Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Right when Greg Phipps said it's no big deal; after all, the sycophant-packed mayoral lickspittle NAHA-N board would have to vote on any public housing changes.

Suggested accompaniment to this council recap is Alfred Schnittke: Concerto for piano, 4 hands & chamber orchestra

"I am just fixing what I hear ... It's not me, who writes
my music, I am just a tool, a bearer ..."
-- Alfred Schnittke, composer

Last evening, 3rd district councilman Greg Phipps formally and publicly capitulated to Cool Papa Gahan, and the News and Tribune's Elizabeth Beilman was there to record the moment for posterity. Following is an excerpt, but you'll want to read it all.

New Albany's comprehensive plan challenged by public housing advocates

Council approves 20-year plan

NEW ALBANY — One section of New Albany's 150-page comprehensive plan brought public housing advocates to the city council meeting Monday to voice their opposition.

They say the 20-year plan, passed unanimously by the council, will displace low-income families and leave some with few options for affordable housing alternatives.

"This would create a disparate impact that is negative on people in protected classes under the fair housing law, leaving the city vulnerable to a fair housing claim," Cathy Hinko, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, told the council.

The comprehensive plan calls for reducing the number of project-based public housing units and replacing it with voucher-based housing dispersed throughout the city. Vouchers subsidize a family's rent through federal funding, if the landlord is willing to accept them.

According to the document, the goal is to decentralize public housing, creating neighborhoods with mixed incomes and de-stigmatizing low-income communities.

However, housing advocates who spoke Monday are skeptical the switch between public housing units to vouchers wouldn't be equivocal.

Wendy Helterbran, a New Albany resident who was a member of Southern Indiana's Homelessness Task Force, believes many people will be unable to use housing vouchers because of a lack of homes with affordable rent.

The New Albany Housing Authority calculates how much assistance a family with a voucher receives, but that doesn't limit how much a landlord can charge.

"It means families will have no place to go," Helterbran said. "It means that homelessness and the risk of it will increase in this community."

Hinko believes the comprehensive plan's public housing recommendations, if acted upon, would have a "draconian effect" on city residents as well as the workforce.

In the Louisville metro area, 42 percent of all jobs pay a wage that won't support renting a modest two-bedroom rental unit "without significant burden to the household," Hinko said.

"You should be adding, not subtracting, units that accommodate people," she said.

City Councilman Greg Phipps said demolition of housing units won't happen without the New Albany Housing Authority Board's approval first.

"If we do eliminate public housing, we do need to make affordable housing available," Phipps said.

Weary sigh. The housing board of which Phipps speaks has been packed to render the predetermined result, and he knows this, and as for Phipps' "affordable" option, don't you think this is something that might be pursued energetically before residents are cast out?

Let's keep it simple.

Last night's city council meeting surveyed the bottomless depths of the ongoing depravity of New Albany's political culture. Council "Democrats" stared at their shoes while Dan Coffey described the proper mission of the housing authority (the wizard's thoughts on the kinetic theory of matter would have been next, but time elapsed), and of course there is no reason for Republicans to object to an opposing political party intent on self-destruction.

If you're a Democrat expressing fury at the absence of democracy in Washington DC, then at least spare us the blatant hypocrisy. You have your own tinhorn despot right here in River City, your own vacuous cult of personality, and your own group of slobbering bootblacks pretending to be economic development directors and council representatives.

Suggested coda to this council recap,
courtesy of Elbow (and Richard Hawley):

The fix is in
The odds that I got were delicious
The fix is in
The jockey is cocky and vicious
-- Elbow, "The Fix Is In"

May each and every one of them choke on it.

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