Saturday, December 31, 2005

We told you so: NA sanitation contract signed, troglodyte millennium averted.

As we were saying ...

New Albany OKs garbage deal; Private company's trucks roll Tuesday, by Ben Zion Hershberg (Courier-Journal).

The city of New Albany completed a contract yesterday with the company that will take over garbage collection on Tuesday.

Company managers said residents will see no difference in the service, which will be provided by 23 city sanitation workers they expect to hire. The workers will use seven new company trucks.

Apparently Santa Claus neglected to stuff AA batteries into CM "Slipper Larry" Kochert's tattered Christmas stockings, rendering him unable to activate his mobile communications system in order to provide the C-J's Hershberg with the Gang of Four News Agency's (GFNA) official proclamation of gloom, despair and agony for the coming year.

It's just as well, because we're going to have a great year in 2006 -- with or without the city council's Gang of Four, the Lite-swilling denizens of the Luddite Bar & Grill, the Main Street gay baiters, the cutesy-pie potty people, masked character assassins and the spitwad blogyarders.

All twelve of 'em.

Happy New Year, New Albania.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Volunteer Hoosier's rumorbusting provides an excellent antidote to trog disinformation.

RUMOR, n. A favorite weapon of the assassins of character.
-- Ambrose Bierce

Thankfully, Volunteer Hoosier’s Randy Smith is back on the blog job, gleefully debunking the elaborately crafted and patently false rumors that flow like the “potty police’s” favored effluent straight from the city council’s Gang of Four News Agency and into the waiting arms (and word processors) of the C-J, SOLNA and non-existent college professors named “Erik”:

Rumorbusters II

But word is you'll be able to read the news today in The Tribune that all contractual arrangements have been completed to implement residential garbage pickup beginning next Tuesday.

Rumorbusters

For those of you who rely on us for the news (since the C-J stenographer has demonstrated his obeisance to the GFNA, despite being paid by Gannett), we're happy to report that the rumor of wholesale layoffs in the drainage department has exactly the same credibility you've come to expect from the original source of that rumor - zero.

Meanwhile, the Tribune’s Amany Ali contributes a game journalistic effort to get to the bottom of various G.O.P. electoral trial balloons:

May(or) may not run; Sheriff (Randy) Hubbard won’t rule out seeking New Albany post.

Who’ll emerge from the Republican ranks to contest the mayoral chair, Sheriff Hubbard or current city councilman Mark Seabrook? Ms. Ali finds CM Seabrook’s gaze fixed elsewhere, while Sheriff Hubbard cultivates an enigmatic yet vaguely principled pose.

(Councilman Mark) Seabrook said Wednesday that he will run for a soon-to-be vacant seat on the Floyd County Board of Commissioners. County Commissioner John Reisert will retire from the board at the end of 2006. If Seabrook is successful in his bid for County Commissioner, he would have to give up his final year on the City Council. A caucus would then be held to find his replacement …

… Hubbard, 62, wouldn’t say whether or not he will seek the mayor’s seat. Hubbard insists that his top priority is completing his final year as sheriff.

Somewhat surprisingly, Ms. Ali doesn’t delve into the SOLNA spitwad blogyard’s favored candidate, as offered in this bit of touchingly ungrammatical graffiti scrawled on the weathered drywall above the urinals at the Luddite Bar & Grill:

Stop tellin people Valla Ann is going after Steve Price council position!!!!!..You heard it right… she is gonna be Mayor..

Hmm, “Erik,” time to go back to school … but for those of us who can read and write, the pressing questions of the day remain unanswered.

Will it be “The Maverick” versus “The Sheriff” at “High Noon” down by the Southside?

Will former mayor Doug England return from self-imposed exile perched atop a union garbage truck driven by John “Guido” Mattingly, and reclaim the special interest mantle that is so rightfully his?

Will white chili ever taste the same again?

Stay tuned, loyal readers.

New Albany's "distinctive niches" and "flourishing dining scene," as viewed by LEO.

In LEO's year-end “top 11” survey of Louisville vibrant dining scene, New Albany scores!

This is great news for the folks at Federal Hill and La Rosita, and proof that New Albany need not be resigned to cold Coffey and barbecued bologna when it's time to have a meal.

11 best culinary events/discoveries of the year, by Marty Rosen (LEO WEEKLY).

Here’s the New Albany entry:

(11) And like Market Street (Louisville), New Albany is developing a flourishing dining scene. Yes, the chains are moving in, but distinctive niches are being filled by places like Federal Hill (310 Pearl St., 812-948-6646), an idiosyncratic Italian restaurant in the heart of New Albany’s downtown, where the smell of freshly minced garlic heralds brilliant Italian sausages and lovingly prepared meatballs; La Rosita (2535 Charlestown Road, 948-0401), a tiny little taco stand where you’ll find succulent tacos filled with succulent stewed goat (and more conventional ingredients); and Rich O’s Public House (3312 Plaza Dr., 812-949-2804), home to the most ambitious beer list in the region, a place where the publican’s motto is: “Extremism in the defense of good beer is no vice.”

The downtown New Albany scene is about to get better, but the press release is still a few days away ...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Another day, another breathless GFNA pronouncement of impending doom.

In today’s Courier-Journal, reporter Ben Zion Hershberg transcribes gag lines straight from the GFNA (Gang of Four News Agency) rumor wire, via city councilman Larry Kochert’s mobile communications center:

New Albany contract not signed; Councilmen worried about trash pickup.

Several members of the New Albany City Council fear garbage collection could be disrupted next week because Mayor James Garner hasn't completed a contract with the company that is supposed to take over by Tuesday.

Of course, both the mayor and Eco-Tech’s representative are eventually quoted to the effect that “garbage collection will happen on Tuesday morning,” but utilizing a reporter to deliver non-newsworthy reassurances is not why Slippery Larry disseminates strategic leaks the same way your dog prances happily around the back yard, and is abetted in this territorial imperative by the usual hopping mad suspects, i.e., our Siamese Councilmen Dan Coffey and Steve Price, with subdued backing vocals by token council Republican Mark Seabrook.

NA Confidential would have preferred a stiff jolt of espresso to gentler hot tea, but we’ve opted for the latter in order to read the leaves, and consequently, we’ll venture a prediction that this latest furor will turn out to be little more than Chapter 56 of the continuing saga, “Much Ado About Nothing: The Obstructionist’s Monologue,” and that the sanitation contract will be signed, garbage will be collected, and that the majority of New Albanians who do not waste their lives embracing the world according to SOLNA (conspiratorial triteness, badly written by the perpetually masked, for the benefit of the scant half-dozen) will be unaware of the changeover.

Might we trouble the Courier for a dollop of real news?

The Tribune examines Mayor Garner's record as city's trogs turn their jaundiced eyes to CM Kochert.

On Wednesday, the Tribune’s Amany Ali offered two perspectives on the current mayoral administration at its halfway mark:

In “James Garner is the ‘Maverick’; Mayor, others reflect on halfway point in term,” Ms. Ali capably surveys the record of the past two years, touching on city hall’s handling of inherited budgetary problems, sanitation department reforms, EDIT fund expenditures, and the realization of Scribner Place, and concluding:

Garner isn’t naive enough to think that everyone is pleased with his performance. But he plans to complete his term, and hopes to be re-elected for a second term.

Longtime readers know that one short year ago, NA Confidential disagreed with this assessment, but given Mayor Garner’s subsequent record of accomplishment amid challenging financial circumstances, and the indisputable fact that he is willing and able to articulate a forward-looking and positive future vision that displays a grasp of New Albany’s considerable potential and actively advances the prospects of it being fulfilled in our lifetimes … we now openly, and proudly, concur.

It is true that prolonged exposure to the intellectual vacancy and vapid intemperance of Mayor Garner’s political opponents, both those in elected positions, and in the most bizarrely Barnumesque of senses, those whose behavior is exhibited within the dreary confines of the spitwad blogyard, would provide sufficient reason to support the sitting mayor even if there weren’t numerous other (and better) reasons for doing so.

Make no mistake: A vote of support for James Garner is not a vote for the "lesser of two evils." It is a positive vote for a positive platform.

However, it cannot be forgotten that there is a less appealing, "other" side of the local coin.

In “Council, public divided on mayor’s performance,” Ms. Ali takes a brief excursion to the dark side, chatting with CM Mark Seabrook, who as the council’s lone Republican reprises his well practiced Hamlet soliloquy for the writer’s approval, and then turning to the equally time-tested theatrics of CM Larry Kochert, that sandy pillar of anguished defiance, his back to the goal line, with time running short.

When asked, Kochert couldn’t think of a single thing Garner has done over the last two years to benefit the city.

How uttery predictable.

Slippery Larry’s increasingly tired scenery-chewing would be more convincing to the thinking public if not for the sad-sack nature of his own long record of non-achievement when it comes to the city’s “benefit,” which is not to be confused with Kochert’s tireless advocacy of partisan Republocratic political concerns, i.e., those dedicated to maintaining the “devil we know” status quo rather than seeking bold, new strategies for coping with New Albany’s accumulated generational failures.

And so the sun again rises ... and so goes the bleating of Kochert and his fellow obstructionists on the council’s unreconstructed Gang of Four.

Unfortunate listeners need only remind themselves after each malevolent, confused, or just plain daffy utterance from the likes of Coffey, Schmidt, Price and Kochert that nary the slimmest morsel of future vision has emanated from their side of the council table since the last election brought them together as a group singing off-key Luddite protest songs … and probably long, long before that.

Time and again, NA Confidential has asked that any or all of the council’s Not Bloc provide us with an outline – a sketch, a post-it note, the very briefest scribble on the back of a McDonald’s guest check – that might indicate the germ of an idea pertaining to the city of New Albany’s future.

Time and again, pins drop, crickets chirp, eyes roll, papers shuffle, blue veins pop out from sweaty foreheads … and there is no response from the leaders of the rear-guard action against progress in any and all forms, and no “communication” whatsoever from these paragons of ward-heeling whose incessant pleas to be heard and heeded are not matched by anything of the slightest consequence to say.

One might as well ask the Gang of Four to read aloud from an Urdu-language public policy text.

Ms. Ali closes her article with balancing testimony from New Albany residents Varie Munford …

“I’m the opposite political party, on paper,” she said. “I have been able to work with this administration better than any other.”

… and Randy Smith:

“The character of the man is what impresses me,” he said. “The mayor has made tough decisions and I think people are starting to recognize that.”

Indeed.

A sign shark strikes -- and we are there.

Before.



After.



It's easy, really.

Previously on NA Confidential:



Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"Oil: The High Cost of Low Price," or the world according to the film Syriana.

“Corruption keeps us safe and warm … corruption is why we win.”

On Sunday evening, the Confidential family attended a Baxter Avenue Cinemas screening of “Oil: The High Cost of Low Price,” otherwise known to movie goers nationwide as “Syriana,” yet another highly recommended film with George Clooney’s name attached to it.

See: Drop everything you're doing and go see “Good Night, and Good Luck.

If you’ve seen the “Syriana” trailer, you know that the fast-paced and thought-provoking thriller features a large and talented cast, including Clooney, who produces the film along with Steven Soderbergh. It is directed and written by Stephen Gaghan of the “Traffic” award-winning screenplay fame.

Clooney and Soderbergh (who directed “Traffic”) generally are deflecting all due acclaim for “Syriana” to Gaghan, who like Clooney is a Kentuckian bearing little resemblance to Mitch McConnell. Gaghan's efforts are indeed worthy of high praise, both from polemical and filmmaking standpoints.

In this brief excerpt from an interview at http://www.cinematical.com/, Gaghan discusses a quote that he insists has been mistakenly attributed to him by Soderbergh, to the effect that “oil is the world’s crack addiction.”

… ‘Oil is crack?’ Who said that? Oh. I was mis-quoted. Well, what I was talking about really was the dealer-user paradigm; and what I mean by that is not some fancy phrase, because I’d had experience around drug dealers during my voluminous 19-year research for Traffic ...

... and I’d noticed some times when you could be in somebody’s house, and it could be a totally genteel type of drug dealer, or it could be a more gangster-y drug dealer, but whatever – there was often something similar about them, which is they have children, and the children are staring at violent television, cartoons or some shit, and they’re eating sugar-coated breakfast cereal and they look malnourished, there’s a handgun on the table – there’s always a handgun on the table, like on a coffee table or a table, and it’s so unsettling, and the TV’s going and you’re looking at the handgun and the children are over there and you want to say, 'I’ve got this great parenting book by Mary Hartsell and I just want to give it to you, because I think you could use some advice on parenting. …' But you don’t say that – because that would be breaking an unwritten code. And the unwritten code is the guy has something you need, and you really need it, and you’re not going to fucking bum him out.

… In America, in the West, we have this producer-consumer nation paradigm, and it works like this: 50 years of sort of a bi-lateral, multi-lateral maintenance of the status quo in the Middle East, which involved turning a bad eye to some really bad parenting. Whether it was a repressive regime, extermination of the Kurds, Saudi Arabia with women shrouded, walking 10 feet behind the men, etcetera, etcetera. But we weren’t going to say anything. Why? Because the producer nation, the dealer, has the shit we need – they got the good shit, and we don’t want to knock over the apple cart. To mix the metaphor. So that’s what I was thinking about, and I think it’s really apt. ...

Read the rest here.

We try to keep these considerations simple, and accordingly, Syriana follows the late autumnal Wal-Mart documentary film and previously digested books like “Fast Food Nation” and David Kessler's tobacco expose in the inter-related sense that they all demand that we look into the mirror, irrespective of discomfort, and consider the actual cost that goes into the final price of facets of life otherwise taken for granted at a misleading face value.

When it comes to calculating costs, everything’s intimately connected.

What do deregulated and dangerous slaughterhouses, now back in vogue a century after being exposed by Upton Sinclair, have to do with the price of the hamburgers at Rally's?

What does the calculated exploitation of a hostage local labor force have to do with the price of a sweater at Wal-Mart?

What do geopolitical strong-arm tactics that we claim to abhor – and periodically overthrow dictators for committing without our permission – have to do with the continued availability of petroleum from the Muslim world?

----

On December 19, a letter by Edwin A. Hurt of Clarksville was published in the Courier-Journal. Apparently unsettled by recent grassroots campaigns against Wal-Mart, this frequent, plaintive voice from the right-field bleachers sought to provide readers with an economics lesson, writing:

A few weeks ago, I went shopping for some new jeans. The first store I visited had the jeans I wanted. Price? $21.99 per pair. So I decided to try Wal-Mart. There I found the identical jeans. Price? $14.97 per pair. Yes, I bought my jeans at Wal-Mart. In my budget-saving $14 is a good thing.

If people were less ignorant about economics, the hue and cry over Wal-Mart would quickly subside. Our price-coordinated economy rewards efficiency and punishes inefficiency. It should be obvious that it is more efficient to deliver 10,000 pairs of jeans to Wal-Mart than it is to deliver 1,000 pairs to 10 separate stores.

Thomas Sowell quotes the classic definition of economics as stated by British economist Lionel Robbins: "Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources, which have alternative uses." From this definition, it should be obvious that the scarce resources being used to deliver to Wal-Mart is a more efficient alternative use. Read Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell.

To paraphrase the Reagan-era Doonesbury, exactly how do you make sense of such wishful credulity as “rewards efficiency, punishes inefficiency” without resorting to hallucinogenic drugs?

All the more reason, then, for the Confidential household to laugh out loud at the regime-friendly theories of free-market economists like Sowell, who tells us with a straight face that “price coordination” governs the distribution of “scarce resources” that might otherwise be used for “different purposes,” all of which is well and good if applied to the elusive level playing field that most Americans cling to believing exists in spite of voluminous evidence to the contrary, thus enabling us to avoid the terrifying cognitive dissonance lurking behind the door of our collective anxiety closet.

Actually, it’s quite fine with me that we recognize capitalism for the stage-managed, fixed phenomenon that it really is – if, and only if, we agree to strip it of the na├»ve mythology that so clouds the rosy view of its predominantly unthinking adherents, effectively blinding them to the myriad ways that Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Anheuser-Busch and the U.S. government conspire to jury rig the “freedom” that we persist in believing is part and parcel of the economic mechanism.

Not coincidentally, it is the very same economic mechanism that best explains the reality of our involvement in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia, and as depicted in “Syriana,” it’s an ultimately constraint-free mechanism that has far more in common with crack addiction than most holiday mall rats, compliant churchgoers and Republican precinct committeemen care to fathom.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Return of two-way streets in NA: Might this constitute an idea that unites?

Or are we too hopelessly stupid to succeed?

While it’s true that our local newspapers have been filled to the rim with misty-eyed Christmas bilge during the past week, it remains that a few articles of genuine substance have somehow crept through the de facto blockade against reality-based programming.

Among the best was “Traffic patterns on the move in Southern Indiana,” last week’s Tribune offering by John L. Gilkey (News-Tribune), in which the writer briefly but comprehensively surveyed road and traffic issues in Clarksville, Jeffersonville and New Albany:

New Albany Mayor James Garner said he is considering a conversion of the city’s one-way street system back to two-way traffic, but he said the cost will be high.“The one-way system needs to be two-way based on current traffic patterns, but the cost of doing so is high — about $1 million,” Garner said.

The city has been analyzing its traffic patterns for some time, and believes the change will improve traffic flow, he said. But to do so will require extensive changes to traffic signals, restriping of roadways and, in some cases, resurfacing. Also, crosswalks will need to be added at certain locations.

Mayor Garner also discussed the future of Daisy Lane, and work needed on the city’s exurb arteries, i.e., Charlestown and Grant Line Roads and State Street.

From the desired perspective of boosting New Albany’s future prospects by improving the city’s quality of life in those residential districts adjacent to downtown, by linking this to commercial development in the historic business district, and in recognizing that traffic problems like speeding and recklessness commonly are viewed as roadway design issues and not law enforcement issues, this much debated restoration of the city’s street grid certainly must be a centerpiece of future redevelopment strategies.

Urban planners of a previous generation (show trials, anyone?) manipulated the street grid as a means of moving people quickly from one side to the other, implicitly (or otherwise) acknowledging that there would be little interest in stopping in between.

It was shortsighted then, and it’s plainly mistaken now, but the point is that as real world conditions change, so must the premises with which we treat them, and what we need now is a slower pace downtown, with opportunities for walking and bicycling, and not just because of the aesthetic advantages – because the overall economic well-being of the community stands to be enhanced in such a manner.

Model after model indicates that in all facets of life, downtown must be transformed into the overtly stated antithesis of the plastic, big-box exurb, and what is more perfectly representative of the soulless exurb than its cruelly necessary traffic patterns?

Appropriately, Gilkey considers the evolving Clarksville retail exurb, and provides us with one of the greatest examples of mover-and-shaker disingenuousness that you’re likely to view in print:

Clarksville Redevelopment Director Rick Dickman said the town is seeing extensive changes in traffic patterns because of its Veterans Parkway Corridor development.

The corridor was designed based on the town’s original development plan for the area, which included specialty retail and office buildings along with a hotel and conference center.

“The roadway wasn’t designed to accommodate big-box retail from one end to the other, but that’s what we have,” Dickman said.

Dickman must be kidding.

“That’s what we have,” he purrs, as though "big-box" burst from a tiny seed and grew overnight like a flower in time-lapse photography … as though the town were utterly powerless to prevent the construction crews and big box retailers from radically altering its original plan for the area and thus rendering the roadway obsolete before it was completed ... as though the abrupt surrender of the planners owed to anything other than greed.

Did Wal-Mart hold a pistol to your head, Rick? Did the Gary McCartin’s of the world kidnap your family and hold it hostage until you approved their plans? Did they bring the bricks and mortar into the town limits by backpack and build at night, when they couldn’t be seen?

That Rick Dickman and his brethren chose to alter virtually everything about their original plan so as to maximize the financial return of the development for Clarksville is perfectly understandable, if not entirely consistent with their original stated aims – but please, just don’t insult the community by expressing mock shock and dazzled surprise that it happened the way it did.

Wait -- we’re not trusting Dickman with the Greenway, are we?

Can he squeeze a tacky McCartin retail development (Coffey Commons?) alongside the Loop Island Wetlands (on the Clarskville side, preferably) -- perhaps with Mike Sodrel's federally-mandated help?

But I digress (shrug).

NA Confidential’s question for today is this: We know the reasons for restoring the two-way street grid in New Albany, but what is the case against?

Down trogs, down; we know there currently isn't a cool million buried in one of Steve Price's backyard "nickel 'n' dime" deposit boxes to finance such a project, but are there compelling reasons against finding the money?

Discussion, anyone?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sentiment for a grassroots anti-street spam campaign is growing.

Two days before Christmas, I received this message from a pair of highly motivated, principled sign sharks, with whom I'd previously discussed an expansion of the campaign against street spam:

Roger,
We did a drive around the neighborhood district and removed the street spam, especially the Netpointe signs.

Here's an example of the Netpointe street spam of which my diligent sign sharks speak, one that had been posted illegally at the corner of 10th and Elm prior to joining the Mensheviks in history's dustbin:

Since our street spam story first ran in early December, Netpointe has completely ignored two e-mailed requests to comment on the matter. Perhaps we should have phoned ... but doesn't the company check its e-mail?

NA Confidential repeats the gist of it:

Isn’t it ironic that one of the most egregious generators of street spam hereabouts is an Internet service provider? While we have nothing "against" Netpointe (the "we buy houses" signs are another matter entirely), spam is spam, and it's disappointing that a local business that undoubtedly devotes so much of its work time fighting against one variety of spam chooses to contribute to the city's trash problem by printing dozens of another and littering the city with them.

Duly inspired by the grassroots action taken by our correspondents, Mr. and Mrs. Confidential happily devoted their Christmas Day stroll down Spring Street to removing six illegal "street spam" signs, and filing them in a convenient downtown garbage can.

Later, on our drive to Georgetown, we noticed a proliferation of street spam signage, which is described as:

The term for illegal signs along roadways, at intersections, on traffic signs or utility poles, and even on private property. Illegal street signs are also called vertical litter, bandit signs, snipe signs, utility pole advertising and stuff on a stick (SOS). The signs may advertise local businesses, multilevel marketing schemes selling weight loss products, health insurance, sample sales, landscaping services and even pet waste removal services.

The preceding definition comes from the FAQ section of the Citizens Against Ugly Street Spam web site.

----

See also Street spam, sign sharks and the sheer joy of litter removal, a recent article in NA Confidential.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Dear ACLU: Please come to Indiana and help rescue us from ourselves -- again.

From the Courier-Journal comes this Associated Press story:

Diners complain about Christmas alcohol ban.

Christmas dinners at Indiana restaurants don't include a champagne toast -- or alcohol of any kind.

State law prohibits restaurants and bars from selling alcohol on Christmas, a ban that annoys the managers of many Hoosier establishments, who say it hurts their business.

There are archaic laws in every American state, but it's hard to imagine a more obvious violation of church-state separation than this one -- or a better example of deaf legislators when it comes to making the case.

Sounds like a job for the ACLU.

Friday, December 23, 2005

City council presidential contest becomes more interesting ... while Councilman Cappuccino and Gary McCartin hop into bed.

Maury Goldberg provided the first blogosphere notice of the city council's presidential machinations on Thursday at New Albany Today:

In today's New Albany Tribune, Ms. Ali reports City Councilman At Large Mark Seabrook (R) would rather see current City Council President Jeff Gahan(D) remain in that position for 2006. Mr. Seabrook is reported to have stated his preferences for Mr. Gahan over Mr (Dan) Coffey and Mr. (Donnie)Blevins.

The Tribune story from Thursday is here:

New Albany council presidency up in the air, by Amany Ali (News-Tribune).

“I’d like to see Gahan stay there,” Seabrook said, pointing out that Gahan runs good meetings and tries to be accommodating to everyone. The council president basically helps set the meeting agenda with assigning ordinances, and heads the meetings, Seabrook said. He said the council president’s seat should not to be used as a platform.

There you have it.

New Albany’s dozen-strong Babble Belt urges CM Coffey’s selection as council president precisely because he has a transparent obstructionist agenda and will use the post “as a platform,” while the potential swing council voter, the outnumbered Republican CM Seabrook, cautions that he doesn’t see it that way at all, and suggests that it is improper to view the seat in such a manner.

Comparing SOLNA with a broken clock is thus proven to be mistaken, as SOLNA's not even (inadvertently) right twice a day.

In the Tribune article, CM Blevins suggests that he no longer is interested in the presidency, and CM Gahan could not be reached for comment.

We’re left with Coffey’s inanely coy evasiveness as to the reporter’s question of whether he “is seeking the council’s top post” …

“I haven’t made a decision on anything,” Coffey said.

… followed by a certifiable instance of Coffeyesque grandstanding so sufficiently stereotypical that it might serve as the succinct epitaph for another entire year’s worth of non-achievement by the Wizard of Westside:

Coffey said he is concentrating on an effort where he and other volunteers will feed the needy on Christmas.

Given his long council career devoted to doing absolutely nothing to help the cuty's needy escape their poverty, it’s right where CM Coffey should be during this “most wonderful time of the year.”

Here are the links to NA Confidential's week-long compilation of the reasons why Dan Coffey should not be selected city council president on January 9:

"PART 1 (January – March, 2005): Why 1st District City Councilman Dan Coffey should not be selected as the council’s 2006 President.”

"PART 2 (April – June, 2005): Why 1st District City Councilman Dan Coffey should not be selected as the council’s 2006 President.”

"PART 3 (July – September, 2005): Why 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey should not be selected as the city council’s 2006 president.”

"PART 4 (October - December, 2005): Why 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey should not be selected as the city council’s 2006 president.”

Happy holidaze, New Albania!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Albany in 2006: No more conditioned responses ... no more excuses for failure.

I recently read an article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine about a sad and gruesome topic: “Honor killings,” wherein the male members of Turkish Muslim families living in Berlin – some for several decades – have taken to killing their sisters with increasing and alarming frequency, most commonly at the direction of their fathers, but sometimes on order of their mothers, for the failure of the women in their families to submit to proper tradition.

In other words, women are being murdered by their own brothers for trying to escape their own cultural and religious shackles by actively seeking to “become German” in the secular sense.

This perfectly chilling piece, with its many worrisome subtexts of secular tolerance versus fundamentalist hysteria (Muslim, Christian or otherwise), is called “The New Berlin Wall,” and is written by the noted German novelist Peter Schneider. It was published on December 4, and although it is unavailable (sans payment) on the newspaper’s web site, a transcript can be found here.

In bringing this to the attention of readers, I’m intentionally ignoring the many relevant topics of discussion that Schneider’s thoughts have engendered around the kitchen table of the NA Confidential household since we read his words.

Rather, I intend to focus on just one small excerpt, which begins by establishing that in Turkish immigrant households, forced marriages of very young girls, and arranged by their parents, are very commonplace, and that these unions often are marked by rape, violence and degradation … but if the female victims so much as attempt to escape the misery, they’re liable to marked for death or disfigurement owing to the “shame” suffered by their own families.

In short, Schneider asks: Why would a mother in such a situation, one who often had been forced to endure the same treatment, acquiesce in her daughter’s pain, and on occasion even instigate the ultimate punishment?

Necla Kelek, a Turkish-German author who has interviewed dozens of women on this topic, explained, "The mothers are looking for solidarity by demanding that their daughters submit to the same hardship and suffering." By disobeying them, the daughter calls into question her mother's life - her silent submission to the ritual of forced marriage.

The psychologists and sociologists among us can provide explanation for why human nature works in such a flawed, unproductive and plainly destructive manner.

Perhaps it has something to do with factors beyond cultural baggage, as in the phenomenon of prisoners identifying with their captors. Probably there are economists and historians able to help with this process of understanding.

But forget all that. Forget the specific details of Schneider’s story about Turkish women and their families in Berlin. Instead, think of the explanation offered for the behavior of the mothers:

“The mothers are looking for solidarity by demanding that their daughters submit to the same hardship and suffering."

It’s simply counter-intuitive, isn’t it?

Most of us accept without reservation that, at least ideally, the objective of a parent is to raise a child so that he or she will be capable of transcending the parent’s own hardships or problems.

Most of us are horrified at what we see as a neglectful attitude of harmful psychological dysfunction displayed by parents whose errant and self-destructive choices doom their innocent children to the endlessly repetitive cycles of pain and futility.

Most of us reel from the notion that a parent would seek the same deprivation, addiction and agony for their children that they were forced to experience themselves. Why?

Why?

For the past year, NA Confidential has sought to diagnose the developmental traumas and dysfunctions that have brought the city of New Albany to its currently uncertain historical juncture.

To be sure, it is a daunting task, and we’re the first to admit that there are no perfect analogies between an individual human life and that of the city in which he or she resides. Nonetheless, as a city is an aggregation of people gathered together in a geographical place for a purpose – even if that purpose isn’t always readily evident – parallels most certainly exist.

Today, using the conceptual example of the Turkish matriarchs in Berlin as a rough starting point, I contend that one underlying cause for the underachieving malaise that has traditionally held New Albany in its non-productive grip is a similar vein of (paraphrased) evangelistic masochism:

“We have worked for years and failed miserably to bring about change … and we’re not about to see anyone younger succeed without first experiencing the equivalent of the frustration that we’ve felt along the way.”

NA Confidential reader Courtney (ceece) feels the condescending sting of this attitude of institutionalized futility when she tries to participate in the discussions at SOLNA, where the demographic (judged as best we can from the available evidence, considering the anonymity that is a hallmark of SOLNA’s unique brand of inferiority complex-meets-dismissive arrogance):

I don't even know why I bother trying over there. I am constantly slaughtered for my age and being "new" to the city. I was absolutely disgusted to see the claims that nothing can be done. Then Laura comes on and berates me some more. I have never done anything of ill willed to anyone over there. I only want good things for New Albany and the people that live here. I may be young, new, naive whatever, but so what -- give me at least 10 years before you try to break my spirit.
-- ceece’s comment on NAC this morning

Again and again, the dirge-like refrain is repeated – and lest there be any misunderstanding, SOLNA’s most definitely not the only place to hear it performed around this city:

We’re just a rotten little city.
We’ve never accomplished anything.
We’re corrupt and incapable.
We’ve accepted our fate.
We’re going to be even unhappier if you prove us mistaken, you uppity outsider.

Again, it’s a ludicrously counter-intuitive argument, even if it serves as the only identifiable campaign platform of politicians like Dan Coffey and Steve Price.

But … if you’re ill, does it really matter where your doctor comes from, so long as you get better?

Do you really want your children to be afflicted with the same illness?

Or have you become so accustomed to pain that the prospect of the illness's absence fills you with a dread of the unexpected so very strong that you’ll opt for the devil you know rather than the cure?

Consider that apart from my time overseas, I’ve lived in Floyd County for all of my 45 years, and within the city limits of New Albany since 1992 … and I remain an inexperienced, unknowing outsider to some of these self-designated martyrs of numerology and its customary and complete failure to transform human existence into the predictable certitude of a spreadsheet.

Guess what? It takes more than numbers to accomplish anything. It takes clarity, organization, will, courage, a work ethic, a refusal to quit … it takes all these – and many other – human qualities to succeed. Numbers cannot explain my relationship with Mrs. Confidential, or Randy and Ann Smith’s dedication to their business, or Courtney’s love for her child.

Numbers are a tool, and nothing more. They cannot quantify any of the essential components of a human being … but they can be used as roadblocks, impediments and weapons to thwart human progress.

But I digress.

Why is it that so many of New Albany’s “long-timers” – the self-appointed arbiters of what is “true” and what isn’t about this city – so joyfully seek to inflict on an entire populated area, and on newcomers who are relatively free of the underachieving contagion of previous failures, exactly the same sort of pain, frustration and failure that they themselves wouldn’t for one instant consider inflicting on their own blessed children and grandchildren?

Or …

Are they too similar to the Turkish women in Berlin, content to pass the unjustifiable pain down to the next generation (even their own!) so as to make their own unfulfilling life experiences somehow comprehensible – in the end, are they just incapable of recognizing that with each passing year, the range of opportunities and possibilities changes, negating the conditions of last year or a decade ago, and providing us with the means to break the cycle of dysfunction if only we’d pull together to do it?

And, while we’re at it, put a halt to the nonsensical excuses for failure offered incessantly as though they were canonical writ:

You’re too young.
You don’t understand the way things work.
It’s always been like that here.
Who do you think you are (outsider; youngster, snooty book reader) trying to understand this when I still don’t after thirty years of trying?
It’s not our fault – the powers that be were against us.


In 2006, the slogan should be “New Albany: No more excuses for failure.”

Experienced? Good. Share your wisdom.

Hopeful? Even better. We need you. Get involved.

Spiteful, beaten fighting the battles of your youth? Sorry about your luck. Please trash the negativity, turn the calendar to now, and get on board. We need you, too.

Content to see this city remain third-rate? Fine … now get the hell out of the way, Mr. Huckleberry -- you're not going to like what you see here.

Future generations should not have to pay for previous failures -- yours, ours, anyone's.

PART 4 (October - December, 2005): Why 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey should not be selected as the city council’s 2006 president.

Part 4 of 4.

NA Confidential believes that CM Dan Coffey, while indisputably eligible for the post of city council president by virtue of a measurable pulse, is fundamentally unsuited for this position of visibility and responsibility, owing to what Thomas Jefferson once referred to as a “long train of abuses and usurpations,” ones that we have assiduously documented throughout 2005.

We propose to emulate Jefferson’s method of presentation by listing these examples of unsuitability, organized quarterly and in chronological order, as we have reported them here.

The viewpoints expressed in this series are entirely ours, and all quoted passages in the series were written by The New Albanian, unless otherwise attributed.

Unfortunately, many hyperlinks to local media sources have become broken during the months since the original publication dates, and while this is infuriating from an archivist's perspective -- the Courier-Journal's inconsistent articles-for-pay policy and the Tribune's web site revamp are to blame -- it simply can’t be helped.

As always, and subject to NA Confidential's procedures, reader comments are welcomed.

October 4: Just vote "no" to the 3rd District's ongoing city council embarrassment.

Back now to the rental property owner in question, CM Price. How many times has he voted "no," or abstained, when called upon to represent the views of his 3rd District constituents?

We're not sure, either, but when there's time for diggin', the minutes of city council meetings are available on-line, and there's still a whole year and a half for us to begin compiling the evidence that will illustrate in abundant clarity why Mr. Price needs to return to the private sector.

Of course, there's always a chance that our folksy half of the Siamese Councilmen will come to his senses, reach down deep for a previously untapped reserve of sense and sensibility, and stage a comeback.

October 6: Overt anti-intellectualism? Well, that would explain CM Price's votes against the interests of his own district.

In political terms, New Albany’s most renowned practitioners of the anti-intellectual craft are registered as Democrats, although it remains difficult to imagine most of them voting for John Kerry in 2004 – or, more accurately, it is difficult to imagine them voting against George W. Bush’s convoluted grammar, Karl Rove’s simplistic, kindergarten slogans, and the GOP’s Orwellian fables of the deconstruction.

Beyond the collateral damage incurred by other Democrats, why does this matter?

To paraphrase (Eric L.) McKitrick’s reading of (Richard) Hofstadter, “the relation between the way politicians like Dan Coffey and Steve Price behave, in politics and other realms of effort, and the use they make of their minds,” is of central importance for the future of New Albany.

Speaking only for myself, CM Coffey can remain the ward-heeling emperor of his tiny West End electoral district – one ripe for immediate and unforgiving redistricting if not for the desire of most involved with local politics to see him remain in relative isolation – for as long as his supporters are content to endure their ongoing impoverishment, but the 3rd District is a different story entirely, if for no other reason than it being my district of residence.

The only plausible explanation for 3rd District CM Price’s abysmal voting record, one that grows more bizarrely predictable each month, is a strident and growing anti-intellectualism.

October 11: Read all about it at Volunteer Hoosier.

By Randy Smith of Volunteer Hoosier).

“ ... No thing is clearer than that a cabal of venal, self-interested politicians (ward-heelers) and hangers-on (you know who you are) are intent on creating a miasma of discontent in New Albany. Relying on their experiences from the past, they believe that Rove-ian propaganda can ensure that, come election time, all of that discontent will be poured out indiscriminately toward whoever is the incumbent mayor. After all, isn't that the norm. Don't try to improve things, just blame whoever's in there at at the top of the ticket?”

October 12: Councilman Cappuccino fights for the right to be small, laments plague of book learning that has descended on the city.

At the same time, a city resident, evidently confusing economic development and revitalization with the huge portions of Honey Baked Scrapple available during the recently concluded Harvest Homecoming, accused the city of “biting off more than we can chew.”

Of course, for some of our city's veteran obstructionists, attempting to turn the pages of the calendar forward to 1975 is biting off more than they can chew.

Councilman Dan Cappuccino, he of the postage-stamp sized principality of West Endia, immediately joined the aforementioned citizen in condemning the Scribner Place project and everyone it stands for, noting that many of the impoverished residents of his own fiefdom – people he has failed to enrich in any measurable way during decades of grating self-aggrandizement on the political stage – wouldn’t be able to afford membership in a YMCA, and for this reason, the remainder of the city should immediately be pulled down to the councilman’s level.

Councilman Cappuccino then proposed a voter referendum on whether snooty educated people who insist on accomplishing better things should be allowed to ruin the barbecued bologna for the rest of us.

October 21: Social chaos fetishists swoon at Thursday night's City Council meeting.

When does the image in the magnifying glass cease to be that of the sum of a column of numbers, and becomes instead a ready made, self-referenced ethical system, complete with dry arcana of sewer audits magically transformed into decrees fit for publication on stone tablets, conspiratorial decade-old meeting minutes blossomed into manna suitable for roasting over a burning bush, and colorless accountants converted into matinee idol Moses clones?

Obviously, a mass movement is one thing, and a bowel movement something else entirely.

Speaking of last evening's performance by Trog Sham and the Brambleberries, here's today's media coverage.

October 22: Trogs or progs? Local Democrats face the future.

After all, it hasn’t been Mark Seabrook, the city council’s lone Republican, who has staged a continuous, anti-intellectual, ill-tempered insurrection against literacy, decency and progress – it has been the council’s obstructionist Gang of Four, councilmen Coffey, Price, Kochert and Schmidt, registered Democrats to a man, ones seemingly determined to imprison an entire 21st-century city within their own reactionary 19th-century hues, and in order to so, seeking succor from terminally disaffected, only nominally Democratic voters who in the harsh light of day might as well be Republicans, such is the weight of the regressive tendencies implicit in their conspiratorial, thuggish, Luddite view of the world.

Let’s be perfectly clear about the nature of this mean-spirited, rear-guard action.

During the most recent chapter in the political history of New Albany, when it has come to base instincts triumphing over noble ideals … when it has come to the frantic race to pander to the worst angels of our natures … when it has come to a tragic, self-defeating advocacy of fear … when it has come to consistently providing the most irredeemably wrong message to the city’s next generation, those for whom we must provide reasons for moving forward by staying here and assisting us in making New Albany and Floyd County better places to live, to work, and to achieve – when it has come to these flagrantly unsuitable indicators of mediocrity, the poster children for societal regress have all been Democrats, and while there may be Republicans capable of far worse (given that most currently are employed by the illegitimate national regime), they’ve not unwisely held their tongues and permitted the far lesser lights of the Democratic Party to wreak havoc on themselves.

October 28: Local Democrats toast FDR, celebrate party principles while Gang of Four dines on cold barbecued bologna.

On what philosophical basis will the Democratic Party contest the 2006 elections on the local level?

Will it be on the basis of core party principles, properly retained but sagely updated to reflect 21st-century realities?

Or will it be on the basis of the increasingly discredited and shamefully incestuous ward heeling, pandering and self-serving demagoguery typified by the city council’s obstructionist Gang of Four? Progress or regress? How conservative can a Democrat be before a Democrat ceases to be?

October 29: "A growing network of people and institutions that openly and enthusiastically invite positive change and progress to our city."

(A comment by Jeff "bluegill" Gillenwater).

“The days of feigning happiness and forcing smiles when a Dan Coffey or Larry Kochert wins an election, purely out of a sense of loyalty to the party, are coming to a distasteful but inevitable end. As their public lives haven't afforded much respect for or understanding of the concepts of grace or dignity, neither should their political deaths be expected to engender such traits. Dead, however, is dead.

According to almost all the longtime party members with whom I spoke last night, the dinner was a success not only because of the notable and not-so-notable absences but also because the speakers enjoyed a view that included so many new faces.”

November 1: A year later, there's steady forward progress.

You’d simply not expect to begin changing a municipality’s lifetime of underachievement all at once, although some citizens take longer to reach than others.

With his own goal line coming ever closer into view to the immediate rear, Councilman Cappuccino has become even more ill-tempered than usual, snapping to the C-J’s reporter that he “resents” being pushed into doing the homework necessary to unravel the complexities of the impact fees, a task that might include reading, a hobby he has publicly disavowed on more than one occasion.

November 8: Just like the 3rd District misses being represented.

Some things never change, so during a city council meeting that lasted only thirty (30) minutes from opening to closing gavels, the eternally mellifluous Councilman Cappuccino spoke too many words and said far too little, but of course nothing can compare to the malapropian twang of the 3rd District's Uncouncilman Price, who described the insurance plan of city employees as "pretty daggone good," and added that he "misses it," giggling spacily while the sparse crowd counted ceiling tiles and remembered lost episodes of Andy Griffith prior to Price's unfathomable abstention ("because it's the first reading.")

November 23: Props to VAB for an excellent Greenway forum.

That’s when I thought of the five elderly Germans on their bicycles.

I thought of them again when Councilman Dan Coffey spoke about the need of making it easier for people to get across the levee from downtown to the river, noting that Scribner Place’s original design included a long ramp that would have eliminated the stairs currently required to gain a view of the river at the Trinkle Dome – and how hard it is to make that climb.

November 30: UPDATED: Say it ain't so, (Dan, Bill, Steve, Larry) ... you've given Trog Sham(an) a pain in the Rumpke.

Small wonder the outside world laughs at us, and we're not talking giggles, folks. It's sustained, hearty laughter.

December 6: An empty chair's better than an empty suit -- or why Frankfort Avenue is bad for an Uncouncilman's stunted imagination.

Meanwhile, in his clearest and most unambiguous statement to date on the topic of New Albany’s revitalization, 3rd District Uncouncilman Steve Price said last night that we should not “pack people in like sardines,” as is the case over at Louisville’s Frankfort Avenue, where presumably the numerous niche shoppers, gallery viewers, satisfied diners, all-hours coffee drinkers, job holders, taxpayers and residents of highly valued properties would pose a conspiratorial threat if they were to be somehow transported to New Albany and permitted to spend money here.

Price, a rental property owner, spent the evening enthusiastically playing to the obstructionist Luddites in attendance by joining fellow Siamese Councilman Dan Coffey in affectionately stroking the sizeable, green-tinted chip that rests at all times on Coffey’s shoulder -- the one that manifests itself in unbridled and self-destructive disdain for any human being in a position of authority who has made the mistake of being educated ... as Coffey has not.

Consequently, not content merely to oppose efforts to amend a new sewer tap-in fee ordinance to allow community housing organizations like Habitat for Humanity to receive waivers, or at the very least discounts, so as to assist these organizations in keeping the price of starter and low-income housing low, and encouraging in-fill development in blighted areas, both Coffey and Price seized every opportunity to smirk and to scoff at any and all progress in human affairs, leading inevitably to the single most preposterous utterance of Price’s bumbling, embarrassment-filled tenure in the 3rd District council chair.

December 8: NAC responds to a Tribune letter to the editor ... in more than two hundred words.

Unfortunately, the Scribner Place project continues to be the whipping boy preferred by those among us, like 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey and his Siamese Councilman, 3rd District CM Steve Price, who are innately suspicious of an evolving world that seems foreign and incomprehensible to them, one populated by odd people with strange preferences like exercise, reading, sushi and espresso, and who, to them, symbolize detached affluence and practiced disdain for the working classes and the underprivileged.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and both Mr. Coffey and Mr. Price probably know it, but grandstanding and ward heeling become second nature when you’ve been at it for so long.

December 9: The council member's Rumpke bid lie: It is an ethical lapse, and it does matter.

Some council members looked surprised during CM Kochert's comments, while others issued immediate, albeit mumbled, statements of disinterest in the topic of council integrity; CM Price lamented that “rumors are rampant” on blogs, while CM Coffey reminded listeners yet again that he hadn’t read a blog for months, although he thankfully did not choose the occasion to denounce reading and the insidious book learning that derives from it, as he has during past digressions.

Reply to "concern taxpayer": I was right again.

Earlier today, I made a bet with Mrs. Confidential.

Explaining to her that there was a seemingly sincere, even-tempered discussion occurring at the SOLNA blog (yes, really), I wagered that the fragile ambience would survive only until "concern taxpayer" decided to anonymously enter the fray to spew hatred, at which point the truce would splinter owing to CT's self-defeating anger, and furthermore, I predicted that CT would be unable to remain silent until nightfall.

Right on all counts. When you're hot, you're hot ...

Here it is, and since this most recent flaccid salvo is aimed right at me, here are my answers, line by fatuous line. Take it away, Vicki ...

CONCERN TAXPAYER said...

Your problem Mr. Baylor is this. Bottom line.


1. Your always right and everybody else is wrong!

It’s hardly a problem to always be right when other always are wrong, but I haven’t gotten there, yet.

2. Your 2nd biggie is you can not stand it east ender allows anonymous comments.

Indeed, I have a consistent and logical position with regard to anonymity, and I’ve been expressing it for two decades. True, I find it amusing that people have so little courage and respect for themselves that they wear masks in order to attack, but I concede that this is beyond my ability to resolve (see “personality disorder,” below).

If East Ender thinks that empowering the lesser angels of the natures of you and others somehow helps New Albany, yes, that’s her business on her blog. It doesn’t mean I or anyone else should not be able to question her opinion and counter with views of our own. That’s the nature of debate, and of freedom of speech.

3. And you have forgotten again this is east enders blog. You have your own blog.

Finally, we agree on something. And Healthblogger has his, and Maury has his ...

You don't like what certain or most people write or say on this blog. You choose to attack us and others. I personally have never felt offended by your remarks because I like others know the truth about this adminstration.

I want answers, others want answers. But of course you Roger have all the answers. But again Roger you try to verbally abuse people. And defend the Mayor as if he does no wrong! Hello Roger are you still with me here?


CT, I have made remarks about hundreds of matters in the past year, from basketball to Richard Florida, and from coffee shops to bicycling, but so very tellingly, the sole and only area that you can specify as a means of illustrating the differences between you and I is “this adminstration” and “the Mayor.”

Granted, your personal obsession with the Mayor, and your obvious vendetta against the current administration both have been remarkably well documented through numerous postings in which you crudely insult the mayor and his assistants as though you were standing on an elementary school playground with a can of spray paint in your hand … but really, CT, does your expertise extend to anything else? When it comes to topics, you’re a one-trick pony.

You Sir are a Psychology 101 text book case of a person with a personality disorder. As well as you having typical impaired social skills. As well as being a bully. Based on your actions.(now how does it feel for us to attack you)

Have any of you ever heard the adage about the pot and the kettle?

According to Psych 101 (which I’m willing to bet that you didn’t take in college):

“A personality disorder is identified by a pervasive pattern of experience and behavior that is abnormal with respect to any two of the following: thinking, mood, personal relations, and the control of impulses … Personality disorders are not illnesses in a strict sense … however, those with personality disorders suffer a life that is not positive, proactive, or fulfilling.”

Well, let’s see how I measure up.

Thinking? I’d imagine that my writing and the ability to operate a nationally recognized specialty business are sufficient evidence of that. Mood? Hey, we’ve all had our moments, but the people who are around me all the time would certainly vouch for my equilibrium. Personal relations? Again, it’s difficult to be successful in the pub and restaurant business without having good relationships with people. Control of impulses? I’m neither a binge drinker nor an impulse shopper, although occasionally a song nestles in my head, and I whistle the tune quite a lot until it passes.

Seems to me that an anonymous & masked Internet dispenser of venom might look first in the mirror before accusing others of a harboring a “personality disorder” – but naturally, that’s just my ohhhpinion.

You Sir constantly accuse others including myself as being people of hate and anger.

4.And "ROGER" what you need to learn is Respect is "Earned not Demanded!

Do I hate you. Absolutely not! I personally think you are a phony.

I agree that respect is earned, and cannot be demanded. I think that it’s incredibly sad –- and a bit pathetic -- when someone so desperately craves respect, attention and legitimacy that he or she stoops to lies, things like creating fictitious identities on blogs, i.e., “Erik” the “college professor,” who runs “Freedom of Speech” for the “little people.”

People of that ilk probably come slightly closer to your characterization of “personality disorder” than I ever will.

Because no one is ever/or always right. We all make mistakes<(but you) because we are humans.

But if someone defends OR says something you do not like(regardless of the issue) You want to put the "Rath of Roger on them."

It is true that to err is human, but of course, we’d all probably admit that an inadvertent mistake is far less significant than an intentional one –- say, a lie … a lie like the one that you, CT, told last May when you said you saw me walk out from the Mayor’s office before a council meeting. That was something malicious and intentional, not inadvertent, don't you think? And you've never, ever admitted to it, even as you demand the truth from others. That's hypocrisy, don't you think?

Like I have said many many times... You Sir are the Minority in this town. Not the Majority.

If that’s true, then why are you so obviously frightened that I may be right about a few, if not all, of the things I assert?

These issues we are asking about does not concern you Roger.(Because rember you have all the answers and you are right and we are wrong)

Just a hint from someone who can write clearly: Arguments make more sense if there’s a structure, a guiding logic. It seems that you get so apoplectic, that you lose the thread. It makes no sense to say, as you just did, that “because you’re right and we’re wrong, these issues don’t concern you.” That’s gibberish. Please rewrite it, okay?

If you are the Mayors best drinkin buddy who cares.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t even know if the Mayor drinks.

Advice to you Sir please don't put all your eggs in one basket, cause you might have to end up eatting everyone of them!

Just like Cool Hand Luke?

BOTTOM LINE WE WANT AN AUDIT!
BOTTOM LINE WE WANT ANSWERS!
Instead of excuses!Again if Mayor Garner has nothing to hide he would open the books!Lord knows if we can afford to pay $750.00 for his car mats. And us taxpayers are paying for outragious cell phone bills. And wasting our tax dollars what the hell does this Mayor have to hide.

Another patented CT primal scream, duly capitalized, in the record books. How many anguished decibels was that one, VD?

Our numbers(SOL-NA) and his numbers(Mayors) do not add up.

If neither yours nor his add up, then which numbers actually do add up? Ah, yes, maybe that’s not what you meant, but that is what you wrote. See why proper grammar is good?

Numbers is the bottom line here.
1+1=2 not 3 Roger.


True; I learned that numbers trick in first grade. But numbers "are," not "is" the bottom line -- I learned that verb agreement trick in first grade, too.

Why do some people have to pay there sewer bills when others don't? Why can certain deals be cut, when we have to pay for their mistakes... We are tired of paying for other peoples "MISTAKES"

Sewer bills? Good question, but you go from the specific (sewer bills) to the general ("mistake" and "deals") in one entire accusation. You would have to describe the “deals” being cut, as these aren’t the same as the unpaid sewer bills. Don’t worry; they didn’t teach kids about logical fallacies when you were in high school, so you’re off the hook for that one.

Why do certain people not have to pay their property taxes when others do? And for your information Mr. Baylor this is happening and the truth on this and other matters will come to light in 2006.

Good question. Individuals, or businesses? Where is the exact information … wait, I know, it’s “coming soon,” and “just around the corner,” and “about to be here at any minute.” Rather like the guy on the street corner with “the world is coming to an end” sign. Someday, it will … when the guy holding the sign dies, not the outside physical world, and then, only then, he’s finally proven right – but he’s dead and can’t enjoy the victory. Funny, isn’t it? It's all about his internal problems and not about the real world.

So accuse me of blowing smoke and not telling the truth. But beprepared to eat what ever attack you make on me and others.

CT, the only time I ever accused you of lying was when you flat-out, 100%, take-it-to-the-bank lied, as in the office episode recounted above. If you’d just apologize for lying … but what am I saying? How would someone without the guts to use their name be convinced that they should tell the truth about lying?

Because we have has enough. And you can take this to the bank.

I do admire your frequent threats, though. Very classy. Like Al Capone.

Lord we all learned alot after dealing with "OVERTON." Talk about "The Mayor from Hell.."

And Sir if you do not believe the Democrats are not ready to "run James Garner out of town on a rail" you are talking to his employees not some of the Democrats who picked up his tab to get elected?

Ask them Mr. Baylor!

Where’s Guido Mattingly when you need him? He could take out the Mayor and get Dougie E. enthroned again, for old time's sake, couldn’t he?

How come you never attack Bev Crump, Jack Messer, Donnie Blevins, Mark Seabrooks, Jeff Gayhan?

My personal opinion most of them should not plan on getting re-elected. Because the democrats are lining people up to run against most of them as WE SPEAK!

Flash: Democratic candidate chosen to run against Republican -- is that legal in a two-party state? I’m not a Democrat, but isn’t it the case that there usually are primary challenges, with two or more party members contesting a nomination?

Some of these people are in the Mayors pocket and "do have" there own agenda.

“Their” own agenda? How ‘bout some evidence, CT – have you seen the Protocols of the Elders of Gahan? (Do you even know what historical slur I’m referring to here?)

And if you really think Mayor James Garner is doing such a great job you have been hiding your head in New Albany sewers to damn long.

Sorry, Vick, I’m not the one with the bizarro sewer fetish. Yvonne Kersey might be better placed to answer this question.

And sir you have been drinking to many $10.00 pints.

No anonymous SOLNA diatribe would be truly complete without an ignorant reference to one’s drinking habits. Actually, I’ve found something more enjoyable than drinking these expensive pints – it’s selling them to people, who are willing to come from far away to pay a premium price for quality that they can trust. Gee, just imagine if all of New Albany worked that way.

Merry Christmas Mr. Roger Baylor. Looking forward to battling with you again in 2006.

CT, it's not a battle. It's when you surrender to your demons, and then mistakenly imagine that the bile engendered resembles coherence. But, okay, if we're going to continue doing this, be aware that it would be even more fun for me if you would (1) arm yourself, (2) learn just a few of the “rules” that you inaccurately claim to play by, and (3) understand that for all your self-loathing, insecurity and envy, no one’s ever going to take you seriously as long as you remain hidden behind the mask.

In closing, let’s go back to that Psych 101 definition I provided earlier -- the type of passage that Erik would understand, if in fact he were a real human and not a pathetic creation of an unbalanced mind:

“The character of a person is shown through his or her personality -- by the way an individual thinks, feels, and behaves. When the behavior is inflexible, maladaptive, and antisocial, then that individual is diagnosed with a personality disorder.”

I’m serene and untroubled in the absolute certainty that if impartial readers, ones without a horse in this race, were to read the collected works of the anonymous CT and the known RAB, and to apply the definition of “personality disorder” to the respective writers and their writings, I wouldn’t be the one being asked to start taking medicine.

Have a happy, ecumenical holiday, oh embittered one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

County to move annex jobs to the former Reisz school building on Spring Street.

There's good news in the morning newspaper.

Floyd OKs purchase of old school; Site would serve as office space, by Ben Zion Hershberg, (short shelf life for Courier-Journal links).

Hershberg writes:

Several dozen Floyd County employees will get new office space next year in the old M.L. Reisz Adult Learning Center on Spring Street.

The county's Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last night to buy the old school for $735,000 from the New Albany-Floyd County School Corp.

Most of the 35 to 50 county employees who will work there now have offices in the old Floyd County Government Annex Building on Grant Line Road, which will be torn down … After the offices move out, much of the annex will be demolished and a new youth shelter will be built.

Hershberg notes that owing the school corporation’s extensive renovations, very little extra money will be required to get the new office building up and running.

Simply stated, this is great news for downtown New Albany in general and NA Confidential’s neighborhood in particular, as there had been uncertainty about the future of the old Reisz school complex once the learning center moved to the former Northside Christian building on Grant Line Road.

In memoriam: Todd Fulkerson.

I’d like to say this about Todd Fulkerson, a friend and former employee, who died unexpectedly and far too soon Monday of a heart attack at the age of only 40.

Todd was a fundamentally decent human being, and this never changed even when the fates dealt him a bad hand when it came to his personal health.

In fact, he’d almost died a time or two before, and I’m sure he knew deep down that the odds get recalibrated (for the worse) each time the actuarial chart gets cheated like that, but to my observation it didn’t make him bitter or resentful, or cause him to lose any of his zest for life.

It’s simply the case that Todd liked people, and they liked him back. That’s a good legacy, indeed, when you come to the end of it.

A little known fact: Todd was a member of the “beer of the month” club I tried to put together from the old Scoreboard Liquors in early 1990, prior to the formation of the FOSSILS homebrewing and beer appreciation club along similar lines later that same year.

I don’t know what else to say.

It’s simply not enough time, is it?

PART 3 (July – September, 2005): Why 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey should not be selected as the city council’s 2006 president.

Part 3 of 4.

NA Confidential believes that CM Dan Coffey, while indisputably eligible for the post of city council president by virtue of a measurable pulse, is fundamentally unsuited for this position of visibility and responsibility, owing to what Thomas Jefferson once referred to as a “long train of abuses and usurpations,” ones that we have assiduously documented throughout 2005.

We propose to emulate Jefferson’s method of presentation by listing these examples of unsuitability, organized quarterly and in chronological order, as we have reported them here.

The viewpoints expressed in this series are entirely ours, and all quoted passages in the series were written by The New Albanian, unless otherwise attributed.

Unfortunately, many hyperlinks to local media sources have become broken during the months since the original publication dates, and while this is infuriating from an archivist's perspective -- the Courier-Journal's inconsistent articles-for-pay policy and the Tribune's web site revamp are to blame -- it simply can’t be helped.

As always, and subject to NA Confidential's procedures, reader comments are welcomed.

July 1: Mass exodus to Birdseye; little people evacuate New Albany in search of cleanliness, lower educational standards.

Councilman Cappuccino’s provisional city government totters on the brink of dissolution today as dozens of New Albany’s littlest “little people” continue to flee the city in wee droves.

Miniature convoys of little cars, little RVs and little motorcycles, most piled high with little suitcases and little boxes, have barely been noticed streaming in the general direction of tiny Birdseye, where the doomsday Brambleberry sect’s leader, Councilman Cappuccino, vows to establish an exceedingly small government in exile.

CM Cappuccino, spotted yesterday at Big Lots buying Guatemalan tinned bologna, past-date bottles of KC Masterpiece and crates of orange Kool-Aid, blames pointy-headed book learners and ever changing cultural standards for his present political plight.

“I know all about funding the Gap,” snapped CM Cappuccino, “because that’s where my kids want to go and shop, and I tell ‘em look, Wal-Mart’s fashion line is just as good.”

July 6: UPDATED: Memo to City Council: Sweep aside the mistakes of the past and approve Option #1 of Scribner Place (Phase I) financing.

For reasons that remain hazy amid the unchecked, ward-heeling grandstanding that perpetually defines his daily political performance, Councilman Coffey has at various times spoken both for and against Scribner Place, stating last week that it “has to happen,” but at the same time informing the Courier-Journal that he doubts it will do any good in assisting economic development.

And yet, ever attuned to the surreal, the always opportunistic Councilman Coffey first scattered these conflicting signals the way that your dog putters around the yard, diligently marking territory, then immediately scrambled to reposition himself as the second coming of Neville Chamberlain by waving his blank notebook and offering a compromise plan that would “save” Scribner Place in our time by privatizing it before it was built – thus negating its very reason for existence, and doing so before the first nail is struck.

Because nothing from nothing still leaves nothing, Councilman Coffey's plan was politely applauded and subsequently yawned out of the room, freeing him to return to his favored leisure time activity of Byzantine plotting in preparation for his next political campaign.

Unfortunately, the saga doesn’t end with Councilman Coffey's barbecued bologna.

July 7: In an historic vote, New Albany's City Council approves Scribner Place project, option #1.

In a long, tense and occasionally strained session, the council approved Scribner Place bonding according to the first option, with the so-called Coffey Plan never entering into the picture.

Councilman Jack Messer spoke eloquently for the majority (6-2-1, with councilmen Coffey and Price opposing and CM Schmidt bizarrely abstaining), challenging New Albany to succeed.

July 10: From fireworks to politics, an unusually bountiful Sunday Tribune yields much for consideration.

While obstructionist Siamese Councilmen Dan Coffey and Steve Price anchored the “no” vote at last Thursday’s meeting, and CM Bill Schmidt incomprehensibly abstained from going on record, CM Larry Kochert used his time to pontificate on the nature of political cooperation between city and county … and a more counter-productive, belligerent sermon it would be difficult to imagine.

July 14: City contemplates plans to finance Scribner Place "on its own"; Kochert's "fair share" to join "Coffey Plan" in history's dustbin.

Appropriately, rebuttal column inches are provided to 1st District Councilman Dan “Wizard of Westside” Coffey, who reprises the immortal Hee-Haw “gloom, despair and agony on us,” lyric, and the 4th District’s “Slippery Larry” Kochert, who repeats that he is inalterably opposed to what he’s clearly for unless the people he detests come forward with a love offering like the ones at Mullah Goebel’s anti-porn church.

August 1: NAC says: New Albany's City Council should approve the appointment of Jack Messer as interim ordinance enforcement officer.

We recognize that nothing good comes easy when the guest list includes the likes of Councilman Cappuccino, and that this refreshing appointment, which ranks alongside looking both ways before crossing the street in the lexicon of monumental no-brainers, might well be a struggle.

That's because it just wouldn’t be New Albany if rumors weren’t already swirling to the effect that the city’s usual troglodyte’s arsenal of accumulated grudges, political paybacks and plain mean spiritedness will coalesce into a witch’s brew of entropy, and result in Messer’s rejection.

If such a repudiation actually does occur, New Albany will be taking a major step backward into the primordial “business as usual” slime that the past months have gone so far toward erasing from the city’s battered self-image.

It’s easy to see that as one of the council’s emerging thinkers and doers, CM Messer is ripe for rebuke at the hands of certain of his reactionary colleagues on the council, primarily those comprising the intellectually vacant, nay-saying Gang of Four, whose obstructionist tendencies over the course of previous months have nonetheless failed to stymie a mounting series of victories for those New Albanians capable of acting – of believing – in the future tense.

August 1: Profiles in abject and supremely petty moral cowardice: CMs Coffey, Schmidt, Price & Kochert publicly urinate on code enforcement in NA.

And CM Seabrook was very close behind them, saying he's all for Jack Messer, but he just doesn't like the numbers involved.

Pathetic, all the way around.

Flash: City Council's obstructionist Gang of Four orchestrates the humiliation of CM Jack Messer as a craven "payback" to the administration for Messer's prominent role in the pro-Scribner Place vote, thus depriving the citizens of New Albany of the single best choice to initiate the enforcement position.

And they did it in the least dignified way humanly possible, by refusing even to second a motion to vote on the matter, a vote that would have gone against Messer owing to Seabrook's decision to suddenly become engaged in the police department's budgetary process and CM Bev Crump's absence, but would have forced the Gang of Four to register their chickenheartedness for the sake of posterity -- which is going to judge these four very, very harshly.

Which, in part, is because we at NA Confidential intend to write the history book.

And these four rarely read, much less write.

CM Coffey, refusing to second the motion to vote on Messer's nomination to the post of ordinance enforcement officer, commented, "I'll wait for Bev to come back and do it for him."

August 2: UPDATED: Councilman (oink) Steve Price for (oink) ordinance enforcement (oink) officer.

Last night, Dan Coffey, Bill Schmidt, Steve Price and Larry Kochert informed the citizens of New Albany that they don’t give a ward heeler’s damn about anything other than the “business as usual” politics that the eldest three have practiced to the outright detriment of New Albany for a combined six decades of encroaching squalor, semi-literate nonchalance, probable venality and fewer truly sensible and creative solutions to the city’s problems than might be expected to emanate from the combined wit and wisdom of the furry denizens of the county animal shelter.

August 3: When it comes to words, a chamber pot is as good as a Ming vase to a blind councilman.

Consider this a challenge to any of the aforementioned "public" servants to answer one or more of the following essay questions, in writing, for publication (sans editorial alteration or comment in their original format) in NA Confidential.

1. Explain how summarily rejecting the best-qualified candidate for ordinance enforcement serves the future interests of the city of New Albany.

2. Explain how the manner by which you did so is something that can be associated with adult behavior, as opposed to juvenile snickering, bickering and nose picking.

3. Explain why, apart from your deceptive public pronouncements to the contrary, that you feel threatened by effective ordinance enforcement, in that an emerging culture of accountability will take away from your vote totals, and why you shouldn’t be castigated for permitting such self-serving interests to interfere with cleaning up the city.

4. Explain why it is that councilmen who have served for so many years still somehow don’t know where to find the information they incessantly and whiningly insist is being denied them.

5. Explain what motives are served by an ongoing, institutionalized petulance on the topic of county participation in the Scribner Place project, other than to offend the very people you seek to influence, and to substitute the cheap thrill of a self-fulfilling prophecy for the verifiable gains to the community of tangible success.

Note: As you know, Pam Badger subsequently was appointed to the OEO position by Chief of Police Merle Harl, and she has done a fabulous job.

August 9: UPDATED: Big Party in Tiny Town – NA’s lunatic fringe shifts focus to the best garbage pick-up bid, while retaining its monopoly on fatuousness.

The worst team in the history of baseball, the 1962 New York Mets, managed to win 25% of its games.

In like fashion, every ward-heeling demagogue reeling from a steady series of crushing defeats, who sees his political future turning ever cloudier, eventually has his day. So it is that at this evening’s special gathering of the New Albany City Council, it would appear that CM Dan Coffey finally succeeded in forcing an investigation into something.

An investigation into what naturally matters far less than winning a round for the first time in recent memory, so we’ll be good sports even if he isn't and congratulate the councilman in taking the first step toward bringing his imaginary city hall ogres to heel.

For those just tuning in to this latest chapter in the struggle for New Albany’s future, we should note that conspiracy theories, class-induced constipation and simple, unvarnished envy constitute the lifeblood of the city’s “no progress at any price” faction of unreconstructed Luddites, who look to people like Dan Coffey for unscrupulous populist leadership in the same way that hormonal lemmings make for sheer face of the nearest cliff.

August 15: Save Our City? Of course, although it would help to recall that the first rule is “don’t harm the patient.”

For all the insensible clamor, and all the violent rhetoric, and all the bile, spite, envy and simple mean-spiritedness running rampant, there has yet to be conceived or introduced any semblance of a plan or a strategy with which our persistent opponents of progress propose to move New Albany into the 21st century.

Not one.

Neither from CM Dan Coffey, nor from CM Steve Price, although Coffey has a plan to surrender, and Price remains allergic to cell phones and other visible signs of the modern age.

August 18: Council's "Gang of Four" massing on the border of civility; attack against the 21st century expected by nightfall.

Ah, the savory legislative plat de jour … and out from the barbecued bologna kitchen to be reheated for the umpteenth time.

Ignore for a moment the precedent being sought by this maneuver, which in essence is the freedom to break a contract by nothing more so than whim.

Rather, recall that our local political dysfunction grows best in the fertile soil of chaos -- and it all makes sense.

Not unexpectedly, it’s back to the culture wars for New Albany, with the obstructionist lunatic fringe seated to the right remaining determined to hoist the Scribner Place straw man at every opportunity so that it can be pelted with Luddite brickbats, meanwhile ignoring the most simplistic of municipal cost/benefit analyses as though such a concept were written in Sanskrit.

English is challenge enough.

Aside from the random biochemical reactions passing as deep thought amongst the luminaries of the Gang of Four, Scribner Place and the Great Sanitation Debate of ’05 are and have been wholly separate matters, should remain wholly separate matters, and would not be an issue at this juncture in the least if not for the indisputably malign influence of New Albany’s four-headed Mt. Rushmore of ineptitude.

August 19: Councilman Cappuccino threatens to stop the engine of New Albany ...

... unless he gets the keys to a gleaming new public toilet like this one, so unfairly located on the city's northside, and well away from the district the councilman has worked so hard to keep poor.

August 23: 3rd District’s CM Price: “I’m chasing nickels and dimes/ While the rest of the world passes me by.”

It’s a sad day when the council’s Gang of Four has become too numbingly predictable to satirize, but at some point the pervasive mediocrity of these time-serving obstructionists simply must be allowed to stand on its own lack of merit.

August 24: Newly appointed OEO begins work as the hunt for spare change continues.

A team of volunteers headed by 3rd District CM Steve Price found five more nickels and two dimes in a Crown Royal bag hidden beneath a loose cement slab behind the City-County Building.

CM Price and "concern taxpayer" are demanding a full investigation.

August 29: "Those nickels and dimes are ours," growled the councilman.

CM Price, shown here exploring a sinkhole at the base of Brambleberry Knob, has unearthed a rusty Prince Albert pipe tobacco can with 14 nickels, 8 dimes and 3 quarters, adding up to a record haul of $2.25.

Unfortunately, the desperately needed pocket change may not belong to the city owing to the sinkhole's location in the boundary area between city and county.

Floyd County councilman and finance minister Larry McAllister has offered to arm wrestle CM Price for the booty, saying "we've got trials to pay for."

But fellow city councilman Dan Coffey believes CM McAllister is mistaken, and that CM Price's hard-earned find is his to keep -- for donation to the depleted city coffers.

In a party line call, Coffey told reporters, "it just goes to show that they didn't need cell phones, ordinance enforcement or city courts back in Prince Albert's time, and neither do me -- I mean, we."

August 30: Commissioners to host Scribner Place extravaganza this afternoon as Luddite ox carts converge on Hauss Square.

Accordingly, by astutely bribing 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey's chief advisor, Lucky Elmo, with a bottle of MD 20/20, NA Confidential has obtained a carbon copy of CM Coffey's internal memorandum for this afternoon's meeting.It has been edited for legibility.1. Resend Scribner Place ordinance (not air mail - too expensive).2. If they won't resend it, move to put it on the table for all to see.3. With handy Dick Tracy gear, burn it ... FIRE! FIRE!!!

August 31: Blogger NA Girl points the way to a "Council With a Vision."

Meanwhile, CM Dan Coffey’s barbecued bologna and fellow Siamese CM Steve Price’s whining nickel-and-dime defeatism continue to embarrass New Albany regionally.

September 7: Floyd Commissioners board the Scribner Place bandwagon, with County Council expected to follow; investigation demanded.

No matter. Mayor James Garner is quoted as saying he is “pleased” with the decision, while noting ominously that he will “have to discuss the county funding with the City Council,” virtually guaranteeing another encore performance of the Obstruction Chorus by the members of the New Albany Men’s Luddite Glee Club, a..k.a. councilmen Dan Coffey and Steve Price.

"We can't do nuthin', we don't know nuthin', and everyone should be like us," crooned the solo tandem before a packed house of six sewer-obsessed trogs who chanted "no progress at any price" on cue and showered the stage with nickels and dimes after the final encore.

Coffey's and Price's Welcome to the Open Air Museum Tour is expected to last through 2007.

September 11: UPDATED: The Trib's Chris Morris asks and answers a vital question.

(By Jeff "bluegill" Gillenwater).

Like it or not, the Mayor has done his job and offered a workable solution to a problem that’s plagued the city for years. The City Council, despite the predictable yet utterly fruitless reactionary grandstanding of Dan Coffey and gang, has yet to bring anything to the table that helps the sanitation workers or the city at large, let alone both.

If you’re not helping either constituency, whom are you helping beside yourself?

September 22: UPDATED: Did you hear the one about the golf cart?

Mrs. (Kay) Garry’s dispassionate, concise and detailed explanations of the reality of city finances yet again deprived the inevitably pontificating CM Coffey of the Category Five wind required to inflate his considerable gills, leading to the garbled Cappuccino back-peddling that is as much a necessary part of city council meetings as gasoline is to the internal combustion engine:

“We really don’t know how much of what is being spent.”

September 30: Educated vs. non-educated society, and why CM Coffey isn't likely to read this posting.

Universities are confined to the sports page ghetto, and Indiana University Southeast seldom makes the cut when it comes to education news in the Tribune, an omission that handily reinforces the notion that a high school education is sufficient in today’s job market, and college is an institution one watches play ball on television -- and, as (David) Brooks explains, the facts indicate that this simply isn’t so.

And who can forget the night that Councilman Dan Coffey disparaged reading, in public, during a council meeting?