Sunday, April 30, 2017

How does Bill Allen get away with this pile? Is he a Ginkins-level donor to Jeff Gahan, or what?

Why is Deaf Gahan more eager to terrorize public housing residents than enforce codes v.v. the likes of Bill Allen?

Maybe Billy's waiting for some of that Horseshoe Foundation beautification cash -- but what a perfect re-location site for City Hall.

As is.

"Sleaford Mods have taken charge of Britain after staging a coup against the government."

Their relevance escalates as the election draws near.

Keeping Dry Under Storm Clouds: An Interview with Sleaford Mods, by Dan Derks (Pop Matters)

Before reading on, whether you’re seasoned or green with Sleaford Mods, it’d be helpful to watch two videos of the band. “Jobseeker”, performed on Later… with Jools Holland, and “Tied Up In Nottz” are certainly good starting places.

 ... The band’s discography is built on wordplay that offends and indicts, each syllable recounting the British class wars that have shaped Williamson’s life. Equal parts manifestos and barroom rants, Sleaford Mods songs find power in the amorphous boundary between the two. English Tapas, their newest release, is no exception.

There is an alternative.

Sleaford Mods overthrow government (The Daily Mash)

SLEAFORD Mods have taken charge of Britain after staging a coup against the government.

The Nottingham double act stormed Whitehall armed with loud rants about the current state of affairs and successfully removed Theresa May’s government in less than eight minutes ...

Shared points of value: "Taking Sides? With Walkability, There’s No Need."

Given our own perennially miserable Rosenbargerian experience locally, it's an almost revolutionary idea.

To get walkable places, advocates of good urbanism have to answer “What’s the value to me?” for both developers and the public.

The author's three-part format identifies the topic and provides points of value for developers and the public alike.

Quality Building Fabric
Open Space and Trails
Variety of Housing Types

It is clear and concise, and accordingly, there's almost no chance Deaf Gahan can hear it.

Taking Sides? With Walkability, There’s No Need, by Arti Harchekar (Opticos Design)

As advocates of walkable, livable places, we’ve been involved in urban design discussions around the country and worldwide, observing, learning and understanding firsthand the key steps to successfully creating walkable places—and supporting existing ones.

Form-Based Coding is a key tool to unlocking walkability, but we’ve found simply having empathy for all parties at the table can be paramount. While almost always interested in building the long-term value of a community, administrative staff may be facing certain political pressures in the present. At the other end of the room, developers are often focused more on a near-term gain than long-term assets. Working through design alternatives that positively impact both of these interests can be challenging.

A rule of thumb? To get walkable places, advocates of good urbanism have to answer “What’s the value to me?” for both developers and the public. Here are some of the top discussion points we’ve seen gain traction with both “sides” of the urban design discussion.


What Is It? Having amenities and jobs close to housing; building activity geared to the public realm; a physical environment that’s nice to be in, not just pass through

Developer Value: Walkability adds long-term value by catering to the 50% of the population that considers being able to walk to daily goods and services a high priority. Near-term value is gained through narrower streets in well-connected networks by generating better access to the lot and adjacent lots, reducing traffic speeds, reducing stormwater runoff and reducing cost for construction and maintenance. Reductions in traffic speed can potentially increase adjacent residential property values. Long-term value is gained through the ability of such a network to be able to adapt more easily to unexpected market shifts.

Public Value: An interconnected network of streets with pedestrian-oriented characteristics adds long-term value by creating a better balance of land uses and economic generators. Narrower streets in well-connected networks decrease accident rates, facilitate mobility choice, and enable the reduction of vehicular miles traveled.

For the record: The return of The NewAlbanist, with good advice about hours of operation.

The Bookseller is back with an idea about independent small businesses staying open for business. In short, how can a city be a tourist destination if its "destination businesses" greet visitors with locked doors?

Good Golly: Mouth Shut Almost a Year

For almost a full year, gentle reader, you’ve heard nothing from me here. Anything I had to say, Ann alone had to hear it. Poor woman.

Let’s see. I tossed my hat into the ring for election to a vacant school board seat and lost – badly. I sought to return to my career in journalism and was all but ignored by what passes as our “local” paper. And then, glutton that I am, I offered myself for yet another school board seat that came open – and was roughly treated.

In business, I’ve been the living embodiment of the aphorism that pioneers get slaughtered while settlers prosper. I’ve been at it long enough and seen enough peers disappear that I qualify for the former category. But the scars I’ve earned entitle me to advise the latter.

THE BEER BEAT: Valley Malt. Pioneer Valley. It all comes back to me now.

Five years ago I had the opportunity to attend the American Distilling Institute's annual conference, which was held in 2012 at Huber's Orchard, Winery, Vineyards and Starlight Distillery.

Sticking a toe in the (distilled) water at the ADI annual conference.

In return for watering the attendees with NABC beer, I was allowed the full run of seminars and meetings. The single most memorable one of these was a presentation by Andrea Stanley of Valley Malt, an indie micro maltster located in Western Massachusetts.

Valley Malt

A farmer growing local grain, a local maltster hand-turning that grain into malt, and a local brewer crafting a truly local beer to be enjoyed by their neighbors. Valley Malt and its partners are working to create this vision of a transparent, localized supply chain that connects us to the land and to each other. This is a landscape built on risk, love, and cooperation and it is truly a view to behold. Grab a glass and taste the view.

As bright as one might fancy himself to be, it remains that epiphanies are sometimes required to retain simple concepts. Valley Malt's presence at ADI was one of these.

I learned about the company's plan to produce a product line of certain types of malt, as demanded by brewers and distiller, as leading to the establishment of an old school supply chain; farmers nearby avoided risk by raising barley they knew Valley Malt would buy, to be malted and sold to brewers and distillers who already had indicated they'd purchase them from Valley Malt.

There are two overarching points to this digression.

The most obvious is to reiterate that localism in barley malt (and hops) means very little without an intermediary close by to process raw crops from the field for use in the brewhouse (or in the case of malt, by distillers, too).

And, during two recent trips to Western Massachusetts, it never once occurred to me that Valley Malt might be located nearby, as in fact it is -- in Hadley, just a few miles from Diana's niece's family in South Hadley. We almost certainly were within minutes of the malting, and may well have passed it a half-dozen while driving back and forth.

All the while I remained oblivious. Maybe next time.

As a side note, All About Beer Magazine has an interesting profile of brewing ingredients. An overview appears on-line, but you'll need to buy the magazine to get the bulk of it.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana is having an Open House on Saturday, May 13.

There'll be an Open House on Saturday, May 13 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana.

TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana is pleased to announce an open house at our new permanent home in the historic former Indiana State Bank Building (203 E. Main Street, New Albany IN 47150). We have spent the last three months completely transforming the building into a community arts center and performance venue.

During the open house, participants will have the chance to tour the renovated building, purchase season tickets, schedule an event, and meet staff and board members. The open house will feature light appetizers and live music.

The TheatreWorks building has two different community spaces available for rent. The first-floor performance space includes a permanent stage with flexible seating options to allow for traditional theatre seating, dinner theatre, or cabaret. The beautiful second-floor domed room, the Rose Garden Ballroom, is a flexible space suitable for artistic performances and events such as parties, receptions, showers, classes and meetings. Both performance spaces are handicap-accessible. In addition, a club room is located off the ballroom that will be open prior to scheduled performances with appetizers and beverages available for season ticket holders.

All the New England 2017 links in one convenient location.

Beginning Thursday, April 13 and ending Saturday, April 22, here are the complete set of links to photos and narrative documenting our spring break trip to New England.

Old England, New England ... either one works for me. It was a fine time, and I'm looking forward to the next visit.


New England 2017: How to avoid Thunder by jetting to Portland, Maine for spring break.

New England 2017: From Portland to Popham Beach, with plenty of diversions in between.

New England 2017: Popham Beach State Park.

New England 2017: Saturday in South Portland, not to neglect the Great Lost Bear and other wonders.

New England 2017: Ruby at Easter with the Unimog.

New England 2017: From the top of Mt. Holyoke, the Pioneer Valley is stunning.

New England 2017: The many delights of Northampton, and a digression on Jonathan Edwards.

New England 2017: Lots of Naismiths, and so a visit to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts seems fitting and proper.

New England 2017: A sunny day's walk in Northampton, and Rauchbier revisited.

New England 2017: On a rainy day, a walk around the Mt. Holyoke College campus.

New England 2017: Hartford Whalers, Mark Twain and a Thunderous avoidance.

Opioid crisis denier Jeff Gahan won't be reading, but the newspaper's "Crossroads of Crisis" series continues.

Photo taken in New Albany, Bob.

For at least the third time, we're passing along valuable information about how to discard syringes and other sharps (courtesy of the city of Louisville).

Meanwhile, the newspaper somehow found the time between embarrassing bouts of chain envy (Poopeye's, Gloria Jean) ...

 ... to continue its otherwise useful series on the opioid crisis, which Team Gahan denies exists, which is why we're the ones telling you how to safely dispose of syringes, and not them.

Wouldn't want to shatter the Disney facade, would we?

CROSSROADS OF CRISIS: Businesses have costly incentive to address drug abuse

Holding onto hope: One mother's struggle to cope with her children's addictions

Local Dairy Queen owner giving second chances

Never mind the bollocks, here's Les Ordinaires performing chamber music at the Culbertson Mansion.

Les Ordinaires will be performing selections from the group's first CD (to be released in 2018).

Les Ordinaires first CD, Inner Chambers - Royal Court Music of Louis XIV, will feature music that explores the depths of human emotion couched within the formal and mannered style of the French Baroque period. Life at court was filled with strict hierarchies and social structures, lavish display of ornaments and affluence, love of allegory, and an affected nostalgia for the pastoral life and antiquity. At the same time, art sought to express human emotion in all its many shades and subtleties. All of these qualities merge in the music that Louis XIV enjoyed in the evenings in his inner chambers.

There were many fine musicians who played for the king's private enjoyment, known as les ordinaires du Roi, but it was the softly expressive combination of the traverso, viola da gamba and theorbo, called the Royal Trio, that accompanied the king's retirement to bed. Although there are many written accounts from the diaries of courtiers describing these evenings, few recordings exist that try to capture the intimate spirit of these royal trio concerts. Repertoire on this CD includes pieces by Hotteterre, Couperin, Montéclair, Marais and Lully.

The Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site provides information about the show.

‎A Royal Occasion - Chamber Music at the Culbertson Mansion

We continue the Culbertson tradition of fine musical entertainment with:

A Royal Occasion
Chamber Music from the courts of Hentry VIII to Louis XIV.

The acoustics of the Culbertson Mansion formal parlor provides the perfect atmosphere to take off your wigs, sit back, and let the music tantalize the senses, sooth conflicting emotions and uplift your spirit.

Admission for the concert is $10 and may be paid in advance or at the door. A cash bar will also be provided.

The evening begins at 7:00pm and includes a brief lecture, as well as an intermission when the mansion will be open for guests to take a self-guided tour.

Please call 812.944.9600 for more information or to RSVP

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Midwest: Next time around, "will Democrats serve the 80% of us that this modern economy has left behind?"

To introduce this link, I'll once again defer to the junior editor, Jeff Gillenwater.

Number of times Joe and Josephine have voted for Democrats because the two of them believe the U.S. should implement a universal healthcare system: 23

Number of times any of the Democrats for whom they've repeatedly voted have actually supported the implementation of a universal healthcare system: 0

Number of times Joe and Josephine have insisted that the real problem with the country is a bunch of rubes elsewhere who are too dumb to vote in their own interest: 257

Is the chairman woke yet?

ON THE AVENUES: Dear Mr. Dizznee: Can you hear me now?

The hypocrisy keeps getting deeper, the metaphorical sewage is rising, and pretty soon coffee break will be over, and it’ll be back to standing on your head, counting the recent catastrophes.

As the young folks like to say, that Thomas Frank -- he's just killing it.

I can't help noticing that while the local Democratic Party hierarchy has kept me blockaded for more than three years, numerous "rank and file" Democrats continue to engage in conversation (rather like all those Catholics in Italy ignoring the Vatican's edicts on birth control), and many of them can't seem to come up with rejoinders to Frank's points.

Until they do, doubling down on failed comprehension seems unlikely to bear electoral fruit, but what does this apostate know, anyway?

The Democrats' Davos ideology won't win back the midwest (The Guardian)

And what I am here to say is that the midwest is not an exotic place. It isn’t a benighted region of unknowable people and mysterious urges. It isn’t backward or hopelessly superstitious or hostile to learning. It is solid, familiar, ordinary America, and Democrats can have no excuse for not seeing the wave of heartland rage that swamped them last November.

Another thing that is inexcusable from Democrats: surprise at the economic disasters that have befallen the midwestern cities and states that they used to represent.

The wreckage that you see every day as you tour this part of the country is the utterly predictable fruit of the Democratic party’s neoliberal turn. Every time our liberal leaders signed off on some lousy trade deal, figuring that working-class people had “nowhere else to go,” they were making what happened last November a little more likely.

Toll bridges: "The mental model that says traffic levels are some inexorable natural force like the tides, which must be accommodated or else, is just wrong."

From 2010. Now he wants to toll interstates.

Joe Cortright's latest dispatch in the "Louisville Traffic Experiment" series (below) prompted a few thoughts from Jeff Gillenwater, NAC's junior editor, from whom I enjoy purloining passages like this one because he's so damned good in expressing them.

I chuckled the other day when Kentucky transportation officials said it would take a while for traffic counts to increase owing to time spent figuring out new or alternative routes. Not only did they not include people deciding to just not make the trip(s) among possible alternatives - something a lot of us pointed out would happen - but they also left out the even more obvious: all the alternative route seekers I know or have heard about are seeking to avoid tolls, not pay them.

Lots of area businesses have instructed employees who regularly traverse I-65 to cross the river at 2nd Street for all their daytime trips. It's not like it's crowded in the middle of the day or takes much, if any, extra time or driving. Likewise, as I've already mentioned, I've had occasion lately to talk with a lot of out-of-towners who are seeking and finding non-tolled alternatives as well.

We're nowhere near good enough at political organizing to stop bad projects like this, but we're not entirely stupid, either.

And now the source:

The latest from the Louisville traffic experiment, by Joe Cortright (City Observatory)

Even with the free alternative closed, traffic is very light on the new I-65 bridges

Time for one of our periodic check-ins on our real world transportation pricing experiment in Louisville, Kentucky. As you recall, we’ve been watching Louisville closely, because just at the end of last year, the city started what amounts to a laboratory experiment in transportation behavior. Kentucky and Indiana build a new bridge to double the capacity of the I-65 freeway as it crosses the Ohio River near downtown Louisville. At the same time, it put tolls on the I-65 crossing, but not on the nearby Second Street Bridge, an older, four-lane highway bridge that connects Louisville to the Indiana suburbs north of the River.

As we reported in February, the initial month’s worth of data on bridge traffic shows that adding tolls (which run from $1 to $4 for cars) have caused traffic levels to fall by almost half, from about 122,000 vehicles per day to about 66,000. We showed photographs from area traffic-cams that show rush hour traffic on the tolled bridges almost empty, while traffic was fairly think on the free Second Street Bridge.

The latest phase of our experiment came this past this weekend, courtesy of “Thunder Over Louisville” a kind of combined concert, airshow and fireworks display that is held annually. To handle the big crowds the come downtown, and afford great vantage points, the city closes the Second Street Bridge. It did so on Thursday. So we looked to see how this affected traffic levels.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

ON THE AVENUES: Dear Mr. Dizznee: Can you hear me now?

ON THE AVENUES: Dear Mr. Dizznee: Can you hear me now?

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.


27 April 2017

Dear Adam,

We haven’t had a genuine heart-to-heart chat for a long time.

What’s that?

Okay, okay. Actually we’ve never had one, and maybe the crazy dream I had last night helps to explain why.

You were right there in the dream, all buttoned down and ambitious like usual, accessing your devices. Your hair wasn’t short like it is now. It was long and unruly like Ludwig van Beethoven’s, and I kept making interpretive gestures with my hands because I figured you couldn’t hear me.

Of course, you can’t hear me, but it’s nothing to do with your hair, and the world’s best hearing aids probably wouldn’t.

Except maybe I’m thinking of Deaf Gahan instead.

In the dream, you approached me and began describing the importance of an upcoming Democratic Party meeting. Seeing as I’m invariably polite and well-mannered, I didn’t bother waiting until you were finished to make an incisive comment.

“You realize that I don’t like you very much at all.”

Not a beat was skipped.

“And I don’t like you much, either.”

There was a pervasive and refreshing feeling, not unlike air freshener. It was as though I’d been cleansed, but before I could walk toward the pulsating Bud Light over yonder, consciousness returned. With it came the feeling I get most mournings, that of being stuck inside of Nawbany with the Bamberg blues again.

Make no mistake, Adam. This wasn’t a nightmare, just a documentary film in my head. It provides a mature basis for the future of our relationship. Consequently, perhaps it’s time for us to review my banishment from the Floyd County Democratic Party’s social media feeds.

C'mon, you miss me -- don’t you?

It’s been three years since you lubed the muzzle and convicted me in absentia of violating double secret protocols. Let’s put it behind us. Today I’m asking that you restore these inelegantly severed communications immediately, prior to the 2019 primary, when I’ll likely be running as a Democrat(ic Socialist).

And those things people say about you not sticking to a party chairman’s impartiality during primary season? They’re just jealous of your unctuousness.

As a side note, does anyone know how much Bernie charges for campaign appearances?

The Bored of Works might temporarily close Spring Street, with the rally at 11th, so close to my councilman’s house that he’d still escape cognitive dissonance via his back door, and into the alley.

Everything’s on the table, you know.


Seriously, your being seen as a vindictive and punitive censor in this scenario might further damage the party – and it’s already taking on serious seawater at precisely the time when you might be leading the principled opposition to Trumpolini.

Except that it’s complicated, isn’t it? Just because we’re not close at all doesn’t mean the sickening irony’s not out to get you, so if you please, allow me to ice down my stiletto and carve the turkey.

Even the elderly heating and air guy who calls the your shots for you knows deep down that the party is in a perilous position. Gahan’s unforced errors are mounting, and Dear Leader’s well along his inevitable transition to millstone-like liability.

Deaf’s vote share fell 12% in 2015, and now he’s breathlessly alienating the ever slimmer 4% standing between a glorious third term and an ignominious loss to Mark Seabrook, Al Knable, or the ghost of Thomas Dewey.

Sorry to say it, Adam, but Advanced Disney Appreciation didn’t really prepare you for the current reality, did it?

You’re selflessly toiling out on the street, trashing Trumpism and preparing for your own quixotic anti-Clere house quest, while over on the other side of town, your local superdupermayoralstar is busy cementing his reputation as the Eastwick Drive version of Daddy Trumpbucks, albeit it with half the money – but give Gahan enough paving projects and the funding gap is sure to narrow.

The hypocrisy keeps getting deeper, the metaphorical sewage is rising, and pretty soon coffee break will be over, and it’ll be back to standing on your head, counting the recent catastrophes.

The Lorch city council attorney beheading?

Ridiculously botched.

The Summit Springs capitulation and appeasement?

It’s an object of widespread and unremitting public derision and loathing.

A sewer rate increase?

About as helpful as the cup of decaf coffee mentioned above.

One by one, the voters of the 4% are dripping down your rusty commode’s edge – and this was before Gahan’s decision to split his own party with an inept “Make Public Housing Great Again” campaign, thus fully Trumping the Donald.

Were you the one advising him to come out of the bunker and pretend to pretend leading for once? It must have terrified you when those veteran Democrats – a Bill Cochran award winner among them – finally stopped chugging the Kool-Aid and started asking unanswerable questions.

(By the way, I’ll give you credit for the way you helped Gahan pack the New Albany Housing Authority’s board with scentless sycophants. It was startlingly artistic in a Nixonian throwback sort of way, and akin to a date rape drug for former veneer salesmen.)

However, the rebellion of the Democratic elders isn’t what I noticed during the roll-out of the public housing putsch. Rather, it was the revulsion of ordinary New Albanians, as accompanied by the clueless silence of the Gahan Youth.

And Adam, about your farm system … oy vey.

There are plenty of banjo hitters and 150-lb offensive lineman, but not very much  in the way of star quality. Who’s going to replace Bob Caesar some sweet day when he takes his talents to West Palm Beach (or Holiday World)?

Never mind. I’ll just call the animal shelter myself to see which mutts are up for adoption.

It wasn’t that your prospective big leaguers were averting their eyes from the horror. It’s that they didn’t even grasp it, and had no idea that the bilge spewing from Gahan in their own backyard contradicted so much of their party's platform and history.

Did you so much as try to use it as a teaching moment, or is the cancer too far along? Concurrently, the single best statement of principle during Gahan’s war on the working poor came from a young New Albanian by the name of Nick Vaughn.

He’s not one of yours, is he?

Ye Gods, chairman: When it's the Republicans talking sense about poverty while a Democrat dances a jig atop the bleached bones of affordable housing, there's not enough whiskey in Bardstown to help get you through the night.

I could go on and on, and likely will.

In the interim, just one last question.

How’s that non-transparent authoritarian censorship mode been working for you these past few election cycles?

Sweet dreams, Beethoven.

“Ode to Joy” may not be coming to Floyd County Democratic Party playlists any time soon, although there is so very much entertainment to be gained from comic opera.

Your friend,

The Rajah


Recent columns:

April 20: ON THE AVENUES: The Weekly Wad? It was a modest start.

April 13: ON THE AVENUES: Ain't it funny how we all seem to look the same?

April 6: ON THE AVENUES: On swill and tornadoes, circa '75.

March 30: ON THE AVENUES: Our great and noble leader is here to stay, so let's break out the țuică and make a joyful noise.

City Hall institutes a 24-7 counseling center to help drivers outraged by forthcoming two-way street changes.

Push "1" for the campaign donation line. 

Meanwhile, we learn from Dat Jeffersonville Newspaper that when it comes to vehicular traffic, though for very little else, Deaf Gahan wants you to be informed.

"Our plan is to keep the public informed with details as we move through the construction period."

Well, there's a first time for everything -- and they do tend to coddle drivers, don't they? As for me, I'll believe it when I see it. For the official statement from downtown curmudgeons, go here:

"Lads of the Village" cheerily assist WDRB in previewing two-streets from the vantage point of Thrasher's Art Store.

Whatever happened to Irv, anyway? It may be time to declare a self-immolation watch.

GOING BOTH WAYS: Initial work on New Albany two-way street conversion begins, by Elizabeth Beilman (Popeye's Has Us Excited)

Conversion to finish early fall

... Slower traffic means increased pedestrian safety, which will in turn encourage more people to walk and bike downtown.

Many downtown New Albany businesses say that's a huge plus.

Ryan Westphal, manager of the restaurant Dragon King's Daughter, is in the heart of the conversion at their location on Elm and Bank streets.

"If [city officials] feel that two-way streets will benefit commerce, the economy and general trends, we're 100 percent down," Westphal said.

Any sacrifices along the way — construction, for example — are worth the new customers that could pass in front of the restaurant's doors, he said.

"The more foot traffic, the better," he said.

Traffic calming and street safety: "The change needs to come from the highest levels of leadership all the way down the chain," though not in #OurNA.

It's been almost a year, and neither Jeff Gahan nor any of the posturing luminaries among his chortling pack of frat boy subalterns has bothered to publicly acknowledge the senseless death of a woman who was just trying to cross the street.

ON THE AVENUES: For New Albany’s Person of the Year, the timeless words of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

Chloe Allen's passing must not be in vain. In years to come, principled citizens of this city – the ones for whom conscience isn’t a high school vocabulary term to be discarded once they’re elected to office – must forcibly insist that her memory be honored, nay, overtly exploited for the sake of a worthwhile agenda.

Specifically, an agenda of public safety in this city. Among other aspects, this public safety agenda reorders auto-centrism by reimagining our streets as community spaces, not mere transit routes. This agenda urges a genuine commitment to public safety by design, for all users, not drivers only. This public safety agenda empowers from the grassroots up, not the TIF bond down.

Apart from its crass inability to display genuine human decency -- they don't even pretend well -- Team Gahan is the very last organism to enlist in any project involving reimagination.

That's because there's no imagination in those craniums to begin with.

So, drivers: You're terribly inconvenienced by traffic calming, two-way streets and narrowed traffic lanes?

Here's an idea: Piss off.

Gahan's merry band of vandals won't say it, so other among us must do so, instead. When Dear Leader is finished with the cleansing of public housing dwellers, how about a Declaration of Pedestrian Rights?

Or was he planning on demolishing pedestrians, too?

Traffic Engineers' Epic Fail, by Jon Larsen (Strong Towns)

... What’s the solution? There are numerous other “traffic calming” treatments that could be added to this street, none of which really cost that much, especially when compared to the precious young lives that are at stake. If we can afford to add new streets and highways, we can afford to fix our existing streets first. You can start with a temporary implementation in your city to spark people's imagination.

That said, the best, most lasting solution is to narrow the street until it’s uncomfortable to drive fast. There have been some previous Strong Towns posts on the virtues of narrow streets. The benefits go well beyond safety, as articulated in “Narrow Streets do More with Less,” and “Some Thoughts on Narrow Streets.”

I’m calling out my entire profession. This is a systemic issue, a tragic case of groupthink gone wrong. The change needs to come from the highest levels of leadership all the way down the chain. Just as important, change needs to come from policy makers (i.e. elected officials) who make it crystal clear that safety is more important than speed. The change needs to come from an educated public that understands this tradeoff and is OK with it. Until that happens, the tragedies will continue.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

City Hall is as silent as a Bud Light & Clamato Chelada, but we're inferring that Boomtown Ball will NOT be held in 2017.

At this time last year, momentum was building toward the third edition of the Boomtown Ball & Festival in downtown New Albany. See below for links explaining the history of the event.

Team Gahan released its first Bicentennial Park Summer Concert Series tout yesterday, and it made no mention whatever of Boomtown.

However, there was this:

We start a week early this year on May 26th with local blue’s favorites Kentuckiana Blues Road Show. The Road Show line-up features New Albany native Jimmy G & The Sidewinders, Laurie Jane & The 45’s and Jason Lockwood & The Stella Vees.

Each of the first three Boomtowns was held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, followed by the concert series kickoff on the first Friday in June. We're inferring that since May 26 is the Friday before Boomtown's traditional slot, it's a backhanded way of saying "no Boomtown for you."

In addition, a friend asked DNA:

"I messaged Develop New Albany. They got back with me that Boomtown was not on the calendar for May. So the lady was assuming no."

Also, there is no mention of Boomtown on any of Production Simple's propaganda arms, suggesting that in 2017, the Louisville company's annexation of downtown New Albany will be limited to concert series Fridays.

Naturally, all of this makes sense given that in 2017, Abbey Road on the River moves to downtown Jeffersonville. The festival lasts five days over Memorial Day weekend, May 25 - 29.

Mike Moore 1, Jeff Gahan nil. 

If you're still wondering why the city of New Albany is engaged in the business of concert promotion, chalk it up to a bad case of Disney Envy.


Boomtown Ball accounts from previous years:

Roger answers all your questions on the eve of Boomtown, 2016.
Boomtown Ball & Festival returns.

The PC: Who'll put the beer in Boomtown?

The PC: Post-Boomtown reflections.

"Lads of the Village" cheerily assist WDRB in previewing two-streets from the vantage point of Thrasher's Art Store.

Click to watch David Thrasher's exciting star turn on WDRB.

Work begins to convert several downtown New Albany streets to two-way (WDRB)

Moreover, thanks to Larry Scharlow for his timely reference to the Lads of the Village. Finally we have debuted in public consciousness.

Larry's reference point is this wonderful Eldridge Pope ale advertisement from 1934, which appeared in Michael "Beer Hunter" Jackson's classic book, World Guide to Beer.

There were no one-way streets in their village. The sooner New Albany's abominations go away, the better.

In #OurNA, we'll get serious about affordable housing -- after Breakwater is finished, of course.

Today on the DemoDisneyDixie channel, we're screening Pinocchio. In fact, Adam has front row seats, and TIF's buying the popcorn.

In entirely unrelated news, Team Gahan says that from this point forward, the city's going to get super-duper serious about affordable housing!

Any new private housing development that received local government support will be required to reserve a percentage of the units for low-income residents.

You'll notice that Wile E. Gahan's spine didn't stiffen until after Flaherty & Collins was buffed, polished and subsidized to build "luxury" apartments along Spring Street. The Break Wind Lofts at Duggins Flats has been about climate-controlled bidets, not workforce-rates.

Over in Louisville, Gahan's political idol is dealing with a "moving goalposts" situation. How Greg Fischer deals with it, or doesn't, might offer prime lessons for our own Dear Leader -- who seldom if ever listens.

Paying off the politicians to change the rules, by Aaron Yarmuth (LEO)

... It’s a great project for the city.

Now, however, the Georgia-based developer, Flournoy Development, says it can’t afford the project… because its deal with the city requires reduced rental rates on 18 apartments. Just 18 of 270…

The reduced-rate apartment requirement isn’t something new. The city didn’t suddenly surprise the developer with this news. Rather, the company seems to have waited until it had enough leverage to renegotiate (and squeeze every last dollar out of the deal) — or something else is afoot.

To keep the project going, the developer is offering the city $500,000, and in exchange it won’t have to offer 18 apartment units at a lower, “workforce” rate ...

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: “Palmer's as dour as a door-nail; an obstinate chap, every inch on him,— th’ oud bulldog!”

The title quote is from Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North and South (1855), though not quite verbatim. Let's look at the word "dour" in a sentence.

"But honestly, you really just aren't that amusing. Just dour, negative and usually passive/aggressive."

It's a scathing indictment, but we're not here to determine this particular statement's validity (hint: it's a non-fact, at least in this specific context). Rather, how do we actually pronounce this word?

A dour pronunciation (The Grammarphobia Blog)

Q: How do you pronounce “dour”? Does it have an OO or an OW sound?

A: These days, “dour” can properly be pronounced either way, to rhyme with “tour” or “tower.” But it wasn’t always so.

I've always rhymed dour with sour. Just last night, I was watching a documentary in which a Brit used the OO variant. Digging a bit deeper ...

English probably got “dour” from the Latin durus (hard), which may have influenced the traditional pronunciation.

The English word first showed in the 15th century, according to citations in the Oxford English Dictionary.

But the Chambers Dictionary of Etymology says it appeared a century earlier in Scottish and northern English dialects.

Here's the definition. As always, it's helpful to say what you mean, and mean what you say.


[doo r, douuh r, dou-er]


1. sullen; gloomy: The captain's dour look depressed us all.
2. severe; stern: His dour criticism made us regret having undertaken the job.
3. Scot. (of land) barren; rocky, infertile, or otherwise difficult or impossible to cultivate.

Origin of dour

1325-75; Middle English < Latin dūrus dure1

Related forms

dourly, adverb
dourness, noun

Synonyms: morose, sour, moody.

I'd like to see the city enforce a policy of double secret probation for misuse of this and other words, though probably some hotshot lawyer in an expensive suit would file some sort of injunction.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Now even the bones are visible at 114 E. Market Street.

And the exterior brick in front is gone.

I'm not sure how much more of the building can be stripped before there's nothing left except air.

Previously ...


Better times? Off with the mummy's vinyl at 114 E. Market Street.

Earlier today, I declined to guess how many cubic yards of debris were coming out of such a small building. However, I had no idea the vinyl was coming off today.

The perfect pedestal for a statue, isn't it?

But to whom?

In today's episode of AS THE STOMACH TURNS, we welcome new neighbors.

Join us again next week as we contemplate life, love, eternity and the cheapest conceivable apartment in Bamberg -- as quickly as humanly possible.

There goes the hood. Now I'm getting all nostalgic for redlining.

NAHA Monday Night Massacre: A statement by trained and experienced members of the community, but of course a former veneer sales professional knows better.

The memorandum below has 12 co-authors. It was read at last evening's "show meeting" of the NAHA's board.

Monday Night Massacre: Deaf Gahan again absent from his own power grab as Joshua, Duggins seize NAHA and appoint Coffey to new post as "Luxury Trumps Poverty" czar.

It should be noted yet again that irrespective of party affiliation, New Albany's ruling class fell into line with Deaf Gahan's public housing putsch. As Bluegill points out ...

Despite his much deserved receipt of so much derision via the bilge pump attached to his neck, it's actually pretty difficult to differentiate Coffey's voting record from those of his fellow Democrats, including a formally trained sociologist. Let that sink in for a second.

Feeling good about your mayor, Democrats?


We are deeply distressed by the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of New Albany (CONA) and the New Albany Housing Authority (NAHA). Specifically, we have the following concerns:

  • 1. The proposal to eliminate public housing in CONA contains no details of steps that will be taken to ensure that NAHA residents' lives will not be disrupted.
  • 2. The proposal contains no details of steps that will be taken to ensure that the supply of affordable (lower-income) housing in New Albany will not be diminished.
  • 3. While the MOU proposes that vouchers could be used to relocate current NAHA residents, the document provides no evidence that an adequate supply of vouchers exists, or that there is an adequate supply of market rental housing units in New Albany that will accept such vouchers.
  • 4. It is unclear whether CONA and NAHA are, in fact, working collegially despite a claim of collaboration in CONA’s strategic plan.
  • 5. In its present composition, the NAHA Board does not include any resident representatives.

The rental vacancy rate in CONA is 3.4%. This rate was calculated prior to the recent loss of 100 rental units in the Breakwater fire, which presumably lowered the above vacancy rate. Furthermore, this rate is based on availability of rental housing at all price points; the vacancy rate for affordable (lower-income) units is, in fact, much lower.

Currently, 28% of the 73 HUD Housing Choice vouchers (formerly known as Section 8 vouchers) issued through NAHA have expired because their holders could not find a rental unit where they could use the voucher. Given the low rental vacancy rate and the shortage of affordable rental units, the suggestion that current public housing residents could move to private market housing (as proposed in the MOU) is unrealistic.

Notwithstanding the fact that some public housing units are in deteriorated condition and geographically concentrated, proposing to eliminate public housing without a data-informed plan for offsetting the loss of these affordable housing units is deeply concerning. The risks of exacerbating the problem of homelessness in our community, disrupting the lives of vulnerable citizens, and violating these citizens’ fair housing rights are real and troubling.

Collectively, we have decades of experience in housing, homelessness, public affairs and public advocacy. As advocates for our vulnerable neighbors, we will continue to hold CONA and the NAHA Board accountable. We are ready and willing to work with CONA administrators and the NAHA Board to create a plan to address the above concerns while also improving community housing conditions and public housing residents’ well being. We have a wealth of experience to bring to the table, and we would welcome being part of a truly collaborative, people-centered effort.

Summers sez: The two-way street project I've been recommending for 12 long years may finally be starting.

I'l believe it when I see it.

Meanwhile, the reporter surely intended to write it this way: "Elm Street and Spring Street between State and Vincennes streets."

The program provides for the conversion of these streets to two-way traffic:

►Market Street from First to Vincennes streets.
Elm Street from Spring Street to between State and Vincennes streets.
►Pearl Street from Elm to Main Street.
►Bank Street from Oak Street to Main.

NA Confidential has been advocating two-way streets since at least 2005. We'd like our congratulatory plaque to be placed at 1112 East Spring Street, please -- facing toward the house if possible.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

New Albany to begin conversion of one-way streets to two-way, by Sheldon S. Shafer (The Courier-Journal)

Seven years since a study first proposed the initiative, the city of New Albany, Indiana, is on the verge of beginning the conversion of several of its key one-way downtown streets to two-way traffic.

Preliminary construction work, including some borings and pavement markings, is starting this week, New Albany City Engineer Larry Summers said in an interview Monday.

The $1.9 million contract — all federal money — signed with Ragle Inc. calls for completion of the street conversions by Sept. 30, he said.

Work and twerk session: Adam averts Democratic eyes from Gahan's public housing fiasco by yelling "fire" in a crowded school board.

The Floyd County Democratic Party's delightfully hypocritical cognitive dissonance jalopy went into clank-clank overdrive yesterday.

As Deaf Gahan's channeled his inner Trump via the undemocratic Monday Night Public Housing Massacre (the mayor remained home with his prized toy soldier collection), Mr. Disney took to the facewaves to tout a non-binding school board work session.

Kirsten Clark's C-J coverage recaps the evening, including what we're assuming is the city's official position on the work session, given that the quote is from a city employee and all.

Courtney Lewis, a 31-year-old member of Floyd County Young Democrats who graduated from the district said given how difficult it was to get last year’s referendum passed, the district shouldn’t consider gifting money to Community Montessori. She added that some of the schools within the district are in “disrepair” and need whatever capital project funds are available.

“It just rubs me the wrong way that we would even entertain giving money to an entity that isn’t one of our public schools in the way that the rest of the schools are,” she said.

Monday Night Massacre: Deaf Gahan again absent from his own power grab as Joshua, Duggins seize NAHA and appoint Coffey to new post as "Luxury Trumps Poverty" czar.

Elizabeth Beilman provided excellent newspaper coverage of the Monday Night Massacre. Her tweet below is a classic of understatement.

In the end, there wasn't a politician in town apart from Dan "I'm Back on Payroll" Coffey with the courage to so much as notice Deaf Gahan's Public Housing Putsch, much less place themselves within sight of it it.

John Gonder would have taken part, but Gahan kneecapped Gonder, didn't he?

In short, mythology wins. Misconceptions about public housing are almost totemic in New Albany, and Gahan vigorously scratched this anti-intellectual itch, even if it meant compromising every democratic principle he has ever pretended to support.

It's slightly encouraging that for the first time during Gahan's Reign of Error, a handful of key Democrats suddenly found themselves jolted by the reality of the mayor's vapidity.

Consider this vignette, as captured by Beilman.

Or, one leering, semi-literate functionary is seen reading words written by a nattily attired out-of-town consultant for an inexplicably absent (again) mayor. Democrats should retain this image, and never forget the fundamental crassness of a man who almost never bothers attending the beheadings he initiates in his own name.

Will they remember? Probably not for as long as star sycophant Adam Dickey is at the reins, but the fact remains that the NAHA imbroglio has weakened Dear Leader. Walking dollar signs are cute, but it doesn't mean they can lead. Local Democrats have placed themselves in the position of praising Gahan for the very same vile tendencies they denounce in Donald Trump.

Even in perennially confused America, hypocrisy of this magnitude cannot long endure. Gahan's public housing power grab is organic Himalayan salt rubbed vigorously into the local party's self-inflicted wounds.

We can only hope that more of the party's adherents begin feeling the pain borne unto it by Gahan's ego trip.

Board opts for New Albany's public housing vision, passes plan, by Elizabeth Beilman (Jeffersonville News and Tribune)

Plan calls for demolition, rehab of public housing units

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Housing Authority Board of Commissioners initiated the first step Monday in embarking on a plan to demolish and rehabilitate hundreds of public housing units.

The board approved a plan with the city of New Albany on Monday aiming significant changes to the state's third largest public housing authority in an attempt to better leverage a backlog of federal funds and decentralize the city's low income pockets. Only commissioner Kent McDaniel voted against it, saying he needed more time to study the plan.

The board's move strays from recommendations of the housing authority director and instead takes up the vision of New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan, whose administration proposed the partnership and changes.