On driving a stake through the toxic heart of the New Albany Syndrome.


Insecurity exists in the absence of knowledge.
… Unknown author

The Tribune has had its say – and powerfully so – so now it’s the Gang of Four News Agency’s day to obfuscate and crow:

Scribner Place funding rethought; Councilman fears city’s cost will rise, by Ben Zion Hershberg (short shelf life for Courier-Journal links).

Several members of the New Albany City Council are planning an 11th-hour effort to rescind funding for the Scribner Place downtown development project, saying the city can’t afford it.

But council President Jeff Gahan said yesterday that it’s unlikely that a resolution to eliminate the city funding — expected to be $137,500 a year for 16 years — would get the five votes it needs for passage.

Councilman Dan Coffey, who plans to ask for a vote Thursday on such a resolution, said he thinks the vote will be close — perhaps 5-4. He said he’s not sure which way it will go.

Pliant as ever, the C-J’s GFNA stenographer duly records the tired and one-dimensional litany of objections to Scribner Place (and all hope of human progress) as numbingly chanted by CM Dan “The Great Reneger” Coffey and council ally CM “Slippery” Larry Kochert, noting the enthusiastic participation of CM Steve “Whatever it is, I’m against it” Price in any project that can be artfully wedged into the no-growth gospel as preached by the no-debt Dave Ramsey, but failing to speculate on the current position of CM Bill Schmidt, who had remarkably little to say – about anything – at the last council session on June 5.

It is widely assumed, and not without justification considering his record during the past two years, that CM Schmidt is the fourth vote in favor of CM Coffey’s excremental and capitulatory resolution against revitalization.

(Speaking only for myself, I hope it isn’t true, and that CM Schmidt rejects the entreaties of his colleagues as they advocate a thinly veiled kneecapping of the city’s and their grandchildren’s futures. It is almost unspeakably sad that CM Schmidt’s recent collusion with the openly avowed enemies of progress has perhaps irrevocably tainted the previously solid and unimpeachable legacy of his career serving the community.)

Meanwhile, the past two weeks have seen a yet another flurry of networking and advocacy by sincere and capable citizens, especially those who live and work downtown, aimed at affirming support for Scribner Place – and significantly, by purely logical extension, standing tall for the principles of downtown revitalization that can and have been objectively surveyed and found to be successful in cities with situations similar to New Albany’s.

Consequently, CM Dan Coffey’s Scribner Place resolution must be seen for what it really is, and not for what the disingenuously devious Wizard of Westside claims it is.

Readers, do not be deceived by the “we can’t afford it” mantra of the council’s obstructionists, which in and of itself is patently absurd, but incorrectly serves to obscure what they’re really saying, and saying more loudly – and desperately – now that their latest feeble bluff is being called and its true nature observed:

We are undereducated, unmotivated, and eternally suspicious of those who succeed, and furthermore, in political terms, if we must choose between abject and humiliating failure and permitting a Mayor we openly detest to pursue and to receive credit for progress, we consciously and happily choose failure, because at the primal level of our dysfunction, failure is the devil we know.

Time and again over the past two years, the right side of the council table has waged sneering, chortling, cowardly war against knowledge, reason and simple decency.

How many times have trained professionals been ritualistically abused by a high school dropout with a second-tier Napoleonic complex?

How often have the interests of the downtrodden been cited as the very reason why nothing should be attempted to assist them?

How often has it been doubted publicly that the city and its people will ever recapture the spirit that once made it bright and vibrant, and that instead, we must surrender and starve the city of investment rather than fighting back?

How often have ignorance, spite and peevishness been declared political virtues, and deployed as weapons against the very people whose abilities, interests – yes, and money – are valued and appreciated in other cities where revitalization has succeeded?

NA Confidential has been known to embrace the theatrics of agitprop, but when it comes to the issue of Scribner Place and CM Coffey’s council resolution to shamelessly bludgeon it into oblivion, we needn’t resort to rhetoric. It’s culture war, pure and simple: Coffeyism vs. Modernity.

But we have eschewed sensationalism, choosing instead to present the arguments on behalf of the Scribner Place project specifically and downtown revitalization generally — and so have the individuals and organizations in New Albany who are best trained, best placed and best able to parlay the relatively minuscule investment required for Scribner Place’s completion into reality-based revitalization trends … into progress, something New Albany’s seen little of during the past two decades.

Search this blog for “Scribner Place,” and read what we’ve been saying about it, but pour a cup of coffee first. Being “for” anything requires much effort, much explanation, and many sources of information, while being “against” usually comes down to one word: “No.”

In opposition to our stance, we’re being offered a potpourri of selective numbers, treated to the cancerous malevolence of the congenital fear-mongers among us, and urged to accept with resignation a wretched, discredited civic and political tradition of dysfunctional underachievement.

Success or failure? It’s an easy choice for us, but you make the call.

A new and fresh demographic … or the same barbecued slathered bologna?

A Blackberry … or the Brambleberries?

Increased investment from outside the community … or accelerated decay from within?

The known economic and social benefits of education … or New Albany’s detriment at its ongoing degradation?

Ordinance enforcement … or slumlord enthronement?

Success … or failure?