Wednesday, September 18, 2019

"Aladdin's and all the merchants at the Underground Station will be open regular business hours during the complete reconstruction of Bank St. in front of the Underground Station."


Previously we examined another in a series of oblivious Gahan street grid errors.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Main and Bank work to begin on Monday the 13th -- or was that Friday the 16th?


As usual, indie businesses bear the brunt as the Democratic Party's patronage imperatives enrich campaign donors.

Dear friends.

Aladdin's and all the merchants at the Underground Station will be open regular business hours during the complete reconstruction of Bank St. in front of the Underground Station. We appreciate everyone's patronage and understanding while this project is underway. And please keep in mind that all parking behind the Underground Station is open and all sidewalks are accessible as well.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A reader writes, we answer: "Roger, when you ran for mayor, didn't Extol Magazine have a profile about you?"


Frequent reader R writes: "Roger, when you ran for mayor, didn't Extol Magazine have a profile about you?"

R, you have a long memory, indeed. I'd completely forgotten about it. The story was in one of the 2015 editions, early in the magazine's existence,, and I believe Angie Fenton wrote it.

Fortunately the page in question can still be viewed on-line: Roger Baylor

Love him or loathe him, there’s no denying Roger Baylor is passionate about New Albany ...

 ... While he’ll always be revered as a veteran zythologist (the man knows beer), he’s now known for speaking up about what’s occurring in the New Albany – often and loudly – and unapologetically sharing his perspective, even if that means taking to his blog to skewer those involved.

Baylor also has taken plenty of heat himself. “I have people who call me all kinds of non-flattering names, but I would hope that right or wrong, I throw punches, I get knocked down, I get back up and I keep throwing punches. … I hope that somebody would say, ‘He does a good job of standing up for what he believes,’ even if they didn’t agree.”

St. Louis MO: "If tax subsidies are so necessary to spur development in the Central Corridor, then why did growth happen anyway in the Cherokee Corridor?"


A succinct overview of neighborhood success without subsidies, with three factors cited, including my favorite: Individual initiative, without help or even in defiance of the political leadership in the neighborhood.

The story is very similar in downtown New Albany. Indie operators succeed in spite of City Hall, not because of it -- although to be sure, a few low level subsidies are available, and lamentably, instances of "picking winners" all too often occur.

(edited -- click through for the whole essay)

Why This Street's Success Threatens the Status Quo, by Chris Naffziger (Strong Towns)

The following essay was originally published in St. Louis Magazine and is reprinted here with permission.

Cherokee Street is dangerous.

No, not in the cliché definition we see plastered all over the nightly news. It is dangerous to the status quo in St. Louis politics. Despite very little attention from City Hall, the street has rebounded from absentee landlordship to become a thriving, multicultural community. Scanning through national coverage of St. Louis, places such as the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum, the Cardinals, and the Arch get much of the attention, and logically so, as they are large institutions with commensurate budgets. But it's Cherokee Street that should be getting into the headlines despite having a fraction of the finances of those other St. Louis icons.

In addition to being ignored by City Hall, Cherokee Street has rarely been the recipient of tax abatements of the quantity lavished on the Central Corridor. Nonetheless, the street thrives. I began to contemplate why this is; if tax subsidies are so necessary to spur development in the Central Corridor, then why did growth happen anyway in the Cherokee Corridor? Here are my observations, having watched the street mature over the past decade.

Individual initiative, without help or even in defiance of the political leadership in the neighborhood. Mexican Americans moved to Cherokee Street and began to open stores and restaurants, bringing life to a commercial corridor that was largely abandoned. Yet again, as has been shown over the past 250 years, this city has always been nourished with the blood of immigrants, and their contribution has been ignored for just about that length of time as well ...

Hard work, which tax incentives cannot replace. Look at the work required to renovate the Cherokee Brewery. Despite receiving no tax abatements, the Earthbound Beer team transformed a historic brewery building into a modern microbrewery ...

A sense of purpose beyond profit. I'm not arguing that businesses should not worry about being fiscally solvent. Far from it. But I’ve discovered over the years that most people can smell a person who’s only in business for the money ...

Joshua Poe explains how those "public input" meetings are kept meaningless to maintain pre-determined outcomes.


We've spoken often about public input meetings that actually aren't, especially the ones pertaining to development and redevelopment projects, and the way city officials -- including our own Team Gahan, but by no means restricted to New Albany's ruling elite -- stage manage the process to give the illusion of meaningfulness.

Before allowing Joshua Poe to explain how this process of public input meeting deception really works, a bit from 2013 in which our Jeff Gillenwater discusses Poe and his work.

---

Poe: "The design seems better suited to simply facilitate crime than livability."

Friend and former neighbor Josh Poe is the sort of engaged and educated person who regularly challenges and improves upon my thinking; in short, the sort New Albany still tends to lose too often.

He continues the good work here, reminding that certain community outcomes are the direct result of careful planning rather than random market occurrences, often for the most egregious of reasons. If you don't think it still happens and happens here, I invite you to check out the school district mapping in western New Albany sometime.

A city divided: Louisville’s urban landscape rooted in segregation, by Joshua Poe, LEO

Author and journalist George R. Leighton visited Louisville during the mid 1930s, after which he opined in Harper’s Magazine that the River City was a place that paid great “attention to food and drink, but for the rest, let well enough alone.”

Eight decades later, the city’s dining scene continues to thrive while many of the same problems that long ago plagued Louisville’s urban landscape persist — namely, the physical barriers that isolate west Louisville, dividing this city by race and class.

---

Yesterday on Twitter, Poe explained "How to control community input, manage optics & corral expectations in public meetings for redevelopment efforts."

1) Encourage participants to focus only on “positivity & solutions.” So important to prevent any accountability. Dismiss dissenters as “playing the blame game.”

2) Divide participants into groups & ask them to list the “problems in their community.”

3) Now ask them what developers can do about those problems.

4) Now ask them how the public sector can help.

5) Overuse the words “equitable” “responsible” “inclusive” and “empower.”

6) Invite local government & NGOs to watch over the meeting. Make sure people feel like they’re looking over they’re shoulders at all times, b/c they are.

7) Invite people from the community to help lead the discussion to establish trust.

8) Wrap up - Praise yourself for your efforts toward inclusion. You can now justify all public spending on your private projects as being “based on community input” & at the request of “the community.” No need for follow-up meeting but promise one anyway.

9) Draft “public/private partnership” proposal where developer receives land giveaways & $ incentives for revitalization along w/ increased police budget for project’s security force (public safety). Announce that proposal is response to what community asked for.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Since when is Brad Snyder the superintendent of schools? We thought Jeff Gahan claimed credit for education, too.


It's all about the foundation of a strategic plan for the school corporation ... oh, and by the way, in the small print, there'll be yet another referendum.

I wonder if Mayor Seabrook will give the school corporation back to Brad Snyder -- assuming the departing Deaf Gahan doesn't try to sneak the education budget out the back door in his lunch pail on December 31.

NAFC schools seek input to decide future of district, by Tara Schmelz (Tom May Biblical Inerrancy Compendium)

NEW ALBANY – The New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. is finishing up an $87 million capital project, thanks to the approved 2016 referendum.

Now, Superintendent Brad Snyder said he's being asked, "What's next?" for the district.

He talked to the school board Monday evening about starting three committees, dubbed strategic pillars, to help decide the direction the district will take for the next seven to eight years.

"This is not a strategic plan. This is the foundation of one," Snyder told the board. "I think we could have one by next summer."

The groups will focus on three areas: raising the academic bar, helping the social and emotional needs of students and master planning for the construction/renovation/upkeep of buildings.

Snyder said the purpose of the groups is to give all stakeholders, such as teachers, administrators, parents, board members and community members, a chance to have a role in the planning process.

"This is not my plan. This is the community's plan," Snyder said after the meeting.

Though the second group will also discuss the proposed school safety referendum, Snyder said the referendum is its own separate piece. He said he is meeting with various parent groups, the school safety commission and will meet with first responders and other community members to decide whether to move forward with requesting up to 10 cents per assessed valuation over the course of eight years, opening up $3.33 million per year for the district to fund additional security measures.

Snyder said if all goes well, he plans to ask for a town hall style meeting in late October/early November, where the community can voice concerns and/or support for the referendum prior to bringing it to spring of 2020 primary ballot.

Pinocchio Gahan never stops doubling down on his deceptive "balanced budget" boasts and financial rating fudges.


Well, an emperor's pants can't be on fire from lying when he's not wearing clothes to begin with. Bluegill helpfully explains.

"New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan keeps sending extremely misleading messages to the public, crediting himself for a balanced budget and an A+ financial rating.

"What he doesn’t explain, of course, is that state law demands a balanced budget from every mayor and that, when one views the financial rating system on the whole, an A+ actually ranks as fair to middling. Each time a citizen intervenes to explain the above so the public actually understands what they’re looking at, their 100% factually accurate comments are deleted.

"Gahan not only lies but works hard at keeping others from telling the truth. Those of you who vote for him are voting for that. Here’s to hoping you get to experience a lot of similar behavior in your professional and personal lives. After all, that’s what you want, isn’t it?"

He also reminds us that partial truths reveal Gahan's lack of ethical bearing, just as much as outright honking whoppers.

"For anyone interested in understanding/refuting Gahan campaign lies, here’s a handy reference chart showing the actual bond/credit rating system. It runs not from A to F as most people are familiar but from AAA to AA to A to BBB. An A+ is a much lower grade than people are being led to believe."

In fact, we're only a step above "speculative grade." Ouch.

Long-Term Investment Grade Credit Ratings (Standard and Poor's)

Borrowers are rated by S&P on a scale from ‘AAA’ to ‘D’. Investment grade ratings are securities with higher ratings of ‘AAA’ (highest) to ‘BBB-‘. These represent bonds with the highest creditworthiness.

Speculative grade bonds, also known as non-investment grade, represent securities with lower ratings from the S&P (‘BB+’ to ‘D’).

Below is an outline of each grade and what it means in terms of financial commitments and credit viability.

AAA

AA

A
Debtors with an ‘A’ municipal bond rating have a strong ability to meet their financial obligations. However, they are more vulnerable to economic and circumstantial changes that could affect their overall repayment strength.

‘A+’ debtors are upper-medium grade with a low credit risk. Their susceptibility to economic changes keeps their ratings from the ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ ratings. ‘A’ debtors also represent a strong ability to repay short-term debt but lack the same strength in long-term obligations.

I asked Bluegill if there was a ready definition for "economic changes."

"I’ve never seen anything that specifically defines them, though it would depend on how the debt and repayment are structured. Since our debt is mostly TIF based, anything that could negatively impact property tax assessments or projected increases in assessments would be a factor, especially since we live in a state with property tax rate caps."

Something like another recession? it would be interesting to see how we shape up today interms of overall debt and exposure versus 2008.

Vote Josh "JT" Turner for New Albany City Council District 5.



Call it a personal endorsement if you will, or think of it as my personal support, backing, seal of approval, recommendation or advocacy. 

It's been a great pleasure to make Josh Turner's acquaintance during the past year. Personally, he's a great guy with an amazing work ethic: young, enthused, and a fine listener with an open mind.

Politically, the contrast is crystal clear. It's hard to imagine a better antidote than JT to the Democratic Party's corrupt patronage fixes and overall policy exhaustion. There have been no bailouts for Josh. He's made his own way, successfully.

I highly recommend Josh Turner to my friends in the 5th council district. Vote for him, already!

Josh "JT" Turner for New Albany City Council District 5

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Final thoughts on fireworks: Score Slick Jeffie's veto as a slight boost for the GOP.



In New Albany, the Democratic Party's intellectually exhausted bait 'n' switch brand of politics is making some mighty strange bedfellows out in the hoods.

It reminds me of the old socialist-realist script in the Soviet Union's cinema and literature: Boy meets tractor; boy falls in love with tractor; boy and tractor live happily ever after.

Back here in anchor-laden New Gahania, non-ironic dishonesty on the part of the ruling elite has accomplished one noteworthy feat of erasure: tractors no longer are needed. Instead, we have mirrors -- cracked rear view mirrors, to be sure, but it doesn't stop the Dickeyites from admiring their twisted, impotent reflections in the debris.

---

The city council's recent vote on a Republican-sponsored fireworks ordinance, which might be described as a cautious attempt to lightly restrict the bedlam of explosive civil liberties celebrations, was bipartisan in both directions.

Two Republicans voted for, one against. Two Democrats for, and two against. And, one independent for, one against. That's about as even a split as can be imagined given the state of our legislative body's usual rigid partisan alignment, and as a result, the measure proved vulnerable to a veto.

Mayor Jeff Gahan's argument against the litmus test of an only slightly restrictive fireworks ordinance was conveyed to the body by police chief Todd Bailey, a reliably pliant spinner of Dear Leader's self-serving party line.

It was yet another matter of such supremely overriding community importance that Gahan couldn't be bothered to attend; in all probability, our Genius of the Flood Plain shuns the council chamber because it gives him flashbacks to those eight long years spent there as a woefully underpaid savior of humanity, before a visit with former (now deceased) East Chicago mayor Robert Pastrick resulted in Gahan learning the real tricks of the patronage trade.

Chief Bailey said fireworks complaints were down this year (if true, it's because most people have given up on any hope of relief) and that enforcement of the ordinance would be a terrible burden.

(As such, it should be noted that there are few if any known instances of the police enforcing existing fireworks regulations, this laxity owing to the ruling Democrats viewing fireworks as example of usefully distracting "circuses" -- "bread" is what Rally's does, after all -- allowing the lower orders to entertain themselves so they won't get involved with questioning the Democratic Party's patronage machine.)

The posturing mayor's hasty "trampling on our God-given right to make noise" laugher was attached cynically and belatedly, only when publicizing his veto, and it most certainly WAS a political expedient on the perennially unimaginative Gahan's part.

I'm guessing this won't help him in electoral terms.

Those New Albanians citing the civil liberties argument in favor of unrestrained fireworks make up two broad groupings: right-leaning libertarians in the suburbs near the fringe area, and apolitical inner-city residents, a majority of them young, and probably a fair number renters.

The suburban libertarians vote, but while they're possessed of a worldview that enables agreement in principle with Gahan's veto, this alone won't change their antipathy toward the mayor in countless other instances.

Meanwhile the majority of inner city neighborhood folks I see and hear detonating fireworks are either youthful and transient, or ignorant of municipal election cycles, although they might turn out for presidential elections. In short, they're unlikely to vote in terms of prevailing demographics.

The most probable POLITICAL outcome of the vetoed fireworks ordinance is a slight boost for Republican candidates on the part of (a) older neighborhood stakeholders, who (b) value order and stability and (c) actually do vote. Just my two cents.

Feel free to disagree.

Not dumbing down: "Wendell Berry’s lifelong dissent."

2011, Louisville Loves Mountains.

On Sunday I launched these words into the social media abyss.

It dawns on me that what I detest most of all on a consistent lifelong basis is the process of “dumbing down,” whether it’s society, business, politics, beer, whatever. Note that I’m not speaking of ignorance; it’s willful stupidity, which is like kryptonite to me. Jeeebus, I hate it so. Rant over. I’m going to hide somewhere in the house, read a book and LEARN SOMETHING just for spite.

I'm already reading a novel (Stalingrad, by Vassily Grossman). Then I saw this book review, which is an extended essay about Wendell Berry.

A Shared Place, by Jedediah Britton-Purdy (The Nation)

Wendell Berry’s lifelong dissent.

ESSAYS, 1969–1990, by Wendell Berry; Jack Shoemaker, ed.
ESSAYS, 1993–2017, by Wendell Berry; Jack Shoemaker, ed.

At a time when political conflict runs deep and erects high walls, the Kentucky essayist, novelist, and poet Wendell Berry maintains an arresting mix of admirers. Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal in 2011. The following year, the socialist-feminist writer and editor Sarah Leonard published a friendly interview with him in Dissent. Yet he also gets respectful attention in the pages of The American Conservative and First Things, a right-leaning, traditionalist Christian journal.

More recently, The New Yorker ran an introduction to Berry’s thought distilled from a series of conversations, stretching over several years, with the critic Amanda Petrusich. In these conversations, Berry patiently explains why he doesn’t call himself a socialist or a conservative and recounts the mostly unchanged creed underlying his nearly six decades of writing and activism. Over the years, he has called himself an agrarian, a pacifist, and a Christian—albeit of an eccentric kind. He has written against all forms of violence and destruction—of land, communities, and human beings—and argued that the modern American way of life is a skein of violence. He is an anti-capitalist moralist and a writer of praise for what he admires: the quiet, mostly uncelebrated labor and affection that keep the world whole and might still redeem it. He is also an acerbic critic of what he dislikes, particularly modern individualism, and his emphasis on family and marriage and his ambivalence toward abortion mark him as an outsider to the left ...

Five years ago today: "2014 Euro Reunion Tour, Day 6: Sightseeing and Schlenkerla."

The 2014 Euro Reunion Tour began on September 10 and lasted through the 23rd. Friends joined us on an itinerary from Berlin through Bavaria to Belgium, and the trip was a lifesaver as well as a life-changer.

Recalling that Bank Street Brewhouse launched in 2009, the trials and tribulations of NABC's ill-fated expansion kept us from traveling abroad in 2010, 2011 and 2012. To be succinct, it was demoralizing.

By 2013 the indie biz trench warfare had stabilized sufficiently that we made it to England, then in 2014 came the long-awaited return to the continent, one glorious day of which is described here.

The kitchen at BSB had closed in May of 2014, and an effort was underway to shift operations to a taproom model amid mounting disagreement between owners, but in retrospect it seems certain that more than any other single factor the Euro Reunion Tour finally convinced me to begin the transition away from NABC. The business divorce began in earnest at the beginning of 2015

Duke Ellington's famous assessment: “Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one.” For me it's Europe, not music. Many readers would have guessed beer, but this wasn't ever the case. It's deeper than just one aspect.

The brewery expansion project required me to be an American, and I gave it my best, and yet ultimately my heart was lodged elsewhere. We must be who and what we're intended to be, and I'm a European mistakenly dropped by a drunken stork in flyover America near Louisville.

It's an existential dilemma, one I've been grappling to make sensible since the early 1980s, and the process is okay by me for so long as I'm not compelled to pretend otherwise.

And now, five years ago today ... in Bamberg, Germany -- probably my favorite city in all of Europe.

---

The Gillenwaters and the Baylors began the day by hiking to the elevated square where the Dom (main cathedral) rests, facing both "new" and "old" residences of the archbishopric.



Shortly thereafter, Jeff and I discussed matters in the post-confessional rose garden.


Foreshadowing?

Various jaunts on a general theme of sightseeing subsequently occurred. Here's the monastery on Michaelsberg hill.


Little Venice along the Regnitz.


The much-reproduced old town hall building is astride the narrow river, which flows on both sides of the structure.


And, a bit of clever detail work, visible to the left in the above photo.


At 6 p.m., we met new arrivals Joe and Kris for dinner and smoky treats at the Schlenkerla tavern (to the right, below).


There we met delectable steak tartare with capers, onions, eggs and anchovies (and later, pork shoulder) washed down with the world's finest smoked lager beer.


More importantly, we met Julius Trum. For an explanation, skip over to my Potable Curmudgeon blog: Schlenkerla's next generation gets an early start.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Breathtaking school building bunk goes to show lies are lies, whether they're Trump's or Gahan's.


Note the use of the word "we" in this shameless whopper from Slick Jeffie.

SUPPORTING EDUCATION: With the help of school administrators and concerned parents, we succeeded on an initiative that rebuilt 2 brand new city schools, remodeled current facilities, invested in new equipment and technology, and created better spaces for learning for our children and families. Let’s keep moving New Albany forward!

Note to Abigail.

A simple rule for using numbers in writing is that small numbers ranging from one to ten (or one to nine, depending on the style guide) should generally be spelled out. Larger numbers (i.e., above ten) are written as numerals.

You'd think they'd teach this rule in school.

Rebuttals?

MC: "Wow. Talk about taking credit when none is due. The voters of Floyd County, through a referendum, approved all of this. What’s next? Taking credit for the sun coming up tomorrow? I mean, how desperate do you have to be to come up with actual accomplishments? How about telling us the total debt load of New Albany now versus when you came to office. I’ll even let you off the hook by excluding the sewer department, which has it’s own budget."

RC: "Exactly HOW did either the mayor or New Albany government make this happen?"

SW: "Let me get this straight -- so he supported education by taking property tax money away through TIF, forcing the school system to run a deceptive referendum campaign for a huge tax increase?"

KC: "Help me understand what the city had to do with this."

BM: "Heard Gahan was taking credit for the incredible full moon tonight as well."

Calling yourself a "progressive"?

Here's an idea:

Hold Jeff Gahan to the same standard of truthfulness that you maintain with Donald Trump. Think you can do that?

Has Gahan done anything "progressive" in eight years?

Running up debts for your children and grandchildren to pay isn't really "progressive," is it?

How can you "move forward" with an anchor as your official symbol?

#FireGahan2019

Scammers, fraudsters, and the task of "Un-Corrupting City Hall."


This long read helpfully explains why New Albany's Ethics Commission was stillborn.

Un-Corrupting City Hall, by Ethan McLeod (CityLab)

These cities all suffered notorious municipal scandals. What have officials and voters done to tackle corruption and keep it from happening again?

H. Philip West Jr. breathed a sigh of relief in June when Providence’s 294-room Graduate Hotel decided to remove the portraits of Vincent “Buddy” Cianci from its guestrooms. The longtime mayor, who died in 2016, is an iconic character in the Rhode Island capital’s history. But as far as West is concerned, Cianci is a stain on Providence—one that he’s spent years trying, unsuccessfully, to scrub away.

It was only five years ago that Cianci—out of prison after a racketeering conspiracy conviction in 2007 and twice forced to resign from office due to felony convictions nearly two decades apart—mounted a third run for mayor. He lost, but West, former director of Common Cause Rhode Island, was still troubled to see him draw 45 percent of the vote.

“When you’ve dealt with such a brilliant scammer and fraudster, how can you convince people that they should not support him? I’m not sure you ever can,” says West, who helped write a new city ethics code and create a municipal investigatory body after Cianci’s 2001 indictment. “Ultimately you just have to say, ‘We’re going to build a structure that’s going to hold anybody who’s elected going forward accountable.’”

That’s the same pledge that voters and leaders have made in other places where civic corruption has been a chronic issue. Weary from national embarrassment and seeing history repeat itself, cities like Baltimore, New Orleans, and Chicago have responded to political scandals with charter overhauls and executive orders, empowered independent investigators to probe corruption, and challenged problematic local political traditions.

But successfully leading a wave of reform can be a tall order, with human nature and deeply entrenched political culture standing in the way. “This is about personal greed,” Tim Krebs, chair of the University of New Mexico’s political science department, says. “As long as you have human beings in government, you’re not going to be able to root [corruption] out entirely.”

Boosting oversight doesn’t always work, and for some, the jury is still out as reforms await testing. But in cities large and small, when voters and officials commit to challenging corruption and embracing transparency, they’re seeing results.

Examples are offered from Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Greater Los Angeles and New Orleans, before the narrative turns back to Providence.

The Providence Ethics Commission didn’t actually meet until 2015 ... West said he’s proud of the ethics code and other reforms he helped with, but is bothered that he hasn’t yet seen the commission enforce the new rules for any violations. “With a power, you can’t really know what it is until you exercise it and you find out what the resistance is. I really can’t say that they’ve got decent enforcement power until I see that they’re using it.”

The coda.

“It takes a long time to build good government, and sadly, a clever, corrupt official can do great damage in short time,” he says. “Until those people retire and are gone, corruption will still have its presence, its taint.”

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Main and Bank work to begin on Monday the 13th -- or was that Friday the 16th?


On Thursday, it became apparent that Slick Jeffie's $500,000 stop light project at the intersection of Main and Bank, the urgent need for which has been apparent for at least six years, but which has been delayed until right NOW because of the mayor's self-glorification imperatives elsewhere, is coming to fruition only because of election year politics.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: The shenanigans and ass-hattery of Deaf Gahan's last-minute Main and Bank stop light project have commenced.

 ... The foreman seemed to be in a blind panic. He said the Bank/Main project had been labeled "emergency" election year status and therefore would be fast tracked, adding that the amount of work they have to get done would typically require three months -- ah, but Deaf Gahan has demanded that work be completed in 27 days.

Gahan's insistent it be finished before Harvest Homecoming even though this foreman admitted he had never had a project this size proceed that quickly and didn't know how they were going to get it done.

One might say okay, but at least it's finally being done -- except it should be a four-way stop project from the get-go, albeit inflated to fiscal grandiosity in a vacuum owing to the usual dictates of fluffery, and as oft times before, the independent businesspersons nearest the project, whose routines are to be interrupted most profoundly BEFORE Harvest Homecoming renders them inaccessible for a whole week, HADN'T BEEN TOLD ANYTHING AT ALL BY THE CITY ABOUT THE PROJECT.

Of course, this is standard dysfunctional procedure, and the way it works almost every time. If a mayoral flunky or visiting engineer tells the Bored of Works that stakeholders have been notified, it means none have been notified. Team Gahan's obligations tend to be toward self-perpetuation, not timely notification.

But on Thursday afternoon, September 12 ... with 27 days of compressed destruction about to commence on Monday, September 16, at long last Gahan got around to letting shopkeepers in on the program.

By proxy, of course.

Look what showed up at the end if the day yesterday. Delivered by the construction foreman, not a member of the administration. Charmingly vague, eh?


This is what "work starting Monday" looks like.

I don't blame the construction company for getting started right away, but Gahan's office needs to get it's head out of its ass and be up front about the impact this is going to have on businesses. Work starting today is fine, just SAY that work is starting today.

Like, that's not even a lie worth telling.

Construction slated to begin on the 16th actually began on Friday the 13th, so apparently it must be a lie worth telling because Gahan tells it every single time -- and still the sycophants sing the praises of a mayor whose only noteworthy skill is using an abacus to count the money given to him by no-bid contract seekers.

We can do something about this, you know.

#FireGahan2019
#DrainTheGahanSwamp

Friday, September 13, 2019

Side-splitting Jeff Gahan stand-up comedy: "What I do best is listen to a lot of people."



Listening.



That's why he's here, you know.



Just one question: When has Slick Jeffie ever heard what's being said?

Watch Jeff Gahan abuse (a) the League of Women Voters' Q&A format, (b) Mark Seabrook and (c) the intelligence of voters.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Slick Jeffie's snarling true colors in last evening's non-debate.

I didn't attend the League of Women Voters' fix-is-in-non-debate, and here's why.

Jeff "No Debates" Gahan ecstatic as League of Women Voters ditches the candidate debate format.

Watch Jeff Gahan abuse (a) the League of Women Voters' Q&A format, (b) Mark Seabrook and (c) the intelligence of voters.



Our political prima donna Slick Jeffie won't agree to debate his opponents if "debate" is taken to mean "debate," but his legendary bad temper comes to the forefront near the end of this short clip from last evening's made-for-Gahan soiree at the Silver Street Pleasure Dome.

Gahan also confused the issue, extrapolating overall budgeting from TIF district pillage.

You broke the rules, Mayor Chump. 

Naturally the League didn't do a thing about it. Like I said ...

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Slick Jeffie's snarling true colors in last evening's non-debate.


#FireGahan2019
#DrainTheGahanSwamp
#SocialistsForSeabrook

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Slick Jeffie's snarling true colors in last evening's non-debate.


Roger did not attend Bill Hanson's paint-by-numbers soiree at the Silver Street Pleasure Dome.

I didn't attend the League of Women Voters' fix-is-in-non-debate, and here's why.

Jeff "No Debates" Gahan ecstatic as League of Women Voters ditches the candidate debate format.


But the Green Mouse did.

---

"The only moment of nastiness last night was when Mark Seabrook answered a question about city finances and then passed the mic to Jeff Gahan to answer the same question. Gahan asked the moderator to repeat the question and while she was looking for the card he lashed out at Seabrook. 

"Unsurprisingly, the moderators did not say anything about his outburst.

"Gahan raised his voice and made this petulant snarl about how his balance was perfectly budgeted and the city's finances were in great shape. He yelled at Seabrook and said 'you're one to talk' since he's never had a balanced budget, and some other inaudible crackling.

"Slick Jeffie did a great job of showing his true colors. Seabrook definitely got under his skin last night."

---

Just imagine if Hanson and the League of Women Voters had the chutzpah to stage an actual debate.

I didn't attend the League of Women Voters' fix-is-in-non-debate, and here's why.


Speaking personally, I'm appreciative that so many of you took the time yesterday to ask whether I'd be attending last evening's pompous South Central League of Women Voters' fix-is-in-non-debate at Deaf Gahan's palatial Silver Street Pleasure Dome.

The way I phrased the preceding paragraph just might clue you in as to why I had no intention of attending. I value my health more than that. 

Amid the League's characteristically vacuous blathering as to why softball questions are a better format for incumbent influence peddlers than something approximating a genuine debate -- and reminding all and sundry of the League's abject failure to stage something approximating a genuine debate back in 2015, when I experienced first-hand just how fawning this organization can be when it comes to peer groups and existing power structures -- kindly allow me to repeat a link from last week.

Editorial: Why political debates still matter (LA Times Editorial Board)

But voters have a lot to gain too. In the era of multimillion-dollar campaigns and slick political messaging, nothing beats the potential of old-school debates to reveal and humanize the men and women behind the glossy ads and focus-group-approved slogans.

They still matter, just not here in the News and Tribune's readership area, although by all rights the newspaper should be leading the way by joining with entities like the League to insist that candidates participate in a real, honest, and impartial debates, and publicly shaming them if they won't.

But the newspaper can't muster the minimum integrity necessary to afflict the comfortable, apparently because the comfortable underwrite the newspaper, so we must watch yet again as myriad opportunities are lost even as those chiefly responsible for squandering them beam happily for the camera, inadvertently taking full credit for their joyful roles in cheapening discourse.

A pox on them all, I say.

The problem with 95% of those posturing hereabouts as community "leaders" is that they never bother leading, and probably couldn't define the term if asked. Pretend as you will; I'm always satisfied to be speaking truth, not wishful thinking.

Here's your Bill Hanson nothingness link for Friday, September 13.

Local political forum features New Albany candidates, by Brooke McAfee (Tom May Content Coagulator)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

ON THE AVENUES: There's no business like no business, and it's none of your business. (2016)


The notion to repeat these thoughts from the Pre-Trump Pleistocene (okay, 2016) came when yet another News and Tribune staffer recently departed for greener fields at Louisville Business First, the latter having become an admitted source of information for me during the course of writing web site posts for Food & Dining Magazine

Let's turn back the clock.

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June 23, 2016: ON THE AVENUES: There's no business like no business, and it's none of your business.

“I used to say I practiced clinical medicine, now I say I practice political medicine, because it’s the mother of all illnesses. And we have to fix this one if we’re going to fix the things that are literally killing us.”
-- Dr. Jill Stein

I’ll return to politics in a moment, because naturally business must come first. Note that my contempt for the breathless contents of business-oriented publications is boundless. It is eternal. It is the stuff of inebriated, chortling legend.

Talk numbers to me, baby.

Um, no. Rather not.

Business porn is where good writing goes to die, condemned to sadistic asphyxiation in the service of coded buzz-speak and greasy greenback envy of the sort that only a One Southern Indiana oligarchy fetishist truly can appreciate when curled up in pajamas by the stock market ticker app, with an ice-cold Bud Light Lime and a box of handy tissues – doused in aloe, of course.

However, every now and then a stray provocation slips through my cordon sanitaire, as here:

How to survive political hostility when trying to run a business, by Terry Brock, Contributing Writer, Louisville Business First

Whoa! Have you sensed the level of political rivalry in this year’s election?

This seems to be much more intense this year. Notice the attacks on Trump supporters and the attacks by Trump supporters on opposition attendees at Trump rallies.

Yes, the American political scene has been known to be particularly venomous throughout history ...

… Yet, this election seems even more vicious, at least by 20th and 21st century standards. I’m wondering how it affects relationship marketing for small businesses and entrepreneurs like you and me.

Here are some ideas …

Venomous and vicious – which is to say, potentially important. This election may influence everyday business reality for generations to come. It may engender revolution, ignite reaction, or reinforce an uneasy status quo.

In short, the 2016 election truly matters for small business persons and entrepreneurs, and consequently, the consultant Brock’s bullet points counsel complete and utter detachment from the election (for their maddening details, kindly fluff Louisville Business First by visiting its web site).

  • Political sharing idea #1 — Politics shouldn’t mix with business
  • Political sharing idea #2 — You’ve got more important things to do — like focus on business!
  • Political sharing idea #3 — If you must share politics, do it in the right place
  • Political sharing idea #4 — You can lose customers
  • Political sharing idea #5 — Avoid politics in public

And who’s this guy again?

Terry Brock gives real-world, practical tips on how to generate revenue and increase productivity.

Not that 1Si's self-interested cadres care one jot, but my practical advice differs markedly. I generally advise small business persons and entrepreneurs to make an earnest effort to understand politics and elections, particularly at the local level, where it impacts them the most, and to actively participate in these exercises.

Concurrently, is there any valid excuse for squandering potentially productive work time by reading business-oriented publications?

Business writing should not ever be mixed with actual business. Don’t these business people have more important things to do than read -- you know, like focusing on their businesses?

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In mid-rant, I was reminded of a passage in Dylon Jones’ remarkable profile of “The Independent” (that’s me) in the June, 2016 edition of Louisville Magazine.


The profile  -- as of 2019 it isn't accessible on-line, but Dylon told me he'll fix that -- is required reading for the likes of Terry Brock, Wendy Dant Chesser and Adam Dickey – but I digress all too readily.

Jones writes:

I have a conversation with someone at the (Bank Street Brewhouse) who threatens to hunt me down if I identify them. I could, but won’t. I don’t believe in “off the record,” especially not retroactively. But I do believe in letting certain wounds – whatever they may be – heal beyond public gaze.

“Did you get the part about how Roger destroyed his business?” they said. “No one from city hall comes here.”

Then: “Don’t quote me.”

“Well, who could I talk to about that?” I asked.

“Anyone on the street,” they said.

As Elton John once observed, it’s a sad, sad situation – and it’s getting more and more absurd. After all, if it’s true that "city hall" stopped coming to Bank Street Brewhouse, then I managed to achieve a cherished goal of Americans from coast to coast, for it means I personally saw to it that GOVERNMENT GOT OUT OF OUR LIVES.

You’d think I’d be paid handsomely for this, not basely insulted. If only I could bottle this government-free formula, and hastily sell it to AB-InBev; that’d get my face on the cover of a business publication, for sure.

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It’s an unspeakably dreary landscape. There’s the professional business consulting class, recommending that entrepreneurs accustomed to taking fabulous risks – who’d never have gone into small business in the first place without standing tall for something – adopt generic, beige Pablum as a staple of their professional diets.

Then there’s the shrill claim that political extremism destroyed my own business, and that’s odd, because when I behaved exactly the same way for more than 15 years while standing atop a soap box situated behind the bar at Rich O’s, my behavior was edifying, entertaining and educational; probably an alcoholic Commie, though few seemed to mind.

Brock would be so proud of me: I helped generate revenue and increased productivity. We have medals for that, right?

And plaques?

However, there is a difference in scope between eras, and it is genuinely instructive. During the period of my nightly barside preaching at the Public House, subject matter typically pertained to national and international affairs.

There were opinions aplenty, but they were safe, in the sense that it’s a breeze to pontificate when lubricated, and there is no way to directly influence the outcome.

Because denouncing the Iranians from a barstool is easy. Repeating these words on a downtown Tehran street corner to their faces – well, that’s hard. Distance and liquidity enhance vehemence and courage.

And yet, if my university political science professor was right, and politics is all about the allocation of power … and if Tip O’Neill was right, and all politics is local … then for a local business, the allocation of local power is a critically important local variable, isn’t it?

Local political power structures play a huge role in determining business conditions and influencing business decisions, every day, throughout the year – don’t they?

And these local political power brokers live right here among us, right?

Theoretically, their proximity is as sweaty and direct as democracy gets. The grassroots can be no closer to you than the councilman residing two doors down. If a two-way street would lift your business, and yet it still runs in only one direction, then political power is being arrayed against you.

How does one hope to rectify the imbalance and fix the street without becoming part of the solution?

But no one from city hall comes here …

Perhaps their absence is a reflection on the prejudices of city hall, not the business or the proprietor, and their negligence is an abuse of political power, not its proper exercise.

Perhaps my political involvement has been grassroots-up, in reply to their top-down, because contrary to American default assumptions, self-defense still can exist apart from firearms.

Perhaps we can cure the mother of all illnesses right here at home, where it’s as close as it will ever be, but administering the needed medicine requires involvement and engagement, not cowering from a distance, head stuck in a business publication, pants around ankles.

1Si espouses unity on behalf of The Man, but I prefer unity in defiance of the Man. As citizen Franklin said, "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."

He was a good businessman, that Benny.

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The preceding prompted a follow-up the very next day.

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June 24, 2016: Business publications, and why I should know better than to tangle with an Over 50 Marketing Thought Leader. 

Yesterday my weekly column made reference to an Insider Louisville piece by Terry Brock, hastily assuming he was a local writer, but this is mistaken. He actually lives in Florida, and appears to be quite renowned.


I appreciate that Brock took the time to post a comment about my column, and of course I'd love to have a beer with him if he comes through town while on tour.

Terry Brock has left a new comment on your post:

ON THE AVENUES: There's no business like no business, and it's none of your business.


Brilliant piece, Roger! I love every word of it. Yes, I believe we need a separation of business and politics and businesses should focus on their business.

You raise some excellent points about local issues. That is important. For many of us, "local" is Planet Earth. We focus on issues that affect many and are tied together based more on values and aspirations than a defined piece of dirt where we happen to live currently.

Hey, I would *LOVE* to talk with you more about this. Sounds like these types of discussions would be best over some of that good craft beer you have up there in New Albany! For doing such an outstanding job on this piece, I owe you a nice beer, or other beverage of your choice!

Thanx for writing this. Simply brilliant, Roger! Keep up the good work!

Terry Brock - TerryBrock.com

Here's my most renowned contribution to business marketing. It's rather politicized, though only because I fully intended it to be that way.


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Terry Brock and I never got together, unfortunately. My former business finally disgorged me in February of 2018, and City Hall currently is engaged in a great struggle to renew its pay and privileges for another four years. When Dylon posts the profile text, I'll link readers to it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have several "business publications" to ignore ... and adult beverages to consume.

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Recent columns:

September 5: ON THE AVENUES: Welcome to traditional Danish lunch in Copenhagen, September 1989.

August 29: ON THE AVENUES: Welcome to "Pagan Life," a weekly column devoted to heathens, infidels, idolaters, atheists, non-theists, irreligious people, agnostics, skeptics, heretics and apostates.

August 22: ON THE AVENUES: The 32 most influential books in my life.

August 15: ON THE AVENUES: Breakfast is better with those gorgeous little herrings.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: The shenanigans and ass-hattery of Deaf Gahan's last-minute Main and Bank stop light project have commenced.


The shenanigans and ass-hattery of Deaf Gahan's last-minute Main and Bank stop light project have commenced, and once again merchants at and near Underground Station are in for a hell of a ride.

But first, let's have a look at the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of Gahan's political patronage, as performed by our Bored of Works on September 3. Note again that "over time" as cited here by city engineer Larry Summers must be translated for ordinary citizens to understand:

"We didn't bother with this intersection for years on end until just recently, when instead of posting a pre-schooler to stand there, watch, and view the idiocy, we awarded an $80,000 contract for research to one of the mayor's donors."


Now, having waited years on end to do what was obvious all along, Gahan is showing his horses the whip.

The Green Mouse reports ...

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I was walking down Main Street yesterday between 5th Street and Bank, when a semi-trailer as big as Gahan's ego flew past me on Main doing about 45 mph, reminding us that when the mayor threw all that money at the tall native weed medians where the rich folks live, there wasn't any money left to actually take a stab at slowing traffic elsewhere.

There was a commotion. Cones started going down on Bank Street, and then surveyors, Duke Energy people, Larry Summers and Mickey Thompson from the Street Department gathered.

A very harried looking man arrived and introduced himself as the foreman on the project and proceeded to outline what was about to happen to merchants in Underground Station and facing Main. 

Starting Monday the 16th, Bank Street on the south side of Main will be shut down and dug down to the depth of two feet. The entire intersection of Main and Bank will be milled as all the new light and anchor-festooned crosswalk infrastructure goes in. 

The foreman seemed to be in a blind panic. He said the Bank/Main project had been labeled "emergency" election year status and therefore would be fast tracked, adding that the amount of work they have to get done would typically require three months -- ah, but Deaf Gahan has demanded that work be completed in 27 days

Gahan's insistent it be finished before Harvest Homecoming even though this foreman admitted he had never had a project this size proceed that quickly and didn't know how they were going to get it done

I offered him a loaded Rice Krispies Treat and some Kool-Aid, and this seemed to calm him. Subsequently it transpired that yet again, the city hadn't bothered dispensing information to stakeholders, perhaps because of the election-year emergency. 

For instance Dr. Gradel at StoneWater Acupuncture & Chiropractic, whose office already is barely accessible due to the Reisz Mahal nonsense, had not been informed of what was going to happen. I watched as she chased down Thompson to ask for temporary loading zone signage in the hopes that her clients, who are coming to her for medical care, MIGHT be able to actually get to her office.

One of the merchants texted their landlord to ask if anyone from the city had contacted him, but he hadn't heard anything from them and only just saw the newspaper article.

The Underground Station courtyard will be restricted in terms of accessibility, and customers will have to park in the back and then hoof it around to Pearl Street and up to get to any of the Main Street businesses.

Is Gahan ever going to allow New Albany merchants to transact business in peace? It just goes to show that people who've never run a business themselves have no idea what it's really like.

Right, Adam?

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Slick Jeffie's wasteful masterpiece: $85,000 + $406,522 = the price for traffic lights at a downtown intersection where a four-way stop would work just fine.


GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Did Team Gahan really eject former mayor James Garner from its campaign kickoff love-in last Saturday?