Monday, January 31, 2011

Sundays with Tom.

I can't find the code to embed it, but no matter: Enjoy Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan's weekly "Sundays with Tom" on YouTube.

This has become standard Monday watching for me. This week, Galligan tackles the necessity of information, and why a remodeled White Castle will help to beautify 10th Street.

Terry Kath would have been 65 today.

Thanks for the reminder, Bill.

In 2011, as it was in 2009: Redistricting matters.

Given the deflating and seemingly universal disappointment (pervasive and numbing apathy has a way of precluding words like "anger") that followed Irv Stumler's surreal coronation as heir apparent to the retiring Doug England in New Albany's mayoral sweepstakes, it is entirely possible to view the probable entry of city council member Jeff Gahan into the race as genuinely interesting, if only to provide something approximating choice to an unstimulating mix.

In looking back at past blog posts, I found this passage, which reminds me of an epochal event that CM Gahan will need to address if he decides to run. It's a little matter of the Constitution, redistricting, and who did what to maintain a cynical sham when there was the chance to repair it.

September 3 (2009) city council notes: “It shows what the council has been putting up with.”

In the absence of connectivity, here are city council meeting notes for Thursday, September 3.

As opposed to the city clerk's obligation to record minutes a certain way (see below), I have no statute or precedent to follow when making these observations (usually in italics and red text).

Accordingly, I'll begin with a reminder.

Our current council members were elected according to plainly illegal districts owing to the previous council's refusal to do its statutory duty and fairly redistrict. The previous council sat just as illegally as the current one sits now, owing to the refusal of the preceding council to do the very same thing.

Councilpersons like Jeff Gahan continue to believe that none of this matters, and I heard him say it aloud after the meeting last night.

I continue to believe that it does, and the Constitution should in fact matter to one elected to uphold it, and furthermore, I believe that citizens should not have to earnestly beg their representatives to perform custodial tasks that are part of their job description from the beginning.

When such omissions occur, and when representatives muddy the waters by yawning through continual and flagrant displays of illegality (and poor taste, which although indicative of the Open Air Museum is not illegal) from the person they have conspired to select as president of the council -- when council actions at each and every meeting are tainted by the president's biases -- we must likewise expect that all nine of our council members will become tainted by association, and if someone like CM Gahan happens to be a part of this group, he should expect to be asked periodically: Exactly how is any of this synonymous with leadership by any coherent definition of leadership?

And, if someone like CM Gahan is unable to answer this question of leadership in a satisfactory manner, according to accepted definitions of qualities that pertain to "leadership" and similar concepts ... well, then he shouldn't expect someone like me to gaze in his general direction and say, "job well done, sir."

Because: It isn't being done, and isn't being done well.

The rest of it I explained to him in person early this morning. But I thought this public reminder is appropriate. I can point to dozens of unelected community members who are proactively leading, not merely regressively reacting. Many of them reside in my district, where we have nothing approximating representation. I'm still looking for a council member who fits this description of leadership.

The lamp is held aloft, but it is illuminating dead air.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ackerman’s lives again: The 2011 BIG Winterfest ReplicAle is Imperial Double Stout ...

... an historic New Albany beer recipe reclaimed by the NABC brew team.

When Indiana’s craft brewers convene in Indianapolis for the annual Winterfest gala on Saturday, January 29, they’ll each bring a “ReplicAle.”

It’s a special one-time beer brewed by different Indiana brewing companies from the same basic recipe of malts and hops, but with their own local water and house yeasts.

The 2011 Winterfest recipe for ReplicAle is Imperial Double Stout – an iconic product once brewed by New Albany’s long defunct Ackerman’s Brewery.

It has been three-quarters of a century since Imperial Double Stout was last seen hereabouts. Just after the repeal of Prohibition, it was formulated, brewed and distributed by the Southern Indiana Ice & Brewing Company, which was known locally as Ackerman’s Brewery.

Ackerman’s operated from 1933 to 1935 at the site of the former Paul Reising Brewing Company premises on the corner of West 5th and Spring Streets in New Albany. The brewery building was demolished in 1969 to make way for what is now the Holiday Inn Express.

In its brief heyday, Ackerman’s Imperial Double Stout was brewed only once each year, at Easter, as an early springtime treat for the brewery’s loyal customers.

Imperial Double Stout was meant as a substitute for Doppelbock, a German style traditionally served during Lenten fasts. It is rich, dark, strong and ideal for contemplative, cool-weather sipping.

As is customary, Winterfest attendees get the first chance to sample, contrast and compare Imperial Double Stout’s various reincarnations as brewed by breweries all across the state of Indiana.

Afterwards, limited amounts of NABC’s version of the elixir will be poured at NABC’s two New Albany locations, providing a tasty and educational glimpse into New Albany’s brewing past.

ReplicAle Imperial Double Stout recipe specifications:

Original Gravity: 20 degree Plato
Alcohol By Volume: Circa 8%
International Bittering Units: 35 – 40

Grist Bill:
80% Rahr 2-row Pale Malt
5% Briess Aromatic Malt
5% Briess Dark Chocolate Malt
5% Briess Roast Barley
2.5% Briess 80-degree Caramel Malt
2.5% Briess Cherry Smoked Malt

Single addition at boil of your choice of hop, to achieve 35 - 40 IBU

Miscellany … Did you know:

Winterfest is an annual beer festival. In 2011, it takes place on Saturday, January 29, and offers the opportunity to sample over 150 beers from 50 different breweries – two ounces at a time. Winterfest is staged by the Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG), whose members include all of Indiana's microbrewers and brewpubs. Other sponsors include World Class Beverages, Crown Liquors, NUVO, WTTS, Brewers Supply Group, and Briess. Winterfest is held at the Ag/Hort Building of the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Proceeds from Winterfest benefit Joy's House, a charity that provides care for adults living with physical and mental challenges. Winterfest tickets have sold out ... maybe next year, okay? But you can view the program here.

The Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG) is a non-profit 501(c) trade organization that focuses on promoting public awareness and appreciation for the quality and variety of beer produced in Indiana. With an all volunteer board, our members are dedicated to promoting responsible consumption of craft beer, while working to benefit a community larger than just our members.

Other brands brewed by New Albany’s iconic Ackerman’s brewery (1933-1935) included Amsterdamer Bock; Great Eagle; Gold Crest; India Pale Ale; Daniel Boone; Royal Munich; Vienna Select; and Old Rip.

Friday, January 28, 2011

REWIND: Council's smoke ban back in the late summer of '08 ...

... and an excuse to publish this photo of IAmHoosier and the late Lloyd Wimp, which I found this morning while going through old back-up discs. I miss Lloyd a lot, but it helps to remember him in his element, as pictured here.

Nash: "I believe that New Albany deserves better than we have received in recent elections."

Matt, I keep trying to tell you: Use big enough words, and no one will respond to what you write. But what the hey ... nice one-two punch this week.

NASH: If that’s what it takes

As a member of the New Albany City Council in the last year of his second term, no one can recall Mr. Price ever attending a meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission. Most of the historic districts in New Albany fall within the boundaries of Mr. Price’s district. His complete lack of knowledge and understanding of what they do was evident when he tried to disband the group. Luckily, no other member of the city council felt the same way about the Historic Preservation Commission as he did.

On the same page as Ms. Larner’s letter to the editor, there was a “Cheer” from reader Stephen Scott concerning work being done to make downtown sidewalks handicap accessible. He writes “The benefit for those who need it is immeasurable.” The irony that these two reader comments appear on the same page was not lost on me. Mr. Price was the sole member of the city council who voted against the federally mandated improvements to the sidewalks.

Youth will be served ...

... just not alcoholic beverages -- yet.

20 year old declares for Jeffersonville Mayor's race (Ben Zion Hershberg in the Courier-Journal)

Matthew Owen, a sophomore at Indiana University Southeast, has declared his candidacy in the Republican Primary for Mayor of Jeffersonville.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Either you'll get the joke, or you won't.

At home or at work, Indiana-American Water Company just doesn't give a damn. Hint: Few monopolies do.

For the second time in less than a year, the water's off because the Indiana-American water monopoly (why?) was doing "routine" maintenance sans prior notice, and in the process of being "routine," broke a valve on a fire hydrant, requiring a water shut-off for an entire block or more, except that this time, it won't cost my business $10K in lost sales because it's just the homestead, and the cats already have water in their bowls.

The dentist office next door might not be feeling as charitable. Good luck to them as they try to extract anything beyond a "gee, we're sorry" response from the utility monopoly.


Maybe, just maybe, INAWC delays its "routine" maintenance for too long, thus increasing the odds of "unexpected" valve snappings owing to neglect? Anyone keeping records on how many times such valve breaks occur? It might make interesting reading.

Let's go back to the future, and recall what happpened in 2010.

No State Police poaching at the Pizzeria & Public House tonight, because IN-AWC learned "routine" in Pyongyang.

Hats off to Indiana American Water for making something called "scheduled maintenance" from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (which we were not once told was even happening) into a neighborhood catastrophe lasting all day on Friday. If they were in a mood to return phone calls, I'd give you their side of it.
Eventually, humans began answering the phone and actually calling me back, and the theme was universal: It isn't our fault.

Normal hours at the Pizzeria & Public House today, and HBG at Bank Street until 4:30 p.m.

If you are an employee of Indiana American Water, you'll be charged an additional 300% at both our locations to help begin recouping the money lost owing to your company's incompetence yesterday. Thanks for understanding.

Nicklies out, Samuels in at Bridges Coalition; lying expected to continue, perhaps more gently this time around.

Visiting the Bridges Coalition website, I'm reminded that history is littered with the remnants of "simple" truths. Truth seldom is simple, and almost never entirely painted in shades of black and white. The objective of any propagandistic entity like the Bridges Coalition is to simplify selling points to their bare essence, and repeat them tirelessly in the hope that no one will bother contesting their claims.

It helps to have a talented pitchman, and David Nicklies was anything but. Unctuous used car salesman smarmy, leveraged left and right, beholden to the crassest and best heeled interests in the metro area ... not really the ideal carnival barker for selling a product that almost no one in the vicinity views as necessary.

That's why I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news: Bill Samuels Jr. replacing David Nicklies as chairman of Bridges Coalition, by Ed Green at Business First.

The widely venerated Samuels may or may not survive a vote and occupy the position vacated by Nicklies. If he does, you can expect the legendary Makers Mark folksy aphorisms to become the new Bridges Coalition brand, replacing the "up yours, I'm David Nicklies - don't you know who I am?" approach.

Today's Tribune column: "Regime change now, brown cow."

I'd like to thank my family and the academy, and a special shout-out to Dan and Steve for their thoughts in the very same issue of the Tribune as my column today, illustrating how their own expertise with respect to neighborhood improvements, of which there is no known evidence, anyway, still somehow trumps actions currently being financed by grants that they opposed from the start, and have taken no interest until asked to comment.

Solid, guys; solid. I hear there are openings at the forthcoming Dollar General on Vincennes ... and that they pay slightly more than the council.

BAYLOR: Regime change now, brown cow

It is time once again to ask the question that has plagued thoughtful New Albanians almost from the moment the Scribners put ashore almost 200 years ago and began to brew ale.

Can any city that routinely elects the likes of Dan Coffey and Steve Price ever hope to be efficient and modern in any meaningful sense of the words?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some might suggest there are no coincidences.

So I'm leafing through the just-out February edition of Floyd County Current and I encounter a Valentine's ad on page 26. Across the top of the page it says "The City of New Albany, Douglas B. England, Mayor". A heart-shaped photo collage and a local business plug later appear the words "Making it Happen".

Now where have I seen that before...

Is that a City sponsored ad on page 26? Just wondering... and suggesting that anyone who needs an "s" or an "h" for their stick-on letter collection should probably go buy them soon in order to avoid the rush.

Potpourri: "Everybody Knows that Smoking Ain't Allowed in School."

The backlog keeps getting bigger, so here's a sampling of recent links and news items, some mine, some sent to me.


Constitution, schmonstitution … what’s it have to do with St. Daniels and his plan to establish charter re-education centers for the state's misspent youth? The Perry County News takes a look, and we breathlessly await the Tribune’s editorial take on the matter, in which we're betting the best and brightest will be asked to step forward and teach school for a while.

It always gladdens my heart to note that taken as a group, Indiana’s legislators remain as cowardly and hypocritical as I’d always imagined they are. A partial list of exemptions to the Indiana state legislature's ballyhooed tough statewide smoking "ban" now includes casinos, taverns, bars, nursing homes, bunco clubs, VFWs, American Legions, pay toilets, chicken shacks, bandstands in public gazebos within 100 feet of a flower shop, and cigar bars, but only if populated by 50% or more lobbyists on Wednesday nights in June.

The bill’s annual sponsor, Charlie Brown, quoted while lying prone after Lucy yet again yanked away his football, politely characterizes these carvings as “compromise,” and while probably not a single legislator would compromise when it comes to his or her own health and well being, the health and well being of workers is now being “compromised” all the way down to where the bill itself has been rendered nonsensical.

Perhaps the legislature might helpfully specify the actual places where smoking is to be banned, which presently number five or six vegan juice bars that never allowed smoking in the first place. Read all about it here (Facebook thread here), and know that to his credit, our Rep. Clere voted against the latest round of dumbings down.

In other tidings from the DingDong Chamber in Indy, Mike Ladd, executive director of the Urban Enterprise Zone Association in New Albany, asks if the war has been successful, and he's not talking Afghanistan Taliban Blues. Rather, Mike lets us know that the Danielsist cadres see a power-grab opening in the gentle art of municipal bankruptcy.
The essence of this bill is that a community’s creditor, or two or more creditors combined, that fall into the criteria above, would be able to request three people in state government to declare a city bankrupt, followed by what essentially amounts to a state take-over; while removing certain appeals processes.
Bankruptcy's nothing, Mike. Just wait until St. Daniels sends in the teams of partisan GOP commissars to whip us into prime Gitmo shape, maybe even literally. No doubt they'll help the medicine go down with plenty of help from their Facebook pages, because even Maureen Hayden (!) has noticed that legislators are using social media to make "friends" with their constituents.

Maureen -- let me get this straight -- you mean that some legislators view social media as means of facilitating communication? Wonders never cease. Friends? I don't have the heart to tell you that down here, in the wide-open, fenced-in spaces of the Open Air Museum of Ignorance, Superstition and Backwardness, some legislators are content to use social media to make enemies.

Speaking of the inner workings of the Open Air Museum, how is it that this fellow from so far away can provide such an accurate depiction of life in a place where Steve Price is our leader: Just The Same Old Dumb. Pitt should be made an honorary New Albanian, although I bet he'd pay double to avoid it.

Finally there is good news and bad news: A bill would form New Albany-Floyd County parks district, and "remove" our parks from politics. Let's hope. The Clere Channel Network is poised to take full re-election credit for introducing the parks district bill, although the CCN hasn't had much to say about Ed's support of this "bad news" repugnancy, as Bluegill covered it at Facebook:
In response to my local state rep and the Indiana House passing a xenophobic "English only" bill yesterday, I'm trying to to figure out if I'm going to pay my state taxes this year in quetzals, birrs, riels, or Belarusian rubles.

Indiana House passes 'English only' bill (Journal and Courier)

State documents would have to be published in English only under a bill that passed the Indiana House today by a vote of 63-26.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Expanded listings for NABCieged 3, which kicks off TODAY at the Pizzeria & Public House.

N.A.B.Cieged 3 starts this afternoon at the Pizzeria & Public House, and so I'm repeating the overview that previously appeared here, along with updated and expanded beer listings. Note that we'll be ramping up to the full number, and not all beers listed below will be pouring at the same time. Remember to check the board listings to be sure.


The New Albanian Brewing Company has long embraced the metaphorical properties of innovation and inundation, and will continue these proud incantations on Tuesday, January 25, with the third incarnation of N.A.B.C.ieged.

This draft showcase at the Pizzeria & Public House (3312 Plaza Drive, New Albany) is all about us -- our NABC beers, as brewed at both our New Albany locations.

Our brewers and their beers are the future of our business (and aesthetic) enterprise, and in 2011, the entire beer program at our traditional Pizzeria & Public House location is set to undergo an exciting metamorphosis as we reduce our carbon footprint, transition away from reliance on imports, and embrace an even greater advocacy of stylistic education, as reflected by the continuing gains of America’s craft beer revolution.Including our own NABC revolution, hence: N.A.B.C.ieged 3: Sieged with a Vengeance.

The idea is to have as many as possible of our own NABC beers on tap at one time at the Pizzeria & Pub (pour sizes and pricing to be determined). The event will last as long as the kegs do, and then we’ll begin preparations for Gravity Head, our annual paean to craft brewing’s outer extremities.

As during the inaugural N.A.B.C.ieged one year ago (a second edition was later held at Louisville Beer Store), we're showcasing these NABC drafts at the Pizzeria & Public House rather than Bank Street Brewhouse, for the simple reason that we have more available spouts for pouring. Last year’s record is 24. In 2011, we hope to beat it.

Given the amount of work required to swap all these kegs of beer and keep them pouring, say a silent prayer for Grant Line brewer Jared Williamson, and beer managers Ben Minton and Eric Gray, who'll be doing the heavy lifting, literally.


Beak’s Best
American Bitter & Soul Liniment
Extra Special Bitter brewed with English malts and American hops, named in honor of globetrotting historian and educator Don "Beak" Barry.
35 IBU … 5.3% ABV

Bob’s Old 15-B
Bringing home the win
An award-winning Porter formulated by our homebrewing friend Bob Capshew, and brewed by NABC since 2003.
35 IBU … 5.5% ABV

Makes democracy pointless
Excessive hopping rendered moot a modest plan for brewing a traditional winter warmer, but the resulting hybrid redefines Imperial Red.
62 IBU … 7.5% ABV

Made of sterner stuff
“Vicariously” is for rank amateurs and subpar international lagers, because Hoptimus lives vivaciously through itself.
100 IBU … 10.7% ABV

Tunnel Vision
The illumination of the narrow by the terminally distended
Belgian-style ale, inspired by crazed Wallonian gnomes. Sufficiently weighty for contemplation in all seasons.
20 IBU … 9.5% ABV


A cellar man's bier
Descended from Vienna and Marzen. Abzug’s gravity is lower, and its lagering time shorter, but in all respects it remains a tasty, quenching lager.
26 IBU … 3.8% ABV

Community Dark
Inside is what counts
Inspired by traditional English Mild, the style that fueled the Industrial Revolution, Community Dark is dark-colored, light-bodied and sessionable.
12.5 IBU … 3.7% ABV

Tafel Bier
Better dancing on the table than sleeping on the floor
Flemish for “table beer,” which filled those earthenware pitchers in the Brueghel paintings. A flavorful, session-strength accompaniment to almost any cuisine.
15 IBU … 3.9% ABV


Abby’s Dubbel
She makes the schedules -- not me.
Straight-forward Belgian-style brown ale on the mild side, named in honor of NABC co-owner Kate Lewison’s canine companion.
17 IBU … 6.2% ABV

Elsa von Horizon
Bekämpfen sie und ich beiße sie
Elsa lived large, and her Pilsner on steroids does, too, brewed to the strength of Maibock and beyond, and then with even more noble hops added to the recipe for balance – and bite.
80 IBU … 8.6% ABV

Now that’s what I wanted!
Henna likes to smell stuff. We like to smell her hoppy beer: Black IPA … or was that Cascadian Dark Ale?
83 IBU … 7% ABV

Jasmine the Mastiff
As the lion is to the cat, the mastiff is to the dog
Silky, Sweet Stout with a solid roasted character. Big, bold, and ready to lean on you.
35 IBU … 7.5% ABV

With a bark like that, who needs Pat?
NABC’s first ever Barleywine, brewed and aged by David Pierce at Bank Street Brewhouse.
100+ IBU … 11% ABV


Belgian sunshine for Monsieur Scratch
NABC’s strain of Belgian yeast from the Ardennes transforms strong, rich Stout into hoofed provocation.
30 IBU … 8.2% ABV

ThunderFoot 2010
Ultimate urban renewal
Dry-cherried Imperial Stout that neither tweaks nor hints; rather, it offers palate stimulation the old-fashioned way: Complete, irresistible and certain.
84 IBU … Circa 9% ABV

Feed the beast
A dry and sessionable Stout. On those days when you only need a little stout, WeeFoot is there.
48 IBU … 5% ABV


Ancient Rage
Because age is wasted on the young
Consider the glories of Smoked Baltic Porter, as brewed for Roger’s 50th birthday in 2010.
26 IBU … 6% ABV

Bonfire of the Valkyries
Burning away the hours 'til Ragnarok
Smoked Black Lager: We couldn’t find the rule in the German brewing playbook that prohibits crossing Black Lager with Smoked Lager.
9 IBU … 6% ABV

New Albanian/O’Fallon/Schlafly collaboration
Smoked Belgian Dark Strong; Port and Cabernet barrel-aged, infused with figs. It comes once in a lifetime, folks.
30 IBU … 10.7% ABV

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em
Once upon a time the Publican poured American Pale Ale into a glass used previously for Bavarian-style Rauchbier, and an idea was born: Smoked APA.
65 IBU … 7% ABV

Not only is ELI coming … it’s already gone
Sour Hoppy Red Ale, and the final keg of an in-house improvisational legend. We’ll see how it has aged.
65 IBU … 7.5% ABV

A blast from New Albany’s illicit past
Prohibition Era Cereal Beer is the most infamous New Albany beverage of all, now revived, and notorious for entirely different reasons.
? IBU … 3.5% ABV

Imperial Bonfire of the Valkyries
Ragnarok’s revenge
Schwarz Rauch Superstarkes Bier, or to put it another way, Bonfire of the Valkyries at Imperial intensity.
10 IBU … 9% ABV

Le Diable Blonde
Here comes the woman with the look in her eye
Patience is the key and the lesson from this malt bomb devil of a Belgian-style Tripel.
30 IBU … 10.7% ABV

Le Douche Mentale
The Livery/NABC collaboration
Imperial Belgian IPA: The last keg of a collaborative liquid legend.
70 IBU … 8.5% ABV

Oaked Ancient Rage
Oaky age never is wasted on the young
The only oaked keg of the birthday batch of Smoked Baltic Porter … here and now.
26 IBU … 6% ABV

Aged in sterner stuff
Taste Hoptimus after 16 months of oak aging.
100 IBU … 10.7%

Saison de Houblon
Happiness is a hoppy farmhouse
Spicy hop notes abound in this, the last keg from the fall release of our Dry Hopped Belgian Saison.
35 IBU … 7% ABV

Not at all lost in translation
Japanese-American Common: Tokyo meets San Francisco, with rye, rice and Japanese-bred Sorachi Ace Hops.
40 IBU … 5.5% ABV

Solidarity or Death
Baltic Porter is the best way to tip your hat to the activists in the Solidarity independent trade union, and a robust reminder of Baltic foresight in activism and strong beer.
30 IBU … 8.5% ABV


Ackerman’s Imperial Double Stout
2011 Winterfest ReplicAle
Exclusive preview of the Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest 2011 ReplicAle, designed for the first time by the NABC brew team, and brewed at breweries throughout Indiana.
43 IBU … 8.5% ABV

Sour Rye Belgian Strong (pin)
It will be an adventure.
25 IBU … 9% ABV

Dry Hopped Abzug (firkin)
Kellerbier: Aged well beyond its normal Kellerbier prerequisites; mellowed, lagered and burnished.
26 IBU … 3.9% ABV

Scotch Black Grass (pin)
Perhaps some sour note have developed in this naturally conditioned Saison, brewed with lemongrass and black pepper. We won’t know until it is tapped.
30 IBU … 6% ABV

Price-less satire at CFA.

Citizens Faux Accountability has returned with a vengeance, and yesterday continued its satirical campaign with a look at the Steve Price re-election campaign.

Price Campaign Hires David Axelrod as Senior Advisor

In an interview, Price said that Axelrod will help him get his message out to voters. “New Albany is the envy of the Mid-West,” said Price. “Industry flocks here because we’re innovative. Young college grads come because our town is so beautiful and full of life. I promise to keep New Albany like this forever!”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Jeff Gahan running for mayor?

According to a source out sixth district way, where NABC's original location does business, a Jeff Gahan mayoral bid is almost certain, producing (so far) a 3-way Democratic primary (with Paul Etheridge and Irv Stumler), and giving new meaning to the notion of a threesome.

Council member Gahan's interest in the mayor's office has been rumored for quite some time. Personally, I'd have preferred a Marcey Wisman-Bennett candidacy, because her smarts, chutzpah and record as city clerk speak for themselves. She's also a Democrat, capital D, in a coherent sense of the party's principles.

However, it appears that it isn't to be.

It may come as a shock to you, but in light of recent events, the time may be now for a reconsideration of Gahan as mayoral hopeful. His council role in the anti-redistricting bushwhacking still lodges large in my throat, and I understand quite well that more than a few of my colleagues have more extensive rows than just that one to hoe with Gahan. And yet, he's had some good calls, too, like taking the lead in opposing funding for One Southern Indiana.

It seems to me that Gahan's slight mayoral window nudged open when the Democratic Party (really?) erred in deciding that Doug England's departure required the immediate coronation of a geriatric caretaker. Gee, all the GOP need do is rerun Randy Hubbard, and voila! It's city government by napping.

I am not a Democrat, but I am not impressed, either. What do we do if the GOP's nominee turns out to be right-wing-immersed Rebecca Gardenour?

All of it classifies as a confused nadir in a city where confused nadirs count as majestic mountain peaks, but nonetheless, it's an opening for Gahan. What will he do with it, if anything, and should we care?

Discuss if you wish.

Concrete into sod along Charlestown Road?

The Tribune's Daniel Suddeath leaves Erik far behind and explains that just like the radioactive mutant creature in the sci-fi movie, our doughnut hole has shifted from downtown to the old, original suburbs, farther out -- and someday may be headed for the (gasp - no!) exurb itself.

Once thriving area of Charlestown Road in New Albany now defined by vacancies

Some alert readers posting comments at the story page seem to be suggesting that aging concrete sprawl acreage should be converted into parkland. That's good progressive Green thinking, indeed.

Is such non-gasoline-driven subversion actually legal here?

Someone better ask the Slumlord Benevolent Society first.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is this really what David Halberstam meant?

I have no argument with the Tribune's lead platitude today. Yes, of course it would be nice to have genuine choices, and to increase the dim wattage of elected officials hereabouts, but there's just one small problem.

Running in the May primary requires declaring a party affiliation, right? And America provides a grand total of two non-choices: Republican (Dick Cheney's fascist peers) and Democratic (can any party Steve Price belongs to be a real political party?), both sans coherent local-issue platforms.

Independent candidacies in November? Possible, but with the odds stacked against them because they must solve the tendency of unprincipled and partisan straight-ticket ballots cast by uneducated robots for non-parties without coherent platforms.

Look, either "best and brightest" implies intelligence, or it is a purely nonsensical concept.

As such, if they haven't already moved away, perhaps the "best and brightest" avoid participation in politics precisely because the current system is decidedly unintelligent, and they can see this fact with disheartening clarity.

In fact, perhaps they see the local bottom-feeding political system as a failure, and determine that their time is better spent at their jobs and careers, and building community in other, myriad ways.

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: A call to New Albany’s best, brightest

What we need are choices. So many times in recent years, including this past election where county seats were up for grabs, several races have been uncontested. That is not what a democracy is all about ... that is not what we need in these crucial times. Running a government in these tough economic times, will continue to take the best, and brightest, we have to offer.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Faux returns with a vengeance.

Stop it.


I just spit up a whole mouthful of fried chicken laughing.

ERIK PROVES IT! Earth Flat, Global Warming Hoax, England Corrupt, and Pro Wrestling Real

This guy is on a roll, folks! New Albany savior Prof. Erik has done it again! Not one, not two, but FOUR previously impossible but very obvious facts have been proven by the CFA President.
And the repost of an oldie -- and still goodie.


Attention all landlords! Who isn't looking to save on house maintenance? That's why Citizens for Accountability is sponsoring nationally acclaimed lecturer Steve Price's educational seminar "House Tips for Savings: Whitewashed and Windowless."
Satire so effective, I wish I'd written it.

Locke to Clere: "We need engaged and active representation, not more status-quo political fence-sitting."

Odd that Sam Locke is a "reader", sans identity, while a letter following it identifies the writer's last name in the headline, but as the basement growers association might say -- what the hey. Inconsistency is the mother of detention, or something like that.

As Jeff previously pointed out, even the Clere Channel history lesson on the Bridges Project referenced in Locke's letter was blandly ineffective: "It might have been nice if Clere had provided some context for his 1920s/1930s comparison."

Kudos to Sam Locke, a ranking local Democrat with a pulse. We need a few more; the nuclear winter of the GOP's one party state rule in Hoosierstan is going to be a chilly one.

Reader: We need active representation

I expect to learn about history from books and the History Channel. I expect to receive news updates from a variety of media sources. From my state and federal legislators, however, I expect strong leadership — not history lessons or summaries of already widely reported public meetings.

In the Jan. 11 issue of The Tribune, State Rep. Ed Clere made a choice. He chose to provide a history lesson rather than taking a hard stance on the issue of bridge tolls, a subject of critical importance to already-struggling Southern Indiana families and small businesses. To be fair, he is not alone. It is a position of ambivalence shared by state legislators, sadly, on both sides of the political aisle and also by U.S. Rep. Todd Young.

Clere, other legislators, and Young (given the role the federal government plays in approving tolling on the project) have the ability to exercise oversight and utilize their political capital by advocating for a solution that allows for the project to enhance economic development in the metropolitan area without placing an unfair burden on Hoosiers in comparison to our friends across the river. They should be generating ideas to make the project better and conducting their own independent analysis instead of marrying their position to a Bridges Authority not representative of the most deeply impacted constituencies on either side of the river.

These legislators should join Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, and, even coming from this Democrat, Gov. Mitch Daniels in taking a hard look at finding workable solutions and learning what their constituents want, not waiting on someone else to do the legwork for them. We need engaged and active representation, not more status-quo political fence-sitting.

— Sam Locke, Treasurer, Floyd County Democratic Party, and Chairman, Ninth District Indiana Young Democrats

Gettin' Tighter: Recalling the forgotten Deep Purple Mark IV.

Deep Purple's "Mark IV" lineup featured the great, doomed Tommy Bolin on guitar (think Fats Navarro, not Bix Beiderbecke), alongside future Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale, bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, and original Purple members Jon Lord and Ian Paice. Unfortunately, the revamped band imploded after a year, laid low by fatigue and drugs.

I purchased the 35th anniversary edition of "Come Taste the Band," Mark IV's only album, and lemme tell ya: Overlooked at the time of release, it has aged incredibly well. And there'll be a film, too?

Back to the headphones.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A brief, open letter to the Redevelopment Commission.

...via a partial and paraphrased transcript of a semi-private, spoken reflection. I admittedly didn't ask my friend Rory for permission to share it, but he knows as well as anyone that I'm not worth suing.

Let me start with hospitality...

Culture is not just about meaning in some kind of abstract way. It is about the ways in which we make spaces for one another, the way that we are hospitable to people... I think of this in terms of making homes, making homes as guests..., and of making homes as in some ways the most basic work of culture, of civilization. The hearth, in the Indo-European traditions, is a very, very important thing. The fire is a worldwide thing and very important, certainly for native peoples on this continent.

How do we make a home for ourselves? What are the ways that we can come into a relationship with one another in a home... It seems to me that this a theme: a theme of home and displacement, a theme of how we make a home, how we can make a hospitable place for one another in settings where many feel displaced. And, in a sense, there's the other side of it which is hospice and hospital, the healing of trauma and the recognition and affective grace of mourning, which is also the work of cultural sustainability because we need to let some things go as well as hold on to them.
- Rory Turner, January 18, 2011

My reflecting pool runneth over with beer.

It's awfully hard to select the week's funniest moment, amid mayoral press releases and the Vickster slapping herself on the back so hard that her cigarette hit the dirt floor of her hovel, but not to be overlooked is a Tribune letter to the editor from Shirley Ann Larner.
Neither Matthew Nash nor Roger Baylor will even be the real men who care about other people, like Dan Coffey and Steve Price, until they change their ways. I visited Roger Baylor’s business one time and was quite surprised that there was no reflecting pool, so he could look at his image all day. Maybe it was there, but it was just hidden away.
Shirley, I'm giggling all the way to the first post in quite a while at Citizens Faux Accountability.
SUDDEATH: So Professor, why do you keep such a low profile?

PROFESSOR ERIK: As you can see I'm African-American. Since most of my followers are bigots, I thought I'd "put on the Mask."
In other news, we've learned that Matt Nash didn't actually write his column today, and that recently deposed city council president John Gonder believes in mobility solutions that actually might solve problems instead of exacerbating them.

What was that, Mrs. Larner? I shouldn't use the word "exacerbate" in print, lest I give hormonal young men ideas which will render them blind?

Tell it to the historical society, will ya?

Casinos can't do without them?

File under hypocrisy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Lion in Winter.

Long the guiding force behind the 1117 East Spring Street Neighborhood Association, Commandante Nero is shown here resting after a satisfying tuna snack.

We've made incorrect assumptions before; now it seems that Nero is in eclipse, with blindness in one eye and occasional bouts of behavior not unlike dementia in humans, though as of yet these symptoms seem quite mild. But there is no sadness, because this cat has lived a very long life. In March, he will be 22.

In recognition of his advancing age and declining health, Nero has asked me to pass along this statement:

“If nominated, I will not accept; if drafted, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.”

As the Gahan for Mayor committee sees an opening ...

You've already seen the annoying official press release from the PR flacks at Peritus.

The Tribune's Daniel Suddeath plays it fairly straight: New Albany will have a new mayor; Doug England won’t run for fourth term, endorses Irv Stumler.

Here's a good angle from public radio.
New Albany Mayor England Announces Retirement, Endorses Stumler, by Gabe Bullard (89.3 FM WFPL)

... (Irv) Stumler says he wants to run an issues-oriented campaign. One of the issues he’s concerned with is the Ohio River Bridges Project. He says he supports current efforts to make the project smaller and less expensive, but thinks they should go further.

“I would kind of like to, say, hold off on the downtown bridge. Maybe redo part of Spaghetti Junction to make it more drivable, less problems,” he says. “I just don’t know if we should burden ourselves with that much money. It probably, for sure, in the future will be needed. But maybe we should build it and pay for it when it’s needed.”

Also, there is interesting analysis from a more partisan perspective, via Harrison County.

Shades of the Past and Future of Southern Indiana Politics in New Albany Mayor Race (The Hoosierpundit blog, with link to Courier-Journal coverage)

Stumler was seriously looking at running as a Republican. Why? I doubt that principles had much to do with him seeking out Dave Matthews. It's more because the establishment wouldn't have given him a fair primary in the spring against England. He is now the establishment's candidate and no longer has that problem.

Folies de pont continues record run with Nicklies upping his ante from 3% (ooh) to 5% (ahh).

As mayor-elect Irv Stumler spins the Wheel of Party Affiliation and signs warrants for the arrest of Tree Commission members in preparation for his emergency deforestation plan -- gotta get those damned tree limbs away from the street -- let's look at recent developments on the billionaire's mobility boondoggle front.

I couldn't attend Tuesday's meeting, but Braden Lammers of the Evening News explains that the fight against tolls continues, with local officials gathering with Southern Indiana No Bridge Tolls group to listen as Tom Galligan, Jeffersonville mayor-for-life, says he's heavy against tolls and will at the same time reserve judgment until final plans are announced. Profiles in re-election courage, indeed.

With a River Runyon Through the Fields hit squad in hot pursuit, the Courier-Journal's Marcus Green seeks to evade the strictures of the Hawpe Code, noting that cheaper Ohio River bridges plan may open door to more delays (that's a hopeful thing), and then offering this fly-on-the-wall view of saintly elected public advocates in prayerful action: Bridges plan changes hatched at December meeting in Indianapolis.

Green omits the wonderful story making the bedtime story rounds in which Rep. Clere heroically stows away on the Beechcraft King Air amid storms and turbulence to beseech St. Daniels thah he must listen to the earnest wailings of battered constituents, with Daniels responding, "Before or after the lashings continue?", and Clere answering, "Why, yes."

And then there's the one about the forever unctuous David Nicklies, as relayed by Lammers in his knee-slapping account of yesterday's meeting of River Ridge commerce center's budgetary bigwigs.

Bridges request

While the bulk of the revenue for River Ridge will be designated for the bond payments and infrastructure improvements, David Nicklies, chairman of the Bridges Coalition was present to ask for additional support for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

“We’re needing to raise about another $150,000 to $175,000 to get through this year of what we’ve already got committed,” he said.

Last year, River Ridge committed $50,000 to the Bridges Coalition to be disbursed in quarterly payments of $12,500. The coalition has spent the funding it has received on marketing and educational purposes.

While Nicklies said the coalition has been lobbying at the state and federal levels, part of the marketing campaign has been directed toward answering local anti-toll groups.

“There has been a huge anti-toll effort [and] they’ve actually been fairly organized,” he said.

Nicklies mentioned the groups’ frequent attendance at the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority meetings and a petition of 10,000 signatures the group’s organizers sent to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

“We’re spending a lot of time putting those fires out and talking about the silent 95 percent which you don’t hear from all the time,” Nicklies said.

Marketing and advertising efforts have been directed to outcry against the initial figure of $3 tolls used to provide an update for the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency’s long-range plan.

“We said politically that was a disaster,” Nicklies said of the $3 toll figure. “Then, we put the $1 commuter toll on the table and we were able to get the bi-state authority to roll that out, which got us into a little more positive mode.”

He continued and said the next 12 months for the project will be critical and referenced the bi-state authority’s upcoming industry forum.

“They’re going to invite design-build firms from all over the world to come in, look at the project, put teams together to come back and see how they can deliver a $3.5 billion project, hopefully for $2.5 billion or less,” Nicklies said.

Don't look at me. You're the one who keeps voting for them.

Today's Tribune column: "Pop art in one-party Hoosierstan."

It doesn't end the way it begins, and that's purely intentional.

BAYLOR: Pop art in one-party Hoosierstan

Once upon a time, I met John Warhola. He died on Christmas Eve.

In 1991, only recently arrived in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, to assume short-term duties teaching conversational English to staff members at the city’s University Hospital, I was asked by Dr. Robert Roland — the hospital’s first post-Communist administrator, who had hired me — if I’d like to accompany him to a Saturday afternoon museum opening in Medzilaborce.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here's the official press release on today's baton passing ... not from those involved, but from Peritus.

Dear Dave Matthews,

Tell you what.

Give me someone on the ballot who (a) is younger than 60, and (b) not named Rebecca Gardenhour or Lee Ann Wiseheart, and I'll consider it.

Even Cruella de Valla.

Seriously. It should gladden your heart to know that the organized opposition has ceased to exist, and receiving notice of today's political announcement via a PR firm in Louisville has me (a) looking for a barf bag, and (b) wishing I could live somewhere else.




Media Contact:
Hailee Lampert
(502) 510-2349

Mayor Doug England Will Not Seek Reelection; England Endorses Local Businessman Irv Stumler to be Next Mayor of New Albany

New Albany, Ind. (January 19, 2011) – After serving three terms as Mayor of the City of New Albany, Doug England has decided not to seek another term in office, effective at the end of his current term. England announced Wednesday he would not be seeking reelection, stating he would like to begin focusing on his personal life.

“My family and I have given it great thought,” England said. “My wife has seen how the stress has weighed on me, and she wants me back. We both feel strongly that the next chapter of my life should be spent with our grandchildren who are quickly growing up.”

Following his announcement, England endorsed local businessman Irv Stumler for New Albany Mayor. Stumler has had numerous successful business ventures in energy, security, food services and contracting. He currently serves on the city’s Economic Development Commission, is actively involved in the Silver Hills Neighborhood Association and maintains numerous contacts across Kentucky, Indiana and the U.S. Stumler oversaw $1.5 million in renovations at St. Mary’s Church. In addition, Stumler’s family business relocated to New Albany in 2008, bringing with it up to 150 jobs.

“In these critical times, I cannot think of a better person to serve this city and help to continue attracting good-paying jobs to our community than Irv Stumler,” England said.

“I am honored to have the confidence and unwavering support of Mayor Doug England,” said Stumler. “Mayor England has truly been a leader and an inspiration as a public servant. I look forward to furthering the path he has set for New Albany’s future.”

England served two consecutive terms beginning in 1992, and then was elected in 2007 to serve a third term as New Albany’s mayor. During his most recent term, England worked diligently to balance and reduce the city’s operating budgets – General Fund, Street Department and Sanitation – while resisting public safety layoffs and facility closures.

In addition, England was integral in the development of the new, riverfront amphitheater and in the Spring Street Hill Road Reconstruction Project, and he facilitated several business start-ups, relocations and expansions throughout the city. Also, at his urging, the Common Council established the New Albany Bicentennial Commission.

“In just two years, New Albany will celebrate its bicentennial,” Stumler said. “Our city has come a long way, but there is more work to be done. I hope to continue the work Mayor England has achieved and further New Albany’s excellent record of job attraction.”

England will continue serving as Mayor through December 31, 2011.

There, I fixed it.

With the City retaining ownership of a smaller plaza/parking garage, this would be a much more sensible development than the proposed scars of enclosure.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WHAS says: England not running.

Whatever must be said will be said on Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m.

Long time New Albany Mayor Doug England is not seeking re-election after all. England is expected to make the announcement at a Wednesday news conference.

In September, England announced he would seek a fourth four year term, but at the news conference, England will instead endorse a candidate who has never run for office, attorney and businessman Irv Stumler.

Stepping up, stepping back, sidestepping ...

Reader Ruthanne left a comment on my post yesterday, and said something that I anticipated when I hit the "publish" button.

It's filing time again -- they're going to grieve me ...

"If I'm not mistaken, there are at least a few regulars on this blog who reside in the 3rd District. Can we expect at least one of you to step up and make an announcement by Feb. 16th?"
Yep, more than a few ... including me, and that's why I'm elevating this comment to the front page. It is a legitimate question, and I intend to answer it by tomorrow, at least as it pertains to me, seeing as I cannot speak for everyone. This morning, there's beer business to conduct across yonder, as-yet-untolled Ohio River, so I may not get to it until later. But I'll get to it. Thanks.

Wisman-Bennett: "New Albany is at a critical point right now, and we really need to look at the people that we’re putting in office."

Daniel Suddeath reports: Run for mayor not in the cards for City Clerk Wisman-Bennett.

Long rumored to be a 2011 mayoral candidate, New Albany City Clerk Marcey Wisman-Bennett confirmed to The Tribune Monday she will not seek public office this year.

Wisman-Bennett, a Democrat, cited her desire to spend more time with her family, but also frustration with New Albany’s political scene as reasons for deciding not to run for mayor, New Albany City Council or to attempt to secure a third term as city clerk.
Fair enough, and there's more:

Wisman added that the city’s elected officials “are unwilling to even try to understand where the other person is coming from and I don’t see that getting any better.”

... Wisman-Bennett said she’s proud of New Albany and its residents, but believes the leadership has left something to be desired.

“New Albany is at a critical point right now, and we really need to look at the people that we’re putting in office. Do they really have the skill set and the knowledge to turn things around,” she said.

“It can no longer be about, oh well, I heard that name before. Or, well, they’re a good Democrat or a good Republican. It has to be, do they have the ability to make a difference?”
Right on, sister.

As an aside, the first reader to decipher exactly what Erika's trying to say over in Screechland wins a facsimile Verle Huffman for Mayor button.


We are wondering how on earth any local "Democrat" could seek and obtain signed authority from Republican Chair Dave Matthews to run for local office and then, in an act that is as signing allegiance to the devil (England), make a deal and switch back to the Democrat Party.

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's filing time again -- they're going to grieve me ...

As the Tribune recently reminded us:

The first day candidates can file to run in the city primary is Jan. 19, and the majority of current New Albany City Council members plan to seek re-election this year ...

New Albany candidates have until noon Feb. 18 to file in the county clerk’s office, which is located in room 235 of the City-County Building at 311 Hauss Square.

A few random thoughts.

The local Democratic machine’s decline was underway long before last November's comprehensive shellacking; in the months since, it has disappeared from view. Does New Albany’s Democratic Party still have the strength (and the will) to contest municipal elections in 2011?

In spite of the Democratic drubbing, the inner city still held the line, thanks presumably to straight ticket voting. Remembering that precious few Democrats in New Albany know or care about the party’s national platform, ongoing pockets of resistance in the inner city are a good thing for Democrats overall.

But: Given that those city council’s principal dullards most in need of removal register as Democrats and benefit from these straight party votes, it makes it harder to facilitate their forced retirement without the pre-assistance of the machine – which was unwilling to cooperate when breathing, and now barely exists at all.

And yet, some insist that the unprecedented size and scope of last November’s Republican victory – albeit benefiting from county GOP cadres and without municipal offices up for grabs – make it at least possible that Republicans might do better in the inner city this time around.

Do the Republicans have candidates? One would think that success has bred greater numbers and a larger pool for selection. If the GOP has a credible candidate in a place like the 3rd district, is there any way such a candidate can beat Steve Price, who typically routs Republicans in the fall after winning divided Democratic primaries in the spring?

Is there any room for viable independent candidacies in any of this (or these)?


30 for 30: Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, basketball and Yugoslav civil war.

I am/was a fan of both players. The documentary was first aired back in October, and it showed again yesterday; we just happened upon it, and were spellbound.

Very, very moving.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moss and Johnson on bridges and tolls.

Taken together, these two Sunday opinion columns appearing in Louisville metro newspapers occupying opposite editorial sides of the bridge tolls debate make a unified, if unintended point.

Opposition to tolling may be misdirected, and perhaps even wasted, without a fundamental examination of future transit options as largely contradicted by the assumptions of the ORBP. Does the sacred plan and its $4 billion worth of boondoggle actually provide "mobility solutions," or might these goals be achieved by altered or entirely different means? What is the future?

Dale Moss Jeffersonville restaurant owners take on tolls (Courier-Journal)

Like many Hoosiers, Wes Johnson and Mike Kapfhammer wait impatiently for fewer maybes about the Ohio River Bridges Project. And like many – including me - they want to believe in it but still cannot.

Johnson and Kapfhammer co-own the Buckhead Mountain Grill and Rocky’s restaurants on Jeffersonville’s riverfront. They were regionalists before regionalism was cool ...

... Johnson and Kapfhammer are trying to rally people as part of the effort. “When they realize, then they get excited,” Kapfhammer said.
In short, we mustn't accept recently proffered diversionary bait. It's time to take toll talk to a different level, but more on that later. For now, know that No2BridgeTolls is holding a another meeting on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at Buckhead Mountain Grill in Jeffersonville. Now, notice how Rev. Johnson instinctively grasps certain points that seem forever to elude the iron dictates of Stemlerism.

JOHNSON: A bridge too far, by Richard Johnson (Tribune)

... When new highways and bridges are built in urban areas, they tend to have the long-term effect of encouraging more people to drive. This in turn leads to more traffic and bigger traffic jams…the opposite of the intended effect. We know this, but continue to build them anyway.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cops and firemen as second-class citizens. Can they still vote, Ed?

Let me get this one straight.

The proposed legislation would create a new sub-class of citizen, who not unlike the convicted felon, would have basic tenets of citizenship denied to him?

Meanwhile, with conflicts of interests over salary deftly "eliminated," and presumably with another stake driven through the heart of one or another union (isn't this the goal?), luminaries like Bob Caesar remain free to vote in favor of monies destined to be given to bodies like One Southern Indiana, of which he's a member, and which also is a conflict of interest?

Perhaps when Ed Clere and Ron Grooms finish stroking St. Mitch's backside and appeasing the reigning populist instinct (horrors -- just as long as it isn't that untidy bridge toll populism -- chortle) by means of legislation like this, they can begin eliminating the other conflicts of interest which roll merrily forward.

Let's toast the emerging GOP nanny state.

New bill to ban public employees from certain government boards;Current elected officials could serve remainder of their term, by Daniel Suddeath (Tribune)

Messer redeals.

Jack Messer's campaign slogan was conjectured long before reading that his plans have changed. By offering, “That’s not what I meant,” it turns out that I wasn't far off.

Messer not retiring from New Albany Police Department; Councilman won’t seek re-election; says city should choose leaders more wisely, by Daniel Suddeath (Tribune)

New Albany City Councilman Jack Messer said Friday he will not seek a third term this year or run for another public office.

Messer also confirmed he will not retire from the New Albany Police Department May 31 as was his original intent.

Posterity can sort through the evidence, although I'll continue to maintain that Messer's overall council record is a good one.

More significantly, for eight years Messer has been just about the only council member willing to stand up to Dan Coffey's incessant bullying, and to call out Cappuccino's frequent self-aggrandizing lies. The best solution, in keeping with Messer's parting words, is for the 1st district to choose its leader more wisely. If not, an assertive replacement for Messer will be necessary.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nash: "City council needs to address budget shortfall."

Another good one from Matt.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I really must get to work on Mrs. Baird's marching orders.
NASH: City council needs to address budget shortfall

... Councilman Price does not think it is proper to use “Rainy” day funds to cover the budget deficit. He equates it to living on your savings account. Under the guise of fiscal responsibility he has refused for years to use these funds for any projects that have been proposed. Now we need that money for public safety, and he still refuses to use it. What exactly is he waiting for?

The "Top Nine" New Albany city council candidate campaign slogans.

9. John Gonder: “C’mon, I tried. Do you see what I have to work with?”

8. Jack Messer: “That’s not what I meant.”

7. Diane Benedetti: “I’ll never write words you can’t understand.”

6. Kevin Zurschmiede: “Don’t you dare vote against me now just because all the Republicans won in 2010.”

5. Pat McLaughlin: “Look, it’s me or King Larry, so vote for me … I think … wait a second … I’m not sure … ”

4. Jeff Gahan: “Looks like I picked the wrong year to run for mayor.”

3. Bob Caesar: “Wee! Wee! Look at me! I’m pals with Michael Dalbeeeee!”

2. Dan Coffey: “If I get beat, them people win. Besides, if I get beat, I’ll have to get a real job.”

1. Steve Price: “No.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Three views of the River View riverfront development project

The Tribune lays it out: $42M development may feature cut in levee: New Albany being asked to pay $12 million for garage, handle expenses of levee cut.

But Mrs. Baird still doesn't grasp public-private partnerships: THE DOWNTOWN PLAZA

Meanwhile, loony Erika's still in Gucci Land: ANOTHER PARKING GARAGE ~ ANOTHER $12 MILLION CRAP SHOOT!

Today's Tribune column: "Only sissies catch and release."

Ifuns they come back with a mess of EDITs and TIFs, maybe they kin put 'em in a Cajun cooker top o' the new parkin' gay-rodge.

BAYLOR: Only sissies catch and release

SOUTHERN INDIANA — It was dawn’s earliest light in the damp cold of an Ohio Valley winter morning, and down in the muddy creek bottoms of Falling Run, a smudgy tableau was lifting, sketched in drab shades of brown and gray.

Invisible waterborne contaminants gurgled past an exposed mound of illegally dumped tires. Nearby, where imperceptibly decaying rubber met an abandoned wooden packing crate, rustlings in the dead leaves gradually betrayed the presence of three shivering, huddled forms, two of them clad in Army surplus desert camouflage.

The third, smaller and mannequin-like, was perched on an empty plastic milk jug, wearing a straw hat and wielding an unlicensed Dobro®.


“A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go,

Heigh ho, the Mayor must go, a hunting we will go.”


From below a scarlet, grease-smeared doo rag, Councilman Cappuccino glared at his ventriloquist’s dummy.

“Be vewwwy quiet! We’re hunting EDITs.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Levee me this, Levy.

It took me a moment to understand why the title of this Tribune article so confused me. Then, noticing that the article itself provided no relief, it finally occurred to me. Spell check provides no relief when correctly spelling the incorrect word.

Levy: To impose or collect a tax.
Levies: Money, property, or troops levied.
Levee: An embankment raised to prevent a river from overflowing.
Levees: Multiple embankments.

If we were to ask Professor Erika (but why bother?), he/she probably would begin screeching that when it comes to $12 million for an uppity pergessive parking garage, levies levied for levees are a levy too far.

Or, in Italian: "Le imposizioni sono argini," or some such Papal Nuncio.

Meanwhile, don't forget: Tomorrow marks the return of Councilman Cappuccino and Li'l Stevie to Tribune column inches, with the latter of the historically conjoined yet again heroically abstaining from the levy/levee debate.

Perhaps New Albany's most underachieving politician in generations can be leveraged out of office in 2011.
$42M development may feature cut in levy: New Albany being asked to pay $12 million for garage, handle expenses of levy cut, by Daniel Suddeath.

The commission was not asked to approve any financing for the project, but Bobo requested the city pay for its own analysis of the development to get an independent estimate of how much tax revenue New Albany could yield, which the body approved by a 4-0 count.

Councilman and commission member Steve Price abstained from voting on the financial analysis hire, as he said he would need more information before feeling comfortable casting a ballot regarding anything to do with River View.

"It might have been nice if Clere had provided some context for his 1920s/1930s comparison."

As usual, my colleague Bluegill provides laser-directed insight with respect to yesterday's Clere Channel press release. See also today's Cheers & Jeers for a "sigh of relief" from Tribune reader Sam Johnson, who mentions that most elusive of American political traits, compromise, in his cheer.

Jeff Gillenwater has left a new comment on your post "After 143 long days, Clere finally notices the ORBP, gets all cutesy, repeats discredited Stemlerisms -- and says nothing."

I realize that actual education isn't the point of propaganda but it might have been nice if Clere had provided some context for his 1920s/1930s comparison.

Car ownership rates then were low and mass transit availability high, i.e., a majority of people did not depend on autos and auto-centric bridges to get to work or for other daily activities. As an investment, the Clark Memorial Bridge was built to serve a certain segment of the population for what was still a relatively specialized purpose. People had real transportation options and a tolled automobile bridge was not only easily avoidable but of little to no use for most.

Now, commuting workers, students, shoppers, hospital goers, etc., have far fewer such options and auto bridges operate as near monopolies. The two situations aren't directly comparable. Suggesting they are is misleading.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Next meeting of No2BridgeTolls is Tuesday, January 18.


Next Tuesday, January 18th Organization for a Better Southern Indiana Inc. ( will host a meeting at Buckhead’s on Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville to update residents, businesses and organizations on current events and next steps in the process to keep tolls off existing structures over and around the Ohio River. Come early at 5:30 and network with other supporters. The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m.

All are welcome and please help spread the word about this meeting hosted by Organization for a Better Southern Indiana Inc. For info call Paul Fetter @ (812) 283-5555 ext. 27.

On another note, be sure and thank Kentucky Senators Clark, Shaughnessy, and Harper Angel for filing a bill to prohibit tolls or user fees on any existing federal highway, bridge or tunnel. With your support we are making progress. Please share this email, our web page,, and our Facebook page, No2BridgeTolls, with your friends and family who have an interest in preserving toll-free transportation on existing structures across the Ohio River and Spaghetti Junction.

Three NABC press releases.

With Barleywine on a snowy afternoon.

An assemblage of NABCs: It’s N.A.B.C.ieged III, beginning January 25.

New Albanian Brewing Company to begin bottling in 22-oz “bomber” bottles.

Ackerman’s lives again: The 2011 BIG Winterfest ReplicAle is Imperial Double Stout ...

After 143 long days, Clere finally notices the ORBP, gets all cutesy, repeats discredited Stemlerisms -- and says nothing.

For the first time since his opinion was earnestly requested way back in August, 2010, 143 days ago, Rep. Ed Clere (R-72), has offered an essay-length public statement on the Ohio River Bridges Project and the prospect of tolls to finance them.

As always, his essay is well written. That's to be expected, as he was a journalist at one time.

But sadly, once again, he says next to nothing of genuine substance with respect to tolling and its detrimental effects on Southern Indiana working commuters and small businesses, choosing instead to parrot the propagandistic talking-point Stemlerisms of the Bridges Authority, and yet again to suggest that we must wait for the wheel to be spun a few dozen more times before hazarding even the meekest of viewpoints.

And, while lamenting the cost of monthly construction delays, this reputed fiscal conservative has absolutely nothing to say about the price tag of the boondoggle, still nearing $4 billion dollars even after largely symbolic "cuts" were suggested last week by St. Daniels.

Remember during the non-input public meeting hosted by the Tolling Authority, when I was told by his wife that Rep. Clere has been firmly opposed to tolling from the start? Somehow, that part didn't make the cut. Gee whiz.

If just once, just one of the ORBP/tolling advocates (including Rep. Clere) would try -- try, not necessarily conclusively, but try -- to respond to the question of tolling's economic impact on Southern Indiana small business, and on Southern Indiana working commuters, I'd be more inclined to listen to their Pinocchioesque exaggerations absent skepticism.

As it stands, because we've been lied to on a consistent basis throughout this process (i.e., number of jobs created by the ORBP; tolling intentions; overall costs; mobility "benefits" as opposed to mass transt; andon, and on), we really have no reason to believe what we're told. Here's the link. Scoop up some wet tea leaves, and see if you can find anything new amid the tired platitudes.

CLERE: Delay is taking a toll

Monday, January 10, 2011

Of nut jobs and nut jobbery, American-style.

I see that another of our born-and-bred American nut jobs has wreaked havoc with bullets. It’s like an assembly line that never stops running.

Before the verbal shelling begins, this is not to suggest that rhetoric alone, whether left, right or middle, is responsible for nut jobbery, only that American soil is an eternally fertile incubator for nut jobs.

Worse, like Lear’s lifeline of a Fool, we seem to crave the presence of nut jobs among us in ways that do not bode well for the future of public safety, or personal sanity.

Permit me to explain my viewpoint.

In other Western countries, nut jobs are just as prevalent as here, but lacking freely available ballistics – and more importantly, denied an accessible soapbox owing to societal indifference – they soon become reabsorbed into the hinterlands from whence they came.

Indigenous nut jobs hang out at (for instance) Norwegian or Maltese dive bars, pulling their beards, waving their arms and muttering a lot, and if particularly entertaining, they find that bored patrons will buy them drinks, treating their conspiratorial gibberish and nonsensical ramblings as part of the nightly floor show, and nothing more.

In America, nut jobs are oddly venerated, somehow emerging as role models in the strangest and highest places, ranging from the televangelist’s pulpit (Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker) to the vice-presidency (Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle), and excluding neither major league sportsmen (Dennis Rodman, Al Davis) nor captains of industry (Charles and David Koch).

Existing below this somewhat rarified level of tabloid nut job notoriety are the garden variety, localized nut jobs, who at one time in the nation’s innocent, Mayberry RFD period of post-war stolidity, may actually have been as harmless as Otis and today’s Euro-cranks, but now increasingly are feared (and rightly so) due to the easy availability of weapons of significant, if not mass, destruction.

Even more bizarre, only in America do we deign to speak to this nut job fringe of miscreants as though they mattered, and in vaguely political terms, rather than consigning nut jobs to their rightful place on the ends of bars where the spittoons used to stand, forcing me to conclude that our degraded political parties – one in particular – actively desires their votes.

In fact, America’s twisted history offers dozens of examples of pre-emptive nut job cajolery, almost always emanating from those of its kissing cousins on the right, and generally meant to counter the widespread assumption among conservative elements that unless they take the initiative to blatantly lie first, unacceptable numbers of ordinary, aimless nut jobs just might fall into the dreaded hands of leftists, socialists, miscegenationists, feminists and homosexualists, and stage a second coming of the Bolshevik fury, with Red Massacres, rapes, art exhibits and the like.

Even worst: If not properly frightened into a state of amok anti-liberalism, nut jobs might take to committing crimes against property, not people – and then what?

That’s why the historical record of armed, frothing, left-wing nut jobs takes up vastly less space in the nation's Big Chief Tablet of a hate crime ledger than the population of heavily armed survivalists in a single Idaho county (pick one, doesn't matter which, and the ratio surely will hold true).

One of them may already have been elected Senator out there.

Verily, we just don’t do left-wing nut jobbery very well in America, and at this exact moment, I’m finding no consolation whatsoever in grasping this truth. Like violence and extremism, nut jobbery is a trait that baffles me. Too bad we can't do something about it. I've often though it must be constitutionally protected.

Do we ever learn?

Wait – don’t answer that question.

High hopes for one of our own in Colorado, fewer for the same tired faces in New Albany.

Sunday’s New York Times Magazine includes a lengthy profile (by Frank Bruni) of John Hickenlooper, the recent two-term mayor of Denver, who tomorrow becomes Colorado’s governor.

For me, Hickenlooper has been an inspiration quite apart from politics, by reason of beer and brewing.

... With his geology degree in hand, he got a job with a big oil company in Denver in 1981 but was laid off after five years, during a downturn in the oil industry. He used part of his severance to buy a red ’67 Chevy convertible, took a road trip to see his brother in Berkeley, Calif., and, while there, happened to go to the Triple Rock, an early microbrewery. Denver didn’t have anything like it. Hickenlooper, in need of a project and a new career, decided to fix that.

From relatives, friends, strangers and a bank, he rounded up $575,000 and constructed the Wynkoop, named for a nearby street, in one of several neglected turn-of-the-century brick warehouses in lower downtown, which is known as LoDo. He chose the neighborhood for the cheap rent, but he also sensed potential for an urban renaissance there. He even moved into a LoDo loft. And as he restyled or bought other restaurants in LoDo and elsewhere, he spearheaded a few business and residential projects around the Wynkoop. “He wasn’t the first to buy property in that part of downtown and develop it,” says Joyce Meskis, who owns the Tattered Cover, a Denver bookstore of national renown, and who was his partner in one of those LoDo projects. “But he was one of the most influential. There were obstacles, and he kept at it and kept at it and kept at it.” The area evolved into one of the city’s favored playgrounds, and he became known as one of its patron saints.
I had the chance to shake the brewer's/mayor's/governor's hand and chat for a few minutes back in the mid-1990’s, while in Denver to attend the Great American Beer Festival. At the time, Wynkoop seemed to me the very model of what could be done in a revitalizing downtown, and how it might be done without dumbing down. My first highly favorable impressions have lingered to this very day.


Turning to more locally depressing topics, Sunday’s Tribune invoked the Peter Principle while revealing the terrifying news that all of New Albany’s current sitting city council members who bothered to answer their phone calls from intrepid reporter Daniel Suddeath will be seeking another term.

Count them in: Most New Albany City Council members say they’ll seek re-election

Councilman Jack Messer said he still hasn’t made up his mind, and Councilman Bob Caesar said “more than likely I will run, but no definitive decision has been made.”

Council President Jeff Gahan and Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede had not returned calls seeking comment for this story as of a Saturday press time. The remaining five council members — Diane McCartin-Benedetti, Pat McLaughlin, John Gonder, Steve Price and Dan Coffey — confirmed they would be seeking another term.
Well, uh, it's sure nice to see John Gonder's name there.

On the one hand, it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone performing less capably that Dan Coffey and Steve Price.

On the other, even a non-committal, lackadaisical council performance would require four years of time better spent on one’s own business affairs.

On the one hand, the pay packet so absolutely necessary to underachievers like Coffey and Price is easy money for the genuinely competent in this or any other the community.

On the other, any potential council replacement with a pulse and a work ethic would wind up devoting far more time to the job than is justified by the remuneration -- and exactly where to find that kind of time?

One the one hand, the city of New Albany is embarrassed on a recurring, daily basis by the presence of congenital second-raters on the council.

On the other, unless first-raters aspire to service, the city is doomed to be forever defined by a wretched Axis of Banal.

I wonder what the forever optimistic John Hickenlooper would say about all this? Would he be able to retain his legendarily sunny affability whilst surveying the council's ongoing train wreck?

After all, he does know good beer … and sometimes, oceans of good beer are required to cope with the sheer doltishness of it all. Fortunately, and personally, I've plenty of hoppy alcoholic salve.

Time. That's the issue, isn't it?