Thursday, September 22, 2005

UPDATED: Did you hear the one about the golf cart?

Neither did we, so instead ...

Tonight, in an epochal moment that will be remembered for generations in New Albany, our City Council heeded the sage advice of the community’s most reliable witnesses and resoundingly approved the appointment of Brandon Smith to the Historical Preservation Commission.

Well, almost all of the council did, ‘cuz nothing’s ever simple here in the Land that Brains Forgot.

With CM Jack Messer's absence leaving the council with only eight members present, the HPC appointment vote was 6-0, with CMs Bill Schmidt and Steve Price bizarrely abstaining from one of the only genuine no-brainers that we’re likely to see this year.

Presumably, they were holding out for “concern taxpayer,” Jouett Meekin or one of SL Price’s well-rehearsed needy renters to be nominated for the post.

Congratulations, Brandon – we think.

In other council news, the body’s lone Republican, CM Mark Seabrook, joined the city’s controller, Kay Garry, in asking the council’s Gang of Four – to judge by their reactions, specifically CM Price and fellow Siamese councilman Dan Coffey – why the local press (read: Ben Hershberg of the Courier-Journal, who was attacked by name at least twice during the session) generally seems to get wind of resolutions and ordinances before he and she do.

Check their cell phone records, Mark.

Mrs. Garry’s dispassionate, concise and detailed explanations of the reality of city finances yet again deprived the inevitably pontificating CM Coffey of the Category Five wind required to inflate his considerable gills, leading to the garbled Cappuccino back-peddling that is as much a necessary part of city council meetings as gasoline is to the internal combustion engine: “We really don’t know how much of what is being spent.”

If the air weren't hot, it would help cool the meeting room.

Treachery lurked just around the corner through most of the evening’s proceedings, as when CM Price plumbed the depths of his high school rhetoric textbook (Chapter One: “Play Some Skynyrd”) to praise the inspired brilliance of Mrs. Garry, only to suddenly point his finger at her and say, “You can help us find the money, but you won’t.”

Pssst, Steve – the money’s hidden under the neon condom display, aisle three at New Albany DVD. Didn’t the Mullah Goebel tell you?

Meanwhile, NA Confidential sincerely notes the very human tragedy that CM Donnie Blevins has found himself flailing through ever since the issue of the sanitation department (his employer) first surfaced, but it’s rather obvious that by failing to consistently abstain on votes that represent certain conflicts of interest for him, CM Blevins has made his problem far worse.

Tonight, he intemperately called Mrs. Garry a “liar,” then later issued the last of the evening’s many “clarifications” just prior to adjournment, insisting that it was a “misunderstanding,” and that he respects her deeply.

Phil Collins said it best: “(You’re) in too deep.”

Yes, it certainly was a choreographed affair up on the third floor. First, the Sewer Board reported en masse, in essence informing the council that there’s no available money to be redistributed from the sewage utility’s coffers to support other arms of the city, i.e., a sanitation department awash in red ink.

With the Sewer Board’s collective fingers furiously wagging, and the proposed Industrial Disposal privatization contract now gone by the wayside, submerged beneath New Elbonia’s primordial glop, all parties in attendance agreed to make nice, form a new committee and consider options for the future of sanitation in the city of New Albany.

Apparently the bleeding will continue until morale improves.

A love-in of a different sort was staged by two earnest female members of the speaking public, who used their time to lob fat softballs in the general direction of their beloved regressive icons, CMs Coffey and Price, and despite being joined at the hip, these well-prepared luminaries were easily able to hit the scripted-in-advance pitches clean out of the park.

It’s a short porch in wrong field, you know.

Speaking of male bonding, there were numerous instances of gentle nuzzling, affectionate back-slapping and protests of chaste intent passing back and forth on the Gang of Four’s side of the table.

The crowd groaned as CM Larry Kochert paused briefly from his favored pastime of bashing the county to question why CM Price had not been recognized by name for his gratis musical performance at the recent Silver Grove Neighborhood Association’s street fair.

Tossing those panties on stage was a bit much, though.

Earlier, CM Schmidt strangely chose the portion of the agenda labeled “Communications from City Officials” to read his own prepared comment, in which he professed steady support for ordinance enforcement and castigated anyone who doubted it, then immediately changed the subject and began outlining his plan to expand the standing sanitation committee by adding non-council members.

Perhaps Valla Ann’s cameraman inadvertently got in the way of CM Schmidt’s teleprompter.

But give him his due: CM Schmidt joined with all council members in approving Pam Badger as New Albany’s OEO.


That’s a wrap, and tonight’s cool, refreshing Bug Light “Outstanding Grandstander of the Meeting” nod goes to CM Steve Price, who with his predictably cowardly HPC abstention managed to thumb his nose at his own district for a Gang of Four leading 176th time this year.

Not only did CM Price confide that he had once “read something on a Blog,” but he also contributed this classic quote:

“We’re scrambling here – there’s families out there who aren’t going to have a Christmas.”


Friday morning update:

The C-J's Ben Zion Hershberg focuses on the council's approval of the Scribner Place bonding mechanism, which was passed last night, with the only "nay" vote coming from lame duck councilman Steve Price:

Scribner bond-finance plan OK'd; New Albany backs financial arrangements, by Ben Zion Hershberg (short shelf life for Courier-Journal links).


Joe Muka said...
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TS said...
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The New Albanian said...

A reminder: The preceding deletions are examples of "comment spam," and are generated by a spammer's automatic program within seconds after posting. This can be avoided only if I enable a feature called "word verification," which many of you have seen on sites like Ticketmaster. I'd prefer not to do this, because it would add another step to comments.

Anonymous said...

First off, it is refreshing to read your perspective on the night's events and I look forward to the ongoing saga. That said, I find it typical although repulsive that since the privitization plan has fallen by the wayside, our so-called leaders could only agree to "make nice, form a new committee and consider options for the future of sanitation in the city of New Albany." I think each of them has had ample opportunity to do this. They need a firm plan, a start date with a trial period and then make changes as necessary. Sitting on their derriere's with ongoing mental masturbation is not getting the job done or solving the problem. As a taxpayer, I'd like to see some firm committments or replacing the city's deficiencies. Mrs. Garry is so much more intelligent than the CM's and she probably has an excellent idea of how this problem could be fixed if the CM's could "check their ego's at the door" and ask for her suggestions. She appears to be extremely fiscally conservative and I'd bet she is a closet republican.

The New Albanian said...

On several occasions last night, Mrs. Garry tried to contrast her factual reporting of fiscal reality with the combative political-point intentions of the perhaps intentionally uncomprehending councilmen.

When CMs Coffey and Price piously intone that they're trying to find time to "study" and "save jobs," they're actually saying that they need more time to cover their own political asses.

Simple as that. It's grandstanding, and it's populism, and it's misleading, and it isn't to be confused with any clue whatsoever as to how the problem might be fixed.

As for Mrs. Garry's political leanings ... beats me, but she always conducts herself with class in a room filled with semi-literate vipers, and that's recommendation enough for me in the absence of currently unavailable proof to the contrary.

Hey, I'll get that blog link up later today.

Brandon W. Smith said...

Thanks, Roger. They took a very minor, apolitical issue - the HPC nomination - and played politics with it for weeks. I think the council owes the HPC a formal apology.

As for the abstainers, I'm flattered that they didn't want to go on the record as voting for OR against me. I'm also flattered that my nomination took longer than that of Justice Roberts. Makes me feel important.