Monday, November 27, 2006

Emperor Kochert’s newly progressive anti-smoking clothes -- and their utterly striking invisibility.

The C-J’s random New Albany and Floyd County news coverage generator gyrates furiously again today, with reporter Dick Kaukas emerging from behind Door #3 to offer a solid snapshot of the city council in mid-ponder over councilman Larry Kochert’s belated decision to take part in the life of the community by means of an impending proposal to institute a smoking ban.

Smoking-ban proposal likely in New Albany; Council member gauging support, by Dick Kaukas (Courier-Journal).

The New Albany City Council probably will be asked to consider a comprehensive smoking ban in the next few months.

But Councilman Larry Kochert, who backs a ban, said he has decided not to press for an immediate vote on the issue.

"I don't see it coming up before the first of the year," he said in an interview last week. "I'd rather wait a little bit, because from what I can see right now, the support's not there" for extensive restrictions.

With the chins of our council members being rubbed raw (by the way, has Dave Ramsey taken a position on tobacco, Steve?), onlookers might be forgiven for asking CM Kochert, whose personal inclination probably lies in the general direction of the draconian, exactly what he plans to do to increase the level of “support” for extensive smoking restrictions between now and that future day when the stars blessedly align, the tea leaves adhere to form the words "I have something resembling a dream, too," and CM Kochert plunges into the smoking ban scrum.

Meanwhile, the benign indifference to everyday realities of CM Kochert and the council’s other longstanding timeservers continues to resonate in the city’s reform-proof Slumlord Protection Program, Main Street crack houses and proliferating rat populations.

NAC finds it well beyond amusing, and veering into that most un-American realm of irony, that the councilman’s touching concern for the health of citizens has not been manifested with action toward the day in, day out living conditions of those many residing in substandard properties.

Now that I've vented, see the preceding for our regularly scheduled Monday post: CM Kochert's council legacy? One clue: It won't be a smoking ordinance. Posted by Picasa


Ann said...

A fine point here: the ordinances themselves are the council's job to introduce and enact--but we can't lay the blame for the lack of enforcement at their feet. Who are the boss(es) of the people charged with those responsibilities?

The New Albanian said...

If the council were somewhat united, and somewhat principled, then I believe that it might be able to take an activist stance on enforcement.

Currently, the purse strings are manipulated for the petty matters that characterize politics as usual as practiced by small-minded ward heelers.

Imagine the purse strings being wielded in something approximating an advise and consent manner. I understand that all involved wail and moan to the effect that they can do nothing ... but it is my belief that's only because they haven't tried.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Outside of the annual budget, the City Council has access to approximately $2.5 million per year (River Boat and EDIT funds) to spend however they please. Of that amount, only the $137K per year pledged to Scribner Place, or about five and a half percent, is currently being used for clean up, revitalization, preservation, economic development, etc, in which code enforcement plays a major role.

Saying they haven't tried is quite an understatement.

Greg said...

Lets make enforcement "THE" campaign issue for 2007! Lets see which candidate(s) will make this apart of their platform. Neighborhood Associations have fought this battle for a long time and we take two steps forward and five steps back.

A Democrat in Floyd County said...

Good points, all of them. As a smoker, I do support no bars or private clubs being included in this ordinance. As a person, I wish the Feds would just go ahead and outlaw tobacco -- hard time quitting on this end.

Wouldn't want to speculate on Mr. Kochert's reasoning for what or why he's tackling this issue. I might take issue with the fact the Administration, not the Council, is in charge of enforcing those ordinances.

Playing "devil's advocate" -- does that mean any public place could claim "selective enforcement" that disagreed with this resolution, because of the lack of ordinance enforcement?

Guess you never know in New Albany. Good to hear the different perspectives.

BTW, New Albanian, my husband brews beer also, and his latest batch finished is a type of imported Dutch Pilsner. Not imbibing in his brew (don't like dark beers), he simply asked me to tell you this.

SBAvanti63 said...

The platform for 2007 is an easy one. Bluegill mentions clean up, revitalization, preservation and economic development. Add in public safety and there's plenty with which to work, especially as it relates to the current council. The trick is finding the candidates willing to run for each seat and then funding them, as it's likely that Dem. or Rep. party funds will support incumbents over new candidates. I'm new enough to New Albany not to know who these potential candidates might be, but the neighborhood associations are certainly one place to start identifying possibilities. I suspect that some of the readers/responders to NAC would be good candidates. Is anyone willing? Now is the time to get started. It's going to take a grass-roots effort to make the sweeping changes necessary and that won't come easily.