#34: Riverton, WY 7/5/16

Wyoming may be the Wild West, but this week’s Riverton city council meeting was anything but rowdy. It was downright calm. Sedate.

Even–as you’ll see–sad.

There was a glimmer of drama at the top of the hour, as some dum-dum booked the city council meeting AND the Finance Committee meeting for the same time. Great, now everyone has to wait on some loooooong, booooooring committee. Grab a pillow!

“I would move for claims to be paid in the amount of $189,402.59,” Council Member Martin Cannan began.

“I’ll second it,” responded Council Member Holly Jibben–coincidentally the second and only other person on the Finance Committee. “All in favor say aye.”

Two ayes–one bass, one soprano. “Meeting adjourned,” Council Member Jibben leaned back as the meeting fizzled after 55 seconds.

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Hey, Riverton, do they make your committees in men’s sizes?

The camera zoomed out to reveal Mayor John “Lars” Baker with shirt sleeves rolled up. He tapped his pen impatiently as the first public commenter approached–a man with a bushy mustache and a shirt as red as the Wyoming sunset.

“My wife and I, we have a, uh,” the man started, suddenly bracing himself against the podium, his voice cracking. “Excuse me…two-year-old German Shepherd. My wife caught the dog eating a piece of tar paper in our backyard. There’s tar paper, fiber glass insulation, home insulation” from a nearby construction project.

“May 3, our dog had a seizure. Up to this date he’s had nine seizures.” The man clutched his mouth and fought back tears.

“They’ve got all kinds of stuff stacked–it gets shredded in the wind and blows right into our yard. I would hope something can be done. We had to put a dog down two years ago,” he broke down once more at the memory, “and I don’t wanna do it again.”

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Sometimes city council meetings are sad, boys and girls.

Mayor Baker uncomfortably attempted to play grief counselor. “Well, this has certainly been quite an ordeal for you,” he winced.

A staff member jumped in: “We do quite often talk to [construction crews] about a lot of that. But obviously we need to do it more,” she looked into the citizen’s tearful eyes sympathetically.

“We’ll keep plugging away,” the mayor mumbled, staring blankly at the man with the sick dog. “Okay? Thank you.”

His Honor didn’t exactly radiate empathy. But here’s the thing: Mayor Baker does not show any emotion. Calling him “low energy” vastly exaggerates the amount of energy he has. The man could put a case of Red Bull to sleep.

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Someone pump up the mayor–he’s deflating!

Look no further than his reaction to news that the airport just added a flight. “We need to encourage people to use the airport,” the city administrator cheerfully explained. “Many of us attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. I think we put five passengers on there and they all felt like celebrities!”

Terrific story, yes, your honor?

“We’re excited about this airplane and, uh…boy, I just hope that people will fly,” the mayor sighed, sounding neither excited nor hopeful. “If people respond to that and fly Riverton, we will be in the airline business again.” I cannot convey how truly funereal Riverton’s mayor sounded. Except to tell you–I’m not exaggerating–that he barely paused before adding:

“The other thing today…we had a funeral for Dianne Tippets.”

#9: North Las Vegas, NV 4/20/16

Las Vegas, baby! A.K.A. Sin City. Hookerville, USA. Yeezus.

This city council meeting will be Off. The. Cha-what’s that? This is North Las Vegas?! Please tell me some of the debauchery trickles across the border.

“You just opened your new church and I was there maybe two months ago,” Mayor John Lee recalled after a pastor gave the kickoff prayer. “How is it going?”

“Amazing! Lots and lots of people,” the padre eagerly responded.

“Well, that’s blessing for our community,” the mayor nodded. Well, shucks. This is going to be as wholesome as a daycare. And speaking of children, “some Rancho High School students are here. We’re going to recognize the winners of the art show.”

The council descended to the floor, as Councilman Isaac Barron launched into a weird trip down memory lane. “There used to be this one show here in town–I was almost a radio personality. There was a reggae show and the host always ended the show with saying ‘and remember, if you don’t like reggae, you don’t like life.’ In this case, I would say if you don’t like art, you don’t like life.”

Smooth, Councilman. Very smooth, mon.

The council handed an award to a moody teen who could not have looked less happy to be there. She won first prize for her performance piece, “MOM!!! You’re embarrassing me in front of my council members!”

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Did Picasso get an award from his city council? I think not!

At this point, Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown had an announcement. “A couple of weeks ago the mayor and myself attended the Goodwill annual community recognition luncheon. But the good thing is-” she could barely contain her excitement as she stood up-“we all received one of these bags!” She flaunted her man-sized tote bag, which she would use to collect donations.

An aide piped up: “Mayor, also on Tuesday at the Goodwill, you will be here at 11 a.m. in a blue blazer collecting those donations.”

“Mayor, I think blue is your color,” complimented Councilman Richard Cherchio. “Maybe you can wear that bag. I think you’d look good in it.” Boom! Roasted.

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Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown shows off her giant sack.

It was time for public comment. A citizen named Doris rolled up in a wheelchair and complained–very politely–about people leaving their debris in her path on the sidewalk. “How many hours does it take for somebody outside to clean up this mess?” she pleaded. “Work on making North Las Vegas a beautiful place to live. Not just better, but beautiful.”

“It’s possible we could deputize you,” Mayor Lee mused, “and give you a badge and a little red light and put you to work out there.”

“What would my role be?” Doris asked skeptically.

“Alex will figure that one out for you. You’re our favorite citizen!” the mayor said with a laugh. Oh, really? Is that how you treat your favorite citizens, mayor? By recruiting them to fight crime on the mean streets? Because if so…ALEX, MAKE HER A SUPERHERO! She shall be Debris Woman and ride a flying bulldozer.

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This is Doris. Do not f*ck with her.

Final thoughts: To paraphrase Councilman Barron, if you don’t like reggae, art, or city council meetings, you don’t like life. I give this meeting 2 stars: one for Doris and one for all the tush she’s gonna kick.