Vance Martin's slide show at the Floyd Action Network web site.

Maybe we still have time to pull something hopeful form the mire.

The important take away:

"Conscious policy decisions got us where we are. Conscious policy decisions can get us where we want to be. Each of us can influence the decisions if we let our public officials and the media know what we want and what we don't want."
"

Pedaling: It's okay, but only in the past tense, bicentennially speaking.


Another day, another instance of obliviousness on the part of the bicentennial commission.

Do I really need to spell this out? Again? How many times has it been?

Okay, I will ... just for the record, ma'am.

The bicentennial commission thinks it's peachy keen to gawk at vintage bicycles from the past. Meanwhile, its membership is barely cognizant of biking in the present, much less bearing any record of comprehending or promoting two-wheeling in the future.

Most everything about New Albany's bicentennial celebration must be viewed as wasted opportunities. CeeSaw and Shelle ordained that all of it must take place in a safely sanitized, distant, scrubbed-clean past. Nothing must refer to a future tense; in more diverse hands, we might have had a year-long forum on the future. Instead, we've had stale white bread from the Same.Old.Suspects.

Meanwhile, the newspaper happily reports on bicycles of the past, as I search in vain for coverage of last week's workshop on bike commuting -- and mentions the word "future" in the header, in spite of its perpetual absence, and with no discernible sense of irony.

Dentistry is necessary, because in New Albany, thinking people spend too much time grinding their teeth. Go here to learn about the bicycle commuting workshop.

Pedaling the past into the future, by Darian Eswine (New and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — Traveling through downtown New Albany on Sunday afternoon, a strange sight was seen as a giant wheel came rolling across the street, pedaled by a man dressed in period costume. He was followed by a parade of similarly dressed people on old bicycles.

The Vintage Bike Parade and Exhibit is one of the many events held this year to celebrate New Albany's 200th birthday, and it was only fitting the event began in the new Bicentennial Park at the corner of Spring and Pearl streets.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Updating the Floyd County Health Department's "Beer Pour War" of 2013.


As for frequently asked questions, no, I've received no official communication from the health junta as to the hearing date of our appeal, or even if I'll be allowed to attend it. It has been suggested to me by a knowledgeable party that in such appeal cases, a health department board committee screens complaints privately before adding them to the docket. We'll have to wait and see.

As for me, I've plenty of work to do this week as pertaining to running the day-to-day business. Surely bureaucracies routinely count on the workload of small business people to discourage them from participating in the process of disputing bureaucratic directives, and while I'm unwavering in the sense of exercising my right to question a bureaucratic dictate I view as unjustified and without precedent,  I cannot allow the health department's calculated new policy of beer server harassment to detract from my fundamental obligation, as a beer business, to pour more (and better) beer.

It may seem that business in a general sense returns to usual, and it may appear that nothing's happening, but trust me: I won't let go, even if it takes a very long time, and ends by being decided at the state level.

Valuable principles must be defended from vandals, bureaucrats and second-raters, don't you think?

Here's a recap.

---

The summary of events as of Friday morning, June 21: Jeeebus, what a week. Here's a review.

... Let's slow down this game for just a moment. In the short term, we will comply with the health department's demands for tribute, however specious, and pay $20 each time we pour pre-packaged alcoholic beverages into plastic cups. We will do so under specific written protest, each and every time. In these instances, we will comply in such a manner as to fulfill ATC regulations, which we regard as pre-eminent, and that we always seek to implement.

One way to verify the health department's claims is to look at the record, and so I broached the topic of Indiana Public Access: Roger has issued a Indiana Public Access request to the Floyd County Health Department.

... the Health Department's food/beer temporary permit citation history needs to be examined for rampant doublespeak, and so yesterday I hand delivered the following letter to the Health Department. Notice how I identified the actual statute, rather than refer to it in the abstract sense preferred by Dr. Harris. That's because it's our information, isn't it?

It never rained downtown last Friday during the Ballroom Blitz show, but the anticipated Tom-foolery unfolded exactly as predicted: Bureaucrats, potato chips and the need for a city health department.

Public health was heroically protected when we were told to remove a bag of potato chips from the railing where the beers are poured. Thus, the only item approximating food could not be present where a food permit (now, newly, for the first time in the history of Floyd County habitation) is required to operate. This is how Dr. Tom Harris sublimates ambulance envy.

Heard it through the grapevine: This year's Extrapolative New Albany.

I swear that if the idea had occurred to me in time, I'd have hired Steve Price to perform karaoke for our June 20 yard party. Never was Lynyrd Skynyrd so solely missed as last Thursday evening.


We established a joyful dissident's perimeter in Sandra's yard. How fortunate for us that her house adjoined the location of this year's Exclusively New Albany.


The view was peachy. We likened it to perching on a rooftop opposite Wrigley Field and peeking in on a baseball game while drinking one's own, far superior beer.


Everything about the bicentennial edition of Exclusionary New Albany purportedly was "local," save for the multinational beers and wines being vended from the bar. It's too bad such a beautiful setting as Larry Ricke's home was victim to such conceptual futility as Bud Light and Beringer, but it's what always happens when small cabals (England kniggets?) exercise control, and others, who are perfectly well-meaning, permit them to do so.

Come to think of it, "cabal" could be referring to the Floyd County Health Department, which visited last Thursday's DNA party. Shoes do fit, after all.

"His Story Behind the Fence": At DNA's party, Doug England announces run for Mayor ...


 ... of Develop New Albany. Here's the news story.

New Albany -- Former three-term New Albany mayor Doug England, a presumptive Democrat who once hand-picked a Republican (subsequently defeated) to replace him in the Perpendicular Office so he could run for city council and ignominiously lose to Shirley Baird, divulged at last week's Extemporaneously New Albany gala that incumbent Joe LaRocca is "finished" as Develop New Albany leader.

"Aw, fuck it," said England in a prepared statement before a cornered, snarling alley cat. "It's my club, anyway. Mine!

"I built the whole damn thing, NDA, ADN, DuhNuh; whatever. There oughta be a plaque somewhere in this shithole of a town. If Joe's not gonna drive it -- gimme the goddamned keys. I've only had a couple of bottles. I'll drive up to Kuhlumbus and get Carl.

"Road trip!"

Later, while hawking raffle tickets, England was overheard soliciting campaign contributions for his DNA mayoral campaign.

"Gimme that," he said, reaching into a nearby wallet. "See those assholes behind our fence? Can you believe that actually thought I'd KEEP all those promises I made? Gave 'em a goddamned bike lane, and what do they want? Two-fucking way streets! Jesus -- like I could afford to pay off Padgett for any of THOSE."

England glared at the string quartet.

"Girl -- GIRL -- I say girlie, daddy needs a nice cabernet ... "

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Roger has issued a Indiana Public Access request to the Floyd County Health Department.


The Orwellian dissembling continues inside Dr. Harris' bubbly Inner Sanctum of Over-Reach.

More citations given over temporary food permits in Floyd County; Health department to hear NABC appeal, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

... Baylor’s complaint is specific to requiring the permit for alcohol vendors, not groups selling food during festivals or one day events.

Harris maintains that the health department has the authority to require the permit for food and alcohol vendors, and that it has done so in the past.

“We actually go down on the first day of Harvest Homecoming and go through the food booths to make sure they’re compliant,” he said.

Anyone else catch that? I use the word "beer," and Dr. Harris answers with the word "food."

The other interesting part comes here:

As for the appeal, Harris said they would hear Baylor’s case during the next health department board meeting.

It's uplifting to learn via the newspaper that we get a trial date. The Health Department's record of communication is poor even by Pyongyang standards. All those time when Dan Coffey lamented the absence of information? Now we can see that he wasn't looking the right place, because the department has all of it, albeit not always preserved in a sterile condition suitable for sharing.

Unsurprisingly, I've yet to be informed as to the date and time of the hearing -- assuming, of course, that due process is a genuine consideration for a chieftain who already has used the newspaper to dismiss the likelihood of the appeal getting  fair hearing, and that I'm invited to participate in the ritual.

Me? I'm all about transparency.

That's why the Health Department's food/beer temporary permit citation history needs to be examined for rampant doublespeak, and so yesterday I hand delivered the following letter to the Health Department. Notice how I identified the actual statute, rather than refer to it in the abstract sense preferred by Dr. Harris. That's because it's our information isn't it?


Roger A. Baylor
1117 E. Spring Street
New Albany IN 47150
502-468-9710

June 21, 2013

Floyd County Health Department
Attn.: Dr. Tom Harris
1917 Bono Road
New Albany IN 47150
(Hand Delivered)                                                    

Re: Public Records Request

Dear Dr. Harris:

The Floyd County Health Department is a public agency as defined by Indiana Statute. Pursuant to Indiana Public Access statutes (Indiana Code 5-14-3), I am requesting copies of all citations and/or tickets issued by the Floyd County Department of Health to any vendor, person, company and/or individual regarding “Temporary Food Service Permit” for the last five (5) years. In addition, I am requesting that each citation and/or ticket be identified as to whether those cited were serving food or alcoholic beverages.

If there is a cost associated with this request, please inform me of the amount. I look forward to the response and compliance with this request. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Roger A. Baylor 

Tonight: The Waterfront Challenge at the Big Four Lawn in Louisville.


The Waterfront Challenge is an event spearheaded by our friend and New Albany resident John Biros, who some day would like to stage a similar version on the Right Bank. I'm thankful to John for making Black & Blue Grass the official beer of the Challenge.

The Challenge is a race and a party by the river in Louisville at the Big Four Bridge lawn, so even if you're not participating, check out the music and the people. It's also in the NABC family in the sense of one off our Bank Street employees, Kolton, being a member of The Juice Box Heroes.

Summertime means overlapping events. We have a crew in Indianapolis for the Brew-Ha-Ha, and it's Art Walk night in downtown New Albany. Just know that if you're out and about in Louisville this evening, you needn't do the course to drop in, have a beer and listen to the band.

The Waterfront Challenge 2013 web site

The Waterfront Challenge page at Facebook
The Waterfront Challenge is a 5k Urban Obstacle Night Race on the River in Louisville, Kentucky. We’re combining cross country running, road racing, and obstacle conquering, with a PARTY ROCKIN’ good time. The course winds through the most beautiful parts of Waterfront Park and will present you with several natural and temporary obstacles. The race is designed to be fun and challenging for everyone. After you’ve crossed the finish line, join the festival! Celebrate by staying to party the night away on the Big Four Lawn where there will be music, dancing, food, beer, and more. 

Art Walk tonight!


I cribbed this from the New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project's page at Facebook.

There's also this:


Bureaucrats, potato chips and the need for a city health department.


Last evening, with food being served throughout Floyd County, we were inspected prior to the musical performance. Public health was heroically protected when we were told to remove a bag of potato chips from the railing where the beers are poured. Thus, the only item approximating food could not be present where a food permit (now, newly, for the first time in the history of Floyd County habitation) is required to operate.

This is how Dr. Tom Harris sublimates ambulance envy.

There is no more statutory support in Indiana for temporary food service permits being demanded of beer pourers than there is for psychiatric exams mandated of whimsical, autonomous bureaucrats. But those shoes ... they sometimes fit, and in a pinch, are capable of housing potato chip bags.

For the rest of the story: Jeeebus, what a week. Here's a review.

Kevin Gibson has a solid take on the imbroglio here: NABC vs. Floyd County Health Department.

Thanks to K for the photo.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jeeebus, what a week. Here's a review.

It's dress down day at the health department,
and Dr. Harris is dining at Chick fil-A.

(Sat., June 22 update: Kevin Gibson has a solid take on the imbroglio here: NABC vs. Floyd County Health Department)

---

Let's review the past week, beginning with tonight, when there'll be a concert at Bicentennial Park featuring local favorites Ballroom Blitz.

Because these days New Albany periodically functions almost as an urban area should, it is achieving a modicum of pleasurable results.

WAVE-3: 'New' New Albany attracting visitors and dollars.

People like it, and this is an utterly alarming development for Floyd County's perpetually reactionary and non-creative political ruling class. About the best idea these second-raters can come up with is to harass those who actually are "doing" something, by means of petty bureaucratic racketeering.

Another day, another Floyd County Health Department power grab.

The beer and wine sellers are being told they are entitled -- privileged, even -- to be regulated and cited according to statutes as yet unrevealed, ones apparently unknown outside Floyd County, while being held weirdly responsible for certain known food handling regulations (for pre-packaged liquids) that specifically exempt us from learning procedures we’ll subsequently be cited for not knowing, while we have one simple question: Exactly how is it that a local health department trumps our own beer and wine business’s regulatory authority, the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission?

Food handling, panhandling and regulatory free-basing.

But amid the tortuously Orwellian world of Dr. Tom Harris's health department, it's just another $20 slapped down to fund programs his county political bosses won’t. Others in New Albany might be interested in the implications, assuming they're finished with the party intended to congratulate themselves for … for … er, I guess for holding congratulatory parties.

Health Department's revenue enhancement + Develop New Albany's event calendar = ?

Whilst swatting at the torpid newfound regulatory mosquitoes, NABC prepared to contest the citation issued last Friday.

Preview: NABC's appeal to the Floyd County Health Department.

The full appeal then was published, as full transparency always matters, both to NABC and NAC.

ON THE AVENUES: The long train of usurpations adds a caboose.

The News and Tribune picked up the story, offering Dr. Harris the opportunity to inform a breathless world that NABC’s appeal would be overturned, before ever being heard, thus rendering the concept of “due process” into the sort of thin, worm-ridden gruel last seen being eaten by peasants in a Dostoevsky novel.

On the song and dance routine of Dr. Tom Harris.

Perhaps the leftovers can be fed to the inmates at the county jail?

It is now 8:00 a.m. on Friday, and there's a show to cater tonight. Deadlines approach. As NABC awaits an appeal, a procedure already publicly compromised by the health department's chieftain's detached smugness, we have an obligation to proceed judiciously. Let's slow down this game for just a moment.

In the short term, we will comply with the health department's demands for tribute, however specious, and pay $20 each time we pour pre-packaged alcoholic beverages into plastic cups. We will do so under specific written protest, each and every time. In these instances, we will comply in such a manner as to fulfill ATC regulations, which we regard as pre-eminent, and that we always seek to implement.

In short, the master event caterer (NABC) to whom the ATC permit is issued will indeed possess a temporary food service permit.

County government can rest at ease, safe in the knowledge that further taxation of recalcitrant tea-baggers in the Woods of Lafayette need not be considered, after all.

Kudos to those who have been reading the past week's dispatches here at NAC. The hit counter has been spinning furiously. You are urged to speak with or write your local elected representatives with input on these and other matters. As for this particular issue, the short-term has concluded. Mid- and long-term strategies begin today. Thank you.

"Human nature does not change, but social structures can, and they did."

The book is called "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New American Era," written by George Packer, and released in May 2013. It's food for thought as one prepares for a 35th high school reunion ... class of 1978, square in the middle of the time of which Packer speaks.

Decline and fall: how American society unravelled, by George Packer (The Guardian)

Thirty years ago, the old deal that held US society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed. Was it an inevitable process – or was it engineered by self-interested elites?

... Americans were no less greedy, ignorant, selfish and violent then than they are today, and no more generous, fair-minded and idealistic. But the institutions of American democracy, stronger than the excesses of individuals, were usually able to contain and channel them to more useful ends. Human nature does not change, but social structures can, and they did.

At the time, the late 1970s felt like shapeless, dreary, forgettable years. Jimmy Carter was in the White House, preaching austerity and public-spiritedness, and hardly anyone was listening. The hideous term "stagflation", which combined the normally opposed economic phenomena of stagnation and inflation, perfectly captured the doldrums of that moment. It is only with the hindsight of a full generation that we can see how many things were beginning to shift across the American landscape, sending the country spinning into a new era.

Flip a coin, select an ancient religion -- one's as good as the next.

Greet the summer solstice. What I want most of all is for a Return of the Helles, not Hellenes, but Greece is all right, too.

It's fascinating to read the words of experts intent to prove that ancient religions are irrelevant owing to an absence of values. In fact, it's all gibberish. What's the real difference between blood sacrifices and the blood of Christ?

The Greeks who worship the ancient gods, by Matthew Brunwasser (BBC News Magazine)

The summer solstice, 21 June, is one of the most important dates in the calendar for many followers of ancient religions, and it's a special time for people in Greece who worship the country's pre-Christian gods.

"I love the energy this place has," says Exsekias Trivoulides who has pitched his tent on what he considers to be the holy site of Mount Olympus.

Trivoulides is a sculptor who studied art history and classics, and these days, he is living his passion.

Along with a few thousand others he is taking part in the Prometheia festival, which celebrates the ancient Greek hero Prometheus, who helped humans by stealing fire from the gods.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On the song and dance routine of Dr. Tom Harris.



NABC appeals food permit citation; Health Department: Permit needed to sell alcohol during events, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

You know, all we're really looking for in this case is some measure of honesty on the part of the Health Department.

If it had been enforcing temporary food permits for alcoholic beverage vending in the manner implied by Dr. Harris, don't you think that after 11 years of NABC beer events, and four years of River City Winery wine events, that either myself or Gary Humphrey would recall even one instance of the assertion being true?

We cannot. Because it isn't true.

If Dr. Harris can exhibit a consistent pattern of Floyd County Health Department enforcement over a period of 22 years pertaining to temporary food permits at events where alcoholic beverages (only) are being poured under ATC statutory control ... if he can show this to be the case, then I'll drop all of it and pay under protest until legislative action can be initiated.

But he cannot. Because there is no precedent. Because we're getting Orwelled here -- Orwelled good and hard, and the Newspeak is getting just a bit tedious.

Note the circular logic. We ask for an explanation of how alcoholic beverages are included in the permit, and Dr. Harris answers: Because they're included in the permit.

Thanks for clearing that one up.

Dr. Harris is bobbing, weaving, and obfuscating, because he knows good and well that his department has never consistently enforced temporary food permits as necessary to pour draft beer.

Might there have been random instances? Perhaps, but notice that when pressed by Daniel Suddeath, Harris prattles about corn dogs and fair food.

If he'd like to concede a recent (read: last week) departmental change in policy broadening previous practices, I'm up for persuasion on that count, too. But if sterility was an issue in pouring beer, don't you think the inspector sent to cite us last Friday would have actually inspected a piece of equipment to see whether it was sterile?

Note also that Dr. Harris shies away from addressing the state's exclusion of beer and wine from food handling training procedures. If the Health Department can't or won't train pourers as to procedure, how can it cite them for not obeying?

Can't the Health Department just be honest and admit this is ad hoc amended practice?

ON THE AVENUES The long train of usurpations adds a caboose.

ON THE AVENUES: The long train of usurpations adds a caboose.

ON THE AVENUES: The long train of usurpations adds a caboose.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

(8:30 a.m. update: The News and Tribune's coverage, with Dr. Tom Harris' obfuscation)

Watching the Floyd County governing cabal clumsily canoodle has become a spectator sport on a par with cricket racing and celebrity bunco.

Albeit it headless, the doctrine of virtuous fiscal starvation known locally as Heavrinism grimly persists, with any number of countywide elected officials groveling daily at Grover Norquist’s sticky sneakers, as abacus toting auditors come and go, and the county’s down-sized bureaucrats -- their waistbands grown narrow and fingernails gnawed to the nib -- desperately seek compensatory revenue enhancement wherever they can find it.

No pittance is too small, given that county government hasn’t had a fresh idea since the first land speculator lured Kentucky busing refugees to the non-integrated wide open spaces by felling 136 oak trees to create the affordable sunny expanses of Shady Oak Estates.

Could there be a better time for another botched Camm trial?

---

Never before in the 22-year history of the Floyd County Health Department has it presumed for a single moment to regulate temporary beer dispensation (using draft trailers, cold plates and even the stray bong) by requiring a temporary food permit with accompanying $20 fee each time a solitary growler is uncapped.

For so long as anyone not named Dr. Tom Harris can remember, temporary food permits have been reserved for ad hoc edibles, not alcoholic libations, because Indiana statutory precedent clearly supports the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission’s pre-eminence as primary regulator of adult drinks businesses, both on- and off-premise.

The ATC is our one-stop source for legally relevant permits governing these activities, but suddenly the Health Department is copping an Orwell by insisting that 22 years of rigorous non-contact in fact constitutes a sensual hand job.

Come to think of it, the department just may be on to something, because I am feeling somewhat jerked around.

Last Friday evening (June 14) at the Bicentennial Park Concert Series in revitalizing downtown New Albany, where nowadays pleasure-seeking humans often gather in dangerously subversive groupings without any semblance of church supervision, the Floyd County Health Department dispatched a minion to cite New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse for dispensing draft beer without a temporary food permit. Two other sub-caterers at this event, River City Winery and Irish Exit, also were cited.

I wouldn’t have been any more surprised to see a burning Bush, sprouting right there in the alley by the bank. And yet by show’s end, there he was.

NABC has appealed the citation. The text of the appeal (below) is being circulated to media folk, to whom I have directed these remarks:

We support the Floyd County Health Department’s daily work to ensure food safety for all of us, and we bear absolutely no malice toward those who have made this decision to ignore precedent and attempt an extension of the department’s control to an area (temporary alcoholic beverage dispensing) for which it lacks coherent statutory authority like that clearly possessed by the ATC.

NABC would be happy to offer educational training to the Floyd County Health Department (to anyone, for that matter) with respect to the fundamental safety of the brewing process, because we know quite well that food-borne pathogens are not present in alcoholic beverages served from pre-packaged containers, i.e, kegs, bottles and cans.

I considered basing the appeal on this sentence alone:

“Any kid at any playground will tell you that changing the rules after the game’s started isn’t cool.”

But the process probably merits a bit more support than the obvious, so here is the full text of my reply.

---

June 19, 2013

The New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse wishes to notify the Floyd County Health Department of our request for an appeal, as outlined in Chapter 115, subsection 115.41 of the New Albany IN Code of Ordinances, as pertains to a citation issued on June 14, 2013, by Matt Myers, at the location of Bicentennial Park in downtown New Albany, for the offense of having failed to procure a temporary food service permit to pour draft beer.

As operators, we are “aggrieved” by this order, believing it to be misplaced for the following reasons:

1. We can find no coherent precedent, either in the Health Department’s own 22-year history, or in the entirety of the State of Indiana, for abruptly grafting the theory of a temporary food service permit to the benign reality of pouring beer from a keg into a disposable plastic cup by a business already fully licensed by the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission of the State of Indiana (ATC) to do precisely that.

2. We believe that wording in the Health Department’s local enabling ordinances (115.35; Definitions: retail Food Service Establishment) proves our point that primary control of alcoholic beverages rests with the state agency (ATC) and not the Health Department. Reference is made to “drink,” “drink establishment,” “drinking establishment,” and “tavern,” all of which might be taken to imply to all liquids; however, the ordinance’s failure to specify “alcoholic” drinks obviously signals recognition on the part of the legislative branch of local government that such alcoholic drinks historically possess other points of regulatory control: In the case of Indiana, the ATC. Is the local ATC board aware of the health Department’s interpretation?

3. As such, on June 14, as during all previous events like it, NABC possessed the only necessary permit, as issued by our state governing authority (the ATC); specifically, the Type 222 Supplemental Catering Permit, a form of temporary permit, as approved on an event-by-event basis by the ATC district office in Seymour. Whereas the local health department might well be the highest regulatory authority when it comes to Chick fil-A or Bob Evans, those Indiana premises licensed for alcohol serving observe a higher regulatory and statutory authority when it comes to alcoholic beverages: The ATC. Note also that bartenders and servers already possess state-issued server permits, which include server training, and these workers answer directly to guidelines issued by the ATC.

4. Furthermore, we believe that in legal terms, the Health Department cannot impose more pervasive regulatory restrictions on an existing ATC permit bearer, unless the Indiana legislature has specifically allowed it to do so. An example: Recent statewide smoking legislation includes the legal provision that local authorities may impose stricter standards than those mandated within the act itself. Lacking this language, and in the context of the citation we were issued, the requirement for a temporary food permit constitutes an added level of regulatory control not specifically allowed by legislative action.

5. We observe that according to the state’s guidelines for inclusion v.v. a food handler’s permit, beer and wine are specifically given exclusions. It is plainly contradictory to exclude beer and wine from food service training, and then to require a temporary food permit for workers not even required by the state food handling guidelines to receive training in handling beer and wine. How are workers supposed to know the parameters of compliance and non-compliance when these parameters (if any) are not only undefined, but specifically excluded? How can the Health Department charge a temporary permit fee to cover workers handling objects specifically excluded from training? How can a fee be levied for an exclusion?

6. Note that according to the terms of the Type 222 Supplemental Catering Permit, NABC was considered to be the master caterer at the event of June 14, with sub-caterers (River City Winery, Irish Exit) participating at NABC’s behest, and under NABC’s legal authority as charged with enforcing the ATC’s rules. Thus, according to ATC regulations, it is technically incorrect of the Health Department to issue three separate citations. Perhaps your environmentalist did not know this, as he did not ask to view the ATC permit, and probably wouldn’t have known what it was, anyway. Consequently, we ask that you dismiss the citations issued to the other two entities. This event was NABC’s responsibility, and we are happy to take responsibility for it.

7. In summary, we believe that our citation was the result of simple and correctable error; no harm, no foul. Had the Health Department possessed statutory authority to require a temporary food permit of ATC-licensed entities pouring alcoholic beverages, there would be some coherent, applicable precedent within the Health Department’s 22-year history of existence. However, there is none. Had the State of Indiana or local legislative bodies since adopted new statutory guidelines allowing such an expansion, these would be visible somewhere, and/or we would have been forewarned.

They are not, and we weren’t. Consequently, we believe it is the Health Department’s obligation to provide justification for its newfound territorial permitting contention.

We look forward to hearing from you as to when and where the board hearing will occur. Thank you.

Health Department's revenue enhancement + Develop New Albany's event calendar = ?

Tonight is Develop New Albany's annual fundraising event, Exclusively New Albany.

NABC will play no role in this event, but in spite of what you might think, this isn't so much of an issue with me, even if I enjoy tweaking and tweeting about it.

DNA's apparent policy (albeit one that varies by the hour and source) is that there can be no cash vending without organizational membership, and that's fine by me. Briefly, it looked as though we might slip through with a technicality, by teaming with a DNA member business, but then our friend was told that he, too, couldn't vend.

Presumably there'll still be (non-local) alcoholic beverages on hand tonight. If it hasn't already been relayed, someone might wish to warn the vendor (?) of the Health Department's new temporary food permit expectation. This current reality is unjustified, and we'll eventually prevail in overturning it, but in the interim, it adds $20 for charitable purposes (i.e., a poor starving bureaucracy's coffers) each time a vendor pours publicly, even if the requisite ATC permit already is in hand.

In turn, perhaps Develop New Albany hasn't yet done the math, so I'll offer this: When it operates the annual Jingle Walk wine tasting this fall on Thanksgiving weekend, all the participating wineries now will be subject to the new permit procedure: $20 each, on top of what they're already donating, for what amounts to a bureaucratic usurpation.

As such, perhaps DNA is interested in joining the chorus against revenue enhancement protection rackets. The bar and restaurant sector could use DNA's support on this one. Ask yourselves: If this one gets past us, what's next?

However, in the short term: Help your vendor(s) avoid costs for requirements that absolutely no one at the Health Department told them about, and let your vendors know.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No parking lot for bicycles.



I rode my bike to the Floyd County Health Department to appeal our patently bogus  revenue enhancement citation. It's the healthy thing to do, after all. Josh (above) points to the obvious, although it wasn't exactly a pleasure trip getting there from downtown via Bono Road. Maybe some day there'll be health.

Kerry Stemler: "Are we finished with the photo-op?Just throw those kids back under the boondoggle bus."

Don't forget to monitor the Say NO to Bridge Tolls page at Facebook.

Most recent news articles are gathered there, with Daniel Borsch's customarily trenchant commentary. Those children? They'll be paying through their noses for the rest of their lives to give ephemeral boosts to "the economy" and Kerry Stemler's flagging tumescence.


Preview: NABC's appeal to the Floyd County Health Department.


We are required to transmit such an appeal via certified mail or hand delivery. Oddly, carrier pigeon is excluded as an option. I'll be submitting it after lunch today. Following is the beginning of the appeal. The last six points of contention are omitted; I want to be as transparent as possible with this case, but obviously, I'm no lawyer. Know merely that a game strategy is evolving, and it might take a while to implement. In the meantime, I'm a veritable Abe Lincoln: Malice toward none, charity for all, and quite happy to go about my ATC-regulated drinks business absent the entirely correctable missteps of last week.

Like I've always said, "Olive branches -- not Olive Gardens."

June 19, 2013

The New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse wishes to notify the Floyd County Health Department of our request for an appeal, as outlined in Chapter 115, subsection 115.41 of the New Albany IN Code of Ordinances, as pertains to a citation issued on June 14, 2013, by Matt Myers, at the location of Bicentennial Park in downtown New Albany, for the offense of having failed to procure a temporary food service permit to pour draft beer.

As operators, we are “aggrieved” by this order, believing it to be misplaced for the following reasons:

1. We can find no coherent precedent, either in the Health Department’s own 22-year history, or in the entirety of the State of Indiana, for abruptly grafting the theory of a temporary food service permit to the benign reality of pouring beer from a keg into a disposable plastic cup by a business already fully licensed by the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission of the State of Indiana (ATC) to do precisely that.