Our big fat Hibbardendum (1): Follow the PAC-besotted usual suspects’ beak wetting in the $87 million schools referendum.


As a preface to this daily ritualistic banging of heads against award-winning splash park water slides, has anyone noticed that D.J. Hines serves as a member of the NA-FC school board member right up until his testimonials are needed for the pro-referendum effort, at which point he reverts yet again to humble real estate mogul?

Do they really believe we don’t notice things like this? But Tom Jones over at the Hartfield Company — that guy can still effing bring it.

It’s not unusual at all, so the Courier-Journal’s Kirsten Clark follows the money, including D.J.’s cool thousand, in a survey of the most concentrated lobbying effort on behalf of beak-wetting-as-usual in Floyd County since … since … well, since when?

This well-lubricated, pile-driven offensive might well be classified as sui generis — and you can look it up, Shane, though I doubt you’l bother. The underlining is mine.

Campaigns ramp up spending in school referendum

Political action committees on both sides of a $87-million referendum for Floyd County schools have upped their organization and spending from last year after a similar attempt to improve school buildings failed by a narrow margin.

“The Families for Floyd County PAC has done things differently this time,” said Michele Day, an organizer of pro-referendum PAC, which is campaigning on behalf of New Albany-Floyd County Schools. “The PAC is considerably larger than it was previously.”

On the other side of the issue, a Greenville-based citizens group this year formed its own PAC, not so much to be more competitive with Families for Floyd County, but just as a safety precaution, said P.J. Moore, speaking on behalf of Preserve and Protect Floyd County. While the group spent more than last year, it’s still less than a tenth of the pro-referendum PAC.

“They’ve doubled down. They’ve increased the bond. They’ve hired a PR firm so they can be slick about it,” Moore said. “It’s David versus Goliath, and Goliath is cheating.”

Families for Floyd County has nearly doubled its spending over last year – which organizers at the time called a “grassroots” effort of less than $10,000 – with tens of thousands of dollars poured into mailers, signs and other advertising, records show. In contrast, Preserve and Protect Floyd County spent just under $1,800, records show.

Moore’s “David versus Goliath” analogy is apt, and while my previous comparison to the pre-Brexit mood in the United Kingdom still resonates …

ON THE AVENUES: It’s our big fat Hibbardendum, and Jeff Gahan is carrying the superintendent across the threshold as Metro United Way tosses rice and One Southern Indiana steals all the liquor.

… the “leave” campaign across the pond was able to match the sheer weight of monied “remain” endorsements from society’s best and brightest with invaluable assistance from the tabloid press.

There has been no such counter-balance during our most recent referendum push, with the possible exception of NA Confidential’s persistent gutter journalism, because as Mayor Jeff Gahan once noted, we’ve “never done anything in a positive manner to help the city of New Albany.”

Hear hear! But enough about the wording on NAC’s ceremonial plaque, to be nailed to the alley facing a deforested verge during the approaching end times, and back to the referendum itself.

Did it fail “by a narrow margin” last time out?

Not exactly. Here’s an excerpt from WDRB’s coverage in May, 2015.

New Albany Floyd County Schools tax referendum fails in Indiana primary

Voters in Floyd County rejected an $80 million plan to build two new schools and renovate three others in a special referendum on the Indiana primary ballot Tuesday. The measure was voted down with almost 55 percent of voters saying no. According to Floyd County’s election returns, 5,524 ballots were cast, with 2,531 voting ‘yes’ and 2,993 voting ‘no’.

Granted, it was a primary election, and vote totals were low (you don’t think Bruce “Bags Packed” Hibbard gamed that slot on purpose, do you?), yet it’s inaccurate to characterize a 55-45 tally as “narrow.” That’s landslide territory these days, in this sad-sack country.

As of Saturday, more than 18,000 early votes in the 2016 general election have been cast in Floyd County. Will far heavier voting during a presidential election season alter the percentages? Obviously, we have no public polling numbers on the referendum, and Nate Silver cannot participate in the discussion.

I’ve no way of handicapping the referendum vote, and won’t try. The Green Mouse says Hibbard will be down the road in 2017, yea or nay. One local wag put it like this way:

Don’t want to say the referendum is dead … but it has gone to a farm in the country where it can run and play out the rest of its days.

I’m not so sure, but if “no” wins again, I’d advise all and sundry to take a look at the off-the-grid methodology of Preserve and Protect Floyd County, a virtually invisible PAC with almost no electronic presence, which still manages to inspire fear and loathing on the part of community pillars. I like medicine like that.

Waiter, I’ll have some of what they’re having, please.

Back to Brother Tom, in a track recorded during the early days of consolidation.

What’s new, pussycat?

Nothing, and that’s the problem.

See also:

Our big fat Hibbardendum (2): The more things stay the same, or our school bond referendum, 2016.

Our big fat Hibbardendum (3): City voters, take note, because just as in 2015, the NA-FC bond referendum is a “driving oriented, suburban school model.”

ON THE AVENUES: It’s our big fat Hibbardendum, and Jeff Gahan is carrying the superintendent across the threshold as Metro United Way tosses rice and One Southern Indiana steals all the liquor.