Friday, September 23, 2005

They Think They Can Fool You

Long accustomed to a passive immunity from consequences (if you do nothing, how can they hold you accountable), the veteran members of the New Albany City Council's Gang of Four (1st District CM Coffey, 2nd District CM Schmidt, and 4th District CM Kochert - 3rd District CM Price simply follows wherever the leash pulls him) hope to continue a string of no accountability.

Based on long experience, they believe that no matter how decrepit the city becomes, the populace will always blame the mayor, whoever that mayor may be.

The Gang of Four has an agenda designed to protect their patrons - those contributors and former power brokers who like things just fine the way they are. In fact, unlike the progressive factions in this town, it is those minor league mafioso who would like to actually drive out responsible homeowners by harassment and by generally allowing conditions in the city to continue to deteriorate.

You see, just like the progressives who want to see this city realize its potential, the Gang of Four's sponsors already do realize the potential. Depressing property values now is a means to normalize anti-social and even criminal activity. It also makes land cheap. CM Price has already become a mini-mogul of rental properties - cash cows, in fact, given the exploitation that goes on in this rental market.

That's why they oppose a well-managed sanitation operation. That's why they oppose a vigorous ordinance enforcement regime. That's why they ensure that the building commissioner's office remains the puppet of developers. That's why they simply bypass the building permit process. That's why they undertake public works projects without the proper authorizations. That's why they (and their wives, in some cases) seek to dazzle the gullible (that would be anyone who can't read a green-bar budget report) with manufactured numbers. And that's why you'll never hear one of the Gang of Four admit a mistake.

We will see if they are right. The spotlight is always on the executive. The Gannett paper's style is to take dictation from the Gang of Four, with James Garner always on the hot seat. In the past, such tactics have created a general sense of dissatisfaction that results in the ejection of whoever occupies the mayor's seat.

The Gang of Four believes that will continue. Believing that, they will continue to obfuscate and obstruct, relying on the public to believe their protestations and boasts that they aren't the problem - it's the mayor!

But as 2005 begins to wind down, they are worried. Instead of a general sense of dissatisfaction, they recognize that New Albany is awakening to a specific sense of dissatisfaction. Every day they continue their assault on the administrative branch, the mayor gains new admirers.

An acquaintance of long standing who was no fan of James Garner told me earlier this week of her outrage at the dilatory tactics of the Gang of Four, saying "By God, Garner's the only one down there who knows what he's doing."

It's probably too late for the Gang to retract their heads into their shells. Their performance during these first 21 months has awakened a city that ordinarily doesn't pay attention until a couple of days before the elections. The city is watching, and learning who is competent and capable and who is a self-serving demagogue.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


A few short years ago, one veteran city councilman (a self-avowed expert in a wide range of fields) found common cause with yet another veteran councilman to evade all those messy procedures about licensing and permits in building construction.

Apparently, the two are up to their old tricks again, but this time, instead of just evading the costs of permits and those silly rules about wiring, HVAC, etc., they now have conspired to take public money and go off on their own public works projects.

Read this C-J piece about the misconduct.

Question: I understand that under Indiana law, an agent can be held personally responsible when he or she purports to have authority to do an act but does not have that authority. Will Mr. Schmidt try to defend himself at Thursday's city council meeting? Will the words "I was wrong" even pass his lips? What, did Anna tell him it was OK?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bad Cop!

The common denominator among the New Albany City Council's "Gang of Four" is troubling, but the good news is that more and more residents and voters are becoming aware of just how obstructive and destructive these failed public servants are.

That common denominator is that they are against any semblance of order, community, or lawfulness in either procedure or the enforcement of widely-accepted law enforcement norms.

First, they attempted to appropriate the office of the building commissioner to ensure that the black market in permits (or non-permits) continues. Just who do you have to see about this festering sore?

Next, they fought strenuously to defeat, and when they couldn't do that, to hamstring any semblance of effective enforcement of other city ordinances related to property.

These first two, reprehensible as they were, were explicable. The Gang of Four were simply protecting their own property interests from rational and impartial enforcement. Their mafia-like backers must be very pleased as well.

But now they have their long knives out to slash at the police department. Can we assume that the Gang of Four is trying to protect their own or someone else's interests by trying to intimidate the police force? Racketeering and political corruption doesn't stand for long. All four of them are Democrats (although the council's lone Republican often stands with them), so they shouldn't be sleeping too comfortably with a Republican administration in charge of the Justice Department and the FBI.

Keep your eyes peeled for big, black Suburbans and dark-suited feds. They're the only ones you'll recognize. The undercover officers will blend right in.

Sleep well, Gang of Four.