Vote Al Knable and Christina Estill for New Albany City Council At-Large.

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Call it an endorsement if you will, or think of it as my personal support, backing, seal of approval, recommendation or advocacy.

This 2019 election endorsement series began last week. Thanks to those who’ve read the picks in city council districts 1 through 6. Before looking at the at-large council field, a reminder:

Municipal candidates who are not endorsed in this space are welcome to offer their counterpoint. I will publish your statements in this space sans commentary of my own.

The entire city votes for three at-large city council seats. The three Republican Party incumbents are Al Knable, David Barksdale and David Aebersold (in descending order of vote totals in 2015). Their Democratic Party challengers are Christina Estill, Sam Charbonneau and Jason Applegate. Voters may choose as many as three candidates from this list of six — or two, or one.

(As an aside, do independents and libertarians ever run for at-large seats?)

I intend to vote for Knable and Estill, and to leave the third slot blank.

Al Knable’s record of service speaks for itself. Agree or disagree with him — and I surely HAVE disagreed with him — the conversation remains thoughtful and respectful. In addition, Knable is transparent and approachable. His work ethic as a council representative is exemplary.

In retrospect, perhaps the biggest mistake Knable made during his first term in office was trying to be non-partisan, and to cooperate with Gahan’s Goons during 2016 and 2017. Through no fault of Knable’s, it proved to be a phony detente, and bipartisanship served only to subject him to an attempted kneecapping by the Dickeyites.

I believe Knable learned a valuable lesson about the Bud Light Lime Mafia from this experience in early 2018.

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.

Christina Estill is a welcome rarity among local Democratic Party candidates in that she’s genuinely working class and self-made, which is the sort of thing the gentrifying Gahanites can’t truly grasp. She is who she is, and that’s refreshing. As such, here is Estill’s pitch in her own words.

My name is Chrstina Estill, and I am your candidate for New Albany City Council At-Large. I am the single mother of 3 sons, Anthony 21, Alexander 18, and Adrian 13. I am a social worker by trade, and a community advocate by passion serving on the Board of Directors of Let Us Learn, and Community Action of Southern Indiana where I serve as the boards Secretary. I am a graduate of Spalding University with two bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and Psychology.

As a professional Social Worker, I use my training and experience in conflict resolution and effective individual group process to make change happen in the lives of my clients, and I will approach my job as your city councilperson the same way with a focus on embracing diversity, and seeking community input and involvement in decisions before us as a body. By focusing resources and time to issues facing all of our citizens, and advocating as a voice for social justice, I will bring my full attention to bridging the gap for a stronger, safer, and compassionate New Albany.

That means looking forward for sustainable development and infrastructure repair that keeps business owners big and small and taxpayers concerns and needs in mind, accountable and transparent service as your council person being your voice at the table, and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars with an eye on responsible governance. This is of the utmost importance to me because as an advocate for diverse representation in government we must also act with future generations social, economic, and environmental needs in mind.

Lastly, I will work to be a consensus builder. In these times of divisive rhetoric emerging nationally, I will never shy from bold and dynamic solutions while still working for the best result possible. Elections are debated on the campaign trail, but after taking office a true public servant works to lead. Strong and spirited debate is essential, but we must not allow that to be a roadblock to what is right for our citizens.

A lot has changed in the years since I came to New Albany, and great changes lie ahead in the years to come. My passion for people, our community, our environment, and future generations is always in the front of my mind in all that I do. We need leaders who represent the community they serve in all aspects. The city council is in need of a more diverse perspective, and I can provide that voice.

Knable and Estill; that makes two. For me, that’s all. At this juncture, there are reasons why I cannot vote for any of the four remaining candidates, although to reiterate, they are welcome to contribute their rebuttals to this space. Maybe I can yet be convinced.

Charbonneau and Applegate are both interesting and personable fellows, and I’ve enjoyed chatting with them. I like them personally. However, because they’ve enthusiastically chosen to be joined to the mayor’s duplicitous, catastrophic hip, I must rule them out as candidates. Politically they’re on the wrong side of municipal history … and I can’t go for repeating the same old lines.

This leaves Republican incumbents David Aebersold and David Barksdale, and both are problematic in the political context.

Aebersold has lengthy experience as an independent small business owner, and of course that’s a good recommendation in my world.

Unfortunately he also has proven to be an uninformed advocate of car-based urban infrastructure to the exclusion of other non-automotive users, and of course that’s very bad. Truthfully, I’m on the fence with Aebersold, but unless new evidence surfaces I’m forced to refrain. It might be a last-minute decision.

Barksdale’s lapdog support of the Reisz city hall project simply cannot be excused, especially his breathtakingly far-fetched comment to the effect that government workers situated in a plumbed, climate controlled City-County office building with elevators, cushioned seats and WiFi somehow are being subjected to “inhumane” working conditions.

There’s no doubting that Barksdale has done many positive things for the city, and yet this comment is a singular nadir in local political history, and plainly it disqualifies him to represent residents, roughly 25% of whom exist south of the poverty line, whose working conditions really are physically and mentally demeaning in ways that Barksdale evidently cannot fathom.

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