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.
Normally when a city council meeting is described as “lively,” that means everything is spinning out of control. But at Salisbury City Hall, the only “stuff” hitting the fan was sugar, spice, and everything nice.
As citizens milled about and staff hustled to put the finishing touches in place, a lone man planted himself in front of Councilman R. Hardy Rudasill’s face and pointed a cell phone.
“Are we rolling?” Councilman Rudasill asked, staring into the camera. “I love Salisbury because there’s no better place to live. It’s easy to get to work and it’s easy to get to the bars. You gotta love it!”
Rudasill let out a hearty guffaw and gave a high five to Mayor Jacob Day. Look for him on a YouTube, Snapchat, or Instagram account near you.
“Before we get started,” warned Council President Jack Heath, “I’d like you to please silence any electronic devices that will make noise.”
He paused. “Kids are cool. I know there’s no buttons to do that.” The room exploded in laughter.
Unfortunately, those aforemntioned kids didn’t seem quite so “cool” when an infant began bawling during a church deacon’s opening invocation.
“Dear heavenly Father, we’re so thankful–”
“–for our mayor and our council–”
“–and the people here who love Salisbury so much, Lord,” he finished with a hint of exasperation.
But still, the energy in the room was through the roof. As the council rolled through various mundane items–honoring a nonprofit foundation, hearing from the youth advisory committee, purchasing some property–each was punctuated by sustained applause from the audience.
Their enthusiasm seemed to bewilder Council President Heath. “It’s a good night!” he observed incredulously.
Then it was time for the big-ticket item. The elephant in the room. The bull in a china shop.
The Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District.
“I ask that you keep your comments to three minutes, four minutes,” Heath admonished the public. He would bring down the hammer on any filibusterers–unlike his laissez-faire attitude toward crying babies.
A woman in a bright yellow sweater popped up to the podium. “Forty-five seconds max,” she predicted.
“Oh, no–” Heath protested, but she had already begun.
“I am here tonight because we [my family] are not ‘from-heres,’ we are ‘come-heres.’ We were a family that was looking for a way to belong to this community, and the Arts & Entertainment District gave us that.”
I’ll be damned. It was exactly 45 seconds.
The next commenter took the long way to the podium, conspicuously waving at Mayor Day. The mayor glanced up from his computer.
“This is Jake’s OTHER dad,” the council president quipped. Everyone laughed at the apparently-inside joke.
“I’m a lot older than him, even though I don’t look it,” Papa Day shot back to more chuckles.
After Day’s testimony, the council voted in favor of the Arts & Entertainment District. A giant cheer went up–and just as quickly, people rushed for the exits.
“Don’t leave us!” Councilman Rudasill and Councilwoman April Jackson pleaded.
“You didn’t read the small print that says you have to stay till the end!” Council President Heath called out.
But alas, they were gone.
Final thoughts: I give 10 out of 10 stars to the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District for being so dang popular.