Friday, December 02, 2005

Wisdom from the Prairie

One reads books in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don't read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining. -- Garrison Keillor, Salon Magazine.


Solna's late Cali post: Transparently manufactured, fooling only the blog administrator, who is either a fool, or the author of same.

NAC's Thursday postings: Declarations of principle and challenges worthy of emulation.

No comparison.

When it comes to a battle of wits, it's sad to see one party come into battle unarmed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

If She's Innocent, Who's Guilty?

By now, the New Albany Board of Public Works & Safety, Mayor Garner, and City Attorney Shane Gibson will have in hand all the submissions for operating the household refuse collection services for 2006.

But there sure seems to be a lot of sub rosa maneuvering going on. The Gang of Four are up to the same old dirty tricks again. When told last spring that there was a hole in the ship that is New Albany, the gang proceeded to start digging holes in the keel. When a sail needed hoisting, they cut the lines.

Now, we discover the allegation that one or more city council members is tampering with the sanitation contract, claiming to have secret knowledge of the unknowable.

Every bidder, and every resident of this city, is entitled to a bidding process that is fair. These bids were sealed, and opened only this morning. Yet, the manager of the pink blog claims to know in advance not only the low bidder, but the winning bidder.

But she claims not to have personal knowledge, but rather, knowledge secretly passed to her by a member of the city council.

We know her facts are lies. What we don't know is who the liar is. Is Laura Oates the liar? She did retract her false report, but only in part. Apparently, she still maintains the truth of her assertion, but "apologizes" for the authority she cited.

Now, she is alleging felonious conduct on the part of a city council member. You can be sure the attorneys for those companies (and the union, if applicable) who fail to obtain the city sanitation contract, will want to know who that (those?) member(s) is (are).

Did BPW chairman Tony Toran impermissibly open these bids? Did another member of the board of works? Did a clerical employee tamper with sealed bids? Did a city council member use undue pressure on some lowly city employee to obtain knowledge of the bid specifics?

I am myself satisfied that the bid packages themselves were not tampered with. But I'm not the judge and jury on that. Mr. Toran's ethics are above reproach, smears and slanders notwithstanding. No city employee would risk their job and risk jail time to leak information to a city council member about sealed bids.

Therefore, there are only two possibilities. Oates is lying. Or her sources lied to her.

The lie is exposed. The attempt to interfere with the bid process is a felony. The question is, who committed the felony - Oates or the elected official? Disinterested speculation as to who might be the "favorite," and even journalistic digging to ferret out from the bidders their proposals would be permissible, if unhelpful, but when an elected official pretends to have inside information and spreads that around, it is clear malfeasance and grounds for removal from office.

The potential for bidders being extorted into shading their bids, or the potential to deter present and future bidders from participating in a sham process, are serious violations of the public trust. New Albany needs for its bid processes to be not only clean, but to appear to be clean, too.

I believe that the next city council meeting is the time for each member of the city council to come clean. While we're at it, let's interrogate Mr. Toran and the rest of the BoW to see where the truth lies. While denials by all nine won't necessarily implicate Oates as anything other than a gullible tool, it could be the lie that ends a political career.

If, as I suspect, the member(s) believe themselves fully justified in either a) engaging in felonious tampering or b) extortion of bidders, they should step forward and explain themselves to the council, and to the people.

Beyond the legal ramifications, which may have deterred the union from submitting a legal bid, it was a cruel lie to dump on the employees of the sanitation department on a holiday weekend. For those to whom Ms. Oates has credibility, it only poured fuel on the fire. But come to think of it, that was probably the motive. Too bad the political gamesmanship crossed the threshold to criminal malfeasance.

In this instance, I believe Ms. Oates. Will Keith Henderson?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Credibility Gap

Anonymous rumor-mongering is one thing, but the operator of the pink blog has taken her credibility quotient down yet another notch. I would have thought that impossible, but indeed she not only floated another conspiracy theory, backed by her "fact" that the contract for sanitation services in New Albany has already been awarded in advance of the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting set for tomorrow.

She attempted to back her claim by asserting that the award announcement was published in the "legals" classified section of The Tribune on Friday. When challenged on her assertion, she restated it, defending herself against the charge she was disseminating false information. Here, verbatim, is here insistent defense that she is NOT wrong.

...Despite accusations of 'flawed information', the contract for privatizing sanitation services has been awarded to Rumpke. This was posted in the Legals of the Friday Tribune...(signed) east ender.

What possible motive would she have for making and re-making such an outlandish claim, then further attempting to fool her readers by referring to a nonexistent newspaper notice?

Speculate at will.

For affirmation of the untruth of her allegation, which would have raised numerous objections from this quarter had it turned out to be true, note that the Friday Tribune legals were published on page B5. I have a crisp $100 bill for anyone who can show me the "legal" to which east ender is referring. Trust me folks, it ain't there.

But then, if your aim in life is to cast aspersions, I suppose it was worth the risk to her to bluff it out. When paranoia rules your life, and you stop taking your meds, truth loses out.

By the way, the BPW&S will be opening bids to supply gasoline at Tuesday's meeting, and that is noted in the legals for Friday.