NAC’s New Albany “Person of the Year” for 2019 is Dear Leader’s pervasive, relentless Automobile Supremacy.


It’s time once again for NA Confidential to select New Albany’s “Person of the Year.” As in 2018, there’ll be no run-ups and time-wasting teasers, although our basic definition remains intact, as gleaned so long ago from Time.

Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that “for better or for worse … has done the most to influence the events of the year.”

Given the outcome of the 2019 municipal election, with the incumbent mayor Jeff Gahan winning a third consecutive term for the first time since C. Pralle Erni in the 1950s, the conventional wisdom suggests that Gahan — currently an unchallenged, dominant figure in terms of accumulated power and authority — would easily win the title of “Person of the Year.”

Maybe in a milquetoast milieu awash in donor dollars, but all I can say to this is “Fuck a bunch o’that.”

Rather, let’s look at the prime beneficiary of the past eight years of pay-to-stewardship, Gahan-style. What do the following signature Gahan projects all have in common?

  • River Run splash pad
  • Silver Street pleasure dome
  • Cannon Acres luxury doggie park
  • Roadway corridor expenditures (Grant Line, Mt. Tabor, McDonald Lane, State Street)
  • Summit Springs hilltop chain orgy
  • Reisz Mahal opulent HQ
  • Downtown grid “improvement” project

Answer: They all promote automobile centrism/supremacy at the expense of other users, whether those on foot, riding bicycles or preferring mobility options like public transportation.

They all came from Gahan with illusory promises to the contrary, which were little more than bait ‘n’ switch window dressing for the driver-fluffing floor show.

As traffic speeds increase, errant drivers go unpunished and sharrow symbols somehow fail to protect, Gahan has seen to it that the car stays king in Nawbany, and all other street and roadway users remain second-class citizens — and he’ll continue lying about it until the day comes when he finally goes away.

However, there is a certain irony to Gahan’s love for our cars. The extended period of the Sherman Minton bridge’s repairs and ensuing traffic disruptions will constitute the first serious challenges to the mayor’s “Wizard of Bling” stewardship during eight years of cruise control, for which he’ll be woefully unprepared and forced to cooperate with Republicans for any semblance of relief.

It will and it won’t be hilarious, simultaneously.

Previous winners: