The Tribune examines Mayor Garner’s record as city’s trogs turn their jaundiced eyes to CM Kochert.


On Wednesday, the Tribune’s Amany Ali offered two perspectives on the current mayoral administration at its halfway mark:

In “James Garner is the ‘Maverick’; Mayor, others reflect on halfway point in term,” Ms. Ali capably surveys the record of the past two years, touching on city hall’s handling of inherited budgetary problems, sanitation department reforms, EDIT fund expenditures, and the realization of Scribner Place, and concluding:

Garner isn’t naive enough to think that everyone is pleased with his performance. But he plans to complete his term, and hopes to be re-elected for a second term.

Longtime readers know that one short year ago, NA Confidential disagreed with this assessment, but given Mayor Garner’s subsequent record of accomplishment amid challenging financial circumstances, and the indisputable fact that he is willing and able to articulate a forward-looking and positive future vision that displays a grasp of New Albany’s considerable potential and actively advances the prospects of it being fulfilled in our lifetimes … we now openly, and proudly, concur.

It is true that prolonged exposure to the intellectual vacancy and vapid intemperance of Mayor Garner’s political opponents, both those in elected positions, and in the most bizarrely Barnumesque of senses, those whose behavior is exhibited within the dreary confines of the spitwad blogyard, would provide sufficient reason to support the sitting mayor even if there weren’t numerous other (and better) reasons for doing so.

Make no mistake: A vote of support for James Garner is not a vote for the “lesser of two evils.” It is a positive vote for a positive platform.

However, it cannot be forgotten that there is a less appealing, “other” side of the local coin.

In “Council, public divided on mayor’s performance,” Ms. Ali takes a brief excursion to the dark side, chatting with CM Mark Seabrook, who as the council’s lone Republican reprises his well practiced Hamlet soliloquy for the writer’s approval, and then turning to the equally time-tested theatrics of CM Larry Kochert, that sandy pillar of anguished defiance, his back to the goal line, with time running short.

When asked, Kochert couldn’t think of a single thing Garner has done over the last two years to benefit the city.

How uttery predictable.

Slippery Larry’s increasingly tired scenery-chewing would be more convincing to the thinking public if not for the sad-sack nature of his own long record of non-achievement when it comes to the city’s “benefit,” which is not to be confused with Kochert’s tireless advocacy of partisan Republocratic political concerns, i.e., those dedicated to maintaining the “devil we know” status quo rather than seeking bold, new strategies for coping with New Albany’s accumulated generational failures.

And so the sun again rises … and so goes the bleating of Kochert and his fellow obstructionists on the council’s unreconstructed Gang of Four.

Unfortunate listeners need only remind themselves after each malevolent, confused, or just plain daffy utterance from the likes of Coffey, Schmidt, Price and Kochert that nary the slimmest morsel of future vision has emanated from their side of the council table since the last election brought them together as a group singing off-key Luddite protest songs … and probably long, long before that.

Time and again, NA Confidential has asked that any or all of the council’s Not Bloc provide us with an outline – a sketch, a post-it note, the very briefest scribble on the back of a McDonald’s guest check – that might indicate the germ of an idea pertaining to the city of New Albany’s future.

Time and again, pins drop, crickets chirp, eyes roll, papers shuffle, blue veins pop out from sweaty foreheads … and there is no response from the leaders of the rear-guard action against progress in any and all forms, and no “communication” whatsoever from these paragons of ward-heeling whose incessant pleas to be heard and heeded are not matched by anything of the slightest consequence to say.

One might as well ask the Gang of Four to read aloud from an Urdu-language public policy text.

Ms. Ali closes her article with balancing testimony from New Albany residents Varie Munford …

“I’m the opposite political party, on paper,” she said. “I have been able to work with this administration better than any other.”

… and Randy Smith:

“The character of the man is what impresses me,” he said. “The mayor has made tough decisions and I think people are starting to recognize that.”