ON THE AVENUES: Opposition? It is defined as resistance or dissent, expressed in action or argument, and in New Gahania, now’s the time for it.


ON THE AVENUES: Opposition? It is defined as resistance or dissent, expressed in action or argument, and in New Gahania, now’s the time for it.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

Beating a dead horse sounds like the perfect tourist attraction to take place alongside Harvest Homecoming, belly-up Boomtown, or maybe even Develop New Albany’s purely confiscated Taco, Broccoli and Lutefisk Walk.

Just imagine Dan Coffey getting ex post facto, post-it-note permission from animal control to run the dead horse beating exhibition on city property.

DNA might pitch into the festivities with used maracas and sombreros, and then Coffey can expedite the proceeds to his Save the Copperheads (and Pay the Electric Bill) Fund.

But not until Jeff Gahan wets his beak, of course.

Today I’ll be lecturing on the necessity of principled opposition to ensure a healthy municipality, although first, precisely because we’ve reached mid-July levels of heated cynicism amid the prevailing arctic freeze, let’s take another look at the News and Tribune’s recent softball-toss, high-gloss fluffery with interviewee Gahan:

New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan excited about New Albany’s future.”

Oy vey, said the blind man.

Excitement of this inflated magnitude is dollar-clad tumescence we don’t need, at least without an air sickness bag.

Mamas, please don’t let your sportswriters grow up to be editors.

Pretty please?

There isn’t any need to parse line-by-line these exaggerated claims made by Dear Leader.

If you’ve already been drinking Adam’s brand of high-octane KOOL-Aid, you’ll be shocking the kitties with choruses of “Kumbaya” as our posturing mayor heartily congratulates himself with the “shucks, just can’t help it if I’m perfect” plea familiar to cloistered autocrats (or Greg Fischer) since time immemorial.

Conversely, if you’re a regular reader of NA Confidential, you know that each item on Gahan’s unchallenged-by-‘Bune list of glorious civic achievements previously has been contested and dissected in this space.

In fact, although you wouldn’t know it from reading the local chain good-news-paper, there are vigorous and ongoing debates about certain of the campaigning points, including the flawed street grid realization, luxury parks funding, clearcutting of the urban canopy and the public housing putsch.

Granted, it’s inevitable that elected officials like Gahan are given a free pass to indulge in blatant electioneering by this or any other newspaper unwilling or incapable of covering local politics more rigorously.

And make no mistake: Gahan’s self-congratulatory comments to the newspaper’s stenographer are political in nature. Period. That’s because politicians are political, by definition. They’re inseparable, and it’s the whole point of the exercise.

Ideally, differing political thoughts are debated in something vaguely approximating a free marketplace of ideas, but how does local opposition to Gahanism break through the cheerful cordon of the newspaper’s perennial, unquestioning business-as-usual bias toward public officials?

Yes, we might write letters, which are restricted in length and consigned to the dark inner pages in both newsprint and metaphor. A more representative roster of local columnists could help tilt the balance. Bill Hanson might awaken to a clue some random morning; then again, there’s no point delving into unscientific fiction.

However, in large measure, the opposition movement in New Albany speaks through this very blog, which points to a curious omission.

Gahan remains a presumed Democrat, and the bedraggled remnants of the so-called Democratic Party’s increasingly mediocre political machine have managed to keep hold of the city’s levers.

American history teaches us that one group in particular should be especially keen to seek redress to this imbalance.

So, where the hell are the Republicans in terms of the opposition?

Consider the notion of a mayor’s annual “State of the City” address to city council, as mimicking the tradition of the president’s State of the Union speech before Congress.

No, it isn’t a legal requirement, although I’m prepared to argue that it should be. In New Albany, even Doug England showed up and gave such an update to council once each year. Jeffersonville’s Mike Moore still does.

Unsurprisingly, this practice has been abandoned by Gahan, who during his own two underachieving terms as a council representative would have been the first to criticize a sitting mayor’s absence. Perhaps because irony is New Albany’s default state, no one seems to take note of its constant presence.

Instead, Gahan in effect gave his State of the City testimony to the News and Tribune – which asked no probing questions and meekly rehashed the transcript, and that’s the real problem, seeing as each year when POTUS is finished speaking to Congress, the opposition party provides a response.

You know, a rebuttal. The other side of the policy divide. Alternatives to orthodoxy. Hope for the dissidents.

In New Albany, why is the humble blog of a pants-down independent social democrat relied upon to provide the rebuttal to a speech the DemoDisneyDixiecratic mayor refuses to give?

Shouldn’t a Republican be doing this, too?

After all, given the reality of America bound and gagged by a two-party duopoly, isn’t it the obligation of the opposing party to oppose? To provide the alternative? To show some semblance of a pulse?

Look, I’m not suggesting opposition for the sake of opposition. Obviously, there must be viable content, but if we’re to adhere to this idea that two political parties adequately represent competing political value systems, it would be instructive to hear the council’s three Republicans make THEIR ideological case, if only occasionally.

And what better time to educate the populace than amid the gaping communications void helpfully provided by the annual State of the City speech Gahan can’t bring himself to give?

All that’s really needed is a cell phone and a Republican willing to sit down in front of a flag and start talking about what just now DIDN’T happen – and what SHOULD be happening.

Of course, in an age of instantaneous worldwide communications, the city of New Albany can’t so much as bring itself to film or broadcast ANY of its meetings, an increasingly simple function that would do more to enhance transparency in a cost-effective way than any number of blog screeds or live council tweet fests.

Mayor and council; Democrats and Republicans. Annoyingly, they all seem to prefer non-transparency, and that’s a matter for further discussion and dissection in its own right. Until then, if public officials irrespective of party affiliation really believe in greater transparency, shouldn’t they be busting their asses to advocate for it?

Dear reader, you may or may not agree with the tone of my political pronouncements here at NA Confidential, but you simply cannot say I don’t doggedly pursue my deranged oppositionist beliefs with persistence and passion.

Accordingly, while recognizing the many solid actions in community service performed by Republicans, I’m having a hard time understanding why they aren’t taking on (and talking) a more conspicuous role.

Well, at least they’ll still TALK to me. I’m a leftist, and whenever one of Adam’s pretend Democrats sees me coming, they cross to the other side of the street.

And admittedly, I broadly grin … the wankers.

Republicans within city limits, please take note.

It is 2018, and Gahan is handing you blessed daily material on the proverbial silver platter. Tradition be damned; the 2019 campaign has started. It began here at NAC in mid-November of 2015.

You need to be doing a monthly video (for now, at least), in which a Republican offers some semblance of an opposition viewpoint to Gahan’s megalomania.

You can take turns speaking; it doesn’t matter. If Gahan won’t give a State of the City address, a Republican needs to give it instead. I understand you’re considering a GOP platform for the 2019 election, and this is a fine and overdue idea. Bring it on. Remember, the marketplace of ideas is preferred by many, though abhorred by the likes of Gahan.

Full-court press him, damn it.

I don’t care how long Mark Seabrook’s family has lived in the city. It isn’t his turn unless he chases the ball. Republicans cannot win in 2019 by dropping into a zone defense; Gahan will dribble near mid-court and run out the clock, prattling all the while about his nice shiny objects, and keeping the credit card bill hidden safely beneath the mattress.

Please consider joining the rest of us in the opposition by turning up the pressure. Gahan might pull off a few fast break layups, and yet as the incredibly revealing viral video yesterday proved so tellingly, when he’s pressed, he turns the ball over, again and again.

Verily, I foresee a path for a Democrat other than the incumbent to win the mayor’s race in 2019; more about this at a later date. In the meantime, the enemy of my enemy is my bosom companion. It’s time to join the fray, urban Republicans.

As for NA Confidential, we’ll continue to work our selected street corner with style and panache.

That’s why we’re here, ya know.

Recent columns:

December 28: ON THE AVENUES: It’s the beginning of the end of insipid Gahanism, so let’s look back at the Top Ten columns of 2017.

December 21: ON THE AVENUES: Truth, lies, music, and a trick of the Christmas tale (2017 Remix).

December 14: ON THE AVENUES: My Franz Ferdinand heritage trail, 30 years ago in Sarajevo.

December 7: ON THE AVENUES: Say goodbye to all that, and expect the bayonet.