Oct 31, 2009

Redeveloping a concept of local government...

What to do about CHDO?
Last week a notice was posted on the City Government Bulletin Board (NATribune) about the latest quagmire of resource depletion, the Linden Meadows project. No, sadly, the project’s goal was not creating a Linden meadow abutting I-64. It’s conceptually flawed goal was to create affordable housing. But in fact it destroyed a park, a linden meadow? to make way for the project. This “Linden Meadows” could now be named “Erosion Field”.
From what I read, the city has proposed handing 1/2 million dollars to a big bailed-out bank, so they can add 18 blighted properties to the towns glutted inventory of blighted properties. Given the already $600 million National City sucked down at the taxpayer bail-out trough in 2009, just remember, you’ve already bought Linden Meadows. Why pay twice?
Then these dots started connecting, in that stark-raving math kinda’ way in my head.
If the redevelopment wing of local government buys more ghetto, it can turn around and say we need to pay them to redevelop the ghetto! If the city just keeps using tax money to buy more distressed commercial properties, the ghetto grows, and so presumably does the need for “redevelopment”. So then I flip the equation backward and it reads: 50 years of “redevelopment” has created the ghetto NA is today!
Well then, my simple math says if we stop pouring money into government redevelopment fiascos’, and instead force them to use the money for public safety, infrasturcture, and education, the ghetto would go away!! Wow, so simple. So Zen. Reduce city government by better use of technology, eliminate the pretense of gov’t redevelopment, focus on basics, and boom - ethical, sustainable growth.
Here are my personnel pruning shears, let’s see where to start -
Building Commissioner
Carl Malysz
Plan Commission
Carl Malysz- Director of Community Development

John Rosenbarger- Director of Public Facilities Projects

Scott Wood- Chief Planner
Krisjans Streips- Planner

Carl Malysz - Director of Community Development

John Rosenbarger- Director of Public Facilities Projects

Cyndi Krauss- Financial Compliance Mng.

Sherrie Holmes- Public Service Specialist

Deputy Mayor

Carl Malysz

Wow, a quick cut-n-paste of the NA org chart and the first thing I see - the Mayor doesn’t have a job. So then, you eliminate all the positions above, and give them to the Mayor, then he’d have a full time job. I know - he has no plan or ideas of his own. OK, since his only vision for New Albany seems to be a full pension and expensive free health care for himself, he’ll just have to sit at his desk and make rubber bands balls till his term ends. At least he won’t be out wining and dining every distressed commercial extractor who can stand to spend a lunch with him selling out the city. Mr. Maylsz could go back to the private sector, maybe jump over to the development side, now that he knows how to manipulate the levers of gov’t, there are no doubt countless private entities that would pay market rates for his advice. All the other “redevelopment lifers” downtown can finally go over to the private sector and make real money managing real world redevelopment projects. It’s a win-win for all.
Evansville has combined all community development areas, including especially historic preservation, into one department! Now, there’s an idea. As now configured, our NA gov’t is set up to work against the interests of historic preservation. Maybe a crime like the Tabernacle wouldn’t be repeated if redevelopment and historic preservation were in the same office, working toward mutually beneficial goals? Those are mutually beneficial goals here, right?
Ok, we can have one office downtown that is an umbrella for all community development stuff. But I promise we won’t need half of city government to accomplish helping businesses with permits.
Another positive from shrinking the mandate of our local govt, would be to relieve the need to construct a new city-county building, or at least reduce the additional space needed in the next 1--20 years. A little technology and know-how from the 21th century would go a long way to addressing our over-staffing problems.
One of the solutions to sustainable economic development in New Albany is to get the local government the hell out of it. CHDO, CCE, anything to do with development or redevelopment. God forbid the friggin hospital had just paid to tear down those houses. Now, years and millions later, the hopeful outcome is to return the park to nature and the neighbors. But what is the larger lesson from this disaster?
When I moved back here a few years ago and noticed NA had quite the robust local government redevelopment component, I thought it was a joke. I mean, could people actually preside over the destruction of our town, from what I remember in childhood, and get paid for it? Year after crumbling year? That verges on criminal. The very least a rational person would see is the town has been UN-developed. That is the opposite of developed. Linden Meadows is just the latest and most obvious redevelopment disaster. But I’ve only been paying attention for 40 years.
In less than 6 months, this administration has proposed no less than 3 new ways to bail out the private sector and their governmentally enabled abuse of this town. ENOUGH! Your hands should be full figuring out how to deal with the budget mess, or the sewer mess, or the storm mess,...

Oct 27, 2009

Welcome to our NOT Haunted Cistern. Come on in, the waters fine...

Having lived many different places, I will say that the water that comes out of the taps here is disgusting. I don't give it to the animals or plants, much less my family. Unfortunately we do have to bathe in it. Bleh ... makes my skin and hair crusty. So I've been experimenting with ways to capture as much of our rain water as possible.

I know, the E.P.A. and Indiana American Water both say the water is safe. Me, I use the old fashioned sniff and taste test. If it tastes and looks skanky, it is skanky. But fortunately we have an alternative. Most of the big old houses pre-1900 in NA were constructed with their own cisterns. We still have ours, though it's just brick and not capable of holding water at present.

ye old cistern, back o' the basement

I've estimated we could store 1000-2000 gals of water in our old cistern, once it's been lined with a plastic tank. The rain from the back 1/2 of our roof area drains to it. It sit's under what is the kitchen, both original and now, so can easily be delivered by pump straight up. According to Ind/American Water, our household uses approx 3000 gallons of water a month.

old cisterns are usually round, like this one.

Not only are we aware of our usage, we have a goal of lowering it over time. Hence the brilliance, once again, of simply reverting to the original water storage system! As water becomes increasingly polluted and the rates rise in a futile attempt to clean and deliver it (remember, Mother Nature bats last), our household will have created it's own fresh water supply. Not to mention saving thousands and thousands of gallons of rainwater from the storm drain system where it overwhelms the sewer lines and spews toxic water in our streets.

If global warming is too abstract a concept for city planners to embrace, then just grasp the issues with safe water looming. Polluted groundwater + antiquated delivery system + increased demand = ?

Weigh in with the state commission who set water rates, or go buy a rain-barrel. Or do both.

"Those who couldn’t make it to the meeting have 10 more days to submit testimony on the matter. Written comments — which will be weighed equally with those delivered orally — can be sent by mail, fax or the Internet. Those comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43680.

They can be sent to Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Council, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN, 46204; Fax: 317-232-5923; E-mail: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov" NATribune

Oct 24, 2009

Today is 350 Day! Come make a statement at Riverfront Park

"We will assemble and spell out "350" with our bodies at 3:50 PM. There will be music, speakers, exhibits, puppets, theatre, and an aerial flyover to take a photo for the worldwide 350 event. Come be part of the solution! Everyone is welcome!"

The Louisville 350 Coalition,
an affiliation of local environmental, peace, and social justice groups, will hold
a 350 event on the
Great Lawn Waterfront Park Saturday, October 24 at 2:30 pm
As part of a worldwide effort to enhance public awareness of the consequences of global climate change.

Oct 23, 2009

O-MI-GOD - it's already here and I forgot to get out the word 'cause I was sooo busy winterizing my house!

It's probably too late to register your name at the site, it was crashing from so much traffic this morning, but try anyway, or google "350" in case there is an ACTION event tomorrow near you. For the Louisville area:

Great Lawn Waterfront Park, Saturday, October 24,
2:30 PM


In a nutshell(one of those tasty "walnut ones" dropping now) -

the movement is advocating bringing CO2 levels down from 420 per million to 350 parts per million, which is the level at which we don't permanently F@%k-UP our planet.

I mean is it too much to ask, to lighten our load on old tired Mother Nature?

Oct 17, 2009

"U.S. Deficit rises to $1.4 Trillion.."

"Bailout Helps Fuel a New Era of Wall Street Wealth"

Adding 1 + 1 under the new stark-raving math system equals we've been screwed.

Unless you're a banker.

Oct 16, 2009


“During a heated exchange regarding an unrelated matter Thursday, Robison told Benedetti that she’d “done enough to damage this council already.”” (natribune)

During a heated exchange regarding an unrelated matter Thursday, Baylor told Denhart that she’d done enough to damage this city already.

During a another heated exchange regarding an unrelated matter, Coffey told England that he’d “done enough to damage this town already.”

During a heated exchange ..., Malycs told Coffey... Messer took a shot at Price, ... McLauglin wet his pants...

Finally the city Ceremonial Elder Coffey demanded everyone start singing the Candyman song.. "who can make a rainbow? sprinkle it with candy? and once everyone was happy he wrapped the show up with a statement of morality.

““Coffey responded he “morally” objects to any private meetings regarding the city, and that he wasn’t specifically referring to the caucus.””

Attorney Robinson indicates he will ask each member of the city to record for posterity their moral objections to government meetings.

...and God Bless America.

Oct 12, 2009

Battered Town Syndrome

City Offers $600,000 to Shredder, says "Scram"!

After years and years and years of public frustration with the glacial pace of state and local government intervention on their behalf against egregious polluter Jeff Eastridge, AKA CCE. inc., AKA CBE.inc, and a host of other cheap disguises, residents reacted with glee when told there would be another chance to demand state and local government intervention on their behalf against infamous Eastridge on Oct 14 @ 7pm at Fairmount Elementary.

2045 Silver Street New Albany

"A staunch opponent of the move, Maurice King, who admitted to filing most of the complaints against Eastridge on behalf of the Fairmont Neighborhood Association, said the city allowed the problems to exist at the Silver Street location by not standing up in the past." (natribune)

According to public documents “Eastridge and selves” have a 100% defiance rating when it comes to community concerns.

2045 Silver Street New Albany

When asked to comment on public concerns about the background and price of the CCE deal, local resident Chris D. who called the CCE site "potentially VERY hazardous situation". We must pay for it."..."When attention was drawn to the plight of the property on Silver Street, certain factions pulled that attention away to other more pressing issues, such as a house with crap stacked in the yards. As such, it comes to us to pay for the mistakes of OUR government. Like it or not, thats just the way it has to be." (naconfidential)

2045 Silver Street New Albany

Mr. Eastridge, through his hired guns, "contended the contamination tests were skewed, and that they are close to having the property cleared of any metal pollutants by IDEM." Speaking for the record, NA city Councilman Jack Messer said of Eastridge: “He has done nothing but give to this community”. (natribune)

2045 Silver Street New Albany

The Poisoned Valley Batterers Society commented just before press time - “G.Coyle is standing in the way of every single thing we try to do here that smacks of progress.” The last thing we need is people asking a lot of questions around here, know what I mean?”

2045 Silver Street New Albany

2045 Silver Street New Albany
Interior of Historic(?) train repair shop.

Oct 1, 2009

Marianne Strengell