Council meeting: Mt. Tabor residents advocate for two-way streets … sort of.


There was a slim agenda at last evening’s city council meeting, and so it lasted twice as long as it should have. This is not unusual; rather, this is New Albany, where we’re all here because we’re not all there — and city government is the ironclad rule that proves the steadfast rule.

My pal Mark and me — well, you know, we wuz miffed.

As council regulars, we’re quite accustomed to waiting until the end of the session for the opportunity to speak our minds, or at any rate, what’s left of them. But on Monday night, unbeknownst to us, a special treat was in store, as my (Grant Line Road work neighborhood) 6th district council person Scott Blair had artfully stage-managed an appearance by Mt. Tabor Road residents, better to flood the meeting and protest proposed road improvements to their vicinity.

Of course to Blair, it isn’t only the group’s cherished status as constituents which compels skullduggery with the agenda, by moving their presentation forward. It’s also an issue of specific shared preconceptions, which actually are more generalized than Blair currently is able to grasp.

Hence, my existence s gadfly, and my mandate to remind him at every opportunity of certain repetitive lapses in his random application of principle. It’s a dirty job, but someone must do it, and two martinis provide exquisite encouragement.

Granted, it’s easy for a conceptual European like me to laugh derisively at the native New Albanian aversion to roundabouts (and in this instance, sidewalks), but of course, these Mt. Tabor Road residents have a very good point overall.

The city’s proposed changes would make the road in front of them more likely to be driven by a greater number of cars, and at a rate faster than before, a situation of induced demand likely to be taken advantage of by outsiders with no better reason than passing through because they can, thus rendering the corridor less safe for neighborhood residents … and yes, that’s right, creating a scene designed to negatively impact their quality of life.

Thus, CM Blair’s desired choreography achieved two unexpected, salutary results: It meant I was able to speak nearer the beginning, and the Mt. Tabor Road group succeeded in forcefully making my point for me, in the sense that their argument precisely mirrors the contemporary plea by inner city residents to convert one-way arterials to two-way neighborhood-friendly streets.

The primary differences are two in number: Downtowners have been afflicted by the mayhem for close to half a century, and CM Blair doesn’t understand this affliction because he does not understand what downtown urban living means.

I persist in thinking that’s he’s capable of learning. I’ll continue to earnestly, humbly and yet determinedly assist him in this quest.

Unfortunately, council veteran Kevin Zurschmiede chose last night’s meeting to reveal his own difficulties in learning, declaring “I’m not educated enough,” and furthermore, insisting that his ignorance of current events absolves him from attempting to fathom them. But was it really KZ, or was Mark Seabrook still wearing his mildewed KZ costume from Halloween?

Either way, I shall refrain from criticizing the councilman’s incisive self-knowledge. All of us know ourselves best, each and every one.

Zurschmiede’s revelation happened as the council discussed CM John Gonder’s R-13-15, a “resolution in support of efforts to increase participation in the new health care law,” known colloquially as “the governor’s ball is a son of a bitch” resolution … wait, make it “governor’s,” not “governor’s ball,” seeing as the former is a gubernatorial inadequacy and the latter merely a bicentennial atrocity.

One of CM Blair’s favorite approval stamps is “no brainer,” and Gonder’s resolution proved just such a “no brainer” phenomenon, one so incredibly obvious that even Bob Caesar favored it with his once-per-year nod at vaguely resembling a Democrat; the final vote was 7 in favor and 2 opposed. Oopsing the resolution was Zurschmiede, who admitted he couldn’t comprehend it and thought others should follow his lead, and … (sighhhh) … Blair, who yet again reprised his periodic selective principle wherein what isn’t the council’s business should be avoided unless Blair ratifies an item as council business.

I’d link to the newspaper’s coverage, but the Pensioners’ Paywall precludes me from doing so. It’s there, at the website, if readers have not exceeded their limit.