Friday, July 11, 2014

Blair dazed as Phipps lands haymaker: "If it’s good enough for the suburbs, it’s good enough for my people downtown."

My 3rd district councilman Greg Phipps had important things to say at Monday's council meeting, but before we come to that, it's worth reprising the evening's distinctive leitmotif.

Mrs. Baird poses in updated Delacroix painting, embraces Highland Oaks People Power Revolution, by me (NA Confidential)

 ... When neighborhood residents flooded the Plan Commission to demand autonomy over their street, council person Shirley Baird looked in the mirror, saw Corazon Aquino staring back, felt the People Power Revolution rush through her soul, and declared the victory of the ochlocracy:

The residents of Highland Oaks overwhelmingly opposed the road extension; therefore, Baird voted for the amendment.

All right; it's a deal. I bring a couple hundred Midtown residents to the council chamber to demand two-way streets and an end to the vehicular reign of error at our front doors, and you'll cave on demand.

CM Phipps didn't waste anyone's time by abstaining or casting a meaningless protest vote, as the verdict was clear. Rather, Phipps made two valuable points. First, he reminded onlookers of why the connector road had been suggested in the first place, if not actually built.

There are some accessibly concerns with Highland Oaks Drive, as it takes a motorist quite a bit of time to reach the neighborhood, Councilman Greg Phipps said.

He was the only council member who found some rationale in the city planning department’s call to complete the road. “I think it’s a logical extension at some point,” he said.

Contrast the Phipps approach with that of 6th district councilman Scott Blair, whose frequent expressions of love and affection for the concept of cost/benefit analysis went flying out into the corridor, probably because People Power looked a little too much like angry voters to him.

Councilman Scott Blair said it was “ridiculous” that residents had to attend the meeting to ask for the road extension to be removed from the comprehensive plan. “I’m sorry it went to this extent,” he said.

So much for a banker's relentlessly factual inner world. As though directly answering Blair's typically fumbling interjections of "quality of life" as it exists 100% of the time in his own suburban council district, and only on widely scattered occasions elsewhere in the city, Phipps delivered a veritable sermon.

Phipps voted in favor of the amendment, and the District 3 representative encouraged his fellow council members to support pedestrian safety for downtown streets and property owners as well.

“If it’s good enough for the suburbs, it’s good enough for my people downtown,” Phipps said.

With a street study set to be finalized next month, Phipps said the council should also be wary of the dangers excessive vehicular traffic can cause downtown residents.

What was that?

We downtowners deserve "quality of life" too -- even if we don't reside next door to John Rosenbarger on Main Street?

Phipps's utterance may be the most stridently revolutionary statement made at a council meeting during the last decade. Through it all, Mayor Jeff Gahan and his team remain silent.

And this is the biggest problem of all. Read Daniel Suddeath's coverage of the Monday council meeting (quoted above): Road through park nixed by New Albany City Council; Exception still needed for baseball fields, county park.

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