It’s almost April, which makes this the perfect time to look back at what happened in…February! The shortest month of the year was highly productive: it included our first ever State of the City Council Meetings Address (to a joint session of Congress, no less!), our first Australian city council meeting, and a tale of the councilman who saved San José.
It was one heckuva g’day in the Clarence city council chamber. And right up top, I need to give propers to the head honcho behind that blinding yellow dais, Mayor Doug Chipman, for the classy way in which he kicked off the meeting:
“Before proceeding, I would like to acknowledge the Tasmania aboriginal community as the original inhabitants of this land out of respect to elders past and present.”
Good onya! Normally, one does not see American city council meetings acknowledge the native peoples–unless they are a mascot for the local high school football team.
Oh, and what luck that the council chamber has two cameras! I can see that there is PLENTY of space on the walls–which will come in handy becauuuuuuseeeee…
“We received a plaque from the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection thanking this council for its long contribution over many, many years towards the new citizenship program.”
The mayor flashed the shiny, shoe box-sized prize around the room. “So, that’s quite an impressive-looking plaque.”
Ripper! You could fight off a decent-sized boomer with that prezzy.
Slowly, Alderman Richard James rose for a quintessentially Australian purpose: to brag all about his weekend hike. “I would like to draw council’s attention to the Blessington Coast Track. We walked it on Sunday. For those who are pretty quick on their feet, I reckon you could do it in 20 minutes at a jog.”
He added, “it took us three-quarters of an hour. But we had a swim.”
He calmly recalled his treacherous journey along the Australian coast. “The track in parts is very steep, particularly up on the cliff. And there’s quite a drop. So I’m not sure as to whether there may be some barrier required on the track.”
Whoa there, mate! This is Australia. Country of the Crocodile Hunter! Heavy drinking! And our near-future adversaries in WWIII! Unless you’re talking about a great reef, there will be no “barriers” along a deadly, dangerous coastline, K?
As it turned out, Alderman James had a surprise that he pulled out of his bloomin’ onion: “The Kangaroo Bay track–it is open to the public,” he proclaimed, turning to the mayor. “Is it possible for us to have a little bit of a celebration?”
Everyone in the room held their breath. Mayor Chipman stared intently like a dingo eyeing a baby. “We can arrange that,” he allowed.
But there was one more bit of business, and it came with an ominous-sounding name: “questions without notice.” The idea? A reckless and dangerously unstable concept that ANY alderman can ask ANY question of ANYONE.
I’m already recoiling. Please, be gentle!
“Do we have the traffic count figures?” grilled Alderman Peter Cusick.
“Are you aware of other councils in Southern Tasmania that are providing after-hours school care?” raged Alderman James Walker.
“I would like to know if the toilets at the Lauderdale Yacht Club–if there’s been any thought to their design,” erupted Alderman Debra Thurley.
Yowza. I need a Foster’s after that white-hot earbashing. Longtime Chronicles readers will know that I like my aldermen’s questions like I like my women: with PLENTY of notice.
Final thoughts: You know what? Better stick to North America….I think Australian city councils are a little too intense for me.