Absentee imperial mayor? City council should delay the Reisz Elephant vote until Deaf Gahan deigns to appear and answer questions. Isn’t that why he’s here?


Consider it foreshadowing (August 10, 2017):

Reisz Vote Buy Bonanza: “The News and Tribune asked to interview Mayor Jeff Gahan and was instead referred to statements in a news release.”

Monday’s council vote on the Municipal Government Self-Stimulation Act of 2018, aka Uncage the Reisz Elephant, will no doubt place take place with either Mike Hall or new hire Josh Staten on hand to “communicate” from the mayor.

It will be the latest in a long series of absolutely critical, time-sensitive-or-the-deluge council ballots at which Jeff Gahan has remained sequestered in the command bunker with the campaign finance abacus, a case of Bud Light Tangerine and the Netflix play list.

Of course, there’s good reason why the forever agoraphobic Gahan’s team of bootlicking sycophants must keep him safely secured against questions, and it’s because the moment any public interaction strays from the script (read: eludes the control of handlers), the mayor’s inability to improvise, or to connect with genuine human beings (as opposed to inanimate objects) is blatantly exposed.

When this happens, the harder Gahan tries, the worse it gets — and the angrier he becomes.

In this now legendary video from city hall’s rigged January meeting about the “Mayor Jeff M. Gahan Presents the Mt. Tabor Campaign Finance and Roadway Expansion Project,” the mayor’s petulance escalates with each of his dully repetitive refrains of “that’s why we’re here,” until he’s aggressively demanding to know why citizens aren’t listening to him, even as he insists that this Potemkin facade of a meeting was staged to prove he’s listening to them.

It’s required viewing for every voter in 2019, and would be a comedy classic if not for the gravity of Gahan’s serial ineptitude.

Will we catch a glimpse of the Great White Hope amid Monday’s final vote on the Reisz Elephant? In my view, council should delay the vote until Gahan materializes to answer questions.

Meanwhile, last evening’s guest column is worth a hard look.

Councilman David Barksdale’s role in the Reisz Affair deserves closer scrutiny — and his fellow historic preservationists should be the ones most worried. They’ve tied themselves to one mayor and his squalid motives, and thrown all their eggs into one basket.

Reisz’s ripple effects will be much less in terms of economic development than proponents claim, and far more extensive as they pertain to compromising historic preservationists’ credibility.

GUEST COLUMN: David Barksdale must recuse himself from the Reisz city hall vote.

As for the municipal corporate attorney’s scowling and defensive (35 Questions) performance before council on June 21st — these being the questions Gahan should be answering — let’s turn it over to the newspaper.

NEW ALBANY: Debate rages on over Reisz building, by Chris Morris (A Tom May Joint)

NEW ALBANY — For more than one hour New Albany City Attorney Shane Gibson stood before the city council Thursday night and answered 35 questions submitted to him about the proposed move of city hall to the vacant Reisz Furniture building. Many of the questions had been asked before, and many focused on the yearly payment and the added space the city would be acquiring.

Thursday was just a preview of what’s to come.

The council plans to take a final vote on whether to move city offices to the Reisz building, which would be developed by Denton Floyd Real Estate Group, on July 2. Gibson will be back to answer more questions then prior to the vote, and provide additional input. The ordinance to use Economic Development Income Tax money for the project passed its first two readings last month by a 5-4 vote.