Friday, August 21, 2009

Open thread: Is this the worst city council imaginable?

There was a city council meeting last night, and there might as well have been a circle jerk for all the good it did for the city. Afterwards, everyone retreated to Studio’s and looked into their own personal mirrors, the ones that show the distorted reflections of wannabeens as serial in their abdication of responsibility as Larry Kochert ever was.

It’s a shame. Anyone got a novelty lighter to play with while the city rots?

I was present for eleven minutes of it before being ejected, and just as a courtesy, permit me now to inform readers that they shouldn’t hold their breaths waiting for me to apologize for telling the truth about a congenital liar, however infirm, aged and embittered she may be.

Won’t happen, folks.

But in the time afforded by my departure, and a few subsequent pints, the thought that kept returning was this council’s abject failure to achieve anything substantive.


The excuse that is offered time and again is that times are hard, and wow, who had any idea how tough it was going to be, and damn, we have it rough! The state won’t help, and it’s someone else’s fault, and we can’t be bothered to read or to learn or to offer something – anything – that might represent a glimmer of creativity in a time of duress.

In short, we don’t know anything, we won’t learn anything, and we’d like for those of you less worldly than we are to return us to office next time, because we promise not to have a clue then, either, and we can go our merry ways.

Really? That’s inspiring, isn’t it?

Am I reading them incorrectly? Let me know, and I promise not to call you a liar. Unless, of course, you are.


Matt Nash said...

Didn't the council members living in the 21st century have their emails listed on the city's web site at one time

Randy said...

To answer your question in the hed: My imagination doesn't extend quite far enough to believe a worse council could be formed. But there's still time to be proved wrong.

The New Albanian said...

Yes, formerly the e-mails were listed. Price and (Benedetti?) without 21st century credentials.

Matt Nash said...

Hitler Stalin george w. Bush Sarah palin Andy dick Fabio The sham-wow guy Rainman and Dan coffey

quite possibly a worse council.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

I bet at least a few of them would have the gumption to say something when Coffey ran roughshod over them.

Seriously, what kind of public official thinks they're doing the city any good by cowering at a lying hypocrite's feet?

Dan gave me his best menacing glare again tonight in yet another pathetic attempt to intimidate me. Luckily, it was overcome by the superior intelligence stuck to the bottom of my sandal.

BeckyBee said...

Please tell me when we get to vote them OUT. We just moved here and my fingers are itching to vote some intelligent life forms in.

Iamhoosier said...


BeckyBee said...

I don't know if I can stand it... 2011... geez... we have our own Mayan calendar countdown here...waiting for the world as we know it to change from total chaos to the better! It's gonna be a looooonnnngggg wait I fear.

G Coyle said...

At the expense of another personal attack, I’d like to share my perspective on the city council et al. For at least 60 years the civic arena in NA has been nothing but a bar brawl writ large. When I follow your “progressive” advocacy I’m often bemused that it takes it’s play book straight from the civic crime scene. Load up on liquor and get in a fight. As you know, I’ve objected here to the narrowing focus on the city council as the root of all civic evil. I fear you guys are on a slippery slope to becoming part of the problem, instead of part of the solution. Sure, the city council is a joke, that’s been pretty obvious to thinking people for generations. But what is your campaign now? To singlehandedly end Coffey’s rein? To dog a couple of loopy citizens with too much malice and time on their hands? Will this lead to a new progressive day in NA? If it’s in fact true that the administration, the government employees, the various entities that make their living off government contracts etc, the power elite, the christian fundamentalists, combined with the epidemic poverty and ignorance here are as well part and parcel of the problem?

We desperately need civic institutions that allow community dialogue beyond bars and churches. Nothing against bars and churches.

dan chandler said...

Thank you Gina. I think your comment touches on an important issue.

Whether your slogan is “No New Taxes” or “No More Coffey,” anyone who proclaims to be more than just another No-sayer needs something positive around which he or she can drum up grassroots support. We discuss positive ideas on this blog all the time; if you don’t read the blog, however, how would you know? From a PR standpoint, if nothing else, it’s more than a little helpful to be perceived by 2011 voters as standing for something, no matter who you are or what you stand for.

Whether you’re at a city council meeting or calling in to a local radio program, sometimes word choice or the tone of voice is all that needs tweaking. Progressives do this, but an occasional reminder can be helpful.

Matt Nash said...

I went to the city council meeting last night with intent of thanking the council for paving spring street and for at least a simple consideration for bike lanes. I made my intentions clear on this blog with you on Gonder's blog.

There were few other's that were listed to speak on "non agenda" items and their names were moved to the agenda list by Coffey and they were given the opportunity to speak earlier. I was the only one left on the list. I know in the past that Coffey has made accommodations for people so they wouldn't have to wait.

I had to sit thru that meeting for an hour and a half where nothing new was said or learned. Unfortunately I had to leave at nine to go to work.

Coffey wants to say its the "rules" when he decides it is convenient to follow the rules. VD got up and spoke for at least seven minutes. She started talking about agenda items but quickly whet on a tangent covering every thing else including the budget and pay raises and other things that ultimately led to Roger's dismissal.

It is disheartening to me when I had a positive message that I was treated like that.

For full disclosure I personally have a good relationship with most of the Council members mostly thru Dem. party activities, except for Coffey who did try to have my father removed as Party Chair even testifying against him at his hearing.



Jeff Gillenwater said...

The behavior that Matt describes is typical. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Council members rarely do anything to address it, allowing the entire process to degrade into counterproductive theater and unworthy of even a modicum of respect. It's a farce.

For speaking out against such abuses, people are gaveled down and/or ejected with the support of other council members.

Those other members will deny culpability but, as the only safeguard the public has during meetings, they are just as complicit as the president.

If a mistake has been made, it's been in trying to single out the particularly boorish behaviors of select council members rather than holding the entire lot of them responsible.

It would be helpful if local media would report the abuses as they occur.

Daniel S said...

"It would be helpful if local media would report the abuses as they occur."

Not much room to report that skirmish last night. 15 minute deadline and I'm pretty sure most of NA is more concerned with their trash and stormwater rates than that stuff.
Some stuff is worth a mention, but that whole meeting showed a lot of what's wrong with New Albany from all parties. I felt like I was in the fourth grade for most of the evening.
Granted I would be upset if I felt someone was attacking me unjustly as well. That said, we can't function in a civilized meeting if groups are going to shout back and forth. The best way is to just sign up and speak your mind when it's your turn.
I don't want to be in the middle of who gets to yell the most. You all will disagree with a particular segment of the city and its representation on about everything, just as they will with you. That's perfectly fine and healthy. At some point agree to disagree, Roger you're too smart to call an older lady a bitch like that in front of everybody. It diminishes what I gather you stand for, and basically is redneck behavior.
I've never met Ms. Denhart but I see she's very passionate about what she thinks is right. She's just mistaken on the sidewalk thing. The BSB sidewalk was taken care of through a fund any business could have applied for. You know you're right, don't give people a reason to think you're wrong with that stuff.

The New Albanian said...

All that I will continue to uphold is that after four years of anonymous trash talk, you'd be mistaken in supposing that I'd apologize to the trash talker. I don't feel wonderful about losing my temper. I don't feel bad, either.

Matt Nash said...

Daniel your comments are all correct but for someone like me who just goes to a few meetings a year it is very frustrating.

How long did the mayor speak last night? Did you learn anything during his comments other than the fact that he still has such a nice garbage can.

I know that Mr Wickens of ROCK was given time to speak on non agenda items so his group of people, who may or may not have been citizens of New Albany, would not have to wait.

Daniel S said...

Matt-What, you don't think learning about the mayor's trash can was informative? I got some great stuff out of that. The council makes up the rules on the public speaking stuff as it goes, but hey, it's their show. It's all about how many you have with you. ROCK packs the room, so they obviously get to speak and everyone listens. That's politics, the group with the most gets the most.
I guess I'm just saying if I had to write a story over every slight, every subjective behavior, every comment thrown out that doesn't make sense, there would be no room for the news. I would get the same complaints that you all have for the council, wasting time on stuff that isn't the big picture. Problem is now if charges are filed, I'll probably have to do a story.

I don't blame you Roger for being mad, I just hated to see it get that low.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

I guess I'm just saying if I had to write a story over every slight, every subjective behavior, every comment thrown out that doesn't make sense, there would be no room for the news.

That type of behavior, particularly when it becomes an obvious, years-long pattern that disenfranchises citizen participation, is the news.

Without knowledge of it, the public is kept largely in the dark about their elected officials, allowing those officials to then go back to their constituents and continue the ruse as if they're fighting some noble battle against the very hypocrisy they perpetuate on the public.

It's not "their show". It's our show. Indiana and local law dictate how the council is supposed to handle business and they are not at liberty to break those laws at whim.