Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Why was I compelled to post on this blog after such an extended absence, I can not answer that for sure.
But the absence has been indeed sweet. The separation of the political three ring circus of this quaint hamlet we call New Albany, and of myself has served a myriad of purposes. Chiefly of which that after months of non-participation, the wheels are still stuck in the same rut, on the same worn out road, with the same mechanics standing by, blocking the street, still arguing over whose tool is the best suited to get the wheel out of the rut. Meanwhile the haggardly old woman behind the wheel that is New Albany, is still spinning her wheels, slinging mud, and moving slower than a snail on the sticky side of duct tape.
The realization that so many countless hours foolishly thinking that a difference could be made by participation in such a drama riddled side show brings with it regrets. The time spend banging the ole' melon against the reinforced concrete wall that is NA politics could have been much better spend with loved ones, or in the garden, or on a path in the woods. Hell for that fact, the time could have been better spend collecting enough earwax to create a reproduction the white horse of Dover.
Interestingly enough, during the absence, the flowers in my yard still bloomed, the hummingbirds still came for their regular visits, the sun still rose, and the night still came with predictable regularity. But what did not happen was a constant barrage of insults, false allegations, high blood pressure, and headaches.
No arguments over TIF's, LOIT's, conspiracy theories of which council members where involved in this or that, and yet amazingly enough, I can still walk out my door and take a walk and enjoy the night air, and enjoy the walk with out looking for whose house is not quite up to par, who replaced a brass widget on a "historic" home with a knock off replica from Home depot and how offensive that is the preservationists senses.
In fact it has been quite wonderful to be honest. Maybe its a cup of tea best left for those to sip on who feel the need to be involved in something "bigger than themselves", and I say to them, drink up, and drink with zeal! Whilst you argue your positions, and rattle sabers in a little slice of electronic space, I will be enjoying the time I have with my wife, and my child, and my friends. I will be spending countless hours watching and photographing the butterflies that are morphing from the caterpillars that grew up on the flowers and planted, that were pollinated by previous generation.
The dirty politics and those always willing to point fingers at one another will always be there, and the topics will always be the same. So why waste such precious time on the process of nothing, when there is so much that can be accomplished in your personal life, to make the lives of your friends and family better by just being there....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Street Sweeper Oil Trail

Aside from the trail of what looks like transmission fluid, the new yellow street sweeper leaves a bigger mess than was there before it came through...

Now for a civics lesson: Instead of calling the FBI, NSA, CIA and various other secret governmental law enforcement agencies claiming the street sweeper driver is a criminal, I did somethign VERY novel, we took pictures, and sent an email to the director of the street department letting him know there is a problem. And we managed to do it with out threatening to kill any one and burn down their houses. Its an amazing modern world we live in where we can communicate with resorting to barbaric tactics!
Now, be sure to comment how I didnt have a photo of the actual street sweeper leaking the oil. you anonymous shithead!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Resonding to anonymity

Posted on Voice of the People, questions directed to me from another anonymous “community advocate”:

1) “We know it is neither healthy, wealthy nor wise to criticize Mayor England. We understand that.”

I can’t say I am friends with Doug England, and I can’t say that I don’t like him either, regardless, he holds no interest what so ever in any of my personal or professional holdings, as such I have nothing to gain, or lose by speaking for him or against him.

2) “Why do you not insist the Council be given their monthly printouts of the financials (as required by law) so they can do their job?”

This is not my place. This is the place for the Council President and councilmen to accomplish. They have tools at their disposal to get this taken care of. If the council wanted to reports enough, they could get them, and should. So this, in my humble opinion is a 50/50 split on fault. (50% admin for not providing them / 50% council for not aggressively seeking them)

3) “Why do you tolerate the excuses about the lack of code enforcement?”
Two answers to this:
A) How many signs are around screaming no new fees or taxes, how many forums are filled with damning statements against the Code Enforcement Personnel, how many letters and forum posting are their blasting the expenditure for the truck, the uniforms and the salary of the personnel? How quick would you be to act in good faith when the ONLY public statements made for you is damnation and chiding?

B) I personally have no issues with code enforcement, as I have seen a great improvement in services in my area. And like any other citizen, when there is a problem that needs attention, and the petty excuses flow from Hartman’s office, I picked up the phone, called CM’s Gonder, Zurchmede, and McLaughlin. McLaughlin and Gonder personally came out; Zurchmede participated through emailed pictures and documents. With in 24 hours, the property in question was under condemnation orders, and has since been worked on and boarded up by the owners under orders of Carl M. and the Building commissioners office. I do not accept excuses for failure to act, so I went to their bosses, was polite, professional, provided dated, detailed photos, and documents, and in doing so, the situation was resolved. It takes more citizen participation that calling downtown and yelling “what are you going to do about this”. The Question should be polite and ask “How can WE work together to solve this?”

4) “Why do you tolerate Carl M. and John R. resigned for 30 days and are now knocking down their pension and salaries?”
I have no personal knowledge of this, nor have I seen any documentation regarding this, as such I am not able to address this.

5) “Why do you tolerate a Mayor elected but not in his office and letting Carl M. run the City? Why do you tolerate the Mayor laying drunk (which is to his demise because of the heart surgery)?”

To the best of my knowledge The Mayor has not been arrested and charged with public intoxication, OWI, nor have I any knowledge of reports of him being at work intoxicated, so making this statement is speculation at best. As far as his absence from office due to multiple surgeries, (back, neck, heart), what are we supposed to do, have him removed from office due to illness? His surgeons have not seen fit to list him as “unfit for duties” (note there is a difference between unfit for duties and medical leave), say we remove him from office, do we then open the city up for very real and very large lawsuits for violations of the ADA, etc. As I had said before, for me personally, when I call for city services, (fire, police, street department, etc.) the city offices still respond, my life has not been altered by his absence, so honestly, I hope he is doing well and recovering properly. (Bottom line, he is human, he is sick, and I do have compassion)

6) Why do you tolerate claims being paid without supporting documentation? Do you know of any business/corporation who would pay your expenses without an expense report and supporting receipts?

What makes you thing I support this? Do I oppose this practice, yes I do. Did I read where the State listed this line item in the audit as criminal, unethical, or underhanded, no I did not. Is my opinion more informed, or legal than the State Government body in charge of conducting such audits and issuing reports, recommendations, and initiating investigations by the Indiana departments of Law and Justice who would oversee any investigations? No, it is not, so I leave that to them.

7) “Why do you tolerate the lack of sufficent infrastructure (i.e. sewers, dilapidated houses) in order to get businesses located in NA?We understand; you dare not to criticize the Mayor because of the opening paragraph here!”

I do not tolerate this, never have and never will. I have advocated at great length for more enforcement, more tools to fight the degrading infrastructure. As a side note, I will point out, that the “reformists” camp fought this like mad. Many of the same people whom share views with the “no new fees, no new taxes” camp were present at many of them meetings, sitting with Harrison, et al, damning any measures to take further actions against this. I had been physically threatened over my participation in this issue. My property had been vandalized, buried a very good Black Labrador Retriever over this. There are no grounds what so ever for any informed person to question my stance on enhanced code enforcement. I strongly feel that the qualities of the infrastructure directly relates to the quality of business that are willing to locate here, or remain here, I have said that from day one. Lastly, again, I do not have reason to fear and retribution from Mayor England, I have sent him letters and emails thanking him for seeing that certain properties were cleaned up, and transversely I have sent him scorching emails, letter and phone calls when he was in support of the variance proposal by CCE to relocate at 111 and Corydon Pike, and I encouraged others to do so as well. I am not claiming that my stance alone changed his mind, but I would like to think it played a part.

8)“But, never criticize the voters. This is not healthy, wealthy nor wise either.”

Dont forget, I include myself, my family and my friends in this as well. Again, the bottom line for any real or perceived problems with the administration of city government and its operations is the voters. There is no way around this. There are not enough people in the “progressive camp” to truly change election outcomes, and the realization that there are not enough in your camp either to do so. Fact is both camps are out numbered by a few 10,000 or more voters who just vote during elections and are not involved between elections.

9) “We can only hope the picking of a candidate by Baylor has PAID THEIR DUES within the Democrat party. This is a MUST. The party is comprised of County and City and County people have friends and relatives living in the City.I'm done preaching. It's obvious to me NAC, the progressives (or whatever you wish to call yourselves) are in it for the monies. As far as we are concerned, your arguments have no merit. That's MY OPINION.It did make for a good chuckle, LOL.”

By suggesting in any manner that person(s) have received kick backs for propping up candidates, or by hand selecting certain candidates, and embarking on a subliminal campaign to control the minds of the voters in order to further an agenda of progress in this city is ludicrous, ill-informed and rates right up there with the conspiracy theories of area 51. I am sure this will not be sufficient enough, and I will not play tit for tat, and pose my liat of questions, I will pose only one:

If you ahd your choice of walking down one of two dark alleys, in one alley you saw people you recognised and knew a little about them, or alley #2 where you could not see the people, noly hear them, they stayed hidden in the shadows, or behind masks.
Which alley would you choose to walk down?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time for a change....

Having recently had more than fill of the craziness surrounding the local political climate, I have completely decided to change directions as indicated in some recent posts.

As such I would like to announce the start up of a blog called "through the lens", a forum on local nature photography, bird watching, camping, paddle sports, and hiking.

I hope those interested in such things will join up and take part, as we do such things as local species counts, photo contests (for bragging rights), possibly group outings for some more spectacular migratory occurrences, and delve out little secrets, tips and tricks to ranging from when and where is the best place and time to catch a particular bird, the best area campsites at state parks, the best trails and when to hike them.

You can find the new blog at:

It is still under development, but I hope to bring on some other contributors very soon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Political issues going to the birds...

Imagine if you can, being on the edge of a fog covered field that encompasses acres and acres of green space. No garbage, no rundown slumlord houses, no political signs.

Imagine if you can, the dead silence of the dawn being broken by thousands upon thousands of calls of the majestic and graceful sandhill crane, interrupted only by the faint whistling of the wings of waterfowl as it flies unseen in the veil of morning fog the wraps around you.

Hushed whispers of those around you, not speaking of EDIT funds, brown fields, corrupts businesses and politicians. But the whispers of "what lens are you using", or "good morning, haven't seen you since last year, how have you been"

Then the sky erupts in an orange glow, and a soft cool breeze meets your face, the fog slowly begins to lift, and float away, and you are greeted with the awe inspiring sight of tens of thousands of birds, some as nearly as tall as you, literally dancing with one another in dew covered fields, singing to one another in a chorus that quickly rises to a level that would rival even the greatest of sound systems at the biggest of concerts. But with more energy. The energy of life, the start of a new day.

This is where I want to be, standing on the fog covered edge of Ewing Bottoms, playing witness to the annual migration of the glorious sandhill cranes. Not where I am at now in my mind. Surrounded by political turmoil.

The simple beauty of watching the sun lazily rise over a marsh, or taking the time to sit under a crab apple tree to watch a flock of cedar waxwings building their fat reserves to make their flight to warmer climates.

Or watching a group of River Otter playing tag in a wetland, chasing one another, splashing and making a slip and slide out of a muddy stretch of bank.

These are the places I belong, these are the places that I love, and these are the places and times that deserve my focus of attention, and my dedication to documenting and preserving to ensure that future generations have the ability to relish in the sights, sounds and smells of.

And as such, I am retiring "New Albany Eyesores" for a new blog. The new blog will be about the wonderful chances we have here in this area to experience a wealth of natural beauty that is often over looked in what can be considered "greener grass syndrome".

We are blessed with bald eagle, osprey, warblers with so many different sizes, shapes and colors to rival even the brightest of rainbows, and scenes of migration that rival those depicted on national geographic. One just has to slow down, and take the time to do something almost unheard of anymore, sit and wait, and watch.

To those who continue to try and fight for the betterment of our city, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours, and your tenacity, it is appreciated. As for me, its time to move on, and focus on what I know is the best thing not only for me, but for the environment as well.

Roger, on a personal note, I have promised myself to take up drinking, and I would like to issue you a challenge to find me a beer I like! (and in a show of how small of world it is, whilst hiking in the back marshes of Muscatatuck to photograph a pair of nesting bald eagle, I ran into gentleman from a company in Cincinnati that designs and manufactures tanks for beer breweries, and it would appear that NABC's reputation for creating quality craft beers can find its way into even a flooded, backwater, marsh!!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thats Just The Way It Is Sometimes

Northern Flickers are one of my favorite birds, they are colorful, smart, and big, but sometimes, some one comes along who is smarter and bigger.... But thats just how nature is.

A young Coopers Hawk took this Flicker right out of hte air with a sickening thudding noise, dropped him to the ground and squeezed the life out of the woodpecker. It all happened so fast I barely was able to get this shot off!

Sorry Flicker, but thats why its called survival of the fittest!