Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bridges Authority is having a meeting Thursday while you're at work.

I'll be riding my bicycle there, and the natty suits will be aghast at a phenomenon called "sweat." They'll say, you know, if you just took a car, all those wet spots wouldn't happen.

It's all because the Louisville Southern Indiana Bridges Authority has called a special business meeting for Thursday, September 2 at 9:00 a.m. The venue is Kye's in Jeffersonville. If there is a cash bar at that tender hour, I expect to see it stocked with triple-hopped Miller Lite and non-alcoholic wine. It might be time to unretire the flask.

What's this about?

Read this post from last week at The 'Ville Voice: The Bridges Authority Will Examine 8664.

Exactly how it will be examined is the primary question, but there it is. Also, supposedly there'll be discussion of the scaled-down Mississippi River bridges project in St. Louis.

The expectation after a discussion yesterday at my Facebook page, one in which not a single comment was deleted, is that the Bridges Authority will seek to soft-pedal tolling as early as possible, thus permitting previously reticent politicians to don their "S" capes and take credit for the historic compromise. As Karen wrote:
I'm waiting for them to walk back tolls to 50 cents per crossing, act like they're doing us a favor over it, then sit back and watch as the sheep breathe a collective sigh of relief saying, "Well good, at least it isn't $3 per crossing!"
Indeed. By the way, it's Day 11 of the Ed Clere Viewpoint on Tolling Watch, and the forecast is for continued pea soup fog.

Clere to Tribune: Do as I say, not as I do.

I suppose we'll be told that one standard of free speech applies to Facebook, and another to print journalism.

Today in the Tribune, State Representative Ed Clere expresses unhappiness at being denied free speech.

Communication will continue, by Ed Clere, Local Columnist.
He writes, "As an advocate of free speech, I always prefer more speech, not less," and "I always appreciate constructive feedback."

I wonder what he thinks about tolling for the bridges project? Shall we ask him? But wait ... we did ask him, and such is his commitment to free speech that the questions were deleted, and the member list was purged. I didn't do it. This blog didn't do it. Progressives didn't do it.

All of this is so very senseless.

I am not the enemy, never was, and never intended to be. Then, why am I being treated like the enemy? If there is some need to put me in my place, can there be an explanation of why I'm a threat to established order? I'm not running for office, and have not endorsed a candidate; in fact, this blog probably expresses more reservations about local Democrats than Republicans, but although the Democrats usually don't pay very close attention to our recommendations, they don't censor us, either.

Is this a set piece? The Twilight Zone? What gives?

By the way, there'll be a column of mine appearing on Thursday. Care to guess the topic?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Say NO to Bridge Tolls invites you to an informational and a city council meeting.

(submitted ... see you there on Wednesday)


Say NO to Bridge Tolls would like to invite you to:

Informational meeting, September 1st at 7:00 p.m. at Bank Street Brewhouse


New Albany City Council Meeting; September 2nd at 7:30 p.m., City County Building

One Southern Indiana is asking for $70,000 for unknown intentions. However, Mr. Dalby, president and CEO of 1si, openly supports the Ohio River Bridges Project and tolling if needed.

It is our mission that the residents of Kentucky and Indiana oppose TOLLS being placed on the Kennedy, Clark Memorial and Sherman Minton Bridges while still supporting more cross river connections. Tolls will restrict our communities’ growth and economic development.

As a small business in Southern Indiana we would like you to make your presence known at the City Council meeting. New Albany City Council recently took a formal opposition to tolling, a major step for the region. Now help us show the Council that they should not give this $70,000 to 1si, a group that opening supports the Ohio River Bridges project as proposed.

Please contact:
Amy Weatherford or Shawn Reilly if you have any questions.

Please visit us on Facebook and join
Say NO to Bridge Tolls

We look forward to meeting with you on the 1st and seeing you at the council meeting on the 2nd.

Ever wondered who serves on 1Si's Public Policy Committee? Hint: They're not small business owners.

According to One Southern Indiana, following are the members of the 1SI Public Policy Committee.

You'll quickly see that with the possible exception of Dana Huber, there are no representatives of small business interests taking part in this star chamber.

You'll also see few small businesses listed within the pages of overlapping support for the Bridges Project (below), and although New Albany residents would pay bridge tolls along with others, you'll notice very little involvement from New Albany in any way, in any of these groupings.

What you will see after just a few minutes of web research are numerous, interlocking webs of self-interest. Perhaps this perfectly normal, but I'll ask this question again: Where in any of it is substantive representation for New Albany?

Public Involvement Groups
Businesses supporting the Bridges Coalition
The Bridges Coalition Board


1SI Public Policy Committee

Marty Bell (Greater Clark County Schools)

Dale Gettelfinger (Monroe Shine)

Pat Harrison (realtor; RE/MAX One)

Dana Huber (Huber Orchard, Winery & Vineyards)

Tim Hunt, Koetter Construction

Ed Jerdonek (Luckett & Farley Architects and Engineers)

Tom Jones (The Hartfield Company??)

Christopher L. King (attorney; Ward, Tyler & Scott, LLC)

Bob Kleehamer (First Harrison Bank)

John A. Kraft (attorney; Young, Lind, Endres & Kraft)

Jorge Lanz (Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz)

Tom Lumley (The Travel Authority)

James G. Mills (Centra Credit Union)

Matthew C. Oakley (Baker Commercial Real Estate)

Dale Orem (former Jeffersonville mayor)

Barbara Popp (realtor; Schuler Bauer Real Estate Services)

Kerry M Stemler (K.M. Stemler Company, Inc.)

Andrew Takami (Ivy Tech)

James N. Williams (attorney; Middleton Reutlinger)

Van Willis (Kightlinger & Gray, LLP)

Tonya Fischer (One Southern Indiana staffer)

It's not as if delusions are anything new.

From 'One Southern Indiana names Texan Michael Dalby as CEO', Business First, Friday, May 26, 2006:

Kerry Stemler, president of New Albany firm KM Stemler General Contractors and chairman of the leadership transition team that is helping to shape One Southern Indiana, is confident that the nationwide search has led to the right candidate.

"I think he will be a consensus builder, a collaborator, a leader," Stemler said. "Michael Dalby can get us where we need to go."

Dalby's track record proves that he has the ability to assess the facts, develop a strategy and ultimately deliver results, Stemler said, adding that those qualities helped him stand out among a field of more than 100 candidates.

Another plus is that he understands the value of working together as a region, Stemler said.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

If you say it really fast, TG Missouri almost sounds homespun.

When the story about the proposed subsidization of TG Missouri was published, some small details were left out.

TG Missouri is owned by Toyoda Gosei Co., LTD (Japan).

According to their 2009 annual report (PDF):

They have 25,792 employees.

Capital Investments (2009) [like air conditioning!]: $682,818,091.00

NET Assets (2009): $6,411,685,341.00

Average NET Income per year (2005-2009): $168,475,391.00

According to 1Si, the England Administration, and the Daniels Administration:

Toyoda Gosei can't justify what for them is an infinitesimal expansion without public assistance. (A potential $3 million investment represents .004% of their capital investment for 2009.)

The England administration thinks a $150,000 deal is a make it or break it proposition when they make location decisions.

The Daniels administration thinks giving them a tax break is the way to go, even though they depreciated and amortized $419,994,000 in assets last year alone.

I'm guessing 1Si's Kathleen Crowley didn't exactly highlight any of that during her advocacy because, you know, 1Si is the voice of Southern Indiana's small businesses-- especially if they're a multi-billion dollar Japanese multinational corporation with a really Midwestern sounding name.

Tribune deletes one weekly campaign speech, alters terms of District 72 opinion page engagement.

In the third of three short editorials today, the Tribune's editorial board provides evidence of a further conspiracy against Ed Clere's campaign for re-election to the Indiana House, as the newspaper (only now) will restrict the incumbent's weekly campaign chats, (only now) in the interest of "fairness and objectivity."

Can the editorial be deleted? Has anyone seen my copy of Pravda (R-72)? How are we coming along with the progressive buy-out from EDIT?

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: Election season fairness

... In order to ensure fairness and objectivity during the height of election fever, The Tribune editorial board has chosen to alter the publication schedule of opinion column submissions by candidates for State Representative District 72 — including Ed Clere and Shane Gibson. Clere has written weekly since his election in 2008 ...

... However, we’ve amended that decision to offer the candidates an opportunity to address topics only on predetermined dates with predetermined topics. This means Clere’s weekly column reporting on the district will be on hiatus until after the Nov. 2 election. We will also offer our traditional question-and-answer feature online and in print for voters.

NA-FC Schools and "one unhappy board member’s statements."

You get three guesses as to the unhappy Machiavellian's identity ... and the first two don't count!
TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: Facts still matter, especially at NA-FC schools

Accusations condemning Hibbard of looking for the board’s “rubber stamp” were rash and unfounded in accuracy, based predominantly on one unhappy board member’s statements to a Louisville newspaper reporter.

Ron Craig's "ignorance of the law" plea notwithstanding ...

... the Tribune's editorial board supports the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission.

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: New Albany’s future relies on its history

So if history is one of our biggest sources of potential, why not do everything we can to protect it? If that means you have to follow certain criteria to live or have businesses in those areas, so be it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

In the latest from the GOP censorship front, Grooms joins Clere in erasing history.

Perhaps they were busy rationalizing Glenn Beck's sudden interest in civil rights.

Ron Grooms, Republican for Dist. 46 Indiana Senate, has now removed the comments he had written on Facebook in response to my question. Here's the way it looked before the axe was wielded:

Q. "Can you explain your position on tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project? Thanks."

A. "There is a bi-state bridge coalition (committee), appointed by the Governors of Indiana and Kentucky that is reviewing many options to fund the bridges project. When the coalition issues their report, I will have a comment on the Bridges Project. Thanks, Ron."

I then asked Grooms when the bi-state authority's decision was expected, and he responded January, 2011. I observed that this would (conveniently) delay the transmission of his viewpoint until after the election.

Earlier today, the entire exchange disappeared.

I'm taking plenty of hits for saying these things aloud, but do you know what? I didn't ask Ed Clere and Ron Grooms (and Shane Gibson, and Chuck Freiberger) this question because I was setting them up, or trying to embarrass them, or playing games, or serving as a tool of the Democrats, or Republicans, or Communists, or Lite Drinkers, or whatever.

This is not a premeditated conspiracy. Asking a polite question twice is not "cyber-bullying," and I am a tool of no one. It is a question, just a simple question, and I asked it because it deserves an answer.

The Democrats have answered, while the Republicans have ducked, covered, cowered, stonewalled, deleted and censored.

It's all infuriatingly unnecessary, don't you think? Just answer the damned question, guys.

It's a nice pun, but "cool" is not the word that comes to mind.

At a time when locally owned, independent businesses are struggling to maintain solvency, anyone care to explain what's particularly "innovative" about New Albany forking over $150,000 to an out-of-town company at the behest of 1Si?

A cool idea: City may split air conditioning costs to ensure TG Missouri expansion, by Daniel Suddeath (Tribune).

The New Albany Redevelopment Commission is proposing to help keep a local industry’s employees cool in order to create more jobs in the area.

This week, the board submitted a plan to dedicate up to $150,000 toward the installation of an air conditioning unit at TG Missouri Corp. — which is located at 5331 Foundation Blvd.

The company is headquartered in Perryville, Mo. and also has a location in Kentucky.

Speaking on behalf of TG Missouri, Kathleen Crowley of the area Chamber of Commerce group One Southern Indiana said the industry is looking to expand and the New Albany outfit is competing against the Kentucky and Missouri locations.

Friday, August 27, 2010

HRCC is never enough: The anonymous Clere attack machine gears up.

After Ed Clere deleted a question about tolling and the Ohio River Bridges Project from his State Representative Facebook page, a handful of others reposted the question. They were deleted, too.

Seeking a place to publicly post the question where it could not be deleted by Clere or his handlers, I chose the comments section of his latest Tribune column since a link to it remained on the Facebook page after the deletions and the unceremonious "de-liking" of apparently anyone the campaign thought might ask a question they don't want to answer.

You knew it would happen, and it didn't take long.

Anonymous bashing excerpts, from brave patriots in defense of censorship:

NOT a Democrat wrote:

Gillenwater, this is as disingenuous a message as I've ever seen on here. I know exactly what Baylor, et al, did on Facebook and what you're doing on Twitter and now even on the Tribune.

Maybe I look at this differently because I consider myself an independent. I vote for the individual. Therefore, I'm not allied with any party.

The fact is, the Democrats have a poor candidate they're trying to tout as viable. Anyone who has to deal with Gibson in any way knows that he is lazy, overpaid, and is only in this because England wants to have his hands on the state rep office.

Matt R. wrote:

I think it's obvious that youre even trying to trap Mr. Clere. You keep getting on there and asking it too.

I was noticing on his Facebook page last night that he kept getting a whole bunch of new fans and that people kept asking the same questions in the exact same words. You all did it. You all were really charging after Mr. Clere on his page.

I kept thinking that someone should go on there and delete your questions. I thought they were rude and mean. My professor said you were baiting him and that anything he said would be worked however you wanted to result to be. You would twist his words.

It is obvious to me that Mr. Clere can say nothing that would please you or any of your group because you want to show support for your candidate of choice. My professor saw this and I saw it too.

Heck, anyone can churn out one of those.

Today I received the third snail-mailer attack on Shane Gibson in ten days, courtesy of the House Republican Campaign Committee. It occurred to me to protest, and I went to Facebook ... well, you know the rest of the story.

Rep. Clere has deleted this comment. And deleted it. And deleted it.

As the hate mail floods in from Indianapolis, apparently now on a daily basis, and while Ed Clere's Facebook page remains off-limits for legitimate questions from taxpaying voters, here's the question for Rep. Clere, yet again:

"Can you explain your position on tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project? Thanks."

Tolls without representation: Can 1Si explain this one?

This morning, I was amusing myself at the Ohio River Bridges Project web site, especially the page devoted to "Public Involvement."

Check the lists below for representation from New Albany and Floyd County. You won't find any, unless you wish to count One Southern Indiana; if you do, you may well be delusional.

And yet, the bi-state authority considers tolling the Sherman Minton Bridge?

I hope I'm not comparing apples and oranges, but how can our City Hall indicate support for a project that does not include public involvement from New Albany? And yes, before you ask, the New Albany mayor's office is listed as a member of the Build the Bridges coalition.

Isn't the next logical step following the city council's stirring resolution supporting bridges project sanity and an end to toll talk for Mayor Doug England to join the legislative body in a statement of principle?

Does anyone know Develop New Albany's position?

Enjoy the lists.

Section 3: Downtown Indiana Area Advisory Team

City of Jeffersonville
Clark County Fire Chief Association
Clarksville Community School Corp.
Clarksville Parks Department
Clarksville Town Council
Jeffersonville Main Street, Inc.
Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission
Riverside Neighborhood Association
Rose Hill Neighborhood
Southern Indiana Realtors Association
Southern Indiana Transit Advisory Group (SITAG)

Regional Advisory Committee (The RAC last met in October, 2006)

African American Heritage Foundation
Air Pollution Control District
City of Jeffersonville
Clark-Floyd Counties Convention & Tourism Bureau
Clark County Commissioners
Clark County Emergency Management
Clark County Planning, Zoning & Bldg. Commission
Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation
Community Leadership Alliance
Greater Louisville Inc.
Hoosier Environmental Council
Indiana Motor Truck Association
Jefferson County Public Schools
Jeffersonville Parks Department
Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency
Kentuckians for Better Transportation
Kentucky Homebuilders Association
Kentucky Minority Business Council
Kentucky Motor Transport Association, Inc.
Kentucky Resources Council
Kentucky Waterways Alliance
Knob & Valley Audubon Society
Louisville Association of Realtors
Louisville Audubon Society
Louisville Bicycle Club
Louisville Central Labor Council
Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau
Louisville Enterprise Group
Louisville Metro Emergency Management
Louisville Metro Government Mayor's Office
Louisville Metro Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD)
Louisville Metro Parks
Louisville Metro Planning Commission
Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services
Louisville Metro Public Works Department
Louisville Regional Airport Authority
Louisville Sailing Club
Louisville Urban League
Ohio River Greenway Commission
One Southern Indiana
Regional Leadership Coalition
River Fields, Inc.
Sierra Club
South Central Indiana Central Labor Council
Transit Authority of River City

Nash: "The Council ... approved the appropriation. That was before (Dalby) called them delusional."

Good work, Matt.

NASH: City council can send clear message

Mike Dalby, president of One Southern Indiana (1si), in his opinion column in the Sunday edition of The Tribune called the people who would like to re-evaluate the project delusional. I believe it is Dalby who is out of touch with the ordinary citizen with his unending support for the Ohio River Bridge Project. He either does not realize the impact this will have on the average commuter from Southern Indiana to Kentucky or he just doesn’t care ...

... I believe our city council must stand strong and vote against 1si’s funding request. This will send a clear message to those who believe the Ohio River Bridges Project is an all or nothing proposition. It makes no sense to stand firm against the project and then fund a group that so vehemently promotes it.

EVENT WATCH: New Albany, Possumshaw, and Pecha Kucha.

Text gathered from the Carnegie Center and Bernheim Arboretum web sites:

Possumhaw Plant Electrics: Drawings and Videos by Julia Oldham
August 27-October 23, 2010
Opening Reception Friday August 27, 6-8 pm

The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit, Possumhaw Plant Electrics: Drawings and Videos by Julia Oldham, on display August 27 through October 23, 2010. Julia Oldham was selected as Bernheim Arboretum’s 2010 Artist in Residence [www.bernheim.org], and during her residency she created a series of videos that combine science fiction and performance. Oldham developed a fictional identity as a technician for Possumhaw Plant Electrics, a company that specializes in measuring radio/electrical emanations from plant forms. Under this guise, she pursued a series of four strange experiments on the arboretum grounds. In her video Radio Prairie, she attempts to locate radio signals in a recently burned prairie landscape; Amplified Colony is a sonic and performative exploration of a carpenter ant nest in a rotting stump; in Radioactive Fairytale she is attached to wildflowers with copper wires and contorts her body to receive outer space signals; and in Reset Oldham attempts to reset the universe by turning cypress knees into electromagnets.

Drawing its name from the Japanese sound for “chit-chat”, Pecha Kucha nights encourage exciting but short lectures. 10 creative presenters will gather at Bernheim and give each a mere 400 seconds to present a visual idea under the theme “Mother Nature told me to tell you this...” Each participant then gets 20 slides at 20 seconds each to wow you with a story.

Curious about Pecha Kucha? Check out PechaKuchaNight Louisville.

Julia Oldham, New Albany Public Art Project artist Leticia Bajuyo, Scottish installation artist Yvonne Mullock (who's been at Bernheim and the Carnegie before), and Carnegie curator Karen Gillenwater will join several other presenters in rapid-fire succession along with live music at 7:oo pm on Saturday, August 28, at the Sunset Amphitheatre on Lake Nevin at Bernheim.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Keystone takes on the Tabernacle.

Let's end the day with good news. Congratulations and good luck to Keystone Restorations in taking on the Baptist Tabernacle. No longer will it serve as unfortunate poster "child" for the Open Air Museum, as Keystone's intent is to put on a roof, install windows and doors, and repair the exterior masonry. As Greg Sekula put it in an e-mail today, "the goal is to stabilize."

On someone else’s dime: Like Shrader Stables, private group to rehab Baptist Tabernacle, by Daniel Suddeath (Tribune).

“It will eliminate one of our last major eyesores in the downtown area,” (Mayor England) said.

Can't avoid deleting legitimate questions, can't disavow illegitimate attack ads.

It's the second of two autonomous Republican attack committee ads to arrive via snail mail in a week's time, and it isn't even September. In a perfect world, we could delete scurrilous offal like this, but perfection apparently exists on one's Facebook site only.

Taking a cue from the mailing: From where I'm seated just now, Rep. Clere lacks the commitment to principles of free speech needed to serve as state representative.

Can Ed Clere explain his position on tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project?


Rep. Clere has deleted this comment. And deleted it. And deleted it.

"Can you explain your position on tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project? Thanks."

Chuck Freiberger answered the question -- well, sort of. We'll be pressing him for greater accuracy.

For Ron Grooms' belated answer, check the list here. Grooms won't tell you what he thinks until the bi-state authority tells him what to think.

Shane Gibson openly provided his answer in the Tribune, before the question was asked.

That leaves Ed Clere, who spent the past 24 hours deleting my question from his Facebook site, deleting the questions of others from his Facebook site, and in general terms, mimicking the instincts of Third World tinpots more than embodying the intelligent, reasonable person I've known him to be.

Someone, anyone: What gives?

I believe that censorship constitutes an answer of sorts, don't you? A constituent asking a legislator a question about his position at the Facebook page, one fully intended as his legislative site, is not "cyber-bullying" or comparable to spray-painting graffiti.

However, removing it more than once plainly is censorship, and seeking in all this to ignore the question is a serious lapse of judgment by almost anyone's standards, Democrat or Republican, left or right, up or down. I persist in thinking that there's a rational explanation, because it personally saddens me to contemplate otherwise.



"I now ask that the council does not appropriate this $70,000 to 1si."

Straight and clean' just the facts, ma'am.

Good job, Amy!
Fairy tales and tolls: Dalby needs a ‘funding fairy’, a Tribune guest column by Amy Weatherford.

In Mr. Dalby’s column he indicates that anyone who opposes the Ohio River Bridges Project has lost touch with reality. 1si indicates that it supports small businesses and Mr. Dalby, the President of 1si supports the Ohio River Bridges Project as proposed and a “modest toll” is needed. To me tolling hinders the growth of small businesses in Southern Indiana.

Today's Tribune column: "The unelected Mr. Dalby’s bridge politicking."

Elsewhere, things are getting messy. More on that in a moment.

BAYLOR: The unelected Mr. Dalby’s bridge politicking

When urging a presumably beaten and battered foe to throw in the towel, proponents of questionable positions often cite “inevitability” as the crux of their argument, usually falling prey to flights of derisory condescension, as sprinkled throughout Michael Dalby’s essay in Sunday’s Tribune, titled “There is no ‘highway fairy.’”
Dalby's original column is here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Don't stop with sidewalks; Slate Run's redevelopment should include room for bicycles.

JB and BWS already have noted this point in the comments section of the newspaper's web site, so permit me to reiterate: Any such redevelopment plan that does not include bicycle lanes is ridiculous, and a source indicates that at least one member of council already has scoffed at bicycles as part of this plan.

At the meeting yesterday, CM Diane Benedetti expressed the view that Slate Run Road is too busy for bike lanes.
To the contrary, Slate Run is the ideal place to initiate a bicycling connector between the vicinity of IUS and downtown -- unless, of course, we just nationalize the railroad track running along Grant Line and use it as a rail-to-trail.

I bike Slate Run regularly, and as it currently stands, autos treat the road as a high-speed thru-way. Traffic calming would be a wonderful idea there, and a wee bit of sharing, with both pedestrians and cyclists, stands to make them better drivers as they trundle off to pay tolls on Kerry Stemler's and Michael Dalby's bridges.
New Albany seeking input on Slate Run construction; Addition of sidewalks goal of project, by Daniel Suddeath (Tribune)

A multi-million dollar project, with a main goal of upgrading pedestrian traffic flow along Slate Run Road,will be the topic of a public meeting.

New Albany Redevelopment Commission members will join administration officials from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Slate Run Elementary School gymnasium for the open hearing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A correction.

Yesterday, I gave NA/FC Schools Superintendent Bruce Hibbard a hard time for acting like Kerry Stemler. It was a solid joke precisely because a previous time Hibbard had a big decision to make he went to 1SI for counsel while ignoring parents and apparently pretty much everyone else.

However, new reporting by Tara Hettinger of The Tribune suggests that I was hasty in buying into Becky Gardenour's account of things. I emailed Tara and she says the compact with what many consider to be offensive language came from the Indiana School Boards Association. So, for being misleading, I apologize.

See, Mike Dalby, that wasn't so hard, was it?

A transit friendly sports edifice? Which planet is this?

As a woebegone fan of the Oakland Athletics, I follow a blog called New A's Ballpark. In recent days, the blogger has been reporting on visits to major league ballparks around the country, and today's entry is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the city's new field has drawn rave reviews in this, its first season. As you read, think about Louisville's new arena ... and where you'll be parking, in the absence of thoughtfulness about transit options.

Day 11: Target Field

Target Field may be the most transit-friendly ballpark in the nation. It was designed as both a ballpark and a transit hub, with a light rail station alongside it, a commuter rail station underneath it, and weatherproof bus platforms adjacent to it. It’s an extremely clever and convenient arrangement, which paid off for me in a big way.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Let the interpreters begin dissecting.

Thanks to Chuck Freiberger, Democratic candidate for the District 46 Indiana State Senate seat for responding to my question.

"I am in support of building and maintaining infrastructure, such as a bridge, to make it easier for Hoosiers to commute to and from work and other daily activities, however I do not agree with placing a toll on the bridge as it is currently presented. "

What do you think it means?

REWIND: Nobody listened to Eisenhower, either.

The following was originally published on November 19, 2007. Since then, some have taken to referring to my occasional cautionary utterances as alarmist. Granted, I don't always get it right but, given the region's current position vis-à-vis the Bridges Project circa 2010, I think I can live with that.

One Southern Indiana already has two public school systems, two colleges, four local governments, six banks, and the phone and electric companies represented on their board.

Rather than fostering inclusive, informed debate about the future of regional development from the grassroots up, however, they've fabricated a top down model, insinuating that their suggested course(s) of action are inevitable while providing little public explanation as to why their particular ideological choices are more (or less) beneficial to the region than any possible alternatives. They've yet to openly admit that plausible alternatives even exist.

If they're allowed to continue unchallenged, amassing consequential levels of financial and political support from a roster of executives with an inherent self-interest in protecting their own respective positions, 1SI could easily develop the power to dominate individual local governments, thereby lessening the degree to which public input matters and creating a situation in which our region's future would be decided by the appointed members of a private organization rather than elected public representatives.

Regardless of their intentions, that's dangerous.

The guy gets one letter of endorsement from Dalby, and now Bruce Hibbard's acting like he was appointed to the Bridges Authority.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Kerry Stemler should be proud.

New Albany-Floyd County School Board code hits snag, by Harold J. Adams(Courier-Journal).

Several members of the New Albany-Floyd County School Board say they have problems with a proposal by Superintendent Bruce Hibbard asking all board members to pledge they generally “will accept the superintendent's recommendation on all matters that come before the board.”

The provision is part of a proposed Compact & Code of Ethics scheduled for a first reading at Monday night's board meeting.

Another provision says: “The relationship between the superintendent and board members is collegial not hierarchical, based on mutual respect for their complimentary roles.””

Small business, regionalism, and Rep. Clere's public forum tomorrow.

Rep. Ed Clere is hosting a Small Businesses public forum tomorrow (Tuesday, August 24 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Purdue Technology Center, 3000 Technology Avenue, Suite N2225, Conference Room, New Albany, IN 47150.

According to the material I received, "This forum will be geared toward small businesses in New Albany and its surrounding metropolitan area ... small business owners and those interested in starting a new business are encouraged to attend the public forum. They will be given the opportunity to discuss issues concerning the process of starting or growing a business ... some of the discussion items include: Strategic Planning, Market Research and (understanding) Financial Reports ... Rep. Clere and members from the local and state offices of Indiana Small Business Development Center will be available to answer questions and address any concerns."

Sounds interesting. I'm not sure I can attend owing to a prior commitment, and so if anyone reading makes it, can you please ask this question of the experts in attendance:

"As a small business owner, what should I do when an appointed (not elected) extra-governmental agency establishes tolls for Ohio River bridges, thus discouraging a significant number of patrons to come to Indiana?"


Policing and cultural differences.

This story in yesterday's New York Times documents "A Fatal Encounter in a Newark Park," and it is a somber, tragic tale with no obvious lesson to be learned.

But in this brief passage, there is a definition of "21st century" policing that applies to the New Albany city policemen with whom I've become acquainted during the past few years, and to me, that's a very good thing. It's also a definition worth remembering as we contemplate public safety in the changing cultural fabric of the city.
Gerard Tucci, Officer Esposito’s boss for about two years, described him as even-tempered, “a trouble-free employee.”

“I’m not telling you that he is a zombie, but you don’t want an officer too high all the time or too low all the time,” said Mr. Tucci, who retired as a captain in 2008. “The police officer of the 21st century is no longer the rough-and-tumble person of the 1900s, where you rough up a town and leave like a marshal in the Wild West. You are part of the community and part psychologist, part sociologist, part teacher and part interpreter, someone who has to be sensitive to the immense cultural differences encountered every day.”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Like crumbs from a cocktail jacket, Dalbybuttals begin here.

Proponents of "inevitability" have always been prone to condescension, examples of which are liberally sprinkled throughout Chairman Dalby's essay in today's Tribune.

In such arguments, superior strength and iron certainty must be conveyed to the listener, the feeling that someone so far removed from the seat of power and authority essentially has no rational say in the matter.

Bob Knight expressed similar sentiments when he counseled rape victims to relax and enjoy the experience. It’s also reminiscent of medieval Europe, when flesh-and-blood men -- not gods from afar -- built huge, towering cathedrals, and then pointed to the immensity of these structures as irrefutable evidence of a higher power's inevitability.

How could mere mortals fathom such grandeur without supernatural sanction?

Supporters of the Ohio River Bridges Project now exhibit the same attitude, one unconsciously echoed by Kevin Zurschmiede at last Thursday’s council meeting: This project is so big, so impressive, so very irrefutable, that smaller minds have no place in the discussion. We can only cower in awe as the earth is moved, and lower our trousers while smiling at our good fortune to have lived and died only slightly before the bridges are finished.

Apart from a palpable irritation with area plebians for refusing to bow to the inevitable, as devised by extra-governmental functionaries who are not in any way answerable to voters, Dalby reiterates a familiar case for two bridges and a reworking of Spaghetti Junction.

However, precisely because the idea of tolling existing bridges to pay for the forthcoming boondoggle is the mother of all Achilles Heels for bridges project proponents, Dalby gives it short and dismissive shrift.

There'll be much more to say about Dalby's treatise in the coming days. In the meantime, cutting through the verbiage, the veracity of his position comes down to this single paragraph.
It is a delusional vision. They have missed a key element — reality. The reality is that to get a real transportation solution for the Louisville region that serves the needs of today and the next 50 years, we have to add capacity— and capacity comes in the form of highway lanes.
Is reality the addition of capacity, or isn't it? Let's discuss.

Opposed to tolls to finance the massive bridges boondoggle? Let's make a list.

(October 10 update)

I'm primarily surveying the Indiana side of the river. This is a working document, and will be edited as I go. Please add to the list in comments or private e-mails. Also, please correct any mistakes.

Shane Gibson, Democrat for Dist. 72 Indiana House (Tribune column 8/17/10)

Chuck Freiberger, Democrat for Dist. 46 Indiana Senate, wrote this via Facebook; we suspect it might possibly represent opposition to tolls, albeit it as phrased in political doublespeak: "I am in support of building and maintaining infrastructure, such as a bridge, to make it easier for Hoosiers to commute to and from work and other daily activities, however I do not agree with placing a toll on the bridge as it is currently presented."

Ron Grooms, Republican for Dist. 46 Indiana Senate, wrote this via Facebook. He'll not tell us what he thinks until the bi-state authority tells him the party line to parrot: "There is a bi-state bridge coalition (committee), appointed by the Governors of Indiana and Kentucky that is reviewing many options to fund the bridges project. When the coalition issues their report, I will have a comment on the Bridges Project. Thanks, Ron."

Grooms then indicated on his Facebook page that the bi-state authority would not reach a conclusion until (conveniently) after the November election. Finally, Grooms followed the lead of Ed Clere and deleted the exchange in its entirety.

Jim Freiberger, candidate for Floyd County Council, District Two (relayed to the author on 10/07/10).


Doug England, Mayor of New Albany ... "I am firmly against using tolls as a method to finance the Bridges Project."

Marcey Wisman, New Albany City Clerk (to the author)

Mike Lockhart, member of Sellersburg Town Council (via Facebook)

New Albany City Council (resolution 8/19/10; 6-2-1; "no" votes from Kevin Zurschmiede and Bob Caesar, with Diane Benedetti abstaining). Zurschmiede later signed an anti-toll petition at the Farmers Market. The author believes that KZ regards this action as a joke, even if no one laughs.

Paul Robertson, District 70 State Representative (Corydon Democrat on October 6, 2010)

Also: The Louisville Metro Council has unanimously passed a resolution opposing tolling existing bridges.

Tribune & Evening News (Bridges plan not worth any cost, April 24, 2010)

NA Confidential blog (damned near every day recently)

I have sent Facebook messages to the following, soliciting a position: Ron Grooms and Ed Clere. Days are ticking away without responses from any of them. Okay, readers -- what's being missed here?

Support your local winnery, er, winery -- unless you're a troglodyte character assassin, that is.

Enjoy the following comment exchange on another recently constituted "mad as hell citizen" blog, or in other words, a forum for disgruntled naysayers to vent toward others the bile they harbor about their own congenital irrelevance in the cosmic scheme of things.

Anonymous said...
Another one bits the dust. "The Winnery" is the next bar to close. I was told by the Humphrey's they will be closing soon. U celebrate the day Bank Street Brewhouse goes how about the rest of you?
August 21, 2010 2:24 PM


The New Albanian said...
Where's the Winnery? Can losers go there, or just winners? If winners, then you may be out of luck, anonymous -- again.

Happy to see you pulling for small business. Hopefully your Wal-Mart stock will see you through until you learn to spell.
August 21, 2010 6:11 PM


Anonymous (the Humphreys) said...
I'll assume Anonymous is talking about the "winery" as in River City Winery. As a note, RCW is not a bar. But if there is such a term "Winnery" that would describe us well. We just won 11 medals in the Indy International Wine Competition including a Double Gold for Pomegranate Blueberry. We also just won the right to include ourselves on a very short list known as "INDIANA ARTISANS" There are less than 150 in the whole state. Not sure who Anonymous is but he or she is an obvious liar. They didn't hear anything of the sort from us. Business couldn't be better. In fact, we're looking to expand.-----The Humphreys
August 21, 2010 9:24 PM


Anonymous (the Humphreys) said...
I've never respected nor do I take seriously others that blog anonymously. Mr. Anonymous, I offer you three tips:

1. Please educate yourself with the facts before you blog about my business downtown. If you have questions about the "WINERY" I'm there Tuesday through Sunday and would be more than happy to meet with you. I'm not sure what Humphrey you spoke to, but I assure you it wasn't the owners of River City Winery.

2. Use spell check next time you blog.

3. Take a grammar class. The plural form of Humphrey is Humphreys. Humphrey's, as you wrote, shows possession.
August 21, 2010 10:19 PM


Anonymous said...
I was in the bookstore the other day at 6:55 and the manager told me they were closing soon. Sure enough, at 7 o'clock they kicked me out and locked the door.
August 22, 2010 8:07 AM


The New Albanian said...
It's just a perpetual giggle for me when the social misfits courageously lie from behind their aliases, and then disappear back under their rocks when their bluffs are called. I'm about to close, too -- the lid on the toilet, so I can flush troglodyte lies with grace and confidence.
August 22, 2010 8:17 AM

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Thus, I got up early and I left early in case of a traffic jam."

Echoing former councilman Kochert's pithy exhortation to rise early, my friend Kurt made this sensible comment on a Facebook thread about the Thursday evening city council meeting -- specifically, the resolution against bridge tolling, and CM Zurschmiede's strange rationale that traffic jams cause his son to be late for work -- therefore, we should reduce traffic jams by tolling to build bridges and ... well, attract more traffic jams.

Note also that during a Facebook discussion, Zurschmiede recently compared the "choice" of bridge tolls for end users with the option of consumers to buy Starbucks coffee, and matters begin to get worrisome. Take it away, Kurt.
The Zurschmiede comment deserves a second statement.

I have been taking my son to a school off of Brownsboro Road for the past 3 years. For nearly 1 1/2 years I made this drive from Georgetown, Indiana (now I make it from Jeffersonville). I take my son in the morning - work in New Albany - and pick my son up in the afternoon, crossing the bridge 4 times.

Over three years I was late no more than a few times. How did I achieve this? I value my son's attendance record. 5-10 minutes late gets him a tardy and I view me getting him to school late as a failure on my part as a parent. Thus, I got up early and I left early in case of a traffic jam. I don't think I'm a saint for this; I just did what a responsible parent should do.

Had I been at that meeting I would have let Zurschmiede have it on that comment about his tardy son. I work in social services - i.e. I don't get paid a whole lot - and a potential $12 to cross the bridge in a day is a lot of money to me.

If Zurschmiede's son can't manage to get to work on time I would suggest he look at the lessons he instilled in his son. I would also suggest to the workplace of the tardy boy to consider hiring someone else - there are a lot of people in desperate need of employment right now - and given the opportunity for work, I am sure they wouldn't be late.

Rain and coffee can do it to a guy.

You get older, and you get these flashback moments.

This morning, with the sound of rain outside and classical music on the radio -- coffee and a newspaper -- I'm somehow thinking back to an amalgam of similarly stimulating mornings during the 1980's. The wild card in all this is a memory from nowhere: European Journal, the weekly half-hour news wrap-up that used to appear on KET.

I can't remember when it aired, only that I regularly videotaped the episodes and was so enamored of the whole idea of a news show in English about Europe that I once wrote the producers asking if tours of the studio in Cologne were available. They said yes. I never went.

Of course, the items that constituted European Journal's eagerly awaited weekly content are available to me on the information superhighway, 24 hours a day. But learning isn't entirely about content, is it? It's also about style, and a mode of presentation. Indulging my fascination with brief news stories, soaking up the scraps of information, aching to go there and to see it, to do that, to be there; perhaps I'm beyond that sort of giddy excitement now.

Perhaps, although I can still feel the adrenalin of pure discovery nipping at the frayed edges of stress-ridden consciousness. Nothing stays the same, and I know that. Nostalgia most often is a misplaced, over-romanticized emotion, and I also know that. Yet, some times, surely it's acceptable to give in.

Give me a rabbit hole or a time warp and tell me it leads back to 1985 ... would I choose it and start over? I couldn't tell you, although probably not. It was what it was, in the time it was, and it cannot be again. But I revisit it, looking for clues about who I am, now.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Upcoming events in downtown, courtesy of Develop New Albany.

Coffey vs. Denhart in the 1st District?

The Troglodyte Table blog insists that Ms. Denhart will challenge CM Cappuccino in the 1st council district in 2011.

If true, which is highly doubtful, it will be hard to tell the impersonators from the real people.

One thing's for sure: Any campaign debate featuring V & D would have to come supplied with special equipment for those daring to attend.

We'll need some twist ties on that, and maybe a hazmat suit. Can't wait, god bless, etc, and all that.

August 19 city council 3: Craig's gallant last stand against Communism, Atheism and Historical Preservation.

(Note: Satire and fatigue may creep into the following, so please don’t take it as pure news reporting. Such reporting generally does no good in New Albany, anyway)

Local property owner Ron Craig spoke during public comment time last night. Craig said that he’s been in business for a long time and recently had a property in need of repair, one located within the boundaries of a historical preservation district (on Market Street).

In 2008, he began covering the house in vinyl siding because it’s cheaper than paint, and how can anyone mandate paint when vinyl’s cheaper? This is 'Merica, right? More succinctly, this is New Albany, the place that good taste forgot -- right? Isn’t the idea to reclaim such buildings as inexpensively as possible and enable more quadplexes?

Craig promptly received a cease and desist order from the Historical Preservation Commission, itself approved by a previous council to administer standards in a delineated area … yes, an area approved by a previous council. In other words, laws had been written, a governing body established, and now, two years ago, property owner Craig is reminded of the existence of such things as laws, reacting to this belated discovery in the time-honored way: By ignoring them, and daring the city's (non) enforcement to materialize out of nowhere.

Duly outraged, he persisted with work in spite of being told he was violating a law of which he was ignorant, willfully or otherwise, and I’m reminded that the last time I told a cop that I was not aware of the law, my excuse was dismissed faster than Steve Price shuts the cover of a book with too many three-syllable words in it, and a citation was issued.

Remarkably, Craig's bluff was called.

And so, Craig hired the once-relevant lawyer Krafty John, who specializes in tricky zoning cases, and lawsuits were filed, and because the owner of Pastimes also violated the rules by tearing down a structure sans permission, and had his bluff called, too, he’s now in bed with Craig to rouse the oppressed masses against the monstrous tyranny of historical preservation, and when Craig asked everyone in the room who’d been viciously screwed by the ungodly HPC to stand and be counted, a grand total of two people actually did.

Somewhere, Todd Coleman cheered and pressed a button to erect another blow-up doll to announce a used furniture sale.

Because Li’L Stevie now sings karaoke for pickled bologna and Budweiser at the bar in question, he’s also keen to do away with these damned stinking laws foisted on us by the VFW-hating, pinko-Nazi eyeglasses wearers with degrees who he wouldn’t rent a couch to if they begged him for lice-ridden upholstery and a gentle lullaby.

When I stood to be recognized as among those having positive experiences with HPC, and noted aloud that I was under the impression that ignorance of the law should be laughed at, not accepted as a valid excuse, Price began waving his guitar pick at me and dry-mouthing impolite utterances in my general direction.

Welcome back my friends, to the show that NEVER ends.

In some fashion, it appears the city council now wants to appease the law breakers by curbing the zealotry of historical preservation and appointing a council member to the board, or in some yet undisclosed way interfering with its own useful enforcement creation without contributing to the enforcement, or by having any intelligible discussion that might lead us to believe there is a genuine issue with historical preservation, apart from Price’s anti-world-of-all-knowledge infantile blathering and the obviously biased testimony of two or three people who believe that not knowing about a law’s existence exempts them from compliance.

Except that Dan Coffey, who brought up HPC in the newspaper, voted against the ordinance, and Bob Caesar – striving as ever to oppose the best interests of his own neighborhood – voted for it. Price, who used to sleep through Urban Enterprise Area meetings and doodle on newspapers when not openly yawning, would be an ideal choice to oversee the activities of a body that he'll never understand. That's the New Albany way, isn't it?

Try figuring any of it. As Craig himself noted, “I guess it depends on how you look at it.”

Yes and no, but at least by your testimony, Ron, you provided support for the notion that rental property ownership is a business, not a product, and for that I’m grateful. Tell it to that dude up in the Knobs, will you?

August 19 city council 2: No tolls for 1SI's bridges, bitches.

When I saw Tyler Allen come into the chamber before the meeting started, I asked him if he'd ever been to a New Albany city council session. He said no. I laughed, and told him he'd find it entertaining.

Tyler, who sat on the second row with former councilman Larry Kochert on one side and the nattily attired One Southern Indiana team on the other, spoke eloquently in favor of the "no tolling" resolution, introduced by Councilman Pat McLaughlin, which subsequently passed by a tally of 6-2, with Diane Benedetti bizarrely abstaining.

As an aside, let's just say in a charitable way that CM Benedetti had an "off" night, abstaining on the tolling resolution for no stated reason, being on the wrong side of the 1SI funding question, and having earlier brought forward a proposal for a $50,000 council grant toward Farmers Market improvements that virtually no one expected last night, or could explain in any detail.

Still, in spite of the considerable (and comical) confusion, and with no substantive documentation of the plan for Farmers Market improvements, Benedetti insisted on a first reading vote; amazingly, it failed by only one vote. Significantly, Councilman Bob Caesar voted in favor of it, sans comment.

Remember that vote, because it meant that CM Caesar voted for money to improve the Farmers Market without having any way of knowing exactly how work would proceed, or in what fashion it would be performed, or when it would begin.

Granted, virtually all those in attendance, including this writer, favor improvements to the Farmers Market. That is not the point. When a plan is produced, so will the money.

The point is, Caesar evidently did not need to know how the money would be spent before indicating favor. Later, when it finally came time to address the no-tolls resolution, it was none other than Bob Caesar insisting that the council could not possibly register an opinion on something that it did not know, i.e., how and when tolls would be applied.

In fact, Caesar did not seem to even understand that the tolls being proposed would be placed on existing bridges, bridges already financed, to help build new ones.

Rather, it was Bob Caesar disgracefully performing (thrashing) as Michael Dalby's 1SI surrogate, seemingly searching frantically for Kerry Stemler's "build the bridges and none of your backtalk, peasant" bullet point list (trust me, Caesar would have been far more coherent in opposition if he'd managed to find someone else’s list), and vainly struggling to lead the way against the no-tolls resolution with this stunning argument: How can we possibly know how tolls might work, and how can we vote in favor of something we don't know?

Not sure, Bob, except you just did it a while ago, when not knowing what would happen with the Farmers Market was okay ... and, of course, you served as the pompon team and voted "yes" for a second time on a reading of the ordinance to gift 1SI with $70,000 to perform services that the organization cannot document or explain, other than periodic exaggerations, meaning that you voted twice in favor of "not knowing" when it comes to 1SI and the Farmers Market, but expressed a preference for knowledge when it comes to the exact tolling plan for the dual bridges boondoggle – although you didn’t know anything about the tolling plan you were supporting.

Does Caesar really believe that flagrant contradictions like this are not visible to us, out in the gallery? Does he believe that the conflict of interest v.v. 1SI is not plainly visible? It’s surreal, this downtown businessman striving to appease the exurban 1SI cadre, which doesn’t give a tinker’s damn about downtown New Albany businesses like his. How does Caesar rationalize his zeal for self-defeating measures?

Another council member with strong ties to One Southern Indiana, and another member who, like Caesar, emphatically should not be voting on any ordinances pertaining to 1SI owing to an obvious conflict of interest, is Kevin Zurschmiede, the council’s lone Republican.

Although he gets it right more often than not, last night -- compelled like Caesar to justify the unelected 1SI's preference for making public policy pronouncements that supersede those of elected officials -- CM Zurschmiede resorted to relating a family tale of traffic jams to make the point that two bridges need to be built, informing us that his son sometimes loses hourly pay by being late to work, a situation that would be alleviated by two bridges and the tolls necessary to build them.

Seated behind me, Larry Kochert gave voice to what most of us were thinking: Maybe your son needs to get out of bed a bit earlier.

Tyler Allen then quickly and deftly refuted Caesar's muddled inanity, Zurschmiede's frequent smirks and 1SI's subsidize-the-rich organizational platform by pointing out the example of Illinois objecting to Missouri's plans for two Mississippi bridges on grounds of the funding burden being unequally applied to citizens of Illinois, reversing a seemingly irreversible building plan and building the one needed bridge, not a second unneeded bridge ... and without tolls.

I’ve been the first to criticize the city council for spinelessness, and there has been much to criticize in this and previous councils.

However, last night’s no-toll resolution places the city of New Albany in an unprecedented position of principled regional leadership on an important issue.

Who’s next to take a stand against tolling, and by extension, a stand for re-examining the Bridges Project as a whole? Develop New Albany? Obvious, as tolls would devastate downtown New Albany. Other local entities in New Albany and Floyd County should follow suit, immediately.

Indiana House candidate Shane Gibson (D) has done so. How about the incumbent? It is two days and counting since I asked Indiana Senate candidate Chuck Freiberger for his position -- not that I’m holding my breath. I suggest that these questions be asked of all candidates this fall: Tolling – for or against? Bridges Project – valid in its current form?

Tolls are the Achilles Heel of the Bridges Project, and accordingly, tolls are the Achilles Heel of any person or organization supporting the Bridge Project. New Albany’s city council now has taken the lead in applying tire iron to weak spot. I suggest others follow suit, because tolling proponents have no way of combating the grassroots on this issue, other than trotting out the Stemlers of the area to insist that resistance is futile.

It isn’t.

August 19 city council 1: Another citizen revolt suffers from erectile dysfunction.

For the report on last evening's endless "why not make this a work session and get us out of here earlier" public safety budget debate, visit Daniel Suddeath at the Tribune's web site: Budget shortfall still in limbo: New Albany City Council defeats public safety funding request, wants other options.

On the surface, it seems that the council members (minus congenital naysayer Steve Price, who's been playing some music) agree that police and fire protection are important, even if the palsied poseur -- mistaking herself for the fictional John Galt and lashing out at critics of her persistent and cowardly anonymity -- dramatically insisted that in the modern world, underperforming citizens like her can no longer afford, well, the amenities of the modern world.

The only disagreement seems to be where shortfall bills can be shifted for payment. EDIT? Riverboat? Rainy Day? We'll see next time, when a new ordinance is introduced, and we can sit through the whole of it, again. Maybe this time, President Gonder will enforce the five minute time limit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why am I suddenly reminded of Bill Cochran?

Well, well. It's deja vu, all over again, in the form of a nice, glossy piece in the snail mail today.

Says that, "Shane Gibson put criminals on our streets" and "has been irresponsible and left our families in harm's way." Accuses him of cutting deals while serving as a deputy prosecutor. Doesn't mention whether current prosecutor Keith Henderson's ever cut deals, although given the burgeoning number of citizens imprisoned for jaywalking, Henderson might indeed be a virgin when it comes to such deals.

But I digress. More boilerplate attack-dog negativism, from the (wait for it) House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) in Indianapolis.

Perhaps Gibson's incumbent opponent can issue his denials and expressions of HRCC impotence now, and avoid the post-Labor Day rush.

Conversely, perhaps both candidates can jointly proclaim: "We shall run pristine campaigns on the issues, and the issues alone, absent anything negative spewing from our own mouths, while of course leaving the mudslinging to mercenary surrogates up north."

That would make me feel much better.

I think.

New Albany 1 Night Stand's final stand for 2010 is Saturday, August 21.

When you're finished walking, don't forget your designated driver, folks.

Today's Tribune column: "Cappuccino's Pendulum."

Which world is real, and which one fantasy?

In one world, as reported in today's Tribune, a New Albany councilman barely capable of finishing high school lays claim to higher legal knowledge than the interpretation by a former Indiana Attorney General holding that, "pay for elected officials may not be reduced to less than the amount of their salary from the previous year."

(1st district councilman Dan) Coffey said Tuesday he intends to proceed with the resolution, adding that he researched the state law before writing the measure and believes it to be on par with Indiana code.
In the other, which perhaps will be posted to the newspaper's web site at some point today, but that I'll reprint in its entirety below as a reproach to tardiness, an amok elected official disturbs the tranquility of a squirrel, has a siding moment, and dances to hip hop.


BEER MONEY: Cappuccino’s Pendulum.

Somewhere down Culbertson way, a mangy brown squirrel reposed peacefully on artfully crumbling bits of disintegrating concrete at a place once known as the curb, last repaired during the giddy euphoria of the C. Pralle Erni years.

Lazily gnawing on a discarded ice cream wrapper (his favorite flavor, cherry red), the squirrel spied a faded blue pickup slowly approaching. The squirrel took no note of the truck’s perpetually scowling driver, but immediately spotted a ventriloquist’s puppet dressed vaguely like the late Porter Waggoner, propped atop the stained passenger seat.

“Some nice wood on that one,” mused the squirrel. “Too bad he’s with dummy.”

Concurrently, an agitated Councilman Cappuccino took no note of the masticating tree rat, but immediately spotted the decrepit curb.

“We’d better do something about that,” spat Cappuccino to Li’l Stevie. “Let’s make sure none of them people come here and start a business. Heck, pretty soon they’ll improve the area, property values will rise, the city will waste taxpayer money fixing the sidewalk, and then the curb, and maybe give ‘em a patio, too. Where would we be then?”

“10th Street,” said Stevie, glimpsing a tottering street sign.

“I have some rentals right near here, CC. Let’s stop and make my tenants buy us a round of cold ones, hee hee. They don’t have a choice, seeing as I don’t let ‘em keep beer on my property unless they buy it from me – and none of that microbrew %^#$, either.”



As Cappuccino slammed on the brakes, Li’l Stevie clattered to the floor, and the poor squirrel … well, he remained safely ensconced amid the rubble, wondering exactly what had halted the noisy humans.

“See that cash cow of a quad-plex over there? Just look at the gorgeous beige vinyl siding,” cooed Cappuccino. “It adds real character to that crappy old historical house.”

“It says, ‘Rent me, depreciate me, don’t you ever appreciate me.’ Why, it’s so fluffy, I could die!”

The infatuated councilman immediately jumped out of his truck and began running across the street to caress the cherished siding, but he didn’t see that enormous land yacht coming …


The squirrel covered his beady eyes and recoiled, but luckily, there was no sickening sound of molded aluminum meeting legislative corpulence. Out in the middle of Culbertson, Cappuccino waved his fist.

“If I’d have let myself have city council insurance, you bet your bottom dollar I wouldn’t have used it – even if you killed me!”

Suddenly trumpets sounded, and emerging from the car was a Roman centurion, complete with diamond-studded breastplate and 24-carat plumed helmet.

“Halt, vilest jaywalker, for it is I – Tiberius Severus Octavian Elagabalus Septimius Augustus Claudius Hadrian, the Protector of Pearl, Deliverer of all Downtown Datedness, Master of the Mercantile, and Guardian of the Gates. You will be brought before the municipal court, except that we have no such thing, so I shall immediately signal for the city clerk.”

“Yo,” squealed Li’l Stevie, reaching for his banjo. “It sure isn’t Halloween, and that’s no gladiator. It’s Councilman Seesaw!”


Please let me floss my jewelry
So much ice make ya eye sight blurry
Jewelry, this ain’t even half my jewelry
It's gettin’ kinda cold ‘n here I'm serious
Everybody starrin’ cuz we rockin' big jewelry


Seesaw’s and Cappuccino’s jaws dropped in unison.

“Thank you, thank you – it’s great to be back here on Culbertson,” exclaimed the performer, adjusting his rhinestones. “I don’t let my tenants listen to hip hop – unless I sing it for ‘em. That usually puts a stop to it, and they can get right back to good ol’ Neil Young.”


Tugging at his epaulets, Seesaw said, “I’m sorry I almost ran you down, Cappuccino, but I’m late for a very important date. One Southern Indiana’s secret public policy committee is meeting to decide how to spend the $70,000 we voted to give us.”

“Nay,” interjected Li’l Stevie.

“C’mon, Seesaw. There are still two readings left,” said Cappuccino. “I want that money to stay right here in New Albany, because we – I – need a new outhouse at my – our – park in Westendia.”

“Hah! But we – they – have the votes, Cappuccino. It’s 5-4, and the money goes to us, I mean to 1SI, for our – their – nifty marketing campaign.”

“I vote no – no,” Li’l Stevie repeated.

“Marketing? I thought they – I mean you – wanted the money because you – I mean they – brought all them book-readin’ alcoholics downtown.”

“Nah, Cappy, it’s for putting tolls on the bridges we already paid for, so in 25 years we’ll have still more bridges, and maybe there’ll even be some petroleum left by then to run semis across them. Here’s 1SI’s new slogan: ‘You pay more to work over there, and they pay more to shop over here.’ Catchy, huh?”

“No,” shouted Li’l Stevie, “No tolls! No Nazis! No dark beer! I’ll just play some more hip hop. That’ll keep ‘em on Frankfort Avenue.”

Cappuccino glowered. “Seesaw, you’d best not count your organic eggs before those pergessives overpay for them at the Farmer’s Market. That Naygain flip-flops more than IHOP, and then there’s McWafflin.”

“Maybe,” said Seesaw, “Although it’s hard for me to believe that Councilman Cappuccino and Li’l Stevie are voting with Ponder and the progressives, when it’s 1SI that’s got all the vinyl siding you need. See you on Thursday, gentlemen.”

The squirrel abruptly turned and ran, spooked by an emerging mandolin.


“Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool,
Loving you both is breaking all the rules.”

Roger is looking forward to non-stop operatic karaoke in the 1st and 3rd districts during next year’s election. For the only blog that New Albany reads, go to www.cityofnewalbany.blogspot.com

A different view of Churchill.

Definitive assertions of historical "truth" aren’t always trustworthy, not because socialistic subversives like the late Howard Zinn are perversely motivated by spite to puncture those childishly simplistic myths that help us navigate a complicated world, but precisely because the world is so complicated. The ones who insist on reminding us of it are essential, although routinely villified. They're my personal heroes.

Johann Hari's New York Times review of the book, "Churchill's Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made," by Richard Toye, demonstrates these shades of gray murkiness as they pertain to the familiar hagiography accorded Winston Churchill, succinctly summarized by Hari in this sentence:

“(Churchill) may have been a thug, but he knew a greater thug when he saw one — and we may owe our freedom today to this wrinkle in history.”
The Two Churchills

Winston Churchill is remembered for leading Britain through her finest hour — but what if he also led the country through her most shameful one? What if, in addition to rousing a nation to save the world from the Nazis, he fought for a raw white supremacy and a concentration camp network of his own? This question burns through Richard Toye’s superb, unsettling new history, “Churchill’s Empire” — and is even seeping into the Oval Office.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Or maybe the logo should display a slumlord dressed up like Zeus.

The Tribune reports that the Carnegie Center is to host the New Albany Bicentennial logo contest. Wouldn't it be just wonderful if one of the rules clearly stated, "no trite steamboat references?"

Truly, the logo possibilities are endless. My proposal is this: The cartoon character Pogo is depicted “By the River’s Edge” in the act of shattering a plate glass window with a sledgehammer: "New Albany Bicentennial 1813-2013: Meeting the enemy for 200 years, and he still is us."

In other news, the city government web site that customarily includes city council meeting agendas seems to have disappeared, but the Tribune provides previews of tomorrow's festivities, with a $1.8 million public safety request up for consideration, while health insurance for New Albany city workers remains hostage to hard times and the legislative body's whim.

My first bicentennial logo entry.

The seal of the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, an imperfect group to be sure but New Albany's best hope before being crushed by that bastard Washington C. DePauw and his bought and paid for local government and media.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Olbermann: "You and I speak up."

Perhaps his finest commentary, ever.

Shane Gibson: "Tolls are not good for the majority of citizens or businesses in Floyd County and New Albany."

If you're just tuning in, Shane Gibson is the New Albany city attorney, and the Democratic candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives District 72 seat in the approaching fall election. The Republican incumbent is Ed Clere, who toppled political veteran Bill Cochran two years ago.

In today's Tribune guest column, Gibson begins by somewhat awkwardly touting the building of an Education and Technology Building at Indiana University Southeast, basing his advocacy exclusively on the grounds of short-term construction jobs and their benefit to the local economy, while not commenting at all on the intrinsic long-term benefits of the structure within the context of the university's mission.

Presumably, IUS stands to be strengthened by the classrooms to be housed within the building, and the instruction to be enabled by it, but we read none of this. Obviously, building a new Education and Technology Building at IUS will put people to work – for a while, at least – but how will having the building assist the university’s future educational mission? How will having such a building help us down the road, by adding value to the university, and by creating jobs that are not temporary?

The problem with Gibson arguing the desirability of jobs created by a construction project without consideration of merits of the project itself is that there’ll be people, among them far too many building and construction “leaders” standing to profit mightily from the largesse, making the very same claim about the Ohio River Bridges Project.

(How these “leaders” politically manipulate institutions such as One Southern Indiana in pursuit of future largesse is another topic for another day).

Gibson concludes his column with the first tangible indication that maybe, just maybe, the somnolent local Democratic establishment finally has noticed the low hanging fruit of an emerging campaign issue: No Tolls.

I will reiterate that while tolls stand to be devastating to Southern Indiana small business, "no tolls" as political phraseology means less than nothing if it does not bring the listener into the tent for a broader discussion of the inexcusably massive boondoggle of the ORBP, a chat which must include straight talk about innovative 21st-century mass transportation solutions, not the planned obsolescence of 20th-century initiatives to reinforce automotive-fueled sprawl, ones that possess all the vision and deftness of Stalinist dam-building projects, even if they generate lucrative pork for the members of 1SI’s non-transparent public policy committee.

GIBSON: Time to get to work on a new IUS facility

... Only when people don't get what they want do they say it is “all or nothing.” Why is that the case? In the end, tolls are not good for the majority of citizens or businesses in Floyd County and New Albany.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Categorically brilliant.

David Harvey takes a holistic view of recent global economic activities that smell a lot like local goings on.

Pssst ... don't mention Photoshop to this guy.

Does this make you feel better or worse about New Albany? There are plausible arguments both ways, and they all make me want to head to the bar.

Thanks to my contributor ... or, thanks for nothing. I'm not sure which is more accurate.

Hammond mayor retracts claim of steakhouse meeting photo (at NWI.com)

A photograph that Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said shows six Hammond City Council members dining together at a Hessville steakhouse doesn't exist.

Speaking Friday morning during his paid radio program on station WJOB-AM (1230), McDermott said that despite his publicly saying the photograph was in his possession, no such photo ever existed.

McDermott publicly chastised City Council members Anthony Higgs, Kim Poland, Homero "Chico" Hinojosa, Robert Markovich, Kathleen Pucalik and Dan Spitale at last week's council meeting after he said he had photographic proof they attended a meeting with police and fire union officials.

On his program, McDermott said he used the imagined photograph as a "bluff" to get council members to confess they attended the meeting ...

... "I don't really feel I lied. It's a pretty common interrogation technique.".

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How have they ever created a civilization without the unelected Kerry Stemler to guide them?

Back in June, we took a look at One Southern Indiana's policy positions, courtesy of its exclusive "star chamber" of a public policy committee.

1SI's legislative agenda: "Make the hard choices," so help us ROCK.

I just returned from Madison, Wisconsin, where the policy positions differ from 1SI's, so much so that I didn't make it past the first entry, Intercity Passenger Rail.

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Policy Positions

Them damned primitive folks up north can't even include a union busting plank in the master platform.

As ROCK might say: "Atheistic heathens."

Oh, the stories we'll tell.

The last time I heard 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey go down an anti-preservation path in person, he told a council meeting crowd the story of a woman who'd spent tens of thousands of dollars to put new plastic siding on her house only to have the Historic Preservation Commission swoop in after the fact, forcing her to remove it. According to Coffey, the woman eventually lost her home due to the expense. It was and is complete fiction. Coffey's bad acting aside, it never happened.

Of course, the last time I actually went to a Historic Preservation Commission meeting, it was because of an article in the Courier-Journal in which a local preservation leader with close ties to the Commission, seeking to move an auxiliary structure and place it as a primary one on an undeveloped lot on my street (which itself would have violated numerous preservation guidelines), suggested how the relocated structure could be for the neighborhood's use.

Like much of Coffey's grandstanding, such a claim is familiar strategy to drum up support and, again like Coffey, it wasn't really accurate. Asked about it previously, the neighborhood association representing the area had already voted on the matter, very clearly expressing that it didn't want the structure and the advocate in question was well aware of it. Other relocation proponents and some members of the HPC, however, perhaps owing to the C-J article or other similar communication, seemed surprised to learn of the neighborhood's wishes. Quite frankly, they shouldn't have been. Luckily, a majority of HPC members followed the guidelines and the move was denied.

So, here's to hoping for a little more truth in advertising, regardless of the outcome of this particular skirmish.

Coffey critical of New Albany Historic Preservation Commission, by Daniel Suddeath (Tribune).

Bully or protector of New Albany’s historic property?

The question surfaced recently during a City Council budget hearing over the role of the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission.

Councilman Dan Coffey shared his rift with fellow city officials, lobbying for an overhaul of the board that meets monthly to conduct business such as reviewing Certificates of Appropriateness for building improvements within its jurisdiction.

Coffey said the commission “pushes people too hard” when it comes to historic district guidelines. That has led to tax dollars being spent on court battles, he continued..”

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Institute 193 presents Shaffer's Residential Facades

August 12, 2010 - September 5, 2010
Opening Reception: August 12 | 6 - 9 PM
Institute 193, Lexington, KY

Eleven Mega Churches, Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Fortyone Walmart Supercenters, Every Church in Fayette County and finally - Residential Facades. Travis Shaffer, a recent MFA graduate from the University of Kentucky, has spent the past two years documenting various aspects of America’s less-than-enthralling architectural landscape and development through his steady production of photographs, books and portfolios. His most recent project, Residental Facades, visually recalls the austere photographs of Berndand Hilla Becher, but is distinctly local in its treatment of Southern suburban architecture and the unnerving anomaly of street-oriented residential facades without doors or windows.

In anticipation of the World Equestrian Games, Lexington has entered a period of breakneck development and infrastructural improvements that will have long-lasting effects on our community.Shaffer’s work paints a sobering picture of unchecked development but is able to disguise its social and conceptual critiques in symmetry, line and form.

More photos from the exhibit are available at Shaffer's web site. His Eleven Mega Churches is worth a look, too.