Thursday, May 11, 2017
ON THE AVENUES: Would a Canon candidacy compromise Deaf Gahan's and Mr. Dizznee's shizz show? A boy can dream.
A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.
On Monday evening, Kent McDaniel donned his Wayne Morse mask for the second time in three weeks and stood tall as a lone dissenter to a rigged ballot box.
McDaniel is the only surviving member of a previously autonomous New Albany Housing Authority board, one recently packed with shameless mayoral sycophants.
First McDaniel voted against Mayor Jeff Gahan’s force-fed “memorandum of understanding,” and then he disagreed that longtime NAHA director Bob Lane should be removed from his position.
Lane’s offense? He knows how to do his job.
Barring a decision by Gahan to resign his office and enter a monastery, McDaniel likely has amassed an insurmountable lead for NAC’s 2017 Man of the Year title.
On the one hand, there can be no denying that Gahan continues to get his way – and as we know from experience, it’s Jeffrey’s way or the interstate highway. However, for the first time lately, a previously watertight regime is springing leaks.
There’s at least a chance of the next two years becoming interesting. Granted, the 2019 mayoral primary is a long way off, and if Team Gahan is wagering on the electorate’s short memories, it’s never a bad bet.
Still, Gahan’s increasingly repulsive anti-social public housing aggressions have been greeted with an unprecedented level of hostility on social media and via letters to the editor.
Certain Democratic Party veterans are avoiding the mayor’s trademark Kool-Aid and have started seeing Gahan for what he really is, and always has been: a petty tyrant.
Southern Indiana Indivisible, the closest thing to a Bernie Sanders-inspired party wing our local DemoDisneyDixiecrats are likely to see, responded to Lane’s firing with this.
Note that Southern Indiana Indivisible isn’t falling for Gahan’s near certain effort to avoid responsibility by yelping, “It’s the board, not me.”
Even more importantly, a genuine progressive is contemplating a run against Tennessee Trey Hollingsworth for the 9th district congressional seat.
Dan Canon’s very presence on a Democratic ticket in 2018 would complicate ideological life for Gahan, who exists so far to the right of his party’s already rightward extremities that he blends in like inadvertent camouflage with moderate Republicans.
Unfortunately, there are no moderate Republicans, hence Gahan’s general parade ground decorum as a tinhorn dictator without clothes, and with even fewer d(D)emocratic principles.
Obviously, outspoken local Democratic gadflies are to be applauded. Sadly, they remain an informed minority.
It has been truly fascinating to watch as Floyd County’s purported Democrats flail ineffectually to rationalize why Gahan, one of their own beloved icons, is leading this inexplicable, intemperate fight against the safety net of affordable public housing in New Albany.
Gahan’s actions are precisely what they’re accustomed to harshly criticizing those dirty Republicans for pursuing, and yet in this instance the culprit pretends to be a Democrat, albeit one whose artless assault on the city’s most vulnerable population reveals authoritarian traits that aren’t very “democratic” at all.
Gahan is attacking the working poor; conniving behind closed doors to seize potentially valuable land for “luxury” redevelopment; and crippling the housing authority’s governing board first by refusing to make necessary appointments, then packing the board with clueless beak-and-or-bed-wetters who lack even the bare minimum expertise to cast informed votes – which of course they weren’t expected to do in the first place.
Rather, not unlike a washed up former middle infielder now earning drinking money as a third base coach, David "Dugout" Duggins relays signals to the mayor’s joyless dupes, and in the grand tradition of politburos and show trials, jowly time-servers like Bob Norwood tailor their waning integrity to vacuous Gahanic prerequisites.
Naturally Duggins is rewarded for his undying loyalty by being placed in charge of the structure about to be gutted and stuffed, all the better to adorn Dear Leader’s mantel.
If Donald Trump initiated such a thinly veiled coup, local Democrats would be red-faced and aghast, but since it’s their own shining mayoral star authoring the ever-deepening farce, they’re compelled to thrash helplessly, awash in cognitive dissonance.
As evidence of their discomfort, consider that even among Democrats capable of seeing the truth, most still refrain from calling out Gahan by name, choosing instead to buy the mayor’s dodge and beg the housing authority’s board for relief.
Apparently their denial is so deeply ingrained that it prevents them from seeing that Gahan himself appointed the board for the express purpose of annexing the housing authority’s properties and firing its director, however shambolic the result.
Of course, undemocratic local Democratic hypocrisy is nothing new, and the buck stops with Gahan whether or not shocked party stalwarts are willing or able to admit it.
He owns this. Don't forget it.
For local Democrats to sanction in Gahan what they decry in Trump would be laughable if it weren’t so damaging, not to mention Freudian.
Apparently Gahan believes no harm can come from attacking the underprivileged, and of course he might be right. Perhaps the Glowing Orb of Eastridge will sit tight atop his campaign finance surplus until city elections in 2019, or he might yet be toying with the idea of contesting Ron Grooms’ Indiana State Senate seat in 2018.
Except that if Canon runs for Congress in 2018 as a Democrat, his platform almost surely will be read as the last word in anti-Gahan, simply by being honestly progressive. To paraphrase Dire Straits, two men say they’re a Democrat -- and one of them must be wrong.
Canon for Congress?
Dan's as progressive as it gets in these parts. However, if he chooses to run, it almost certainly will be as a Democrat owing to the obstacles to political independence in Indiana. While Sanders’ 2016 presidential run offers a usable template for walking this tightrope, it only suffices until the party establishment commences the kneecapping.
And there’s the nastiest rub of all, because Adam Dickey chairs both the Floyd County and 9th District iterations of the Democratic Party. As the living local embodiment of the Peter Principle, Dickey continues to receive hosannas and promotions as Democratic candidates continue failing to win elections. Apparently he’s the only soul in town willing to do the job, and so he lives to lose another day.
Might a dramatic showing by Canon improve Dickey’s fortunes and lift the failed chairman to the big time? If so, is Gahan an asset or a liability in the congressional district as a whole?
It is instructive to observe that 24 hours after the civil rights attorney hinted at his candidacy (and raised $12,000 in less than a day), Gahan swapped his dreary Soviet bureaucrat’s dark suit for a Russian mafia track ensemble and stayed home to watch cartoons as his groveling toady bootlickers decapitated Lane.
Gahan may have been privately applauded by precisely the same suburban whites who are Donald Trump's primary base of support, but as we’ve seen, key city Democrats are differing publicly with Gahan's execrable public housing putsch.
Dramatic components are falling into place. Anyone have a screenwriter?
Or maybe a bartender: combine Gahan’s top-down dictatorial proclivities with Canan’s probable and progressive candidacy. Shake or stir, and garnish with Sticky Dickey.
Enjoy your cocktail – and don’t forget to tip your blogger.
Meanwhile, we all must work together to determine the public housing position of our city council representatives. Forever on the take, Dan "Make Me Great Again" Coffey has enthusiastically endorsed the NAHA’s demise, but we’ve heard nothing from the eight remaining seats.
Until a city councilman says something, he’s said nothing – and saying nothing must be regarded as consent. Can someone cue Greg Phipps’ wax cylinder of “Talkin’ Human Rights Blues”? The slow version with a banjo on his knee works for me.
Jeff Gahan owns the attack on public housing as mayor, and Adam Dickey owns it as party chairman. Gahan’s purge isn't about poverty; it's about property. If Dan Canon runs for office, Gahan’s and Dickey’s hypocrisy is going to look like it came straight out of Francoist Spain.
We must be ready. Lay in the single malt, boys. Some kippers, marmalade and soda bread would be helpful. I’ve already written the happiest of endings: Canon wins, Gahan loses and Dickey moves.
My eyes are filled with tears of happiness just thinking about it.
May 4: ON THE AVENUES: Under the volcano in Catania, Sicily (Part One).
April 27: ON THE AVENUES: Dear Mr. Dizznee: Can you hear me now?
April 20: ON THE AVENUES: The Weekly Wad? It was a modest start.
April 13: ON THE AVENUES: Ain't it funny how we all seem to look the same?