While the councilman’s current legislative efforts have been devoted to publicly spitting in the eye of community decency with respect to the council’s commitment to downtown redevelopment, the caterwauling didn’t exactly begin yesterday.
Like a scene from “Groundhog Day,” it has dragged on through endlessly repetitive cycles for as long as there’s been an audience in attendance and a self-aggrandizing political scheme to hatch, and in April, 2005, the grandstanding was aimed at ordinance enforcement.
Kindly note that the political entities satirized below are fictional creations of the author … and surely not to be mistaken for living, breathing people?
NAC: Today in the studio we have a very special guest, the esteemed city councilman of long standing, Mr. Cappuccino.
CC: Thank you (preening) … now, where’s that red light? Citizens, just last week, as I spent quality time with my beloved hobby of antique furniture refinishing, which I’d gladly settle for doing in a heartbeat if not for the hopes and dreams of dozens of honest, salt-of-the-earth West Side families, who depend on me to bring home their bacon, improve their drainage, install their water heaters and protect them from the Ordinance Nazis – hah! Boy, that’s a real knee-slapper – I gotta thank my friend Li’l Stevie here (Cappuccino hoists a doll atop his knee) for coming up with the Ordinance Nazi phrase, right Li’l Stevie?
LS: Yes sir, Mr. Cappuccino, you’re dead right, just like always … hey, there they are! NAZIS! NAZIS! Hide the video poker machine!
NAC: He’s certainly well tanned.
CC: Did you say well tamed? It runs in the family. Hmm, like I was piously intoning … anyway, my downtrodden westsiders need me, and as the Wizard I whiz only for them, even if it kills me.
NAC: All right. Here’s our first question, Mr. Cappuccino. Do you support ordinance enforcement in the city of New Albany?
CC: Well, Knack, when it comes to enforcing the prevailing laws, we have to be extra careful to avoid those questionable practices that might be conscrewed as discriminatory. We must understand at all times that there’s a higher principle involved than just the exterior design tastes and storage practices of fine, church-going, taxpaying people who have chosen to make New Albany their homes, and that’s because they have a right to expect a certain level of respect for the lifestyles they’ve chosen to lead.
NAC: Are you talking about the higher principle of fairness?
CC: (Rolling his eyes) Fairness? That’s what those godless Louisvillians are always pushing. Heck, we have plenty of fairness in New Albany, just so long as you’re normal. (Cappuccino strikes a theatrical pose) No, not, fairness, but the very lifeblood of the city itself, without which we’d have nothing.
NAC: The rule of law?
CC: (Exasperated) Law, schmaw. No, VOTES! Can’t live with ‘em when they’re cast by those hoity toity East Enders, and can’t live without ‘em if they’re my neighbors on the West Side! They don’t call me the Wizard for nothing, you know. At the same time, my world-famous barbecued bologna cookouts only go so far, and at some point, you have to earn the respect of your constituents, and one great way to do that is to protect them from the heat.
NAC: Wait — did you say barbecued bologna?
CC: Yes, I can smell it and taste it right now. My neighbor Marcelene cooks it up right. Cube the bologna, cook some onions in oil, throw in your favorite barbecue sauce, let it simmer … man, let me tell you, that’s living. Right Li’l Stevie?
LS: And you can put it in Tupperware, Mr, Cappuccino! Save it for a rainy day! Save it for a rainy day!
NAC: Mr. Cappuccino, what were your thoughts last year when the city of New Albany began enforcing the right of way for street sweeping?
DC: Quite frankly, it was a blatant attack on our cherished West End way of life – family, church, iced tea, NASCAR and the ice cream social, all under siege by the Silver Hills elite and the book-readin’ snobs. You know, I’d call it discrimination, maybe even genocide … if I knew what genocide meant …
NAC: To be perfectly honest, that sounds somewhat paranoid.
CC: You book learners are all the same, and it’s a good thing I don’t have to read those books to know what’s in ‘em for me. Listen, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean the pointy-heads aren’t out to get you. Every self-respecting ward heeler knows that ordinances are just like women – you’ve got to squeeeeze ‘em a little until they start making sense. Go and clean up the porno shop, and the people in the district love you. But when it comes to making them move the old appliances off the porch … well, that’s different. They’ll turn on you, vote against you, and all that tasty bologna’s wasted.
NAC: So, can you explain your vote in favor of ordinance enforcement?
CC: Of course I can. Like I said, I’m for it.
NAC: And what about your public statement that you are in favor of rental unit inspections?
CC: I’m for that, too.
NAC: But won’t you lose votes if such measures are adopted?
CC: There’s the rub, knacker. Being for ’em is one thing, but you didn’t hear me say anything about FUNDING them properly, did you? Or writing that ordinance so it’d have any chance of working?
NAC: Perhaps we’re beginning to understand the central equation.
CC: Don’t you see? If we give the uppity East Enders and City Hall what they want, and then it doesn’t work out in the end … well, you just try and guess who gets blamed when it tanks – right Li’l Stevie?
LS: Right, boss!! My friends, I’m not anti-parks, and I’m not anti-progress … I’m anti-success!! No, wait, I mean I’m anti-egress!! No, that’s zoning-speak. I’m anti-Garner!! That’s it!! It’s all his fault!!
CC: Yes it is. It’s kind of like the good spy, bad spy thing in MAD magazine.
NAC: Oh, so you read MAD magazine?
CC: NO! For the last time, I don’t read … but I know what people are writing. It’s a trick that Dick Nixon would have taught me if he would’ve been a Democrat … not that I was ever a Republican, mind you. Like I always say, be proud, be Democrat!
LS: NAZIS! NAZIS! They’re coming now, and they have books!!
NAC: But I thought the Nazis burned books?
CC: Who knows, but I’ve found that the biggest words tend to make the best open fire underneath that skillet of barbecued bologna.
NAC: But isn’t there an ordinance against open fires?
CC: Not where I come from, tenderfoot: The Wild, Wild West.
NAC: Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have today. Thanks to Mr. Cappuccino and Li’l Stevie for speaking with us today.
CC: Thanks, and just a quick reminder to my constituents – I have the keys to the crapper, if any of you need to use it.