Sunday, February 28, 2010

City council's group temerity exercise scheduled for Monday, March 1.

Tomorrow's council agenda is light, with the money shot (if any) being delayed until the cameras roll on March 18: New Albany City Council to consider replacing trash lids, containers.

I have a work obligation on Monday night and will spare our timeservers an appearance, but I'll predict that electoral calculations and raw, primal fear of local teabaggers will be stoked by Dan Coffey's and Steve Price's customary self-serving, doom-saying caterwauling to strangle the trash lids at birth, and also to deny the body a full-time attorney.

The former matters little, and the latter might be helpful to a group forever ignorant of inconvenient legalities, but with Coffey volunteering to serve pro bono as legal bagel based on his having once watched a John Grisham movie part of the way through before falling asleep, it will be another easy cop-out for the variably principled.

Half of them want to be mayor. Made plans to leave town yet?

Meanwhile, a newly vigorous Tribune editorial board gives a light chiding to the current mayor: Sewer explanation should have come sooner.

I have a serious question: Do editorial boards at newspapers customarily include representation from the display advertising department and the business manager? No offense implied. I'm just curious. Here's what Wikipedia has to say:

At a newspaper, the editorial board usually consists of the editorial page editor, and editorial writers. Some newspapers include other personnel as well.
Editorial boards for magazines may include experts in the subject area that the magazine focuses on, and larger magazines may have several editorial boards grouped by subject. An executive editorial board may oversee these subject boards, and usually includes the executive editor and representatives from the subject focus boards.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

NA Bicentennial Art Project collaborating with Purdue College of Technology to stage visiting artist program.



February 25, 2009 ----- The New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project announces a new collaborative project with Purdue University featuring a visiting artist program at Purdue College of Technology in New Albany in the Purdue Research Park on Charlestown Road.

Professor Richard Kopp, the Society for Mechanical Engineers (SME), and the Special Interest Group for Graphics (SIGGRAPH) host the program. Both SME and SIGGRAPH are student organizations associated with the Mechanical Engineering Technology and Computer Graphics Technology programs offered at the Purdue College of Technology.

Selected artists from this year's 2010 River Project will speak at the university. The Visiting Artist lectures are free and open to the public. The first speaker is sculptor Brad White, and is scheduled for March 18th, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00 am. White will discuss his design for the Underground Railroad inspired sculpture that will be installed downtown in May of 2010. He is an employee of Bright Foundry, and will also explain mold making and other techniques used in the process of casting bronze works of art.

Scheduled talks to date include:

March 18th, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00pm:

Brad White - His sculpture is inspired by Underground Railroad History, and will be located on Main Street next to Keystone Restoration.

April 1st, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00pm:
J. Daniel Graham - His sculpture is influenced by Early Settlement history, and his work is sited for placement in St. Marks Garden on Spring Street.

April 15th, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00pm:
Leticia Bajuyo - Her sculpture is inspired by New Albany's Brewing and Tavern History, and will be installed at the New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse.

April 29th, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00pm:
Valerie Sullivan Fuchs - She will speak about the process involved in the filming and design of her project, which will be projected on the wall of the YMCA building in downtown New Albany.

May 13th, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00pm:

John King - His sculpture is inspired by the historic Glass industry in New Albany, and will be installed on the exterior wall of the River City Winery on Pearl Street.

For more information about this exciting public art project, or artists' speaking opportunities, please contact New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project Director Julie Schweitzer or visit the web site.

For details about these speakers at Purdue University of Technology at New Albany, contact Professor
Richard Kopp.

This project is a partnership between the Carnegie Center for Art and History and the New Albany Urban Enterprise Association. It is directed by Julie Schweitzer Studios, with major funding provided by the Horseshoe Foundation of Southern Indiana and support from The Tribune. For more information or to get involved contact
Julie Schweitzer, Project Director, or call 812-944-4986.

It's that time again.

Posted by Picasa

Forget about the bad news. Right now, it's all about Gravity Head. In the photo above, Jesse's tapping Aventinus Eisbock from the Anstich keg. We have a motorhome on site, local homebrew clubs tonight and Ohioans coming tomorrow.

And, before I forget, Chef Josh Lehman's green chili (remember Fringe Fest?) captured the people's choice vote at yesterday's Jeffersonville Main Street chili cook-off.

Like I wrote earlier on Facebook: Can your miserable corporate chain pub do this?

I didn't think so.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

C-J: "School closings expected in Floyd budget cuts."

It's ironic. I was chatting with Brad Snyder just the other day. He offered no revelations or gave any clue as to what might happen, but merely offered that the forthcoming announcement was going to be difficult and very painful.

Take it away, Harold:

School closings expected in Floyd budget cuts (Courier-Journal)

New Albany Floyd County school leaders will announce a plan next week to plug a $6.6 million budget gap, and it’s likely to call for some school closings, a top administrator said Wednesday.

Today's Tribune column: "Take my city — please?"

When failure is the mantra, then there's only one way to make the prophecy self-fulfilling.

BAYLOR: Take my city — please?

Amazingly, others among us believe that the best way of coping with the sewer utility’s financial crisis is to take every last cent of the city’s economic development money, both now and for decades into the future, and use it as a subsidy for today’s rates. My 3rd district councilman, Steve Price, suggested exactly this approach, aloud, last week.

One fine flush in the open air museum.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kozarovich: "Coffey’s antics continue to embarrass New Albany."

There's a big cheer 'n' jeers section in today's Tribune, and Coach K gets to the heart of the matter. However, he misses an obvious point: Dan Coffey cannot lead the city into the future because his entire political existence is devoted to keeping it stuck in the past. You might as well ask Steve Price to describe the flavor characteristics of oak-aged Imperial Stout.


... to our crusading New Albany councilman Dan Coffey and his rabble rousing about sewer rates and corrupt local government (Note to self: Isn’t Coffey the longest sitting city politician?). I totally agree that government must be held accountable. I don’t put it past any person with power to try some funny business. There is always temptation. So let’s watchdog those we elected! But Coffey’s antics continue to embarrass New Albany. Instead of being a true leader and looking for a solution — it took Rep. Ed Clere to locate some help while Coffey grandstanded — he blames others. Instead of looking for potential solutions, this elected leader seems only interested in picking up his pitchfork and torch. Do some research and please join the logical and constructive discussions so the city you help lead can move into the future.

— Tribune publisher Steve Kozarovich

"Newton discovered it, we perfected it": Gravity Head 2010 starts Friday, February 26.

Here's a compendium of links that provide sufficient background to the forthcoming weekend's Gravity Head 2010 opening at the Pizzeria & Public House.

In 2010, I've taken the approach that pretty much everyone who cares to know about NABC's annual foray into mind-of-its-own hysteria, otherwise known as Gravity Head, already knows about it. Consequently, I've not been angling for publicity. It is what it is, and our customers know what that means.

Also, this year we've decided to take a slightly different approach as to festival management. The overall number of Gravity Head listed kegs is down 10% from 2009 (that's a first), and when the calendar turns into April, we'll reduce the number of festival taps and officially "end" Gravity Head, although untapped GH kegs will be poured until they're gone -- just from fewer spouts. This will dwindle eventually to one tap, from which a higher-gravity specialty will continue pouring year-round.

In this fashion, we can put more of our own NABC creations back on tap, sooner, and we'll also have room for the guest draft program retrofit that's been in the planning stages for a while. Look for old favorites and a more predictable rotation.

But first ... on Friday, February 26, Gravity Head 2010 jumps into gear with our third annual Gravity Tailgate Breakfast. In 2008, a hardy band of early-rising regulars convened for gravity breakfast with Terry Meiners of WHAS television in Louisville. In 2009, we tweaked the concept, and the template remains in effect in 2010.

Breakfast starts at 7:00 a.m., when it’s actually legal to drink beer in Hoosierland, although you certainly don't have to drink if you don't want to drink. There’ll be doughnuts, Sarah's breakfast frittatas, snacks and Ed Needham's home-roasted coffee. We'll segue into normal 11:00 a.m. opening hours, and go from there.

The links:

Enjoy Gravity Head 2010 and help Matt and Amy jump into the river to benefit the Special Olympics.

Download the 2010 Gravity Form.

Gravity Head starters having been named, vote now for the 17th and final keg (not firkin).

Starting lineup for Gravity Head 2010: "Newton discovered it, we perfected it."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tribune's Steve Kozarovich at Destinations Booksellers, tonight.

Straight from the Destinations Booksellers e-news briefing:

Events for this week include a conversation with New Albany Tribune Publisher Steve Kozarovich on Tuesday, Feb. 23rd at 6:00 p.m. He'll sit down with Randy Smith to discuss newspaper coverage of local events.
Will this be recorded? I have a previous obligation this evening and will not be able to attend.

"Tower Skin" as solution to an architectural "fashion faux pas."

Finally, an answer for the Riverview Towers design atrocity. Thanks to Josh for the link.

ECOGIZMO: Using a skin graft to give city eyesores an eco-friendly face-lift, by Darren Quick (Gizmag).

The “Tower Skin” concept is a transparent cocoon made of high performance composite mesh textile that is wrapped around an existing structure to act as a high-performance “micro climate”. Surface tension allows the membrane to freely stretch around walls and roof elements achieving maximum visual impact with minimal material effort. The skin is also easily repairable, is removable and upgradable and features a self-cleaning coating.

The Holy Roman Emperor strikes back.

It's only fair that Jameson, who after all has become a known entity in time and no longer toils anonymously, has the marquee for his response to yesterday's post: I'm willing to take the bait. Maybe we'll both learn something.

Longtime blog readers will note that Blogger comments are not searchable. That's why it's useful on occasion to life comments to the marquee.



"So, what's the disconnect? Is the biggest difference between us our respective interpretations of a Greek philosopher who has been dead for more than 2,000 years? Is it shallower? Deeper than that? It isn't about me, and it isn't about you. Right? So, tell me: What's it all about?"

Roger, it is everything above and more. The sad thing is even if I try and explain it to you I know you will not read and listen to what I’m attempting to convey. Some of the fault lies with me, I wish I could express things to your satisfaction, but that is where NAC’s hypocrisy and double standards begin and gets worse from there. I standby what I said last night, and the crazy thing is that understanding Socrates will explain a lot of what it is all about.

A lot of people read this blog, but what most people are unaware of are the things said outside of their view. You play victim here but you are the assailant. You list all the things you invest, but are they more than what others have risked? Saying that your investments are any greater than mine or anyone else’s is egotistical. Maybe you’ve just had more time than others. When you list the things that you are apart of all I see is how your personality, just being there, would cause others not to participate, and that is why being a “Gadfly” is unjust. It is to your advantage to keep it this way, not for the advantage of the whole.

Why does it matter? It matters because people do what to see New Albany improve, but when there is someone being a “Gadfly” you cause injustice. You poison the well for those who want to see people work together. The “disappointment” lies with the fact that you do have the ability to be a greater contribution than you are now, but I don’t think that you have ever given it a chance. Either you’re scared to, for the reasons I said last night, or you don’t want to, for the reasons I said last night. Mark suggested to me that I should go and read previous NAC postings, I did, and even from the first year’s post I read where the paper black balled you for being nasty. You didn’t try 5yrs ago and you're not trying now.

It is easy to find support in this homogeneous blog but when people attempt to engage with a different point of view it is met with hypocritical double standards like the ones you find on the Shawn Hannity Radio Show. Like there, people don’t want to listen to other perspectives, and I know you are not listening here, because if you were you will find out that we agree on more than we disagree. Even from the first time we met you didn’t listen you assumed things. You missed the conversation that Greg Roberts and I had about two-way traffic, and what he found out is that we agreed with each other more than we differed but you never even tried to listen to what I was saying, and even today I don’t think you are. Maybe NAC already has all the answers but if it is this way with me it would be like this for others. A bias group's idea will not stand up to the group who’s idea is made up of different temperaments, talents, and convictions.

Today will be history and tomorrow will be the present. Maybe this post is your attempt to begin anew; actions will speak louder than words.

SB 75 passes 2nd reading in the House, should go up for 3rd today.

We're almost there.

SB 75 passes 2nd reading in the House, should go up for 3rd today.

Nothing's guaranteed, but it's looking good for growlers on Sunday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm willing to take the bait. Maybe we'll both learn something.

That passive-aggressive bit bores me.

Jameson, if I didn't want to see anything here in New Albany improve, I wouldn't have spent hundred of hours writing this blog and my columns. I wouldn't have taken my own time to sell improvement and progress to people who habitually view New Albany as nowhere land.

From city council to neighborhood association, from forums to Develop New Albany and the Urban Enterprise Association, I wouldn't have joined, volunteered, attended meetings, taken notes and participated. I wouldn't have taken every chip my company has on the table and bet them on downtown revitalization.

I wouldn't have stood here, fully known and unmoving, and absorbed the (mostly) anonymous abuse hurled at me for the past six years by the looters, the embittered and the clueless, these being the sorts who stand in the path of improvement. They love trying to make it all about me because it satisfies an itch that they're compelled to scratch, but I know that in a tactical sense, wisdom comes from my knowing that it isn't about me -- not at all, because while they're busy pounding me, others are free to go about accomplishing things.

Being a decoy is fun. You should try it some time.

How do I know that these tactics are succeeding? If I point my camera in the air during a council meeting and take a flash photo of the ceiling, Dan Coffey will whirl in his seat, glare, and form silent curse words with his lips. If I were to state that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, Steve Price would disagree and claim that we simply can't afford to know the truth.

Am I guilty of rattling their self-confining cages? Yes, I am. Do I throw their venom back at them? Damned straight I do. Does it make me lose my temper on occasion? Of course it does. When the Erika Denharts of the community suggest that the city's economic future be irreparably gutted for the sole reason that they're unwilling to pay what it costs to flush, it's hard not to lose your temper. They're treating their own city the way that Rome treated Carthage. Tear it down, spread the salt around, and go on a Wal-Mart shopping round.

Jameson, I suspect that just like me, you want to live in a place that is bright, not dull. One that succeeds, not fails. One that lives and works smart, not stupid. One that obeys laws, not urinates on them. One that is functional, not comic opera tragic. One inhabited by people who occasionally think of the greatest good and not their own self-aggrandizement.

So, what's the disconnect? Is the biggest difference between us our respective interpretations of a Greek philosopher who has been dead for more than 2,000 years? Is it shallower? Deeper than that? It isn't about me, and it isn't about you. Right? So, tell me: What's it all about?

Readers, feel free to weigh in. Remember/RemeberCharlemagne's comment in response to yesterday's posting is reprinted below.


Everyone has his or her own style of writing.

When have you ever seen me lose my temper? Ask yourself the same question.
When have I made fun of you or anyone of your friends other than the comment in this thread? Ask yourself that question.

I found this blog by reading your columns and what appeared as an invitation for readers to exchange ideas on local topics. What I discovered is people like you who are very hypocritical. There comes a point when even I tire of trying to work past others who live by double standards.

You have talked about me doing things were other people have tried and failed. I saw it early but wanted to give you and others the benefit and what I saw is the failure has a lot to do with this group here.

It is as simple as this I don't think you want to see anything improve because then you won't have anything to complain about and you will be left with reflecting about yourself. For me, as long as I live in New Albany I will truthfully want to see it improve. I'm well rounded and I don't fear change. You are the "unjust" you only do what is necessary to give the perception that you are just.

"Injustice is strife which arises among the three principles-a meddlesomeness, and interference, and rising up of a part of the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlawful authority, which is made by a rebellious subject against a true prince, of whom he is the natural vassal-what is all this confusion and delusion but injustice and intemperance and cowardice and ignorance, and every form of vice?"

If you like Socrates it is only because he gave you a model of an unjust person that you are. Gadfly? To call you that would be an honor. Disappointment is more like it.

Goodnight Thrasymachus

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Barroom ethics?

You walk into a crowded barroom and hear the customers complaining about oppression. In response, you begin asking them questions, much as a gadfly might do -- even Socrates.

Instead of answering, they get quiet. You can hear a pin drop. You sense the mood shifting from outraged to sullen.

And you know there'll be two answers forthcoming.

One: Who invited you to come in here and ask me to back up my opinions with facts?

Two: How'd you like to get your ass kicked?

To hear the little people respond like this isn't surprising, seeing as they were raised to think that "injustice" is a term that applies only to tax rates and user fees.

To watch elected officials behave in the same manner is sad, but so dysfunctionally New Albanian.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Polar Walk & Coolest Art Show in downtown NA next Saturday ... and Paul's One World Cafe open on Market.

Next Saturday (February 27) is the occasion of the long-awaited, frigid sequel to last summer's NA 1 Night Stand downtown pub crawl: Polar Walk.

As before, participants will be wandering downtown New Albany and dropping by those establishments that have signed onto the program, including *Bank Street Brewhouse, Studio's, Pastimes, Hitching Post, *Steinert's, *Wick's and *Connor's Place.

*That's four out of seven for the home brewing team. Not bad.

Wait, there's more: In conjunction with the Polar Walk, and serving as the walk's registration and starting point, will be The Coolest Art Show, held within the friendly confines of Dave Thrasher's Art Store on Market Street.

In other news: You may have heard that the street level retail space formerly occupied by the Market Street Fish House (now across the street, folded into Connor's Place) has a new tenant. The Tribune's Daniel Suddeath reports with the complete lowdown: Paul’s One World Café open.

Mencken: "He can shake and inflame these poor ignoramuses ... "

H. L. Mencken on William Jennings Bryan, hero of the creationists, and lawyer for the prosecution in Dayton, Tennessee, at the Scopes Monkey Trial. I'd compare Bryan to certain local luminaries, except that they're not luminous.

This old buzzard, having failed to raise the mob against its rulers, now prepares to raise it against its teachers. He can never be the peasants' President, but there is still a chance to be the peasants' Pope. He leads a new crusade, his bald head glistening, his face streaming with sweat, his chest heaving beneath his rumpled alpaca coat. One somehow pities him, despite his so palpable imbecilities. It is a tragedy, indeed, to begin life as a hero and to end it as a buffoon. But let no one, laughing at him, underestimate the magic that lies in his black, malignant eye, his frayed but still eloquent voice. He can shake and inflame these poor ignoramuses as no other man among us can shake and inflame them, and he is desperately eager to order the charge.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Open Thread: Shall we cancel the city's future to save you $15 monthly?

The crowd applauded for no sewer rate increases, and for using EDIT money to defray sewer rate increases, and for using the same EDIT money to pay for police and fire protection, and for hearing all the information, and for the information being withheld for another day.

Has Pogo's axiom ever been better illustrated?

Last night, I ended up taking more notes than intended, and the coverage is spread out over six postings.

On the road to Steve Price's vision of defeat and doomsday (6)
Quite simply the best Coffey demagoguery ever, bar none (5)
Aw-Dit, Aw-Dat, Aw-Ticky Tack (4)
Another wrong turn at Albuquerque (3)
I've got the geriatric, Kochertatric, working at the car wash blues (2)
Let's get forensical, forensical (1)

Remember also to visit Twitter for all4word's coverage.

The usual suspects weigh in:

Courier-Journal: New Albany City Council rejects sewer rate hike

Tribune: Sewer rate increase defeated

Later today, I suspect Shirley Baird will post a report at her blog. After all, King Larry needs a place to vent anonymously.

Finally, I'd like to link to Matt Nash's Friday column, but the links currently are fried. The Tribune site and the Dubai skyscraper's elevator system are as one today.

One more thing. Just in case someone asks, here's the definition:

1. A stupid person; a dolt.
[From Greek moron, neuter of moros, stupid, foolish.]
Yep. I'll stick with that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the road to Steve Price's vision of defeat and doomsday ... city council live blogging, part six.

Now Gonder tries to alleviate the damage, asking if the CPA and attorney can go back to the bondholders and say, you know, we mean well and should be trusted.

Motion offered for a public hearing in March. Seconded. Skompf will come whenever, just needing a notice posted in the paper.

Now the educated visitors have to walk them through a meeting date because chaos has gripped the room. Elderly starting to drift away.

March 11? Yes, they actually agree. 6-ish. Here or someplace else? It is discussed.

Fifer: "That all the good news we can stand."

(F) Introduction of ordinances in the following order:

(3) Zoning map ordinances; and
(4) Annexation ordinances.


(G) Ordinances on second reading, in the same order as in division (F) of this section;
(H) Reports of standing committees and third reading of ordinances to which the reports refer in the following order:
(1) Budget and Finance; (Gahan, Benedetti, Price)

Gads. 9:45 and more to go.

A-09-22 Additional Appropriation in an Amount of $2,000,000 From the EDIT Fund to Fund the Fire and Police Departments and the Addition of 5 Police Officers For 2010 (Caesar)

Tabled. No closure.

(2) Rules; (Caesar, Gahan, Gonder)

G-10-02 Ordinance Establishing a Full-Time Common Council Attorney (Caesar )

Tabled, too.

(3) Public Utilities and Transportation; (Gonder, Zurschmiede, Messer)
(4) Police Department; (Caesar, Price, Zurschmiede)
(5) Fire Department; (Coffey, Benedetti, Price)
(6) Public Safety and Traffic; (McLaughlin, Messer, Price)
(7) Public Works; (Caesar, Coffey, Messer)
(8) Public Health and Welfare; (McLaughlin, Gahan, Gonder)
(9) Schools and Library; (Gahan, Coffey, Benedetti)
(10) Development and Annexation. (Messer, McLaughlin, Gonder)

(I) Special committees;
(J) Miscellaneous business;

Why make these people wait the entire meeting for this?

R-10-05 A Resolution Concerning Statement of Benefits for L & D
Mail Masters, INC., By the Common Council of New Albany Benedetti


R-10-06 Resolution for Forensic Audit Messer

Seconded by Li'l Stevie. Scope: General fund only. Could not be expanded unless money crossed the line. Mayor favors. Approved by show of hands.

Gonder has established a precedent tonight by allowing questions from the audience.

Shaunna Graf, Greenway Commission, Yearly Up-date Report

She had to leave.

That's all, folks.

Quite simply the best Coffey demagoguery ever, bar none ... city council live blogging, part five.

Go to all4word's Twitter account for details I'm missing.

Coffey and Price have succeeded in making Clere cool his heels for a while, perhaps as payback for being shown up yesterday. I still believe that Ed's timing yesterday was brilliant. Coffey went to his town hall meeting not knowing that another proposal was on the table.Not that he needed help looking foolish.

Mr. Skompf of CroweHorwath now is permitted to continue, all seven members in attendance having apeased thw crowd by voting "no" on the version of the sewer rate ordinance that called for 70%. Everyone knows that a counter-proposal evolved during the course of the past few days, and now there will be an overview of it.

I'm not going to repeat all the aspects of the Skompf presentation, except to note that our vote against a settlement tonight will be reported to bondholders, who apparently COULD get annoyed. Now, there are two further votes. He also notes that because the sewer utility has not made sufficient sinking fund transfers, the EDIT subsidy must remain a part of the settlement.

CPA Skrompf: "The things being offered to you are extraordinary." The package from SRF is good. "I'm shocked" that the ordinance didn;t pass tonight; "never seen a utility in this bad a shape," having to work so hard to rescue it. Nice, terse 15-minute -- "we're losing money every month" and need to get this moving.

Skrompf: Explains's Gahan's previous "million out of nowhere" comment. Garry had to transfer money to the sinking fund to prevent bonds being recalled, which is where Gahan's scoff originated. It was necessary. Contractors now waiting for their money.

Coffey: Early draw on EDIT?
Coffey: "I know you got a job to do," but you told us that it would take care of it.
Skompf: Wasn't me, wasn't our company.
Fifer: Utility has suffered from the economy owing to less revenue. Almost 30% unpaid bills.
Woman: But won't that get worse?
Fifer: We have pledged the assets of the utility and the city to the bondholders. If we default, a receiver will run the utility. (will there be choices then?)

Fifer: The 70% increase did not address a deficit in the reserve fund. The new increases bring it into line.

Price: What about the million dollars in 08 and 09? Georgetown money? Told y'all two years ago about raises ...
Fifer: I can assure you that Kelly's raise didn't cause this.
Fifer: It was never $3 million.
Kochert: What was it?
Fifer: You know what it was. Explains. They have paid everything except $450,000.
Attorney Andrews: Nope, we don't owe that, either.

The people Coffey and Price didn't want hearing this now are asking questions, and imagine that's good.

Fifer keeps explaining. Like that Old Democrat, it would appear that Coffey and Price live in the state of Denial.

Price: We're losing people -- boarded up -- people say they'll leave. What happens then? You won't be able to collect.

Fifer: Your body has an affirmative duty to keep the utility in sound financial position.


Coffey denies that there's an uneven burden.

Skompf: You will have to run future EDIT draws through the sewer bondholders.

Price: Begins waving his arms and screaming. Found it on-line.

Skompf: If the bondholders send a receiver in here, rates go back to where they would have been , and YOU WILL HAVE NO CONTROL.

Price keeps repeating: "There's gotta be other options."

We now argue over who has the bigger increases, Us or Jeff.

Coffey: Wants to argue the past. We now must ...

This has become a scrum ... I'll be back in a few minutes. John just doesn't have it in him to be in control.

Folks, we can't make the axis of the earth stop turning. We might, but none of you are John Galt.

Aw-Dit, Aw-Dat, Aw-Ticky Tack ... city council live blogging, part four.

(F) Introduction of ordinances in the following order:

(1) Appropriation ordinances;

A-10-01 Additional Appropriation for A Loan From EDIT In the Amount of $1,151,526 for Delinquent Bond and Interest Payments to the Sewer Works (Gahan)

Gahan explains the background. After it was authored, everything changed, so now it will be tabled. 7-0 show of hands in favor.

G-10-05 An Ordinance Amending No G-06-29 and Establishing a Schedule of Rates and Charges for Users of the Sewer Works of the City of New Albany (Messer 1st reading)

Messer says much information at the afternoon sewer board meeting. Wants to pass information to the public here, so doesn't want to table it. Action needs to be taken by April 1. Things might get serious, which Coffey would prefer, because he "wins" with a disaster. Messer would like to go on with it tonight and get the ball rolling on the first of three reading. Price unhappy. Messer introduces it, as written with 70% the number. This afternoon's findings will have to be folded into it.

Coffey: "You all deserve to hear it." He's about to contradict this.

Spokesman Skompf (CroweHorwath): Details February 18 report. New Albany ahead of the curve when it comes to EPA enforcement" even if rates are higher than most. Hardship is defined as $65 for 4,000 gallons. Facts and numbers, hard information ... and now Coffey objects to information being presented, primarily because it might contradict his grandstanding.

Important: Now Coffey DOES NOT WANT THE INFORMATION TO BE RELEASED TONIGHT. He says it should be taken out of the public's view and discussed in committee.


Skompf says: In light of the late breaking news, this is the best we can do. He is a specialist, and thus NOT TO BE TRUSTED by the Coffey Klatch.

Coffey: GRANDSTAND IN FULL MODE "same song and dance" -- "we" didn't incur debt ...

Gonder gavels him down, Price picks up the ball and says that we must discuss only the existing 70% rate ... Messer back in the role of talking sense to the nonsense mongers. Messer says that the state is stepping in and saying that we can renegotiate the funds in reserve to cover the bonds should the bonds be called in.

Skompf again tries to speak. COFFEY OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT WANT HIM TO SPEAK, because he is an expert, and because he is likely to disagree.

Gahan says we have to discuss the 70% rate increase for pocedural reasons.

Gonder: We can amend and re-introduce.

Coffey: I haven't got a problem with the information, but these poor dumb tired people out here would miss their beds.


Skompf again gets rational: To get the public hearing announcements out, it should be done tonight. Notices can skew high, then get reduced.

Coffey: This is so vitally important that a separate meeting should be held. Price mews like a lamb "yeah" "yeah."

Coffey asks the crowd to vote yea or nay ... finally Gonder takes charge and says that we can consider the new information ... Price starts screaming "where's the money."

Gonder tries to be reasonable. He's going to have to get tough. He won't, asking Messer what he should be doing.

Messer: "I would love for the public to know what we know."
Coffey: "We're not withholding nothing."
Gahan: I want to hear it, but not the amended version.
Skompf: Go ahead and pass at 70%, whatever.
Price: This is wrong. This is wrong.

Sewer board lawyer Fifer now comes forward to explain procedural matters that Coffey and Price will try to evade no matter how clear he makes it.

Now Coffey agrees that information is good so long as it's for the 70% originally worded proposal.

Here it is:

No: Coffey, Caesar, Price, McLaughlin, Gahan, Messer, Gonder

70% voted down unanimously. Now, for the second reading, it will be amended.

Now, Skompf will speak. Come back later for that.

Another wrong turn at Albuquerque ... city council live blogging, part three.

(3) From members of the public, including petitions and remonstrances.

A woman says that everyone should take a pay cut. Because someone's on social security, no one else can be allowed to succeed or to make good. That sounds more like Steve Price's "Communism" than anything else.

Two firemen speak about staffing levels and mispercetions about pay and work. People applaud the firemen. None of them indicate how THAT money should be found.

Jameson Bledsoe: Supports tabling the police/fire ordinance. Thanks attending councilmen for the town hall meeting. They took the time to address the public. Laudatory. Not until four p.m. today ... workign people can't come to meetings at 4 p.m. "There's a problem with trust with other officials." Meetings need to be rescheduled. EDIT supporting sewers? Bad or good? Fringe area pays higher rate, so it's a wash (?) -- he says that a proper sewer system IS economic development (thus avoiding the point: now it subsidizes RATES), and therefore maybe we can clean out EDIT first. Jameson schmoozes like crazy, mostly acceding to the "you're not to blame" line. Crowd uncertain whether to applaud or not.

A woman says that New Albany might be a ghost town. Does she go downtown? Does she see what people are trying to do? Or is she eating at Applebee's?

Aw-Dit! Aw-Dit! Another citizen somes to the front without knowing how the sewer board works. Coffey explains the procedure, and doubts whether engineers are necessary (city engineer). Discussion ensues about a topic that might be answered on the Internet. Day-am, the people might get no say at all!

Coffey: Council should expand the sewer board (to include dullards, presumably).

Price: Georgetown sucks!! Never has there been the case that we let them people out there fleece us for all the millions.

Coffey: Now, the aw-dit is for the general fund ... it MIGHT dip into the sewer funds (he knows that it might no, but doesn't say that).

Next speaker: Aw-dit and no rises! Tough decisions. Abuses Carl Malysz and Shane Gibson's pay rate, and council insurance -- CUT THE FAT -- too much going on that shouldn't be going on. Pensions for police and fire -- cut what we promised them! Implies that maybe the right thing to do would be to break promises to retirees, so long as it isn't him as a retiree.

Let's ALL take a pay cut and pay it to the people who can't get by ... wait, that's Communism, and Steve's against it. He thinks. Maybe.

more to come

I've got the geriatric, Kochertatric, working at the car wash blues ... city council live blogging, part two.

I will try to post every 15-20 minutes tonight if the ebb and flow permits.

(E) Communications, in the following order:

(1) From city officials:

(b) Controller;

Kay Garry has nothing to say tonight.

(c) City Attorney; and
(d) City Engineer.

Nothing from either of them.

Steve Price: Wants to request that the sewer request be tabled. No public hearing. Feels it's being rushed through, the fix is in. All is rigged. Omigod.

(2) From official commission:
(a) Board of Public Works;
(b) Plan Commission; and
(c) Park Commission.

None from any of them.

(3) From members of the public, including petitions and remonstrances.

John Gonder notes that there are 14 people wanting to speak. Five minute rule will be enforced. First lady wants no raises and can't understand it. I'm not going to comment on all of these.

We'll be having applause tonight.

Question: What if every one of the opponents' positions turned out to be answered? If there was no malfeasance, if the aw-dit checks out ... but we still have to satisfy the problem with bucks? The woman says she'll have to leave town if her bill goes beyond $60 a month. What if it must?

Second speaker is from the fire department, although that has been pulled. He's talking about human lives, not money.

Randy Smith: Gives a shout-out to Ed Clere for two weeks of work. Objects to the continued subsidy from EDIT to grease rate payers. Kochert guffaws. Proposes to drop the minimum rate to 100 cubic feet use from 200.

Apartment house owner now comes forward. Renting has been impossible. She's spends time in small claims court. She's singing the blues, because the slackers we attract as civic credo won't pay prices. She can't pass it off. We should subsidize people like her who rent to people like them. Anger. Wants to leave because she can't afford the modern world. She hurls crazy accusations like red meat to the lions. Salivary glands overtime in this crowd. She's stoked. Why's the country in bad shape??? Questions need answering! Floods, pestilence. Listen to the citizens. We're going to have dead homes (in her neighborhood -- listen, lady, we already have dead homes downtown).

Maurice (Morris) King: Hopes to stay here. Might get priced out. Refers to prices for sewer service in similar-sized cities. Elkhart (52,000) is considering a rate increase. They have a comparison sheet. Has a sheet in his hands: "Piecemeal in Our Time." Says we're at the top of the list for rates based on 5,000 gallons usage per month. $33 for -5,000. I don't know how much my house uses. Opposes the council attorney.

Gonder lets him know he's over the limit, and he sits down.

Next speaker says we should subsidize her because she must leave her home empty to take care of her mom, and because no one's buying houses, and because the world's an evil, nasty place. Yes, I'm being cynical, but so far, each speaker wants to be subsidized for a different reason that has nothing to do with civic policy. She's 61 and discriminated against. She supports police and fire funding to keep her grandsons off drugs, but has no idea where THAT money might come from.

King Larry Kochert: Out of retirement. All are hurting. We grow government. Returns to his favorite theme: Georgetown as the root of all evil. 500,000! 800,000! Mismanagement? Implies that yes, must be, because Georgetown sucks! But not when he was on the sewer board!

Let's get forensical, forensical ... city council live blogging, part one.

I was in the council chamber at 6:45 p.m., and seated in front of me was King Larry, who joined with his still-living buddies in ridiculing a broad range of people with whom he disagrees. One of his friends had the gumption to disagree on one point, saying he thought a two-way Spring Street was a good idea. But quickly they came together over how ridiculous bike lanes are, leading me to fantasize about them walking down a typical street in Copenhagen and being creamed.

Steve Price spent a good twenty minutes calling various people and objects as as Communist and Russian. I recalled the words of Mencken:

"Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey-cage."

Advance warning: Tonight's a night for cynicism and commentary.

The following order of business shall be observed by the Common Council at its meetings:

(A) Invocation. To be given by ministers, if present of different faiths ;

None. That's so sweet.

(B) Pledge of allegiance;


And: The council now comes miked! Yes, remote microphones hanging around their necks. We were warned, but I really didn't believe it. Marcey says there is a mute button. Is Coffey listening?

(C) Roll call of members;

Benedetti and Zurschmiede absent. Seven present.

(D) Reading, correcting and approval of the journal of the preceding regular or special meeting;

Regular meeting minutes for January 21, 2010
Regular meeting minutes for February 1, 2010

Ritualistic. Yes on both. On best procedural behavior with a camera in the room.

Also: No longer a separation between agenda and non-agenda items.

(E) Communications, in the following order:

(1) From city officials:

(a) Mayor;

Malysz in the mayor's stead. Wants A-09-22 to be postponed until March (police and fire money from EDIT). Mayor England also is not opposed to R-10-06, a resolution for an aw-dit.

City Hall differs with accusations at last night's town hall meeting that the England administration has deteriorated the sewers.

Another inappropriate comment was about the Mayor's vacation in Florida. Implication of detachment is mistaken, says Malysz. Constant communication.

Chief Matt Juliot will speak about a fire protection grant.

Coffey Grandstand 1: Denies he slurred anyone last night. Cites letter to former Mayor Garner from EPA -- what happened since? Coffey misuses "misconscrew" as he defends his accusation of malfeasance.

Juliot: $700,000 FEMA grant to be divided among local fire departments. Good news. Some questions. Old man heckles Juliot about not speaking into the microphone.

(More to come)

Tribune: "Sewer Board passes 36 percent rate hike."

Hot off the wire from the Tribune's Daniel Suddeath: Sewer Board passes 36 percent rate hike.

Recall that it's no longer 70% because of Ed Clere's deal with the Indiana Finance Authority.

For more, check all4word at Twitter, and expect live council blogging this evening here at NAC. We think we have a signal.

Before or after the opening prayer?

With apologies to the writers of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," from which this showstopping performance by Snoopy is lifted.


Dan Coffey (spoken):
*growl* My grandstanding clock just went off. It's Coffey Time, and Mayor England forgot to prompt me. Here I am, a withering hollow shell of a ward heeler, and there sits my Coffey cup ... EMPTY! But that's alright. He'll remember. When no hypocritical populist comes to bash him after the council meeting, then he'll remember, and he'll rush out here past the DVD place but it'll be too late. There will be nothing left but the dried carcass of the hometown boy made good who used to disassemble so happily with him. Nothing left, but the bleached councilman’s bones ...

Mayor England (spoken):
Hey Danny, are you asleep or something? I've been standing here a whole minute with a sewer rate increase.

Coffey (sung):
Coffey Time?
It's Coffey Time!
Behold the vital outrage
Now brought forth to charge my anger
Behold the flowing sewage moist and sweet
Which has been sent to slake my thirst!

Mayor England (spoken):
Okay, there's no need for a big production. Just get off the porch of that crappy shotgun house and pontificate. (exit)

Doo doo
Doo doo doo doo.
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo.

It's Coffey Time.
Yeah, it's Coffey Time.
Oh, it's Cof-Cof Coffey Time, the very best time of day.

It's Coffey Time.
Yeah, it's Cof-fey Time.
And when Coffey Time comes can grandstanding be far away?

Bring on the cops, bring on an Aw-Dit,
Bring on the firemen and gimme some EDIT.
'Cause it's Coffey
Coffey, Coffey, Coffey Time.

WHISTLES (first four measures)
za-doo-buh ya-ba-doo-ba
Coffey Time

Doo doo doo doo dot doot.

Br-r-ing on the zoning, bring the cell phones
Bring on the builders and their patio homes
'Cause it's Coffey
Coffey, Coffey, Coffey
Super, pepper upper
Super duper Coffey Time

'Wintertime's nice with the bile and snow
Summertime's hot with Birdseye to show
Town hall, overtime, lawyer-time too
But they can't hold a novelty lighter to'
Coffey Time
Ohhh yeahhh!

'Hello home listeners ... how are ya?'

B-r-r-ring on the finger, I’ll point it at you
Copperhead's out to get the Sewer Board, too
'Cause it's Coffey
Coffey Coffey Coffey
super pepper upper
super duper Coffey Time

Gospel chorus: Coffey (scat style):
Coffey Time! Whoo!
Coffey Time! Whoo! Yeah!
Coffey Time! Bring on Kay Garry!
Coffey Time! It's time for Shane Gibson.
Coffey Time! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Coffey Time! hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Coffey Time! Oh Yeah!
Coffey Time! Bring on Carl Maaalox.
Coffey Time! bring on, bring on the
Coffey Time! Bring on, bring me
some of Them People
Coffey Time! Bring on, bring on the
little people's subsidies!

Coffey (wild riffling improvisation):
bring on bring on
gimme a sidewalk gimme a patio gimme somethin’ to chew
gimme Larry gimme Bill gimme somethin to do

Steve Price:
TWANG … Why can't we just dig some ditches and send that sewer stuff right down the middle of the road past the mayor’s house? Heck, be cheaper that way.

Coffey (very softly):
Exactly, so let’s make Coffey Time a joyous occasion!

(boldly, broad tempo, full voice):
Coffey, Coffey,
Coffey Time!!!

Forensics: Coffey's grand mal library seizure a textbook case of "patio envy."

Deputy Mayor Carl Malysz, after listening to (Dan) Coffey's presentation, said he would report back to Mayor Doug England that the sewer board “needs to pursue a coherent explanation of what's going on.”

He said Coffey's views are “a significant misconception with the realities of the finances of the sewer utility.”

These observations are from reporter Harold J. Adams's C-J coverage of last evening's "Coffey and Toadstools" slimefest at the library. Daniel Suddeath's Tribune coverage is here: Coffey musters opposition to sewer rate increase. I stopped reading after Suddeath quoted Coffey as telling the crowd that they weren't getting the "real truth," when I felt the urge to vomit all over his Bazooka Joe University degrees.

For the best coverage of masturbatory exercise, consult the Bookseller's notes via this Facebook page. It's all there in living ooze.

The big news of the day, which as always proved to be classified "information" that somehow didn't travel from the real world into the darker recesses of Coffey's cranium, was a deal with the Indiana Finance Authority (revealed by Rep. Ed Clere) that would wave wands, pull levers, rearrange furniture, and result in a lower rate increase. Back to Adams:

State Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, who announced the state aid, said he urged the finance authority to act.

“It's qualified good news,” Clere said, “because clearly a major rate increase is still necessary.”
No wonder my face time with Ed in Indy fell through yesterday morning. He was ignoring the self-serving bickering and perpetual rancor back here in the Blissful Kochertian Kingdom, and actually seeking compromise solutions for problems. He'd best be careful. As Coffey all but confessed, nothing short of installing the 1st district's reigning embarrassment as local Pope is going to alleviate this particular situation.

Today's Tribune column: "Not quite string music."

I hesitated before writing this searing confessional for fear that another anonymous troglodyte would call me "beer belly."

BAYLOR: Not quite string music.

Sports? You want me to write about sports? I can do that. Although the value of winning an Indiana high school basketball championship has been rendered moot by the class system, itself a foreign imposition of egalitarian mediocrity that “fixed” what wasn’t broken, tournaments are under way. Some folks care. I’m not one of them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The circus comes to town, and wouldn't you know it: I can't attend.

Well, there go two days I'll never get back. The good news is that SB 75 sailed through its House committee and now goes to the full House next week for 2nd and 3rd readings before returning to the Senate. Thus far, it is largely unencumbered with amendments. More on that later.

Regrettably, I'm teaching my IUS "Here's to Beer" class this evening, and although I would love to crash Cappuccino's library self-aggrandizement seminar, otherwise known as a "town hall" meeting on sewers, it's simply impossible. Too bad, because the trognonymous voices already are dumping their tea leaves:

It's time to rumble citizens of New Albany. And a warning to Mr. Baylor, don't think you will be a majority at this meeting because were sick of you and you will be way out numbered.

That's, er, courageous of you, anonymous. Now, go have another Bud Light.

I'm told that the Bookseller will be there tonight, and will provide updates via this Facebook note page.

Earlier this afternoon, Daniel (trib_daniel) Suddeath provided these teaser tweets:

Little birdie: Major news coming on sewer rates, city may be able to phase rate increase over few years with initial 35-40 percent hike ... Special sewer meeting called for 4 p.m. tomorrow. Will let you know when I confirm details.

When I get home later, I'll try to collate information. Have fun, campers.

Events: "News from Destinations Booksellers."

Courtesy of Destinations Booksellers, here's a partial list of locally oriented events coming this month. Destinations "invites you to take part in as many as you can," and I'm going to try my best.


Starting on Saturday (February 20) at 9am, State Representative Ed Clere will be in the Dueling Grounds Cafe hosting "A Conversation on Education". This is your second opporunity to talk with your legislator regarding education legislation and voice your opinion.

At 11am, our "Vacation 101" series gets underway with Mark Bliss of Bliss Travel in New Albany. Mr. Bliss will be here to talk about travel tips, hot spots and security issues. He'll also answer any questions you may have.

To top off our day, our Local Artist series continues with the opening of Jeremy Datillo's art display at 2pm. Jeremy will be on hand to meet the public so please come out and support your local artists.

Other upcoming events - Tuesday, February 23rd we'll have Steve Kozarovich, publisher of the New Albany Tribune in the Dueling Grounds Cafe for a discussion of newspaper coverage of local events.

Thursday February 25th our "Vacation 101" series will conclude with Mark Bliss of Bliss Travel.

And Saturday, March 6th Destinations Booksellers revives its series on public issues with Steve Wiser, an architect who will present "An Alternative Toll-Free Bridge Proposal" starting at 11am.

"Fertile Minds" is up and running and we've had some wonderful comments about it! Paul Hankins and Karen Gillenwater have chosen a few books that they have enjoyed or are currently reading and we've put them on display in the bookstore just past the fiction section. We'll have two new patrons coming up in just a couple of weeks.

Our private bookings for book clubs and other clubs are going well, but we still have plenty of room for your group! Just give us a call and set up a time you'd like to meet! Remember, even though the store is closed on Sundays and Mondays, you can still book meeting space on those days and we're happy to open up the kitchen to serve food.

Destinations Booksellers will be hosting a series of political candidate "Meet and Greets" beginning in March. A calendar of the dates candidates will be appearing will be released soon.

We would like to remind you to go to our website and click on "Read the Bookstore Blog" to find out what our bookstore staff is reading and other news from the publishing world. You can also access the Dueling Grounds menu by clicking on "Today's Cafe Features".

Here are our events listings for the coming weekend. All these event details are at our Web site. And cafe features are always available here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Travis Hankins quote of the week: Go, nuclear!

I've enjoyed perusing the web site of Travis Hankins, GOP aspirant to his party's nomination for the 9th district congressional seat. Each week, I'll pluck a quote from the nearest modern equivalent of "My Struggle": Hankins's web site.

"Nuclear has to be the wave of the future because it is the only way to produce mass amounts of energy without causing harm to the environment."

Was it Ronnie Raygun who once pointed to trees that pollute? Ah, nostalgia. The preceding is quoted from Energy.


Thanks to Bluegill:

Dan Coffey will be holding a full-blown Copperhead Shake: Town hall meeting set for New Albany sewer rate.

And, the mad as hell crowd also has discovered Facebook.

Didn't I tell you it was going to be an entertaining week? I hate being right.

Monday, February 15, 2010

When bridges aren't bridges.

Some thoughts excerpted from the introduction of a paper I wrote for school, relevant to bridges...

Urban neighborhoods such as the one under consideration represent a tremendous amount of preexisting public and private investment that goes largely underutilized in favor of continued sprawl. Our post World War II abandonment of traditional city centers has left us struggling environmentally, financially, and culturally as we become more and more isolated from each other as people and bear the burden of our land use decisions, including the loss of ability to participate in interactive civic affairs, alone or in groups small enough to not have sufficient power to initiate change.

Additionally, the suburbanization process has gone on for so long that we’ve come to view it as traditional while what’s actually traditional--walkable, human scaled clusters that provide better access to public and private opportunities for people of all socioeconomic levels--have been relegated to residual status in the dominant public mind-set. It’s this mind-set that represents a cultural situation in need of intervention, as quantitative information pertaining to environmental and financial consequences, when presented absent of cultural context, has been unsuccessful in penetrating the mainstream consumer psyche.

Many previous attempts to economically redevelop urban areas have led to dual economies, one’s in which people from outside the city or neighborhood travel to and from jobs in it that are out of reach to the residents actually living there owing primarily to lack of education. This further disconnects those residents from their own community while necessitating the expansion of transportation and other infrastructure and the public expenditure required to build and maintain it.

Urban residents then are expected to spend generations paying for public infrastructure that has little if any positive effect on their lives but that further robs them of opportunities for investment in themselves and their families. In many ways, they subsidize their own demise. When they are finally unable to keep paying as a result of doing so, the dominant, suburban culture is asked to subsidize them on an individual, subsistence level. This contrived mechanism of systematic disinvestment is then cemented into the dominant public view as urban neighborhoods become further seen as places where individual success is not possible, full of people who cannot manage their own affairs. Avoidance of such places becomes rational and the disinvestment cycle continues at a faster pace as economic and political power concentrate on the more expensive to maintain fringes of municipalities rather than in the center.

No city anthem, but a laugh track if needed.

The coming week in local politics surely will be the most entertaining in quite a long while, and while I’m not yet willing to offer odds on what will happen Thursday at the city council meeting, we can be sure that hitherto unseen political courage will not suddenly materialize out of nowhere and provide parameters for problem solving.

That's because public safety and sewers are on the agenda.

The meeting will be operatic in its clutched-to-the-chest grandstanding, factional and Balkan in its angry squabbling, and punctuated by the cries of anguished wee ones eager to punish the rest of us for their shortcomings (pun intended).

Given that trognonymous correspondents already are abusing NA’s policemen and fire fighters from the safety of their pusillanimous, masked perches, fisticuffs are a possibility. We’ll need medics (can we afford them?) and a beer dispensing station. In the absence of bandages -- send more beer.

I heard the council president John Gonder on 89.3 FM this morning, remarking that much research was required of the council (true) before it considers matters, and that it is unlikely a 70% sewer rate increase will be approved, with funds being sought from elsewhere.

We all know what that means: EDIT, bend over for another round of wasteful, penny-wise, pound-foolish subsidies that blithely perpetuate New Albany’s historic un-potty-trained sewer fallacies even as they do nothing to correct the fundamental concerns.

This predictably cynical grab will leave less cash in the EDIT slop trough for using to rectify the police and fire imbalances, hastening the eventuality (April at the latest) of Dan Coffey or Steve Price blaming the sewer board for a crime wave and/or a series of rental property blazes.

Entertaining? You bet. Constructive? Not so fast, jack. However, either way, my Thursday Tribune column is going to be about other diversions, namely, sports. That's right.

If you’ll excuse me, I have a snow shovel to catch.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tribune editorial board signs names, troglodytes remain anonymous.

The Tribune editorial board speaks ...

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: Support safety even at a tough cost

Grant the mayor his request. Use some of the EDIT money for public safety this year and next. Then, when the city does annex, if the extra tax base does not cover the two budgets, then look at layoffs or cutbacks.
... and so do the anonymous character assassins.

No, we are dealing with a group of lazy, fat cops who only care about themselves.
When you have an opinion like that, small wonder you hide. Anyone for a classic Thursday night on the horizon? We may want to rent the video equipment for this one, wear our furry Ceausescu issue caps, and pretend we're in the Carpathians ... except that pastrami hails from Bessarabia.

New York Times: "Why Orwell Endures."

A collection of George Orwell’s essays proved to be the surprise reading hit of my Christmas vacation. I picked it up at the library book sale in December, and tossed in the carry-on bag as an afterthought. It's a good thing I did, seeing as the remainder of my magazines and books were stowed in delayed luggage.

Essay topics in the ancient paperback, which became shredded into unbound pages soon after opening, ranged from memories of shooting a rampaging elephant while posted as a policeman in Burma to researching the origins of bawdy English postcards. Orwell wrote not only of lofty topics such as his service for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War, but also described in excruciating detail his recollections of boyhood boarding school days, experiences so quintessentially English that they might be lampooned by the likes of Monty Python without we Americans never really imagining the real-life sources.

As a piece in today’s New York Times makes clear, Orwell may not have been right 100% of the time, but his pursuit of truth and unwavering intellectual honesty remains noteworthy by comparison to many of his ideologically compromised peers. As fairy tale life in Sarah Palin’s Amerika reminds us, they are qualities worth cherishing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clere-ly educational forum at Destinations this morning?

Coupled with a busy week and no small measure of personal sloth, my LEO column deadline yesterday (finally met roughly one hour ago) prevented attendance at this morning's educational legislation forum with Representative Ed Clere at Destinations Booksellers. There'll be another one next week, but in the interim, if you attended and have a report, please regale us.

Senate Bill 75 update.

Here's an update on Senate Bill 75, formerly known as the bill to enable Sunday carry-out sales by craft brewers, now (it appears) with Bills 118 & 119 appended to it. Like 75, both of the other bills have passed the Senate. The first removes sales restrictions during polling hours, and the second adjusts Sunday sales hours. Jason from the Hoosier Beer Geek blog has the news: Senate Bill 75 - SUPERSIZED!

Word from our statehouse presence is that the bill gets its 15 minutes of House committee time on Wednesday morning. Exact procedures elude me, but I'll be there. In fact, NABC will attend-and-vend at two legislative receptions on Tuesday night, the first held by the state Chamber of Commerce, and the second for the legislature's African-American caucus. Looks like an overnight stay for the sales gang.

Friday, February 12, 2010

UEZ's Ladd: "We need real discussions showing what this enterprise zone means to New Albany."

The message below is from Michael C. Ladd, Executive Director, New Albany Urban Enterprise Zone Association. It is self-explanatory. For background, here are the three most recent Tribune pieces about the legislation:

LETTERS: Feb. 10, 2010
EDITORIAL: Squashing tax credit would hurt New Albany
Bill to freeze UEZ credits OK’d by State Senate


Senate Bill 236 has a hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday morning, February 16 at 10:00 a.m. in Indianapolis.

This bill will suspend for two years many of Indiana’s local level economic development incentives. Two of the enterprise zone program’s incentives are included in this bill. But there is more involved than the enterprise zone. The bill would also suspend the teacher summer employment tax credit. The neighborhood assistance credit is involved. It provides that a community revitalization enhancement district tax credit may not be awarded for a qualified investment. It provides that a tax credit may not be awarded a health benefit plan. It also provides that a small employer qualified wellness program tax credit may not be awarded any longer. Lastly, the bill provides that a taxpayer may not claim the patent income exemption with respect to a particular qualified patent unless the first taxable year in which the exemption is claimed begins before January 1, 2011.

Various interest groups are coalescing and have plotted a strategy designed to kill this bill in committee. Right now, the chances are it will get to the floor, where it will be attacked on second reading via amendments.

The zone directors have been asked to show the need for the zones within their respective communities, demonstrated by the usage of their incentives and/or programs operated by the zones.

We have settled on requesting from the community emails of support. We’re going the email route due to time constraints. We’re not looking for platitudes or testimonials. We need real discussions showing what this enterprise zone means to New Albany. This enterprise zone is particularly vulnerable at this time because we are undergoing our 10-year renewal with the Indiana Economic Development Commission. If this bill passes, there will be little reason for IEDC to extend the zone for another five years.

Tell us. We need your stories and support.

Have you used an incentive? Why did you use it and how did it help your business?

Have you participated in a program or a particular project operated by the zone? Tell us why, and what it meant to do so.

Is there a specific project that the zone has done that you think (landscaping/new street furniture (trash cans and benches), youth mentoring program, partnerships that have been created, etc.) has benefited the community?

As a zone employee working in a zone business (or the reverse, an employer hiring zone residents) and have used the employer/employee tax deduction, how has that helped you or your business?

If you have used the investment deduction, how did that help your business?

Has the façade improvement grant program helped when you used it? How did it help? Could you not have accomplished your project without using the grant?
If you are not sure what the zone has done, go to and click on the “Past Projects” tab.

Please send your emails to We need these by Monday night at 5 p.m. I will print them out and take them with me when I appear before the committee on Tuesday morning.

Thank you for your help.

Upcoming events in downtown New Albany.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

City says: "Traffic signal modernization project underway in New Albany."

I was wondering about all the "construction" signs that went up just before Tuesday's snowfall. The city's official press release explains all -- well, almost all. Are the signals for one-way or two-way traffic?


Traffic signal modernization project underway in New Albany

A traffic signal modernization project set to improve six downtown signals at little-to-no cost to local taxpayers began this week, Mayor Doug England announced.

The project involves the replacement of existing mast arms, controllers, signal indications for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic and the installation of new vehicle detection at the following intersections:

• E. Market St. at Pearl St.
• E. Market St. at Bank St.
• E. Market St. at E. Seventh St.
• E. Spring St. at Pearl St.
• E. Spring St. at Bank St.
• E. Spring St. and E. Seventh St.

Other notable improvements:

• The detection system will now be wireless, eliminating issues typical to wired loop systems within the pavement.
• Pedestrian signal indications will visibly display the amount of crossing time remaining.
• New controllers and antennae will be installed where State St. intersects E. Market and E. Spring Streets to create a coordinated signal system.
• Signal heads will use LED lights, which are brighter, last longer and are more energy-efficient.

The project was let by the Indiana Department of Transportation on Nov. 18, 2009. Michiana Contracting, Inc. was awarded the project with a bid of $539,904.33.

Construction funding is 100-percent federal-aid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Engineering fees were funded locally through tax-increment financing. The job is expected to be complete at the end of June 2010.

A similar project is slated to soon begin at the intersection of E. Elm and Pearl Streets, which will incorporate the intersections of E. Elm and Pearl and State Streets and Scribner Dr. in the coordinated system.

Wickens does the Torquemada Twist.

Silly me. I keep expecting that ROCK might someday advocate the reclamation of the economy, or tackle the negative impact of malnutrition in children, or even consider the growth problem of chain-think's decimation of small business, but no, nothing that truly impacts all citizens and not just the ones deploying their scriptures as cruise missiles.

Instead, the organization increasingly is a PR platform for the Wickensian cult of personality. That's too bad, but so very American in nature that there's little to do about it except laugh over a Progressive Pint ... until they get bored with sex and come for us, because in the end, one of the two oldest professions is fermentation.

National issue brings a major negative impact to River City! Tune in tonight at 11PM!

Tune in tonight to WHAS 11 at 11PM as ROCK President Bryan Wickens is interviewed about the growth problem of prostitution in Louisville advertised through Craigslist.

For more information on how ROCK is working to build stronger communities and families in our region and across the nation - call our office at (502) 297-9892 or visit us at

Today's Tribune column: "Teetotalers, ward heelers and us."

After all, it's noon somewhere ... except when Councilman Cappuccino forgets to wind his Bazooka Joe wristwatch.

BAYLOR: Teetotalers, ward heelers and us

Hallelujah! After long decades of discrimination, a resident of New Albany finally will be able to enjoy a perfectly legal glass of beer — whether standing at the bar, seated in a restaurant, or reclining on the floor of his parlor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

That's why no-brainers seldom are.

I wonder if we might squeeze in another rule: If you have a residential parking permit, and it snows, you have to clear the twenty-foot area around your car. If you don't, there'll be a fine.

Wait, another idea: If you have a permit, it snows, and you don't clear the sidewalk, there'll be another fine.

Jeez, who's going to be enforcing and collecting these fines? After all, the little people advocate going without police (and fire) protection.

No laws enforced? I wonder if that's the point?

Residential parking law in New Albany remains in committee, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

It could be awhile before a residential parking ordinance comes back to the New Albany City Council for second and third readings.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

More from Tyler Allen on the C-J's, ahem, editorial practice

More please, Tyler Allen, in the hopes that political courage is contagious.

A bridges discussion reminder.

I rarely do this, but ... if you didn't see it yesterday, please go back and check the comments for the Tyler Allen post:

Tyler Allen: "We cannot set our city back just because very powerful people do not want an East End Bridge."

The discussion is too good to miss.

Usual hours at both NABC locations. Who else?

As of now (11:00 a.m.) it's NABC business hours as usual today: 11:00 a.m. at the Pizzeria & Public House, and 2:00 p.m. at Bank Street Brewhouse. We're playing it by ear, and I'll keep you posted if anything changes.

Anyone else like to tag in? Who is open? Who is closed?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Tyler Allen: "We cannot set our city back just because very powerful people do not want an East End Bridge."

Typically excellent stuff from Tyler Allen, candidate for mayor of Louisville.


The charade continues. I strongly disagree with the CJ’s editorial of February 5 calling on the “next wave of community leaders to get with the plan.” Now is not the time to “get with the plan”, now is the time for real leaders to step forward and publicly say enough is enough.

The “plan” in this case is the Ohio River Bridges Project and the Tolling Authority set up to finance it by tolling the citizens of this community. The need to build the East End Bridge has been clear for more than half a century! The fact that it is not yet built has had enormous consequences for this community’s belief that we can “get things done.” The solution to this problem is to build the East End Bridge, not continue down an unrealistic path in the wrong direction.

It is a shame that the CJ has been taken in by the fantasy that the current bridges proposal is what the citizens want and the city needs. The idea that we are stuck with a political compromise set in motion before merger, and that has never been publicly vetted by our elected leaders since merger, is very bad public policy.

Must Louisville bury its downtown under a $2 Billion 23 Lane-Wide New Spaghetti Junction just to have the privilege of connecting I-265? Must Jeffersonville double the size of I-65 through its downtown just so its citizens can finally bypass downtown on a East End Bridge on their morning commute to work? The answer is ‘NO’. Let’s be clear, we cannot set our city back just because very powerful people do not want an East End Bridge.

Gov. Daniels told the authority at its first meeting that they “need to be creative” to get this financed. Creativity cannot be limited to where to look for money (especially since it’s clear they are looking mostly into our pockets). Creativity demands looking at the needs and scaling the project down to what we can afford to build.

Critics of mine, including the CJ, have said I’m a one issue candidate. Interestingly, they clearly believe that my so called “one issue” is “the most important civic undertaking in the metro region and is pivotal to the area’s economic future.” Wow, we better get this right. The CJ thinks the candidates for Mayor should get in line. Louisville deserves a “new wave” of leaders who don’t get in line, but rather listen to the citizens, demonstrate a vision and move Louisville forward... starting with an East End Bridge!

Random thoughts from a fatigued place.

Random Monday thoughts, some used already at other portals.

With much work to do yesterday, I listened a bit to the Super Bowl, watched a handful of the ads, and viewed both the halftime show and highlights of the Who on DVD.

Conclusions: Any coach who begins the second half with an onside kick deserves to win even if I was indifferent to the ultimate outcome. The commercials were uniformly crass and insulting to persons of average intelligence, which is to say that I imagine the bulk of America wailed in delight. And, strangely, while I fully expected to find nothing of value in the nostalgic halftime medley, the old clips of the Who failed to inspire me, too. All of it, from hype through game and the NFL's calculated timidity in entertainment options, strikes me as past-date, old hat and too predictable even for Pavlov's dog to salivate.

With crusty bile, tea parties and Alaskan non-entities making the headlines, I just find it noteworthy when one's definition of injustice extends no further than a calculation of his tax bill.

Beyond the spite perpetually dispensed by Dan Coffey, Steve Price and their disaffected coterie of failed flat-earther birthers, can anyone deny that the food, dining and entertainment district currently emerging downtown is worthy of pride, patronage and positive thinking?

Or, that in its infancy, it is garnering an unprecedented level of media attention in Louisville, as well as achieving the previously unthinkable by convincing native New Albanians that we can be a “possibility city,” too? Given our recent past, it's cataclysmic.

What ever happened to that racist antique dealer? Has the rudderless local Democratic party elevated him to chairman yet?

I might be able to abide abject cluelessness if it were not so often deployed as fertilizer for intolerance and cruelty. As a species, we humans have short lives in the overall context of Earth's span. It should make us humble, but instead, it moves us to wave flags, hate, embrace stupidity and dispense religious hokum as an excuse. Your Bible tells you that it's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve? Fine. Read your Bible, and leave me out of it. It's your God, not mine.

Thinking -- what a concept. That's why it isn't fashionable.

Quite unexpectedly, I've warmed to the book that we're reading in our reading circle, samizdat. It's called "Annals of the Former World," written by John McPhee," and might be described as an explanation of geology in layman's terms. I'm profoundly non-scientific, but the discussions of deep time, plate tectonics and other vivid refutations of creationism have been fascinating.

Apologies for having so little time to write here of late. To be honest, the bits I consider best go toward my columns, and after the usual daily NABC propaganda, there are not always prime cuts left over for posting here. Couple that with Bluegill's commitments, and you can see how much we need IAm Hoosier to step up to the plate ...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Actually, I can explain.

In case you were wondering how my favorite band sounded when they/it mattered ...

I love the Who, but when will the Super Bowl get it?

Busy Sunday for the Tribune editorial board.

Not one, but two timely Tribune editorials today. First up, we learn that the governor supports a legislative notion to gut a successful program. No surprise there. Can't we sell our UEZ's to Bolivia or something?

EDITORIAL: Squashing tax credit would hurt New Albany

One would think state legislators would have more important issues to deal with during this short session rather than taking relatively minimal tax credits and incentives away from Indiana urban enterprise zones.

But the majority of the State Senate thinks it’s meaningful enough to vote 29-21 in favor of Senate Bill 236, which would freeze the loan interest and investment cost credits offered by UEZ associations for two years. The bill would basically put enterprise zones out of business and it now moves to the House for a vote.

Then there's the one that will be giving fits to the feces falangists.
EDITORIAL: Flush politics down the sewer

Sewers have become a downright filthy word in New Albany politics.

Part of that is to be blamed on the political hedging by multiple elected officials during the last decade. Their inaction was a contributing factor to a bad situation becoming worse and devolving into pure shock for residents paying their utility bills.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Do the hussle.

Um, is this the guy that the university professor signed on to manage? They may need one of those newfangled dictionaries.

See if you can find the unconventional usage in Hankins' press release, pledge a buck to help spellcheck, and know how hard it is for me not to make a Mike Sodrel joke in this space.

February 5, 2010

Columbus-Today, Travis Hankins officially filed as a Republican candidate for Congress in Indiana's 9th District. After filing Travis hussled back to his office to call voters in Brown County.
Never fear, because the Urban Dictionary lends valuable interpretive assistance:

To knowingly take advantage of, or steal from an individual, or corporation at your own will.
Hellfire, Maude, I dun knowd that 'bout them fundamennaliss.

3 1/2 stars for NABC Bank Street Brewhouse, says the Courier-Journal.

We knew the Bank Street Brewhouse restaurant review was coming to the Saturday edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal, but we didn't know it would be posted on-line at Metromix a full day in advance.

The 3 1/2 star review begins with a description of downtown New Albany, then and now, and I wouldn't be human if I didn't say that it smells like vindication to me.

It's more than just a beer joint, by Marty Rosen.

All of a sudden, New Albany seems to have found its future. A sparkling new YMCA facility, long a centerpiece of the city’s development plans, is drawing throngs of people. And a downtown dining scene that was once best known for housing the diminutive burger joint Little Chef and the inexpensive enormity of the salt-laden meals at the old Southside Inn, has become a bona fide dining district, with enough diversity and quality to lure folks from all over the region.

Congratulations to Chef Lehman, GM Powell, staff and brewers. We're still not there yet, but we're getting closer each day. On-premise business has steadily improved, even without the outdoor seating that's so important to the business plan.

Our goal was 100 off-premise draft beer accounts after six months of draft beer distribution, and we're just about on time with it. You can find NABC beer at numerous establishments in Louisville and Southern Indiana, as well as in Munster, Indianapolis, Muncie, Zionsville, Madison and Evansville, among other Hoosier outposts.

We're hoping for a crazy weekend. Here's the link to Kylene Lloyd's BSB photo gallery in Metromix.