Monday, December 31, 2007

A Toast To a Happy Healthy Productive 2008!

Happy New Year!
May it be a safe and prosperous one for all!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Response to the Council's Survey

What follows is in very broad terms, what actions I would like to see this upcoming Council and Administration take over the next four years to help bring New Albany into the 21st century.

This in response to a posting on Shadow5's blog entitled "A Blueprint? Or Just a List?;

I reserve the right to tweak these thoughts to a more specific concept as the need in a given area arises over time.

These ideas are arranged in order of importance from most to least as I see them currently;

New Albany Common Council

Goal: To help make New Albany a more productive and progressive city!

1. Leadership;

a. Accountability, teamwork, & communication between all departments & branches of city government and with the public as well.

I. Reorganize/combine city departments to make them more efficient and place new blood in dept head positions

II. Find ways to increase manpower and training where needed to provide better services to the taxpayers.

2. Budget;

a. Explore and actively pursue alternative ways to increase revenue to pay for the city’s needs

I. Federal Grants

II. Increase the tax base

III. Private investments & grants

3. Ordinance & Law Enforcement;

a. Again pursue alternative grant monies to pay for more enforcement officers

b. Revise city ordinances and put some enforcement teeth in them to deter offenders

I. Building code and rental property controls especially

c. Increase the size of the city law department so they have the manpower/resources to actively prosecute offenders

4. Business & Infrastructure;

a. Downtown

I. Make it more business friendly by bringing back two way streets, paving them and repairing sidewalks & lighting.

II. Work with neighborhood groups in areas of image/beautification to help make our neighborhoods more livable and attractive to new business owners and workers to live here. That would increase our tax base better than any other way.

b. Suburban Areas;

I. Actively pursue light industrial and service oriented business for our limited industrial space and for downtown as well.

5. Parks Department;

a. Keep doing what we’ve been doing as I think they’ve done an admirable job with what resources are available.

b. Again, continue to pursue alternative financing for them

c. Possibly look at involving them in conjunction with neighborhoods to manage empty lots that are city owned. Neighborhood gardens come to mind.

6. Environment & Sewers;

As for these two I have no suggestions as we should know by now that we must do whatever we must to keep the Federal Government happy on these two issues. We either pay now or pay later.

Post Script; I'm confident that there will be those who read this both in the private sector as well as elected/appointed officials whose first comments will be "It can't be done!"

My response here and now is "Bullsh..!" Don't tell us Mr. Electee/Appointee why it can't be. Rather take note of item #1 in the above and lead us into the completion of the task at hand. Show us how to help you make it so!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

The King is Dead...Long Live the King!!

Well it's officially over! The gang of four is now one and a half; (ooops, make that two!)

The call to order came at precisely 1600 hours with an admonition by his majesty that the meeting be short, sweet, and to the point as he had houseguests coming in from afar.

Without ado the Right Reverend Donnie Blevins gave the invocation followed by the pledge of alliegence and roll call. Suprisingly enough, all nine members were present even though it was prior to the dinner hour (or was that happy hour?) Which reminds me, CM Coffey arrived at his post without his ceromonial stainless steel mug!

CM Blevins then took the floor to apologize to the council and public for his unprofessional behavior at the previous council meeting. He acknowledged that it was an emotionally motivated outburst and that he regretted losing control. His apology was noted and council President Kochert thanked him for his efforts.

This was followed by public comments at which time Mr. Randy Smith came to the podium in support of the commendable work that Haven House has done for New Albany's less fortunate and encouraged the Council to support those efforts with (God forbid) an outlay of cash!

At this point resolution R-07-45 was introduced by CM Zurschmeide to provide funding in the amount of $50 K to the afore mentioned. Discussion followed in which CM Coffey was in agreement with doing so and CM Zurschmeide was reluctant on the grounds that the monies may be confiscated by the IRS for delinquient payroll taxes instead of going to the needy in question.

City Controller Garry confirmed that if (and only if) she received a form from the IRS instructing her that any contributions submitted by the city were to to be forwarded to that federal agency, she would have no legal recourse but to do so.

This was countered by Ms. Anderson of Haven House stating that as of now, the IRS was working with them to resolve their situation and that issue was not currently a reality.

CM Price then began an interrigation of MS. Anderson concerning the organizations finacial management since 1999 from figures that he got from who knows where. Most of his objections were based on staff pay increases over the past several years that Ms. Anderson denied.

At one point she got frustrated enough to ask Mr. Price if he had ever turned down a pay raise as a Councilman. His reply was " No, I deserved every penny I got in this job."

Ms. Anderson finally conceded that New Albany was free do as it wished and if after twelve years of caring for this cities homeless with no help from us, she was (relunctantly) more than willing to send them back here for us to deal with when Haven House was forced to shut its doors for good!

Council at long last elected to appropiate $5K to the project with the promise to revisit it in January. Some of the residents of that facility then came forward to thank the Council for keeping them from loosing their children for at least another 30 days!

Next on the agenda was an increase in salary for the Mayor & the City Clerk for next year. After being assured by the City Controler that there was no legal reason not do as long as it was done prior to December 31, 2007 this also passed with a 6 to 3 vote.

G-07-20, an ordinance to amend the Sewer Board was tabled until 2008 by CM Gahan.

All that was left was G-07-19 (the redistricting Ordinance) and after a discusssion period in which CM Blevins questioned Councils attorney concerning its legality, it also passed with a 6 to 3 vote on 2nd and 3rd readings.

And so it is, December 27, 2007. The end of an era in New Albany's history. Dare we hope for the next four years to be more progressive?

Happy New Year 2008!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Occasionally, as hard as I try to be congenial, I simply can not resist the temptation to stir the bacteria and see what floats to the top of the stew pot.

One thing that triggers that reaction is abject hipocrisy, especially from the evangelical sect. This particular burr in my saddle made it's first appearance in my psyche as a teen.

One of the more religiously zealous young lasses in our church youth group showed up wearing the latest in fashion of short skirts and form fitting blouses on an evening at which the topic of discussion was sexual temptation.

She was very animate and proud of the fact that she had composed Christian lyrics to the tune and tempo to the then popular song "The House of the Rising Sun". Supposedly said version was intended to be a deterrent to the temptation that the original song suggested.

I was confused, took issue with the concept and was henceforth told that in the big scheme of things, it really didn't matter.

Fast forward to this evening; I was surfing the blogisphere and came across one that I hadn't read for a while and clicked on it. This particular site has seemed to lean toward evangelical propaganda so I elected to check out its authors.

Lo and behold I found a very interesting profile of one of it's contributors called "AnnieAngel" what caught my attention was not only this persons profile comments but the accompaning picture as well.

So I can't for the life of me refrain from asking the question here, Just What Would Jesus Do???

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to One and All!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hey You...Yeah You...the Chubby Guy in Red With the White Beard

After many long evenings of intense negotiations, my good friend and fellow rabble rouser (IAMHOOSIER), has reluctanly agreed to assist me from time to time with a contribution to this site. I'm grateful for his assistance in maintaining continunity during those times when I suffer from writers block. The following is his initial ofering and I trust you will enjoy his humor as I do.

Dear Santa,
I appreciate what you have been able to do for New Albany and me.
Provided just enough LEADERS with the foresight to bring us Scribner Place at practically no cost to the taxpayers. And the LEADERS that took the action necessary to get a letter from the EPA stating that, during the last SURPRISE inspection, our sewer system was in compliance.

If I could be so bold as to ask for a few more things for Christmas.

1. Bloggers with the courage to rid themselves of the veil of anonymity.
2. Bloggers who are truthful about who and what they are.
3. More police, with cars, on the streets on New Albany.(I know you slow your sleigh down when you see one, on or OFF duty.)
4. Continued leadership to get more good letters from the EPA.
5. Courage and common sense to the new Common Council.
6. Speaking of common sense, send some to the Bloggers mentioned in 1 & 2. And a full case of logic. Make that a truckload.
7. Wisdom and enlightenment to incoming Mayor England. He says he has it, this is just to make sure that there is plenty.
8. Some peace to Mayor Garner. After a slow start, I think he really tried to do the right things.

Mark Cassidy

Ok-ok, I'll admit his approach (as in the title) needs a little polish, but hey, we all had to start somewhere!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mind Bogglers....

In the letters section of today's Tribune was a piece entitled "Ode to stolen trash can"

It got me to pondern' about the odd things over the years that have either been stolen from me or someone I know.

Trash cans for example. Why steal 'em when many folks around won't even make the effort to use them? Drive down any alley in any city and you'll see mounds of trash bags piled up around perfectly good empty trash cans. But then it does require the efffort to open the lid to deposit said bag inside doesn't it.

Or mops & mop buckets. It seems that every shop I've ever worked in had a chronic shortage of both these items. Finally after months of beggging, we would get a new supply of buckets, wringers, mop heads, and handles and they would last about two weeks. The mystery was why steal them because most folks would rather wade through a greasy bay than pick up a mop and clean it.

But wait! Perhaps therein is the answer. No mops & buckets, no way to do it!

Shop rags I understood for they can be used for a variety of purposes. For instance, flags for overlength loads of lumber, emergency bandages, or in a pinch even baby diapers. But the wooden spools from toilet paper dispensers?? That one still baffles me.

Or one of my all time favorites. A friend of mine used to use those cheap green paper tarps to cover his seedbeds in the spring. He'd cut holes in them to allow the seedlings to grow through but it held moisture in until they took off. He would invariably have half of them stolen every year.

Tarps with holes in them! HUH???

I know that desperate times call for desperate measures but some things make one wonder. Are we really in the 21st century?

I suppose the only sane question is Why ask Why?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Go West Young Man!

Well, come Sunday evenin' that's what I'm gonna do by golly! This will be my bi decade vacation and I'm going to San Deigo to spend a few days with my Marine Corps son before he gets deployed over yonder.

The only other time I've been there, save in a tractor/trailer was in the early 60's. I was in the 3rd grade and my parents pulled me out of school for two weeks to travel across country to see my sister.

We had a 1948 Pontiac the trunk of which was packed to the gills with luggage for the three of us and clothes for the four grandbabies (two of whom we'd never seen).

The back seat contained a pump organ of German desent that my Dad had found in a pile on the back steps of a house he was remodeling. He dragged it home, restored it to mint condition, and declared he was taking to his youngest daughter.

From Memphis we turned south and took the southern route thru Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. In 1961 the Interstate system was still just a sparkle in Ike's eye.

There were no rest areas as we know them today but rather the shiny aluminum trailers which served as eateries (similar to what The Little Chef was originally) and lots of Tepee shaped motels with a gas pump located nearby.

In El Paso the universal joints gave out in the Pony due mostly to the weight she was carrying. By the time we got to Phoenix, blowing sand had pitted the windshield so badly that you could not see out it. My father was not very understanding of the fact that in neither case were parts for a '48 Pontiac readily available. Personally I thought it was neat to sleep in a Tepee wannabe.

The most memorable part of Arizona for me was how far one could see. Dad's program was to hit the road around 3 AM, stop for breakfast about 8, and then start looking for a motel around 3 PM. Going across the desert, that made a lot of sense back then. It was often a long way between those shiny cafes'.

On one particular morn we started out in the dark and saw a faint fire burning in the distance. There was a mountain range to the west of it so it shown pretty good way out there. We drove that day and never passed it. The next morning, sure enough, there was that fire albeit a bit brighter than the day before. Around noon we finally came upon it's source which turned out to be a gas well burning off the residue. Now bear in mind the top speed on the ole Pontiac was nothing compared to the modern version, but that was still a fer piece for this 8 year old to comprehend. When they say flat, they mean it!

We arrived in Yuma to find snow and confusion. Upon inquiry we were informed that this was the first snow many of the locals had ever seen in their lifetime. My father assured them if it was he was to blame for bringing it to them from back East, they'd never see another flake!

Upon arriving in San Diego, we encounterd yet another fluke as it was overcast, rainy & bone chilling cold the entire three days we were there. The sun popped out long enough one day for us to go to the beach and pick up shells some of which I'm still carryin' around forty plus years later.

Helen was impressed with the organ but decided she had seen enough of California so three days later the trunk got stuffed even more and the overflow along with her and the four babies occupied the back seat. The Pontiac got no releif whatsoever and for me the return trip was even more crowded and miserable. Now there were screamin' brats fighting over the cherished sleeping spot in the tepee's!

Anywho that was my first time there and subsequent trips have been very little better. They just don't take kindly to taking 70 foot rigs through drive thrus!

Hopefully this time will be different. Martin has trained there on two other occasions and knows his way around not only the tourist traps but more importantly many of the brewpubs in the area. That's what Marines do after lugging around 90 lb backpacks all day. They go drink beer and lots of it!

The only thing I've got planned for sure other than his graduation ceremony is a tour of the Stone Brewery complex in Escondido. That'll take the better part of one day or two or thr......!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust!

Wednesday last I roamed over to Clark Memorial Hospital to get an Ultra Sound scan to check for the presence of blood clots that I supposedly developed a result of the dog & pony show the medical profession termed life saving surgery in February of this year. I did survive but the hows & whys are a whole different tale for another time.

My incentive for this particular test was to determine if I really needed to keep taking blood thinners. I'm happy to report that the results came back negative. Like the big "C" cells, if there are any clots left, the little suckers are well hidden.

So Coumadin be gone!! That's one less shelf I have to carry around while I wander through life disguised as walking, talking portable pharmacy.

This Friday the 7th I go in for a followup "scope" so the surgeon can get an inside look at his handywork these many months later and then Monday next I'm getting a PET scan (what are they lookin' for? Stray dogs & cats?).

Depending on the outcome of those two procedures, they've assured me that I can attempt to go back to work in January.

I was concerned for a time that I'd not have the stamina to stay awake for a full 8 hour day. That situation has resolved itself these past few weeks only to present another launguishing dilemma.

I'm too damned busy to go back to work!
Rich Uncle on deathbed with no living relatives that wants to adopt a nephew!
References available upon request!
Yeah, I know it's crass, but you can't blame a bloke for tryin'!

Monday, December 03, 2007

And Behind Door Number Three We Have...

Okay boys & girls, we've almost done it. This episode is in the books and we have one more to go! Dethrone the King day is December 20th!

There was a stellar standing room only crowd present and suprisingly a majority of the same people where in agreement on three seperate issues. Those being against the latest incarnation of The Gary's kingdom expansion, against CM Coffey's attempted assassination of the New Albany Housing Authority (he tried but failed to paint it as the international hub of the world's cocaine trade and exploitation of our senior citizens), and remarkably to me, supportive of the 3% plus 1 increase in pay for the police department.

Personally, I began to get real nervous when I realized that the room was chock full of lawyers who still had their jackets on & buttoned and their neckties intact.

During comments from the public, several souls, including some of those lawyers, stood to address the NAHA issue armed with both testimony and data to counter Dan's attack.

There were two citizens groups representatives who spoke eloquently about McCartin's half conceived plan for his latest project on Charlestown Road. His first attempt got shot down 9-0 by the Planning Commission. The second one passed that entities muster with a 6-3 vote but the neighborhood still ain't buyin' it.

Then came a lone speaker to defend the police department and received a rousing round of applause from the audience upon completion. Oddly enough, Larry didn't pound a hole in the table with his gavel although I fully expected it.

Then followed comments from city officials in which Mayor Garner warned the Council to think long and hard about reinventing the Sewer Board wheel and Bob Lane rose to defend his staff, his organization, and himself. He came with a convincing array of stats and refutes to Coffey's accusations. He also got applauded when finished.

Mr. Haub rose to give a history lesson on the events from 2005 forward leading up to the stalemate in contract talks between the city and the police union, most of which I had never heard before.

CM Coffey tried his best to ruffle both the Mayor and Mr. Lane on these issues but to no avail. He just wasn't having a good night at this point. Bob's responses to him were reminiscent of Attorney Fifer's comebacks to Dan during the Sewer Rate increase debates. (and dummy me forgot my camera this evening.)

The salary increase ordinances for both police and city officials passed 8-0 on first reading. (CM Schmidt Wasn't present)

The NA Housing Authority amendment failed with 5 nays & 3 yays with Coffey, Price, & Blevins voting in favor on 1st reading. Suprise, suprise!!

McCartin's offering failed 1st reading with 7 nays & 1 yes (Coffey again). That one did surprise me a bit, but I soon got over it. The Council suggested some changes to the plan to be brought back to them for their reconsideration prior to the 2nd & 3rd reading.

Dan asked for the second reading only of the Sewer Board ordinance so further study could be done by other Council members before the Dec. 20 meeting. As usual, Coffey, Kochert, Gahan, Messer, & Zurschmiede banterd back & forth about ancient history for a period of time but eventually the vote was called for and it passed 5-3 with Jack, Kevin, and Larry saying NO!

Although it was long and good beer was not to be had this night, it was entertaining to watch CM Coffey's face glow like Rudolph's nose in a snowstorm!

As I've said, I won't be here for the last torture session of 2007 so I fully expect some one or more of you to pick up the slack.

Oh by the way. Before anyone says it, I'm well aware that using first names can be construed as showing disrespect for the position and I still don't care. If the foo #@its and all that rot.

Musings For a Monday .....

Have you ever noticed some NA Common Council members consistently have their tag lines quoted in the newspaper about current issues without having spoken directly to the persons or organizations they are referring to?

Or how same individuals consistently arrive at a Council meeting without having ever opened the packets they've had for days prior, make statements to the effect that they've never heard of whatever the particular subject on the floor is, and yet claim be more knowledgeable about it than the persons doing the presentation that have in fact done the research?

Does anyone else wonder how the city can justify fining citizens for allowing leaves to clog the storm water system when said leaves are the by product of trees that stand on city right of ways? Or why there are two large vacuum trucks that were designed specifically for leaf pickup sitting idle in the city's Street Department yard?

Here is a good one. In the great scheme of things where we have oversight departments, planning meetings and such, why do we pave the streets before the utility company puts in the much needed infrastructure improvements instead of coordinating with them and doing so after the fact? Unless of course this is an around the mulberry bush way of accomplishing traffic control. Perhaps that is an answere after all!

Frustrated?? Not me! I just love seeing our taxdollars at work and my elected representatives doing their duty for our best interests as a community.

Have a good week!

Oh by the way, tonight is Common Council night. Come watch the fun!