Here it comes again -- and a couple months early.
My guess is that the Taco Walk's repositioning in May is intended to replace Team Gahan's moribund "Boomtown" franchise, serving as lead-in to the Bicentennial Park Summer Concert Series, presented by YOU KNOW WHO.
None of this is to suggest that Develop New Albany has publicly addressed either (a) the cultural appropriation it encouraged during last year's version, or (b) the way the organization has flat stolen the idea from the volunteer who brought it to DNA in the first place.
Most recently on January 11, I addressed these matters in my weekly ON THE AVENUES column, a portion of which is reprinted below.
And no: for the ?nth consecutive time, my questions were neither answered nor the inquiry even acknowledged, as if DNA has executive sanction to operate beyond the reach of transparency and common decency.
Which, of course, it does.
Jeeebus, nightmares are awful. After all, I seldom drink vodka. Meanwhile, wide awake in Giddy Giddy City, I’ve decided to have one last stab at penetrating DNA’s veil of secrecy – or maybe it is better described as an embarrassment of kitsches?
Following is the e-mail that will be going out to the board, just as soon as I have a beer.
To: Develop New Albany’s board and staff person
You may recall my most recent e-mail, asking for Develop New Albany’s perspective on recurring issues pertaining to the Taco Walk.
Sadly, as with the three (four?) e-mails preceding it, I have not received any sort of reply. I wrote my articles without DNA’s input; not my preference, but gratifyingly, these two posts collected some of the highest page view numbers my humble blog experienced in 2017. It seems the community is very interested in Develop New Albany.
Here are the links with excerpts.
December 29: DNA's and the newspaper's masks ... or, thoughts occasioned by an excellent essay called "Meet the man who hides behind a mask"
... The volunteer concluded she wasn't happy with the way her idea was implemented -- cultural appropriation was among the reasons for her decision -- and so, working under the assumption the Main Street organization possesses a fundamental sense of decency, she told DNA she'd be taking it back for a future reboot.
Um, nope. Seems the anchor already had been dropped.
DNA wasted no time in sending her packing: Taco Walk belongs to DNA now, and the organization will do with it as it pleases -- and don't bother running to Big Daddy Gahan, because the fix is always in.
December 31: C'mon, DNA: The time has come. A fact's a fact. Taco Walk belongs to her. Why not give it back?
... There is a simple way to resolve the situation.
To begin the New Year on a high note, the truly decent thing for Develop New Albany and Mayor Jeff Gahan to do is to say they're sorry, both for the cultural appropriation and the intellectual property violation, and to give the Taco Walk back to whom it belongs, although I'm forever mindful of that old Biblical observation about a camel and the eye of the needle.
First this. Then we have the open, above board discussion about cultural appropriation. There is no reason why this cannot be resolved satisfactorily.
Basic human decency, guys. I know you can do it.
It's not about me or my pen.
It's about doing the right thing.
I’m planning a letter on this topic to the News and Tribune fairly soon (the absentee Fourth Estate is a whole other story), so please be aware that if there comes a time when DNA elects at long last to speak publicly about this matter – the Taco Walk’s inexcusable cultural appropriation, the subsequent expropriation of another person’s idea, or any sub-topic therein – I’ll happily publish DNA’s thoughts at the blog, standing alone, without any comment on my part.
In other words, please step forward, make the organization’s case and be a part of the dialogue. I wish it were possible to convey to you how much might be accomplished by doing the decent thing in this instance. You could lead by example, but you’re fleeing for the safety of the circled wagons where the mayor pitches his tent.
Can't you just talk about it openly?
Concurrently, several other requests remain outstanding, so kindly allow me to repeat them. Answers would be appreciated.
First, I’m still curious about the disposition of monthly morning merchant meetings. Are they still being held? If so, I’m no longer receiving e-mail notifications about them. To rule out a problem with my current address, allow me yet again to ask that it be changed to this: mayorbaylor(at)gmail(dot)com
Kindly note that I’m actively working as a beer consultant with more than one current and future business owner in downtown New Albany. If for some reason I’ve been banned or excluded from meetings, that’s fine, if misguided, but at least let me know the definitive situation so these business owners can submit their e-mail addresses and be kept within city hall’s “official” (see what I did there, David?) information loop.
Second, on several occasions I’ve asked that Develop New Albany reveal its annual funding level as tithed from the city of New Albany. During my stint on the DNA board a decade ago, it was in the range of $5,000 per annum. I understand DNA is a de facto arm of government these days, so surely the public has a right to know how much it’s costing them?
Thanks for your time. As always, I look forward to an actual reply.