A day otherwise known as Election Day, but for our purposes here one for ruminating on the City Council meeting on Monday night.
Area newspapers had billed the meeting as important because city attorney Shane Gibson would be introducing his plan for combating adult video stores, but instead almost three hours were spent in a captivating, such-exquisite-human-drama debate over a proposal to rezone a small portion of Green Valley Road so as to allow a pediatrician to build offices there.
Given that this portion of Green Valley Road (between State and Daisy Lane, in the vicinity of the hospital) had been abandoned to commercialism by several generations of zoning and council occupants, it seemed a simple proposition. Alas, no. It turns out that the residents of the four-decade-old subdivision (Ellen Court) lying behind the proposed office were mad as hell and not taking it any more, which would have insured them of five minutes and some bad coffee had not so many current and former movers and shakers chosen years ago to live there. An ex-Mayor (Nash) and the current Council President (Schmidt) are among them.
An epic struggle between dueling lawyers (Naville, Vissing) soon broke out, with the attending crowd fairly evenly balanced between pros and cons, and as the clock ticked away, the faces of the Council members became longer and longer. Most looked as though they had been sentenced to death and were being offered a final cigarette before the main event. The final vote was 6-2 for the development, with the President forced to recuse himself and two Council members (Gahan and Price) opting for greasy semantics to wiggle out of approval.
By the time this zoning debate was concluded, almost no one remained for the obligatory roll calls, including one for Gibson’s porno ordinance, which was not read for the public or discussed in any manner (it will return at a later meeting).
I saw Shane in the corridor afterwards. He was being interviewed by the New Albany Tribune’s city editor, Amany Ali. I asked him which hidden assaults on the First Amendment were to be included in the ordinance, and he laughed it off (so did I), but later I reflected that it was the sort of question that Ali never would be caught dead asking.
She had spent the bulk of the council meeting glad-handing politicians and attendees, and it’s almost unthinkable that she would be a probing reporter in such a tightly knit sub-strata of New Albanian movershaker life.