Ante Up!

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In a way, it’s perfectly understandable that the leadership of the Democratic Party in Floyd County remains silent in the face of THE issue of New Albany’s future.

But only just barely!

In a remarkable expression of Democratic vision, the county chairman showed why he is so universally admired and respected when he called CM Coffey’s desperate attempt to scuttle Scribner Place “ridiculous.” But to date, none of his peers have joined with Messrs. Gahan, Messer, and Blevins, and Mrs. Crump, in declaring their enthusiastic support for the Scribner Place redevelopment project.

And even that broad brush isn’t fair. Legislator Ted Heavrin, destined to step down, at least for a while, from his duties beginning in January, and executive John Reisert, who is moving on toward a well-deserved retirement from public service, have recognized the wisdom of making a minimal public investment for an almost immeasurable return.

Incumbent Republicans are also on board, demonstrating a fusion of interests that bodes well for the future of Floyd County and its county seat.

But where are the Democrats?

Why have they not declared where they stand? Sen. Sipes and Rep. Cochran have earned the benefit of the doubt by demonstrating a commitment to that which is best for their constituents.

And NA Confidential harbors no doubts about where these leaders actually stand on the issue of Scribner Place. We’ve little doubt that they see this for what it is – a remarkable opportunity to leverage public investment and create a centerpiece that residents can point to with pride as the renaissance of New Albany as the creative capital of Southern Indiana.

Our question for Sipes and Cochran is this: What makes you think that the people who support you know your views on this local issue? Why is it that you feel comfortable in keeping the public unaware of your opinions?

Isn’t this precisely the type of thing you have worked so tirelessly to make possible? How can you abide the humiliating toll your party is taking at the hands of Dan Coffey and Steve Price? How can you countenance the moral cowardice of Bill Schmidt and Larry Kochert?

Are you, Connie, a member of the Coffey cabal, a closet supporter of the Gang of Four? Are you, Bill Cochran, powerless to influence the boys on the city council to serve the interests of the people?

Things have progressed too far (no pun intended) for either of you to blithely claim that friendship, or even past or future support at election time, entitles these four men to tarnish the party. No individual or group of individuals is entitled to slander the reputation of the party while you remain silent.

Perhaps you can no longer exert influence on these rogue Democrats. But you can distinguish yourselves from their ilk.

Our plea here has nothing to do with supporting you or not supporting you. It has to do with respecting you. Our question is this: Has our admiration for you and your service been misplaced? Have we wrongly seen in you an ability to separate policy from politics? Have we wrongly estimated your ability to draw a line and take a stand?

What Mr. Coffey and his eager followers propose is a course of action that will cement an NA-FC reputation for ignorance and insularity. We don’t think you built your reputations on such. We don’t think you will choose to remain silent in the face of this assault on what is best for New Albany and Floyd County.

Oh yes, we recognize we could be wrong. You may share the vision (?) of the Gang of Four. You may be engaged in vendetta and a desperate appeal to the lowest common denominator. You may be calculating that the hundreds of voters loyal (?) to these four are yours to command, and that counseling them to back down from a wrongful, vengeful, and prehistoric view of New Albany might cost you those voters.

But we don’t think so. We ask you to speak out in support of the Scribner Place development project. A word behind the scenes is not enough. Each of you should measure the consequences of remaining silent.

We believe that you will find wisdom in declaring your support for this project. Frankly, NA Confidential sees no downside. Your respected opinions will put an end to this lunacy without requiring a declaration of open war.

As Mr. Stumler’s recent statements make clear, moves to block this project are not respectable, they are not the views of Democrats, and they are not views with which you would want to be identified.

But sitting this one out is no longer an option. A sizable majority of the people naturally inclined to support you, Connie and Bill, will read your silence in the face of this atrocity as something falling short of leadership and vision.

NA Confidential recognizes that this is not a simple decision. But it is an easy one – right? Or wrong?

Let it be known. Shine your light. On so many issues, the two of you have led, not followed, not acquiesced to some compromising vein of misguided allegiance to the failed policies of the past.

As for those who are joining you on the ticket this November, we seek the same type of leadership. All of Floyd County benefits from the YMCA/Scribner Place development. For little more than $2 million in taxpayer funds, spread over a 16-year term, the community will marvel at the catalytic effects of this development.

As one wise man has pointed out, you couldn’t imagine even the possibility of spending $2 million and coming out the other end with an indoor water sports complex and pool. Private investment is sure to follow, creating a central core of services and vitality that, in any other universe, would be implausible.

Connie, Bill – your constituents are calling. Are you there?

Darrell, Jeannie, Linda, Teresa – are you there? How about you, Jimmy, Lodema, and Patty? Barbara? Warren? Bill?

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