On our mayoral candidates and 1Si’s attempted usurpation of the local political process.

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New Albany First, the city’s first-ever grassroots, local and independent business alliance, held an information session last evening at the Public House, and among the participants were mayoral candidates DM Bagshaw (Republican) and Jack Messer (Independent).

Jeff Gahan (Democrat) was not in attendance, but he has been a supporter of NA 1st from the very start. Also absent was Thomas Keister (Libertarian).

I was hoping Keister would attend, so I could jokingly ask him about his Free Rein Media, which someone masquerading as “Jimmy” recently took to task in One Southern Indiana Pop-Up Newspaper (OSIPUN, an acronym which looks almost “insipid”) for selling items designed to draw fire from Reclaim Our Redneck Backwoods Superstitious Culture Kentuckiana (RORBSCK, which lacks only a “u” to suck out loud, and surely already does).

But, as is my habit, I digress.

Significantly, all four candidates are small business owners, and even more interestingly, both Bagshaw and Messer were willing to report bits and pieces of the interview process wherein One Southern Indiana’s (1Si) political aggrandizement arm asked them questions to see who merits political endorsements, ones calculated to obtain oligarchic orgasms at the highly likely ultimate cost of sacrificing voluntary funding from every last locally elected governmental body able to grasp that taxpayers of virtually every political stripe earnestly wish for entities like 1Si to keep the politics out of whatever it is the organization does to justify its existence – itself a debatable topic.

According to both Bagshaw and Messer, one question asked of them was if elected, whether they would “use” 1Si’s services for outsourcing their economic development tasks. Both candidates indicated they responded with wariness, if not outright hostility. It is rumored that Gahan was more vociferous in objecting to 1Si’s arrogance. Having read Keister’s blogs over the years, I’d expect the same from him. None of the four seem to be buying into 1Si’s errant shtick, and for this, we should be grateful.

It makes me guardedly optimistic to know that first and foremost, our mayoral candidates understand small business issues by virtue of being small businessmen themselves.

Furthermore, not one of them is eager to be co-opted by One Southern Indiana’s creeping and unnecessary interference in the political process, and in this, each candidate lies firmly on the side not only of the general public, but an ever-increasing number of 1Si’s own operatives, who see quite clearly that the Stemlerization (that’s a synonym for politicization, folks) of 1Si impedes whatever legitimacy lies in their daily work. They can’t say it aloud, but readers would be amazed to hear the chilling off-record comments.

In fact, 1Si is so squarely on the defensive owing to its leadership’s perpetual, self-defeating political missteps that it cannot even run the risk of linking its new, vaunted Think Local Southern Indiana diversionary tactic to 1Si, which founded it. Nowhere is the 1Si brand to be seen, which of course does little except deepen the depth of deception.

All of which, to me, seems curiously toxic in nature.

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