Following is a draft, never before published, and untouched since it was written on January 17, 2009. I haven’t changed a word.
Two years later, I supported Jeff Gahan for mayor. He told me what I wanted to hear, subsequently reneged on every promise, and in retrospect, I can only plead insanity given the verdict below, which has been amply demonstrated throughout the years since.
Here’s the unpublished analysis from so many years ago.
DRAFT The new conjoined councilmen are Coffey and Gahan.
Thursday evening’s city council meeting is summarized by the Tribune’s Daniel Suddeath:
Too bad I missed the coda, during which Dan “Wizard of Westside” Coffey flagrantly abused his new position as council president by jeering citizen Cassidy during non-agenda speaking time, gaveling Cassidy down, and in short, reverting to the serial boorishness and unconcealed instability that preceded last’s year’s charm offensive prior to the backroom deal with former council president Jeff Gahan that gifted Coffey with the council leadership in return for the support that the Wizard has been providing for Gahan’s emerging Machiavellian tendencies.
Yes, CM Gahan will eventually learn that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, and seeing as both of them harbor ambitions for higher office, it will be fascinating to see this alliance play out, but this story goes further than that — past the redistricting venom at the end of the meeting, to Coffey’s verbal and physical harassment of another citizen afterwards in Studio’s.
Pay close attention: Coffey is the president of the city council, and in effect, Gahan placed him there … and the president of the council has taken it upon himself to threaten and bully a private citizen with whom he disagrees. It isn’t even the first time that Coffey’s true nature has emerged in such a context. Note that in the past, before he was president, Coffey once looked at me during a council meeting and mouthed the words “I’ll kick your ass.”
I’m quite sure he would try, because he can’t respond to the written word in anything remotely approximating an equal footing with me, and owing to that knowledge of inadequacy, violence real or imagined usually is the result of the disparity. However, Coffey has been Coffey for so long that his most recent ill-tempered outbursts seem little more than par for the sad, degraded course. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and Coffey gotta dispense malice. In some ways, its a yawner … unless, of course, you’re the one actually being threatened by an elected official who apparently didn’t get the memo and doesn’t think that human decency — not to mention rule of law — applies to him.
We’ll see about that, but in the meantime, remember: Jeff Gahan has a plan, and as part of the plan, Gahan would like us to believe that Coffey is best suited to lead the city council. Think about that. Don’t forget it. Does judgment get any worse than this? Plain and simple, Gahan currently is an accessory to what happened Thursday night, both at the meeting and after it.
Contrary to what both Gahan and Coffey have spluttered in recent months, an ordinary citizen is not precluded from participation in the local political process unless he or she decides to run for office. That’s transparent nonsense, and both of them know it, although it provides a few valuable insights into the depths of the proclaimer’s character.
Mark Cassidy was not a part of the redistricting lawsuit, and became involved only after a judge ruled that the the council needed to (a) do its Constitutional duty, and (b) do it correctly. Cassidy then became a member of the committee formed to come up with an equitable plan, one that both Gahan and Coffey had no intention of honoring. Cassidy studied hard, and volunteered considerable time to do what the elected public officials refused to do even after a judge instructed them to do it.
So, you see, this really isn’t about Dan Coffey. It’s about Jeff Gahan.
I’ve used this space dozens of times to ask publicly that Jeff Gahan tell us exactly what his secretive game plan for New Albany is. We know he believes that scofflaws like Coffey are useful to further his own personal ambitions, hence the imminent need for flea powder. We’ve seen him scoff at the equal protections of the Constitution so often that it’s appears to be a personal grudge against the system of government he’s been sworn to uphold. We’ve seen the senseless, divisive and time-wasting anti-smoking jihad, which was staged primarily with the mayor and the mayor’s office in mind. We’ve seen the ongoing refusal to put an end to indefensible sewer subsidies extracted from economic development monies that should be used as intended.
I won’t pretend to be anything but confused and saddened by Gahan’s free-fall into the outer reaches of the dark side. He always seemed like someone who was reasonable, but now, only question marks remain, and they’re multiplying by the day. Now, I can’t run against Gahan for council, both because I have neither the time nor the interest in the job, but also because I don’t live in his district.
However, my business is located there, and given that I’m not feeling well represented at the moment, it is well within my sphere of interest to consider the legal establishment of a fundraising mechanism to raise money for candidates of either (or both) parties who will undertake to oppose Gahan in the next council election cycle.