Sometimes Nebraska lives up to its reputation as “the interesting man’s Kansas.”
But sadly, this week the Cornhuskers on the Lincoln city council were focused 100 percent on the soul-crushing, time-dragging nuts and bolts of the People’s Business.
“Can you please tell us about your application?” Vice Chair Leirion Gaylor Baird smiled at the nervous Middle Eastern man wanting a liquor license.
“I just applied…for selling beer for my restaurants. I’m trying to sell only beer.”
“So…this is an existing business?” Councilman Carl Eskridge probed.
“Yes. I’m trying to sell just beer.”
But Councilman Roy Christensen had some bad news for this shifty-eyed beer slinger.
“I’m going to vote to disapprove your application,” the councilman kindly but firmly informed the sweaty applicant. “I don’t want you to take this personally.”
As mild as this exchange was, it was nothing compared to the coma-inducing Q&A between Councilman Jon Camp and the city’s pension officer.
JC: Considering the assumed rate of return is 7.5 percent or 6.4 percent…but really that 3.23 percent is before you’ve had those distributions.
PO: The 3.2 starts with the beginning value and recognizes all the tax receipts and how the values of the underlying asset change in terms of the income we receive from dividends and interest.
JC: It would appear on the investments that we only made $2.4 million when you take dividend, realized gains, and you subtract the losses.
PO: The investment earnings, if you factor all that in, is 3.23 perce–
Holy mother, I’m going to stop here. Not only was this incredibly dry, but they were the two most monotone, low-voiced people I’ve seen outside of a librarians’ convention.
Suddenly–mercifully–in the home stretch, we saw some action in the outfield.
“I would move to delay a vote” on the storm water plan, Councilwoman Cyndi Lamm beseeched her colleagues, “until July 11.”
But Councilwoman Jane Raybould made it clear: De-lay? No way!
“I am not going to support the motion because we heard loud and clear from our voters. To say that we’re not going forward with those projects when the voters vote in affirmation of these projects is sort of disingenuous.”
Tempers flared. Knuckles cracked. A vote was taken on a delay. The tally?
3-3. A tie.
“Uh, so,” Vice Chair Gaylor Baird fumbled, “the motion fails on a tie?”
“Any vote of the city council requires four votes to pass,” Councilman Christensen nodded.
Then, a move no one saw coming:
“I would be willing to vote,” piped up Councilman Eskridge, who originally voted AGAINST a delay, “in such a way that it WOULD be delayed.” The Midwestern Benedict Arnold sheepishly avoided eye contact with everyone but the floor.
Cross-talk ensued. Lawyers were summoned. Fast-thinking Councilman Camp swooped in to finish her. “I move we delay this to July 11.”
The do-over vote was done-over. Result? 5-1.
A fuming Councilwoman Raybould silently rested her chin on her fists, thwarted by one rascally traitor.
Final thoughts: I gotta hand it to Councilman Jon Camp. He lulled us almost to sleep before surprising us with a quick-draw vote. I give him 3.23 percent…or 7.5 percent–wait, or