Speak Out Loud NA

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lots of Our Money at Work -

Here's a look at the overflow that "DIDN'T OCCUR" according to reports from New Albany to the EPA oversight facilities. We thought you might get as much of a kick out of these ghostly images as we did.
Can you guess the location of this photo?
You get 10 points if you do!

Hint: The photos were taken 2 days after the last photos we put up were.

Don't you just love the wonderful golden brown coloring the water has?

Here's a good look into how dangerous this water is, in more ways than one. It moves very swiftly, and it is a large body of water. Anyone who might slip, or fall, into the water would be in serious danger.

Here's another little tributary that's come into being thanks to the overflowing system.
It's all headed straight to the Ohio River.

We've saved the best for last.

Do you know what we call this beautiful structure?
Our $44 million waterfall!!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Common Sense: Is there any left in N.A.?

In today's Tribune there is an interesting article concerning the City's present swimming pool investment, the Camille Wright Pool.
We see that the new Ordinance, passed at the last Council session, that allows the Parks Dept. to keep all proceeds from concessions in-house, has quickly been put to use at the under-achieving Camille Wright Pool. The Parks Department will now be providing a full 'concession stand' instead of the familiar Snak-Machines.
Parks Director Bill Koehler expects the new concession offerings at the pool will help to make up the revenue losses this year.
We would be curious to know who has been selected for helping to operate a Concession stand on behalf of the Parks Department.
The article states the pool only lost about $7,000 last year, and that is a major improvement from proceeding years (financials concur). The Pool has historically been a losing enterprise for the City, often recording losses of 5 figures.
Even with Bill Koehler recruiting uses by several area swim teams, the pool is still under-used and losing money. How much can we count on hot dogs and hamburgers to bail out a losing operation?
Still, we believe the Camille Wright Pool is an asset to the community. Only, let's get this one operating in the black before we pledge our property taxes that an entire complex of pools is a good idea.
How can anyone even try to explain to us the reasoning that a $16 million indoor swimming complex will suddenly succeed in New Albany when the Camille Wright pool, and the Holiday Inn pool, are both already underutilized?
Where's the feasibility study that says this project will succeed?
Oh, that's right, they didn't have one done.
Furthermore, with the Parks Department busy over on Budd Road and at Bicknell Park, along with all the other projects we've heard about, don't they have their hands full right now?
The Swimming Pool Natatorium portion of the Scribner Project should, by all known indicators, be postponed for at least 2 years.
Council members must be the reasonable Public Stewards they were elected to be.
Sometimes this means making tough decisions and taking drastic measures to protect the best interest of the majority of the citizens.
Rescinding the EDIT funds from the Scribner Project will solve many more problems and clear the way for much more future economic development.
We must be responsible for having a strong foundation on which future businesses can stake their life dreams and financial well-being on.

Note: we are bringing DICK STEWART'S previous comment questions up to this posting because we think it deserves more consideration and contemplation before disappearing into 'Archives'.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Garner and the Good Life

Someone earlier today said, "Garner sure takes good care of his Staff"!
It was said in response to the information that part-time City Attorney Shane Gibson will pocket about $200K as a commission off the Scribner Bonds sale.
At least that's what MIGHT happen, and that's only IF the Bond sale actually occurs.
We had to reply:
"Yeah, he (Garner) takes real good care of his staff and himself. Almost as if money were no object." Then we got to thinking and had to finish with the following:
"It's a real shame that he has no concern for the general citizenry of New Albany." It's obvious he's not too interested in anything we have to say.
We wonder, would he have been elected Mayor if he had told us the truth about what he would do with his opportunity to be Mayor? What if he had told us what he was going to do?
"Pledge residential property taxes to back up $17 million in Bonds for public swimming pools and committ $400K annually out of EDIT funds for SEVENTEEN YEARS TO DO IT!!!
Because that EDIT money won't be available for Economic Development needs (sewer credits) he'll need to raise the Sewer rates every year for the next three years. That means once even after his term ends.
Meanwhile, the City will NOT comply with the EPA and signed agreed orders, but will still manage to spend $44 million in taxpayer monies.
Then, he will create a new fee to pay for Drainage (without proper approvals), bring sewer billing in-house, pay himself 3 salaries, and wrap it all up in a bundle and CALL it a Stormwater "user fee".
To top it all off, let's say we know he's going to:
Give away the use of public facilities and assets (sanitation) without compensation, and hide the details of a Privatization company.
He'll give us a Code Enforcement Officer, but no way to actually enforce the codes.
Is the point getting any clearer?
If not, let us sharpen it for you by adding a few more details.
Let's consider that much of this fiscal creativity requires Public meetings to discuss the issues and their financial impacts, and these have been held in the middle of the day, on a weekday, when very few people are able to attend. This was after an attempt to hold an "Executive Session" was thwarted by calls of violations to the Open Doors Laws and the Sunshine Laws.
No need for details just now, but that was the last straw.
It's time to take a more pro-active stance regarding these matters and the manner by which they are being decided.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rule 13 Stormwater Control Compliance & Fee

Score another one for Garner the Gabber who once again duped us into believing him as he assurred everyone that the rates wouldn't rise if they let him do what he wanted. That was to institute a Stormwater fee at the beginning of the year for a mandate that didn't kick in until May, and for which no actual "project" is/was even planned.
That's the way it had to be, he said, to hold interim rates low for the first year.
Well, guess what? ...and I quote: "Things changed."
An increase in the fee was requested and passed within 5 months.
We are greatly concerned about the proposal that has been presented to Council for the creation of a new & seperate Stormwater Board that will drive the cost of meeting the Federal mandate up by more than 400 percent. A cost that rate-payers alone must bear the brunt of since there are no Federal dollars allocated to go along with the new requirement.
However, a seperate Board is neither a requirement, nor a necessity, to comply with Rule 13, but it is being sought none-the-less. We have good reason to suspect the primary motivation is the additional salary it would provide to the Mayor as Chair of the Board, but we are also aware of the plans to 'grow' this fund into a virtual garden variety of eligible costs.
There has been talk since last year that this new Stormwater "user fee" would be used to pay the Drainage Committee and any of their projects since the Sewer fund can no longer afford to bear that cost.
Now, doesn't it make sense to go ahead and put the Stormwater requirements in with the Drainage Committee that already exists and will be getting paid with this fee??? OF COURSE IT DOES!!!
The other thing Garner wants to get out of this is to start bringing the Sewer billing functions back 'in-house' which we feel is a huge mistake and another bad decision that will only hurt us in the long run.
Indiana-American Water Corp., which now handles the billing, is already set up and handling our billing needs efficiently. It is the City that has fallen off track from collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in delinquent and unpaid sewage accounts.
In our opinion, the City simply cannot, and actually should not, perform the functions of a private bill collector.
As someone stated just recently..."we have enough on our plates."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Council Members Get It Right

Last night's Council meeting was by all accounts a contentious and emotionally charged session of City Government meeting head on with public sentiment.
Finally, last night, the Council Members listened to the people who would be effected by a new proposed development, and acted appropriately.
It was a bad idea that other City administrators were trying to force onto the community, and the community said NO!
This is the way good local government is supposed to function. For that, finally, we thank the members of the Council who are sensitive to the opinions of the people.
It's been real interesting watching the other blogs blast away at the Council and defend the development. But, what's been very troubling is the tact they are taking to basically threaten the citizens with some tacky housing development since they dared reject the desired plan as a dangerous proposition.
These are the same people who have filed a lawsuit against the Council to force a redistricting. Something that was supposed to happen in 2002.
Indeed the proposition to redistrict was brought to the table by then Council Member (CM) Maury Goldberg in 2002, but it was considered, voted down and then pulled rather than tabled.
Most interesting is that our Mayor Garner, then a lowly Council Member, voted against the redistricting. We are also very interested in the fact that said former CM and 20+ year veteren of City politics Goldberg is sited quite often hanging around the local bookstore, whose owner happens to be the apparent 'leader' of this bright idea to sue the City.
We feel the questions raised at Freedom of Speech are very valid and we would like to know those answers as well.
For your convenience, we've brought the questions here for a re-print:

Questions to Former Councilman Goldberg:
1. [Are] the above IC Codes and Council minutes correct for 2002?
2. Why did you, Mr. Goldberg, withdraw the Redistricting Ordinance in 2002?
3. Why didn't you, Mr. Goldberg, table the Ordinance and keep it alive for further discussion in 2002?
4. Is it not a fact that Councilman Schmidt, Councilman Coffey and Councilman Kochert did vote "Yes" for Redistricting?

These are only the beginning of the questions that have been raised as a result of the events that have taken place within the past week or so. However, there is one more item that I feel compeled to share with everyone.
One listed member of the group of 20 which filed the lawsuit against the City was sighted at Thursday night's Council session handing City Clerk, Marcy Wisman HER KEYS to her office while she was seated at the Council table waiting for the meeting to be called to Order.
This happened in front of a full room of citizens gathered there for the meeting.
Now, I'm not an expert on what might be the LEGAL rules governing such behavior, but I have a real problem with this. Especially since this was the same person sighted coming out of the room that is BEHIND the Council chambers just before a previous Council meeting prior to the lawsuit being filed. It was another demonstration of the true nature of the relationships between members of the lawsuit and members of the City administration.
We're guessing maybe 'James' was minding a bookstore somewhere since he couldn't make it to the meeting.
Alas, even without his smug appearance, his pet project for his political supporters...uh, I mean....the Plaintiffs, of which he says he "...doesn't know except to speak in passing"... LIAR LIAR LIAR LIAR!!!!

...was removed by ammendment from the Redevelopment Plan before it was approved 9-0 by a show of hands. Special thanks to CM Steve Price for making the ammendment to put that money into the Dilapidated Housing Fund which had been shown as "overdrawn". A violation of Indiana Code that says no fund shall be spent below a zero balance.
Finally, a correction from what is posted on Maury's blog. The camera guy and I spoke at the elevators Thursday night and he wasn't not taping due to the School Boards decision not to air tapes, rather, there was a mal-function with his equipment and he couldn't tape.
We'll get those tapes aired.
Like the say... This isn't over. Not by a longshot.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Other Opinions

From "blogtastic" on 6:21 PM, May 10, 2006
To "iamhoosier":
"As a PoliSci grad, you know that neo-Stalinist is both a political and historical term of art, academically recognized and accepted, for a certain type of political viewpoint, namely one which ‘bastardizes’ original Stalinism as that ideology made its way west. What is germane to this discussion is the fact that neo-Stalinism, among other things, "consciously rejects the decisive role of the working class and proletarian democracy." Many papers and treatises have been published on the subject in the past 60 years. And let’s face it, pure Stalinism at its core depends on the absolute necessity of repression of political opponents [and hence their ideas, press and speech.]
Reread my comment. Taken in the context of the paragraph in which I used it, the term is not name calling, but rather a very accurate and descriptive moniker.
"Some" cannot stand the anonymity of various posters, and rant against it, even though such speech is well within their constitutional rights. Hence their disdain for the proletarian (worker) democracy –--- "little people", "troglodyte," "transgender." [Query: I wonder, what do they think of the absolute right to anonymity while voting? See the next paragraph]
"Some" cannot stand the results of the polls, and elect to sue the city in an attempt to gain in court what they cannot at the proverbial ballot box, hence their rejection of the decisive role of the working class.
Let us not forget the frequent, rabid "pro-progressive" defenses of the current mayor, and vitriolic attacks on those who dare question him – could these be but vain attempts at repression of political opponents?
So you see, neo-Stalinist is an accurate description of those to whom I have directed it, and in doing so I did not find it necessary to call into question their identity, their intellect, their income, their evolutionary status nor their sexual status. It is no more a name calling than referring to me as a conservative. As the famous philosopher Popeye once said, "I am what I am and that’s all that I am."
As far as comments made by others, (your drunk reference), I only answer for myself.
And if you do not understand some of the words I use, that’s your issue to deal with. Pejorative is a very commonly used word; I’ve used it on prior occasions in this blog. I enjoy reading a variety of materials, including the posts of New Albanian, because they provide, at a minimum, a chance to broaden my vocabulary.
Back on the sewer issue, what the heck is the Sewer Board doing in issuing credits without the mandated and agreed engineering reports???? Are we begging for another lawsuit from the feds (and perhaps the state)?"

6:21 PM, May 10, 2006

We also encourage readers to look at other these opinions on some other local blogs that address the state of New Albany as a community right now:
Letter from New Albany
Diggin in the Dirt
Freedom of Speech

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Alright, enough is enough. Things are getting just a little crazy around here lately, and seeing those 20 names in the Tribune today really put the cherry on top of an ever worsening situation. How many law suits are there against the City now? I'm sure somebody knows!
Adding insult to injury, another short article gave a completely erroneous version of events regarding the cancelled "Executive Session" meeting that was scheduled for this past Tuesday evening.
Garner sure pulled hard on that string and got the 'story' spinning off and away from the actual truth of the matter. The notice was indeed posted, as we checked it out personally and have a copy. Also, there were no mis-communications of intent. Everyone knew exactly what was supposed to happen, but it was indeed something that is not allowed to happen behind closed doors. Discussions of public monies and City financial matters are off limits (see Freedom of Speech for Indiana Codes pertaining to Open Door Laws).
We have previously expressed great confidence in our new local media outlet managers, and we anticipate that Mr. Tucker's main objective is indeed to print the actual truth, rather than some politicized version thereof. Therefore, we plan to apprise Mr. Tucker of the actual facts surrounding the canceled meeting. It was planned to discuss, "...Stormwater funding, Fuel costs, and Sewer Utility project spending" according to the posted notice.
The financial shortfalls of the City's limited resources are upon us.
The bottom line is that the City of New Albany has arrived a full 360' around until it's come face to face with itself and the repercussions of a whole lot of bad fiscal decisions that have been made over the course of the last few administrations.
However, Garner's tenure has been most particularly damaging, as one bad decision has followed another, and another, and he continues his attempts to dig deeper and deeper into the pockets of the general citizenry to regenerate funds that have "gone missing" by co-mingling City Departments, Services, Boards, and Committees.
The entanglements resulted in receiving a recommendation from the State Board of Accounts that the 2004 Audit warrants a full investigation due to signs of serious problems of the (mis)management of City funds, and actual violations of budgetary rules that were revealed when the Audit was released.
We, as citizens' and taxpayer advocates, are committed to our repeated requests for just such an investigation, and we are just as committed to standing up and demanding change, not only in terms of fiscal accountability, but as well as accountability for the basic management of the City.
This means we expect an intense re-examination of the plethora of issues that are contributing factors to the dismal financial picture and public discontent that IS currently New Albany.
From tax abatements to mounds of uncollected delinquent sewage accounts, unencumbered TIF funds and previously pledged EDIT dollars earmarked for sewage repairs, it must all be re-examined.
It is time for our elected bodies to take whatever drastic measures are necessary to correct drastic mistakes and get this community back on its collective feet with a strong foundation under us from which to build on. Both metaphorically and literally speaking. Our basic infrastructure is absolutely critical to the building blocks of any real sustainable economic revitalization.
We will be posting documentation, minutes of meetings, legal agreements and various other information to support our contentions that some of this money was already supposed to be there to pay upcoming expenses.
We want answers, and there's a lot of 'splaining to do.

Monday, May 15, 2006


We have finally been able to 100% verify that the contented ILLEGAL meeting that the Mayor had scheduled for Tuesday evening with the full Council and Melheiser-Edris-Tucker to discuss financial matters has indeed been cancelled.
Thanks to everyone who worked on this matter.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


There are several important and costly issues that are currently under consideration by the City Council. We here at SOLNA feel that these issues warrant careful consideration and close scrutiny in terms of what events have predicated these issues, how the City of New Albany has been led to this dangerous precipice, and why the decisions being made regarding these issues will be so fundamentally vital to the community's future welfare.
First, let us simply list what we believe are the issues most pertinent to our inquiries and concerns:

1. City Financials
a) 2004 Audit Investigation as recommended by the State
b) Sewage/Sanitation/Drainage/Slush Fund deciphering
c) Budgetary Savings Opportunities

2. Sewer Rate Increases
a) EPA Agreement
b) Sewer Credits & Allotments
c) Necessary Projects & Repairs
d) Financial Statements

3. Stormwater Management
a) Rule 13 Mandate Requirements/Options
b) Funding/User Fee Assessment
c) Board/Staff Composition
d) Proposed Projects

4. Scribner Place Development
a) EDIT Funds
b) Referendum
c) Property Tax Encumberment
d) Alternative Community Needs

This is, unfortunately, only a short list of concerns facing the Citizens of New Albany, but these are the things we believe require our immediate attention and discussion.
Of course, we welcome your input on these matters, or any other that you may feel warrants expediated consideration, as we delve further into the details of these issues.
Our goal is to dissiminate as much information to as many of the public as we can. Especially since the NAFC School Board made its disappointing decision concerning airing Council tapes on WNAS, New Albany's original public access channel that was graciously put into the hands of the School Corportion in the first place.
Read about the Tribune's take on this decision Here.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Well now, wasn’t Sunday’s Tribune just a dandy little wake-up call to for the common-thinking folks of New Albany?! At first glance it appeared to be another lawsuit on the horizon for the City and then, quite possibly, it was related to the other bold print of SEWER RATE INCREASES (after all, Sewer Board member and CM Larry Kochert’s picture was there too).
Especially after what we’ve been hearing concerning the proposed development for Daisy Lane that was tabled at last Council and the problems of keeping that project within the recently renegotiated EPA agreement guidelines for new sewer connections. I wasn’t surprised at all that there were residents prepared to sue for an intelligent decision.
Furthermore, a Sewer rate increase can’t possibly be rationalized, or supported given the poor 2004 Audit results and the impossible untangling of Sewage and Sanitation costs that have co-mingled for the last several years. Let alone the abandoned contracts with surrounding areas and the amendments of the amended agreement with the EPA.
A quick glance back to the top of the page however, revealed something completely unexpected: “districts” and “represent”ation. (?)
Oh… wait a minute…these particular residents aren’t suing about the Sewer rates. Absolutely not! They are actually suing to force redistricting of the City….right now.
Now, why on Earth would any residents really get involved in such a politically charged issue, by filing a lawsuit, and so close to time for City elections? Well, these aren’t so much residents as they are “groups”. The self-Christened “Constituency For Progress” and the “East Spring Street Neighborhood Assoc.” have taken on a completely political agenda, and there should be no mistaking that. It’s the “Why?” that gets tricky.
I think they said something about equal representation?????????? HA!
After reading Randy’s account of the situation at NAC, and then his statement that now, he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. Not another word he says.
Yet, he says this has been in the works for over a year now. Hmmmmmm.
And they really don’t think it’s obvious to us where, or who, this idea sprang from?
Concerning the Sewer rate increases…
If there’s a lawsuit that needs to be filed, it would be about MIS-representation.