New Albany needs grassroots empowerment, not top-down cliques. David White gets it. Maybe that’s why Jeff Gahan won’t debate him.

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Small wonder Team Gahan is silent, given the mayor’s fear of situations he cannot control. That’s why he typically avoids unscripted settings. It’s probably an undiagnosed anxiety disorder broadly similar to agoraphobia, but only his psychiatrist knows for sure.

In 2015 Gahan agreed to debate prior to the fall election only if the session was held on his own palatial home turf (Silver Street Park) with questions submitted in advance — and accepting that the hosting League of Women Voters organizing committee was controlled by one of his subalterns.

Not exactly fair, and I suggested the debate take place at Vic’s, but fine by me and I was absolutely delighted to accept the tilted terms. Unfortunately Kevin Zurschmiede was out of town for a wedding, and the League refused to change the date to accommodate the Republican candidate.

There was a second chance in 2015 in the form of Leadership SI’s debate at New Albany High School — and Gahan concocted a predictably flimsy excuse to miss it. Thus the city was deprived of the chance to have all three candidates in one place, at one time.

You cannot convince me that on Gahan’s part, this omission was purely intentional.

I’d love to see David have the chance to debate Goliath Gahan. I actually believe at some level Gahan himself might want to do so, given his outrage at the temerity of anyone daring to challenge his reign.

Regrettably, the odds are that Gahan’s handlers won’t allow it. They know he can’t do improv, and they fear the emergence of the nocturnal Mr. Hyde. But a boy can dream.

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