This is an exciting new episode of the “Best Thing, Worst Thing” project. Usually, I storm into town, do some interviews, hear about the history, and package it together into a neat bundle for you. This time, we tag along with a few locals as they go about their day and get a more colorful listening experience.
For an explanation of the project, check out the page here. If you’re ready to hear a group of folks talk about the best thing about where they live and the worst thing about where they live, head over to the City Council Chronicles podcast to download the latest episode. Or you can play it below.
Episode 6: Colby, Kansas
Photo source: Google Street View
Colby is technically a city of 5,400 people in the northwest corner of Kansas–but it’s tempting to call this a “small town.” Agriculture is important here, but Colby also has a community college and medical center. In this episode, we tag along to a Rotary Club meeting, participate in a tornado drill, and try not to get blown away by some fierce wind. We hear from a librarian, a hospital executive, a newspaper publisher, a principal, a tax preparer, and a retired city employee.
Like most things in Tinseltown, the Los Angeles city council meeting became all about s-e-x.
“Half of black men and a quarter of Latino men who have sex with men are projected to be diagnosed with HIV,” testified Councilwoman Nury Martinez, looking anything but somber in a fiery yellow dress.
“Way back when, in the early 1990s,” she reminisced, “my job was to hand out condoms. Not only to my peers at San Fernando High School, but around small little bars and cantinas.” The sex-positive councilwoman batted her eyes. “I would talk to grown adults and pass out condoms.”
Councilman Paul Krekorian perked up at this risque mention of prophylaxis. “I had no idea about this first job of yours,” he bashfully admitted.
“I’m not gonna tell you who was Condom Man in 1990,” she responded coyly. “I happen to have married him.” Whoa, talk about a power couple!
As the council moved on, Martinez strode back to her seat and, off-mic, breathlessly told Krekorian, “He was Condom Man! We were just so popular in school!”
Council President Herb Wesson called for public comment on an affordable housing ordinance. “I want to take up item 3…Mr. Walsh? Mr. Walsh, please come forward.”
A bedraggled man shuffled forward–flannel shirt unbuttoned, yet still wearing a tie. “Tweeting @hollywooddems,” Walsh mumbled by way of introduction. “Under [Mayor Eric] Garcetti, it’s like the mob. Everything is done like the mob.”
He signed off merely by giving his URL: “hollywoodhighlands.org.”
The next commenter was as cocky as he was efficient with his allotted two minutes. “One minute only, please! One minute,” he yelled out, like some Babe Ruthian showman, calling his home run.
“You never define what ‘affordable is! Are you deciding what’s affordable by district, or what’s affordable for the whole city?!” He clocked in at exactly 58 seconds.
The next several items also required public comment. And the only people signed up to gripe were–I’m sure you can guess–
Mr. Walsh (“Blogging at hollywoodhighlands.org or jwalshconfidential.”)
Mr. Speedy Gonzalez (“One minute only!”)
A lady who held the microphone directly on her lips and thundered “We must vote for Donald J. Trump!”
After their third or fourth appearance, they stopped being polite and started getting real.
One-Minute Guy: “I’m going to be the lead plaintiff in a suit against the city of Los Angeles because–” his voice became sing-songy–“you’re hiding documennnnts councilmemberrrrrrs!”
John Walsh.blogspot/tweets.gov: “There are thousands of blacks and Hispanics who have been murdered and you don’t give a f*cking sh*t about their asses. HOLLYWOODHIGHLANDS.ORG.”
At blessed last, an angelic face stepped up. “To my friend, the Honorable Herb Wesson, Jr., who undoubtedly will be our next mayor–”
Council President Wesson blushed. “Oh, come on, Chuck!”
“To all the agitators who mock, belittle, degrade, or are prejudiced to him, shame on you!” roared Chuck. “Let Herb do his job! Leave him alone and stop picking on him!”
You’re a good man, Chuck. Too bad you’re not the one with the blog.
Final thoughts: Be honest, you’ve already forgotten that Councilwoman Nury Martinez was married to the Condom Man, haven’t you? I give this meeting One Minute! One Minute Only, Please!