#48: Groton, CT 9/6/16

It’s insane.

It’s reckless.

It’s a city council meeting…in under ten minutes.

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Nine minutes and forty-eight seconds, to be precise. I don’t care how fast you can talk–to let anyone less than a three-term council member attempt this stunt is a Chernobyl-level disaster waiting to happen. But hey, we’re all young once. I say if these kids want to “find themselves,” or whatever, who’s to stop them?

Let’s go zero to 60.

“Are there any recognitions, awards, memorials?” Deputy Mayor Keith Hendrick rattled off like a Texas cattle auctioneer.

“I have one,” jumped in Councilor Andrew Ilvento without missing a beat. “We had our back to school party, and the city is so great about helping put together something that is great for the kids. This year, the Navy came over and brought stuff.”

“Stuff?” Battleships? Torpedoes? Is there time for clarifica–

“K. Receipt of citizens petitions? I see none,” the deputy mayor raced onward. “Any communications and reports?”

Councilor Lawrence Gerrish downshifted and pumped the brakes. “I’ll be having a meeting…uh…very near future on Public Safety, uh, Committee…uh, review of ordinances.”

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Spit it out!

My god, man! We don’t have time for pregnant pauses! Especially not with the hairpin turn Deputy Mayor Hendrick steered straight into:

“Councilor Ilvento is stepping down from the Board of Ed/Town of Groton/City of Groton/RTM Liaison Committee. We need someone to fill that position,” he grimaced, before delivering the kicker: “the next meeting is tomorrow.”

This was a risky maneuver. If no one volunteered, there would be a five-councilor pileup at the halfway point.

“I’m waiting on Councilor [Conrad] Heede,” the Deputy Mayor gestured to Heede’s empty chair. “I thought he expressed an interest in the past, but…is anybody interested in being on that committee?”

“Is that the meeting time always?” inquired Councilor Jill Rusk.

Councilor Ilvento attempted to entice her. “Yes, Wednesdays at 5:30 and they ALWAYS run an hour. They’re VERY good about–”

The Deputy Mayor cut him off to save precious seconds. “I think you had a conflict?” She nodded anxiously.

In the kind of shotgun decision making that might careen any lesser man over the guard rails, Deputy Mayor Hendrick peeled out of this jam in a cloud of smoke and tire tracks.

“I’m gonna see if we can get somebody. I have something scheduled for tomorrow, but if I cannot get someone there…I will show up late so we can be represented at this meeting.”

Great Studebaker’s Horse…it’s minute EIGHT and we STILL haven’t done the energy conservation project! Will they make it?!

Strutting quickly, the gray-haired energy engineer spoke as he rushed the table.

“We’re at the final stages of execution. The annual energy savings, it approaches about a million dollars.”

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I call this guy “Quicksilver.”

“What does this do for us?” the Deputy Mayor fired off with 50 seconds to go.

“What does it do for us? It basically keeps the sub-base in a more competitive position.”

Fifteen seconds on the clock–it’s gonna be a photo finish! 3-2-1…DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?! It passes!

Final thoughts: We had a lot of fun here, but remember: speeding council meetings kill millions of Americans each year. Be safe. Never drink and run a city council meeting.

#26: San Francisco, CA 6/7/16

San Francisco is a beautiful city of beautiful people–with an oddly sterile name for its city council: the “Board of Supervisors.”

What’s even more unwieldy is that the supervisors don’t even sit together! Five of them are at one desk and five of them are at the other, facing off middle school dance-style. The board’s president is perched high above the riff-raff, making for one difficult game of duck-duck-goose in the chambers.

The supes wasted no time in living up to the militantly-liberal stereotype of the City by the Bay.

“Today, I am submitting a carbon tax on nonrenewable energy that will support the maintenance and expansion of San Francisco’s urban forest,” Supervisor John Avalos announced–a blue recycling bin fittingly stationed behind him.

“I am introducing a ballot measure to expand democracy for immigrant parents by allowing non-citizens the right to vote in school board elections,” boasted Eric Mar. He had been adorned earlier with a puffy lei, which seemed on the verge of tipping over the slender supervisor.

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The City by the Lei

It was time for San Fran’s famously freewheeling public comment period. Anyone could take two minutes to speak “on items within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board,” the clerk warned.

That quickly went out the window as the first man stepped up, speaking slowly in Arabic. I only understood two words: “Mohammad Ali.” (I’m guessing the supes won’t be able to do much about that one.)

My heart grew two sizes upon seeing the next speaker, who wore a t-shirt reading “IN DUE TIME, CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNHOLY.” Something tells me the Board of Supervisors won’t have jurisdiction over what he has to say, either.

“I got on the Alex Jones Show and was able to make the announcement that the times of the gentiles has ended. As a matter of fact, May 20 was exactly 7,365 days from the end of the times of the gentiles. Jesus Christ is coming soon.”

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If Jesus is coming soon, I wonder if He’ll sign up for public comment.

A woman in a suit stepped up. “I want to speak to item number 49. We urge you instead to support the governor’s proposal. This is a statewide bill and it has statewide benefits.”  Oops! Someone with a legitimate comment was allowed to slip through. How embarrassing!

Thankfully, she was the only one.

“Thank you [Board] President Breed and all the members of the cabal,” sneered a guy with a Dostoyevsky-length novel written in tiny words on his t-shirt.

In sharp contrast was a Samuel Jackson lookalike in sunglasses who swaggered to the podium, recording himself with his phone. “Good evening, supervisors…particularly my sisters in the back there,” he hollered out to Supervisors Malia Cohen and London Breed.

“My name is Ace. And I’m on a case. I’m putting the city on notice, specifically our African American, black sisters,” he gestured toward the likely-uncomfortable female supes. “I been in politics back when y’all was little girls. But now you’re women! I’m proud of you!”

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Can I follow you on Vine, dude?

The buzzer sounded, but he continued talking as he backed out of the room, videotaping himself the whole way.

“Next speaker, please,” the clerk sighed over the noise.

Final thoughts: With a city council meeting that was as eclectic as its residents, I give San Francisco 1 giant puffy lei.