Thursday, March 16, 2017

ON THE AVENUES: It's all so simple, says Jeff Gahan. Remove the impoverished, and voila! No more poverty!

Burger Chef and Jeff? No, it's TIF Man and Warren.

ON THE AVENUES: It's all so simple, says Jeff Gahan. Remove the impoverished, and voila! No more poverty!

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

It was another vintage week for home-wrecking and game-playing by the tittering, braying donkeys who populate Team Gahan's toxic bunker bullpen (surely they're possessed of a remarkable consistency, if nothing else noteworthy), but let's try to disregard the latest round of slapstick and self-parody, and look instead at the purported blueprint for a "balanced mix of public and subsidized housing."

It is revealed within the recent, artfully contrived Comprehensive Plan, a Disneyesque document written by many of the same malleable functionaries now fairly itching to seize the controls of their testosterone-charged bulldozers, which currently idle nervously for the signal to VAROOM.

Bullet points "a" and "b" are sufficiently vague as to be nonsensical.

We know from long, repetitive experience that the desired Gahanian context for terms like these can be summarized in a sentence.

City Hall encourages you to redistribute a percentage of your lucrative new contract to the Gahan for Life fund, and we can assist in extracting your wallet if mandatory tithing is a burden.

Furthermore, if the objective of public housing demolitions is to reduce density, improve the condition of surviving units and geographically distribute new construction (the latter is thoroughly dubious), why target Riverside Terrace for destruction?

Riverside's units are many blocks away from the densest concentration of public housing, and make up some of the NAHA’s newest and best maintained buildings.

Location, location ... LOCATION. Riverside Terrace has the misfortune of being situated within a healthily-lofted Duggins spitball of Loop Island Wetlands, which straddles the Greenway and is envisioned by city planners as potentially rivaling New York City’s Central Park in sheer, “Are you fucking kidding me or what?” grandeur.

They must be spiking the Kool-Aid with LSD.

Point "c" is an example of classic Gahanite circular reasoning. These "recommendations" are not to be found in the detailed program already devised by the professional, trained staff of the New Albany Housing Authority, but rather as stipulated in the form of demolition-friendly reductions forced on the NAHA by means of a daintily termed Memorandum of Understanding, a writ of annexation slated for approval by a board packed by the mayor with the usual servile sycophants, as fully intended to render the result Gahan has fixed in advance.


The scant slivers of meat on these otherwise bleached bones are to be found in points "d" and "e."

First comes the soothing panacea of "voucher-based units," which numerous local social service agencies already have publicly testified as being non-existent, at least in numbers sufficient to re-house public housing residents facing eviction.

Because Deaf Gahan and Donald Trump might be twins as it pertains to a genetic predisposition to ignore dissenting expertise, perhaps the testimony of an ordinary human being would be useful in making this fact clear.


Did Gahan even once bother speaking with any real people before pursuing his hygienic “reforms” on their behalf?

I'm one of those tenants with a Section 8 voucher. I've been trying to find a new place to live for over a year. Pickings are slim and coming up with the deposit on a limited income is nearly impossible. Now I'm afraid to let go of what I have, however unsuitable it is for my needs. Fortunately, I only have to be concerned about me. I don't have kids to bring into the mix. I can't imagine how much that situation would make you worry. You are very correct about low income folks being insecure about their housing, just as they are insecure about having enough food. I am a registered democrat and I do not support this administration and their agenda. This town smells fishy to me. From Breakwater to Housing Authority demolition and a few things in between. Maybe it's the river, maybe not...

Ah, yes. Speaking of the Breakwater, our flame-broiled but defiantly bocce-clad shining avatar of Gahan’s imagined “democratic” mission to bring pure top-shelf living to New Albany, we now must be reminded that luxury and affordability are not incompatible, at least on Fantasy Island.

e. When the City of New Albany is a partner in the development of housing through public incentives, a total of 8 percent of the units shall be affordable.

This empty promise should suffice for years of uproarious hilarity on the part of city officials observing it in the breach.

You’ll notice that this affordability component is applicable only to housing the city already has chosen to subsidize, implying that we’re not going to be having a discussion about this particular form of odious corporate welfare, either.

Moreover, an instructive example of what can go wrong in times of toothlessness is to be found across the mighty Ohio, where Greg Fischer, Gahan’s go-to manly man and political idol, has become the absolute master of gesture politics without content.

As Caitlin Bowling of Insider Louisville explains, a potential out-of-town recipient of public "incentive" largess is balking at the notion of an affordability component, insisting that if a mere 18 out of 272 luxury units are discounted, it simply can’t go forward with the project.

An out-of-town developer may back out of plans to build a $56 million luxury apartment complex in NuLu, according to the developer’s attorney, Jeffrey McKenzie, of Bingham Greenebaum Doll.

“Flournoy Cos. is frankly not able to go forward,” McKenzie said when addressing members of the Louisville Metro Council’s Labor and Economic Development Committee Tuesday afternoon. The council was set to vote on a tax incentive agreement between the city and Flournoy Cos. but instead tabled it.

The Georgia-based company has asked the city for just more than $5 million in potential tax incentives, and in return, city officials told Flournoy Cos. that it must include 18 workforce housing units in its development at 700 E. Main St. and 121 S. Clay St.

The workforce housing request is part of an initiative by Metro Council leaders to ensure that there is housing affordable to residents who earn 80 percent of the area median income for Jefferson County. Teachers and police officers are often given as examples of people who would benefit from workforce housing.

Flournoy Cos. previously agreed to rent 18 of its one-bedroom apartments at $947 per month, whereas a regular one-bedroom unit would go for $1,300 a month.

However, when McKenzie addressed the council committee Tuesday, he stated that the project can’t move forward if Flournoy Cos. is required to have the 18 cheaper apartments. Either that requirement would need to be eliminated, or the property owner, Service Welding & Machine Co., must agree to sell the properties on Main and Clay streets at a lower price.

Let’s hope Fischer goes full gesture. That'll show 'em.


You may recall that on Monday, there was to have been a pre-rigged housing board vote on the memorandum of annexation, but the measure was tabled.

Initial media reports implied cold feet on City Hall’s part, though soon enough a defensive press release was emitted, with Gahan making sure the world knew it was director Bob Lane’s illness and not his own agoraphobia to blame for the delay.

Concurrently, deputy dawg and down-low soothsayer Mike Hall covered for a typically absent Gahan here:

Mike Hall, a spokesperson for the mayor's office, said in an email, "The MOU recognizes that much of the public housing stock in New Albany is poorly located, does not reflect current thinking and best practices in housing assistance, and is not in good condition."

Principled opposition makes them testy, doesn’t it? The newspaper reporter released this overview, clarifying matters.

New Albany Housing Authority board pushes back reduction plan to April meeting, by Elizabeth Beilman (Cooking School Chronicle)

Executive Director asks for delay to prepare comments

NEW ALBANY —A plan to reduce the New Albany Housing Authority's stock has been pulled from tonight's board meeting agenda, at the request of Executive Director Bob Lane.

A vote on the plan, originally scheduled for 5:30 p.m., will now be held April 10. The 10-year plan initiated by New Albany city officials that would result in a reduction of more than half of the housing authority's stock and redevelopment and relocation of several others.

Lane, who has been on sick leave for the past two weeks because of emergency eye surgery, said he has not had the time to prepare his comments on the proposed plan. He expects to have a response ready to the city by March 24.

"The City of New Albany and the New Albany Housing Authority worked together for months to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the future of public housing in New Albany," a city news release stated. "The City was hopeful that it would have been adopted tonight at 5:30 p.m. during the New Albany Housing Authority’s regularly scheduled meeting."

Alas, with dreary and numbing predictability the editorial board already had changed into water sports attire and jumped on Gahan’s wrecking ball bandwagon with a bizarrely worded essay about the need to smash things up right away … but please be careful and make sure the flying bricks don’t hurt anyone as they queue for the cattle cars?

Of course, all but one of the editorial board’s contributing members live outside New Albany; sole local Chris Morris is always ready to shine the shoes of elected officials, and it’s never clear whether Gahan is in Bill Hanson’s pocket, or the other way around.

Looking for the world’s worst topic sentence? Try this one:

There are too many public housing units in New Albany. Most would agree with that statement.


Doesn't it depend on how we define “too many” and “most”?

You won’t be surprised to learn that the editorial board proffers no evidence to support this opening bit of fawning hearsay fluffery, although weirdly and completely inadvertently – like your dog managing to catch the occasional car – the newspaper stumbles onto a point even if it can’t recognize what it is.

That’s because New Albany has absolutely no idea whether most, some or none of its residents agree, as this question hasn’t once been aired publicly, now or ever.

Rather, the entirety of public expertise on public housing  in New Albany remains stuck in a lily-white 1980s time warp, with decades of tall tales and folk “wisdom” emanating from the upstanding suburban folks, and sufficing for those pesky facts that Gahan and the editorial board duck as if they were rotten fruit.

It’s an abysmal information gap, and Gahan is exploiting it not so much in the sense of ethnic cleansing, but of low-income cleansing. Like generations of conclusion-jumpers before him, he has hitched the cart in front of the horse and declared that the overt existence of safety nets like public housing is the cause of unsightliness -- not the poverty, because he can't bring himself to admit that such a thing as poverty exists in his city, and so he's quite sure that if we stop treating symptoms, the disease will vanish, just like in one of his beloved Uncle Walt’s animated features.

And anyway, what good are poor people if they neither vote nor give often enough to Big Daddy’s campaign finance war chest?

Nick Vaughn said it best (and also elaborated on the problem):

The proposed plan spearheaded by Mayor Gahan would effectively demolish nearly half of the affordable housing units in New Albany in the hopes that low-income housing becomes less centralized. I am against this proposal and I am writing in the hopes that not only the Housing Authority and city officials see this, but also to help my fellow New Albanians become more aware of the growing crisis in our city called poverty.

In the end, amid the intellectual squalor, there is only one inexplicable development in this absurd and discouraging tale. Why didn’t Gahan name his demolition proposal The World’s Greatest Poverty Eradication Plan of 2017?

Wait -- I forgot another.

How can Gahan be considered a Democrat?


Recent columns:

March 9: ON THE AVENUES: Never preach free speech to a yes man; it wastes your time and annoys Team Gahan.

March 2: ON THE AVENUES: Breaking up is hard to do. Just ask the Reichstag.

February 23: ON THE AVENUES: A stern-side view of Gravity Head, nineteen times over.

February 16: ON THE AVENUES: In 2014 as in 2015, then 2016, now 2017 ... yes, it's the "Adamite Chronicles: Have muzzle, will drivel."

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