ON THE AVENUES: Al Knable doesn’t lie, but the local Democratic Party is a flood-plain Pinocchio. Let’s censure it at the ballot box.


ON THE AVENUES: Al Knable doesn’t lie, but the local Democratic Party is a flood-plain Pinocchio. Let’s censure it at the ballot box.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

Last night I wrote to Greg Phipps, my 3rd district councilman, urging him to vote against Pat McLaughlin’s absurd, politically-motivated city council resolution to censure Al Knable, the body’s current president.

Phipps’ characteristic reply was cut and pasted to at least one other like-minded questioner.

“Just received the council packet this evening. Will carefully examine the arguments then vote accordingly.”

What were you expecting, profiles in courage?

Welcome to Adam’s Enable Asylum, and remember to check your humanity at the door, because New Albanians presently are witnessing the most blatant example yet of the pervasive gangsterism of Gahanism, and perhaps (at long last), we’ve arrived at the auto-destruct nadir of the Floyd County Democratic Party, although at this point they’ve placed the bar so low in the primordial mud that just about any of the regime’s ward heelers smashed out of their minds on Bud Light Lime could faint over it.

Monday’s upcoming censure resolution, team-authored by Adam Dickey, Jeff Gahan, Shane Gibson, Warren Nash, a late-model robot Adam borrowed from the Democratic National Committee and maybe even McLaughlin himself, who otherwise is destined to serve only as sycophantic delivery device, has two chief aims.

First, it is to cripple the council for the remainder of Knable’s term as president. He became council president only because the two independents fled from designated Democratic grandee Bob Caesar. Once Knable was seated and got down to work, Dear Leader’s conspiracy against him began taking shape.

Of course, the Republican Knable has been far better organized and much more ambitious than former president McLaughlin, whose “leadership” during endless years amounted to dysfunctional acquiescence to whatever was asked of him by Dickey’s and Gahan’s greasy cabal of human slush siphons.

With only four mostly reliable Democrats remaining on the council, and in spite of the mayor’s ability to periodically “convince” non-Democratic members (including one lamentable Republican) with attractive special interest barters, the fact is that Team Gahan can’t rely on council obedience as currently constituted, so it might as well throw a grenade in the room, and blame Knable at year’s end for the lack of results.

Second, and far more importantly, it is to serve as a clear and unmistakable warning to all and sundry that no childish act of malice, pettiness or chicanery is too small to be considered for deployment by the Floyd County Democratic Party if it is deemed sufficient to maintain power in the city (the county bolted years ago).

Dickey, Gahan, Gibson, Duggins and their crews will go to any length, however nasty, fetishistic and depraved, to remain the biggest fish peddling influence in this pitifully small pond.

Indeed, in the absence of coherent principle, mobster tactics are all they have left, but fortunately these have useful and instructive purposes for those among us who still value basic human decency. As such, the ludicrous Knable smear campaign actually serves as a convenient referendum on the fitness of our council representatives to govern.

Every last one of them comes up for re-election in 2019, and speaking only for myself and my home 3rd district, Phipps’ vote on Monday evening absolutely will determine my level of political involvement next year. If Phipps casts a ballot to abet character assassination, we can pretend no longer. The journey from thoughtful idealist to abject Dickey lackey will have ballot implications of its own.

I promise.

More importantly, for those readers considering themselves as progressives, and aligned with “the resistance” as defined nationally (and on Facebook), the advent of this local Democratic Party resolution to slime an honest man means you no longer have the luxury of indulging your purely selective cognitive dissonance.

It’s wonderful to resist tyranny, but if you are decrying it there and coddling it here, we have a problem.

If you’re on the left side of the aisle, and if you persist in believing that the local Democratic Party shares your views in terms of genuine action, as opposed to Dickey’s “forever for show only” gestures and signaling, then you’re quite simply swallowing a colossal bait ‘n’ switch.

It may be helpful to grasp that Dan Canon and Jeff Gahan are as diametrically opposed as the North and South Poles. They are parallel lines that cannot meet. The criteria you’re correctly using to celebrate Canon just as surely disallows Gahan and his shameless flunkies from consideration.

That’s because the local Democratic Party is not about ideas, and hasn’t ever been.

Rather, it is a crass patronage machine designed to create those juicy rivulets of sustenance that wet the beaks of appointees, secure loyalty, and maintain a level of largess capable of exploitation.

Our faux Democrats feed on sycophantism, nepotism, favoritism, glad-handing, threats and intimidation. It’s a swamp of fear, loathing and third-raters, and it’s not in Washington DC – it’s right here, rising like an oily mist from Falling Run, oozing between the third floor cracks, and inundating all of us in a morass of embarrassing complicity.

Gahan’s and Dickey’s vision of a local Democratic Party is about ideals only in the jaundiced and opportunistic sense that these can be voiced without any compulsion to follow through, and used as convenient camouflage for the down-and-grubby utility of reanimating what the local party historically existed to achieve, which isn’t civil rights or justice, but preferential pork-barreling and the maintenance of favoritism alone — enforced with “gentle” brass knuckle reminders (or TASERs) when necessary.

Folks, if you’re shaking your fist at the “enemy,” and your “friends” are behaving no differently, then it’s time to look in the mirror. Lest we forget, the only local elected official to publicly oppose Gahan’s public housing putsch to date is Ed Clere, a Republican.

Meanwhile, esteemed and credentialed Democrats like Phipps have stated for attribution that the demolition of 500 affordable housing units has nothing to do with them. Tell me, progressives: Which one’s your enemy, and which one’s your friend?

McLaughlin’s bullshit resolution means it’s time at long last to be truthful. You cannot “resist” the excesses of the Right by doubling down on behalf of the Democratic Party as it currently exists and operates on a daily basis right here in the real world, as opposed to Adam’s orgasmic Disney World.

In my view, both major parties can go to hell, and the Democrats might as well board the first train to Hades. The sooner the local DemoDisneyDixecratic Party disappears, the sooner something better can be built in its place. How can it get any worse?

But it can’t get better until we realize and openly affirm that McLaughlin’s censure resolution bares this gutless local version of pretend-Democrats for all to see. They’re soulless monetizers without a moral compass, and the only humane thing to do is euthanize the party, and start all over again.


It isn’t enough for the left-of-center resistance to be solely predicated on identity politics and social justice issues of the sort that Mayor Gahan routinely and insincerely hoists to bedazzle progressives, who are sufficiently desperate to accept toothless Potemkin human rights lean-tos in exchange for looking the other way as Gahan’s increasingly self-serving and megalomaniacal “luxury” expenditures and attacks on the working poor jump the rails of sustainability and common sense — and contradict everything a progressive purports to stand for.

I’ll close with my own testimony.

At this point in time, after 14 years of observing this endlessly self-renewing political debacle, I’d like nothing better than to make a clean break. It would be wonderful, indeed, to enjoy a quiet existence, with my lovely wife, our cats, books, music and oceans of booze; and be back in the good beer business, helping and mentoring my friend Joe with Pints&union and reconnecting the threads of brewing, history, geography, food and folkways, just like oft times before.

It’s what I’m very best at doing, and I should be doing it. I’d prefer doing it here, in New Albany. We’ve so very much unrealized potential.

Alas, I understand all too well that these many years of blogging advocacy, and my perpetual willingness to say what others can’t (or won’t), certainly damages my chances of getting back to work.

If so, then so be it. Here’s the thing.

Among other disgraces, Gahan’s public housing putsch, his endless budget-busting luxury expenditures, their contempt for the disadvantaged among us, those botched pro-automotive two-way street grid “reforms,” the mayor’s thuggish threats against city employees – and now this fresh new character assassination directed at Al Knable – you see, these are rancid, reeking failures and abominable power plays.

They’re disgusting, and they’re wrong, and while I sometimes wish my father hadn’t raised me to speak my mind and stand up to tyrannical bullies, cliques and personality cults, that’s surely what he did.

At this juncture, I can’t seem to unlearn his lesson. I don’t want to unlearn it, and I’ll continue to dissent from this crisis of pure avarice. I can’t ignore Gahan’s and the Democratic Party’s divisive megalomania, and I won’t.

You shouldn’t, either.

The first step in fixing what ails us is to open our eyes and see the local Democratic Party hypocrisy in the clear light of day for what it really is, not what you’d like for it to be – and with McLaughlin’s horrendous and indefensible censure resolution, there no longer can be any doubt about who is lying.

And who isn’t.

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