What’s this? Another installment of the semi-regular “Best Thing, Worst Thing” podcast series? Why, I do believe it is! For an explanation of the project, check out the page here. If you like storytelling and municipal lore, I think you’ll enjoy what the cat dragged in.
If you’ve got the kids already gathered around the fireplace, head over to the City Council Chronicles podcast and download the latest episode. Or you can play it below.
Episode 2: Cheyenne, Wyoming
Photo source: Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce
Cheyenne is the capital of Wyoming, population 63,000. It is located in the southeast corner of the state just eight miles from the Colorado border. It exists thanks to the builders of the Transcontinental Railroad. Downtown is fairly compact, with the capitol building at the north end and the historic train station at the south. Government buildings are prevalent and some of the historic homes are quite nice. Although it is the largest city in Wyoming, the population has risen slowly and steadily. In this episode, we hear from a business owner, a firearms instructor, two Chamber of Commerce employees, and a former mayoral candidate.
FAST! That’s the only word to describe this week’s blink-or-you’ll-miss-it Romulus city council meeting.
In other burgs, something as explosive as rezoning would roil a council for hours. One such Romulus troublemaker stepped to the mic and gave his ultimatum to the People’s Servants: “We’re looking to keep the rezoning” on his property.
Councilman William Wadsworth approached cautiously. “You just wanna keep it for future development?”
Troublemaker: “Yes sir.”
Wadsworth: “Okay, fine.”
Bam! Done in 8.5 seconds. Let’s go, we’re burnin’ daylight!
“I would like to say happy birthday,” council Chairman John Barden said, glancing sideways at the city clerk. “Clerk had a birthday Sunday.”
“21, right?!” Councilman Harry Crout exclaimed.
“Forever!” she responded punnily. But okay, seriously, let’s move on to the-
“I would like to ask council for a birthday resolution for Ronald McClellan’s 70th birthday,” Councilwoman Linda Choat bandwagoned. Yes, yes, send him a strippergram. It’s on me. Can we just get on to the mayor’s report please?
“I have a video clip to run,” Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said with zero trace of excitement. “Roger, you wanna run that and we’ll just move on from there?”
Suddenly, a perky young face appeared on the screen to rattle off the local comings and goings.
“Hi, everyone! I’m Jasmine. Here’s what’s coming up around Romulus: Romulus Drug Task Force bowling fundraiser is May 6. Boy Scout Troop 872 Eagle Project spaghetti dinner fundraiser is May 1o. Romulus High School bands are holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on May 12. Romulus Animal Shelter bowling fundraiser is May 13. Thanks and have a great week, everybody!”
(If you don’t like spaghetti or bowling, hopefully you have Netflix because there ain’t many options.)
But it wasn’t all meatballs-and-sauce for Councilman Wadsworth. He’s jonesing for a bridge to be built on Pennsylvania Road so those godforsaken trains stop holding up the good people.
“Recently I went to buy gasoline at the Shell station. It took me 30 minutes to come back with five gallons of gas,” he fumed. “That upset me.”
A couple of years ago, they were soooo close to building the overpass. “[Former] Mayor Oakley told me ‘this looks really good’ and two weeks later he told me it all went to…south. I almost swore,” the self-censoring scion caught himself. “Pardon me. I’m sorry.”
On that apologetic note, the council meeting was adjour-
“If you’re celebrating a birthday in May, happy birthday,” Councilman Crout brought it back to the goddamn birthdays. “Roger, happy birthday.”
“I’m gonna piggyback off of Councilman Crout,” the clerk oinked. “Also we have our mayor’s birthday on May 8. So happy birthday, mayor.”
Yes, for he’s a jolly good fellow. Hip-hip-hooray. Quick, go to the recap!
Final thoughts: This place has more birthdays per capita than a Chuck-E-Cheese. I’m going to name Councilman Wadsworth the VIP for apologizing for his almost-swear. That’s what I call leadership. Good luck on getting that bridge. 4/5 stars