He wears a “K” on his chest, but it doesn’t mean “strikeout.”

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It’s a holiday, folks. 230 years ago courageous men took a stand on principle to create this country. They birthed it, but we’re still fighting to keep it alive.

Monday night, long-serving 4th District Council Member Larry Kochert took a courageous stand, but not before an angst-riddled interval. While the attempted murderers of Scribner Place repeatedly called out advice vestigial and parliamentary, Mr. Kochert was in obvious agony.

He could have taken the weasel’s way out with the vote standing at 4 nays, 3 ayes to kill the project. A weasel would have voted aye, establishing a tie vote and thereby defeating the resolution. And Larry could have done that while claiming he was both for and against the Scribner Place/YMCA/Harrah’s Foundation Natatorium redevelopment project.
So whether he voted aye or nay, the matter was settled. Scribner Place is a go for launch. But it was still dramatic.

Shaking in frustration and silently praying that the final bill for the city comes in at $137,500 per annum, Kochert stretched out the voting for what seemed like five full, silent minutes.
For the record: Voting to kill Scribner Place were CM’s Coffey (District 1), Schmidt (District 2), and Price (District 3). All other members in attendance voted against any notion of killing the project and creating a lasting stain on the name of New Albany.

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During the “Communications from the Public” portion of the evening, one woman argued forcefully that council resolutions are “council” business and that the public and the press have no right to know what’s in the members packets, even though it is a public record. Mystical knowledge passed down through the generations seemingly informed her complaint, but the fact that NA Confidential got the scoop on the Schmidt resolution did nothing but give the public MORE information, not less. That’s called journalism, in case you were wondering.

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Speaking of journalism, Ben Zion Hershberg, part-time reporter for The Courier-Journal (GFNA is his real gig) must have been squirming as council member after council member referred to the outstanding reporting being done by our hometown newspaper over the past several weeks. If I heard “It says in The Tribune” once, I heard it a dozen times.

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Of course, not all communications from the public are created equal as those in attendance will attest. As this reporter was ejected from a recent meeting for seeking to rectify a slander, and this after being muzzled by the presiding officer for no reason other than that he didn’t care for how I was saying it, I’m particularly sensitive to the favoritism shown to certain individuals who are allowed to “communicate” with council at their discretion. I’ll be discussing this with Indiana’s Public Access Counselor shortly. Even Larry Kochert thinks I should do so.

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The other atrocity on the agenda was the “Terminate Shane Gibson” ordinance, put forward by none other than that champion of the community forum, and friend Brandon’s idea of a man you can work with, Dan Coffey. Short report? The ordinance was basically ridiculed by the president and a majority of the council as being inappropriate, inopportune, and poorly thought-out. Going 0-for-2 for the evening didn’t seem to throw Coffey off his stride, though. He stuck to his playbook despite its proven loserdom. Isn’t that the definition of something???

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CM Price must have had a birthday recently, and the wards for whom he serves as pater familias went all out and got him the ever-useful Word A Day Toilet Paper. Tonight’s word? “Argumentative,” which Price whipped out of his holster to flog Jack Messer with. And then Steve sat back triumphantly with a giant beef-stick-eating grin as if he’d invented the word. “You’re just being argumentative.”

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It truly was Café Nebulosa on the third floor Monday night. Firing wide, Mr. Coffey questioned city planning and redevelopment officer John Rosenbarger as to whether the YMCA would be able to participate in the “Capital Investment Campaign Fund.” You know, that thingee Dan read about just this month in The Tribune. Rosenbarger was at a loss, since the “CICF” is, in fact, exclusively the fundraising campaign for the Y and has nothing whatsoever to do with the city.

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It’s not all kudos this day for Mr. Kochert. He’s either disingenuous or losing memory cells faster than anyone suspected. During the Scribner Murder debate, he claimed, in the immortal words of his 1st District colleague and co-conspirator, “this is the first I’ve heard of it,” referring to the city’s irrevocable commitment to devote as much as $400,000 a year to retire the Scribner Place bonds.

In fact, Kochert was the author of the amendment that put Scribner Place on track last fall, insisting that the $400,000 commitment be reduced by any amount proffered by Floyd County. That was enough to start the process that ends this month with the sale of the bonds, and next month with the groundbreaking

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Speaking of breaking new ground, Mayor Garner and the supporters of Scribner Place should plan to have about 1,000 shovels for that ceremony. Special seating (but no shovels) should be arranged for the opponents of the project, who will doubtless insist on claiming credit for its success. Think anyone will pay to have that ceremony taped and then scream conspiracy unless the school system’s educational channel broadcasts it?

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Kochert, who often fills out the card table at Gang of Four meetings, may have abdicated his seat to CM Donnie Blevins, but he still has his poodle to keep him company at Mickey D’s. But there may be more trouble in Gangland. Dan Coffey chose Monday night to bring up the crying need for a city impound lot. Lest we forget, marionette Stevie and his gal pals killed the city’s best option to not only replace the old lot but create a revenue stream. Why? NIMBY, of course.

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It’s simply amazing what lies get told at council. But what’s more appalling is that no one challenges them. Please, folks, if you haven’t attended a New Albany City Council meeting, you simply must make the time to do so.

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Here’s a modest proposal. Since under the law the default management of our unfunded federal stormwater mandate lies with the sewer utility, and since the sewer board abdicated that duty and forced the creation of a separate board to manage compliance and investment, council should allocate salaries to be equally divided between the two boards. I don’t really care how much they get paid so long as the stormwater board is paid in parity with the sewer board.

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Best unintentionally funny line of the evening goes to (drumroll, please)…Steve Price, who said “I’m in now way against moving New Albany forward.”

We’re going to have to retire that trophy, Steve. It looks like the other guys weren’t even trying. Love that Porter Waggoner thing you’ve got going on, too. But your companion’s Dolly Parton impression is the worst I’ve ever seen.

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