Eric Schansberg, professor of economics at IU Southeast, was reading Fb when Mayor Gahan's quote was mentioned. Here's what he had to say about it.
Here's a jack-wagon and false thing to say: "He's never done anything in a positive manner to help the city of New Albany."
The mayor doesn't understand the beauty of capitalism and mutually beneficial trade. Under that metric alone, you've done millions of things that have been positive.
I thanked him and replied.
I was thinking, well, our life savings and a total investment of a million bucks (in NABC) might be considered a positive in some quarters.
He explained in greater detail.
That's a way to measure some of the larger, easier-to-see impacts of your work and vocation. But you make a positive impact every time you sell a beer or a pizza-- in terms of the narrow economics and the broader social implications for community, etc.
Politicians have a similar op -- in providing an environment in which such activity (and other) can occur. But of course, politicians can also engage in Peter/Paul crony capitalism or worse.
Putting it another way, it is *ridiculous* to say that a business owner has never done anything positive. It is far more likely for one to be mayor without doing anything positive for a city as a whole.
Considering Eric's comments, the plain fact is that if Jeff Gahan is capable of tarring me with this "non-positive" brush, it isn't only me he's smearing.
It's every single entrepreneur and local business owner in town, the economic clout of whom has barely scored a blip from City Hall during the past four years.
Recall that independent local businesses in America with fewer than fifty employees generally are credited with generating roughly 30% of the economic activity.
In New Albany's historic downtown business district and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding it, this percentage is likely higher. These are the businesses widely understood to have done the most in sustaining the core during the lean years, then revitalizing a formerly moribund area with a fresh wave of food, drink, retail and service businesses to complement the survivors of a previous era.
Not chains, not Flaherty and Collins, and not the Disney Corporation.
Rather, local independent businesses.
Like mine, like yours.
Like the ones that keep money in the local economy, create jobs and grind it out all year long ... not merely during special occasions.
And yet, not only does the city's economic development effort weirdly tout just about any other ephemeral and improbable definition of "trickle down" activity capable of disturbing a sleeping Orwell (anything/everything bonded with TIF counts as economic development absent any need to qualify or explain) -- all the while pretending to be responsible for investments made by grassroots entrepreneurs, business owners and developers -- but City Hall now is on record, from the mouth of our highest ranking elected official at a public debate, as denigrating them.
Soon I'll be leaving my current business, but I'm proud of what we've achieved in the past quarter century. I put every bit of skin I had into this game, and I busted my ass in the process. When I walk away from the business, it'll be with only a fraction of what I put into it, primarily because I usually reinvested in it and refrained from taking value out of it -- but the business itself will continue doing what it's always done.
These folks involved with economic development at the municipal level ... have any of them actually ever owned a business?
Yep. Didn't think so.
Thanks to everyone for the comments and notes. It surprised even me when Gahan said what he did, and I'm typing as fast as I can trying to answer all of you.
When I'm mayor, you can trust me to put the local economy first. It's one of our most important assets, and we deserve better than this.
By the way ... Jeff Gahan has yet to answer the Indie Fest challenge, which is no surprise considering City Hall's antipathy toward the event in 2015. However, that depressing story will have to wait.