For the last city council meeting of 2016, I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful council chamber: ornate chairs, delicate chandeliers, intricate woodwork. It looked more like the set of “Hamilton” than a municipal building.
But the room was also deeply, deeply confusing: the six council members were crowded into a single wooden desk–cafeteria style. The council president had her own luxurious dais in roughly the next ZIP code.
And then, there was the graphics department:
However, the phrase “lipstick on a pig” sprung to mind, as the beautiful room was consumed by a series of irate public commenters tearing each council member a new rectum and–occasionally–making sense.
“Regarding the Uber issue,” a woman in a baggy blazer slowly wound herself up. “What is an ‘Uber?’ Is it generic? Is it a brand name? Is it a transitive verb? Is it a modifying adverb? I’d like to know.”
I had absolutely zero read on whether she was kidding. My heart said she wasn’t, and my head said, “oh, god, this is gonna get worse.”
“I picked up some statistics. Our seven new electric motorcycles–” she continued.
“Okay, this is about Uber and Lyft,” cut in Council President Leesa Perazzo with some exasperation. “It’s NOT about electric vehicles.”
“Well,” the woman huffed, “these can be hooked up if it’s electric motorcycles. There are many acres of forestland being destroyed for motorcycle lanes!”
Uh, point…taken? I’m sure all of the Uber drivers with electric motorcycles are quaking in their helmets.
The next commenter was a tiny balding man in a sweater vest who spoke with a slight impediment and even slighter enthusiasm.
“I’d like to speak on what I call ‘my two cents’ on the smoking ordinance. When I found that this council had passed us a law, I went, ‘seriously? Did the council pass that without realizing some people are not gonna like it?'”
He was referring to a new ordinance banning people from smoking in cars when minors are present. Also, he was apparently new to the concept that city councils do things people don’t agree with.
He sagely added, “I don’t think anybody in the government has been using the brains or common sense…things.”
Well, this has been enlightening. And another anti-anti-smoking commenter stomped to the podium. “If you have custody of those children and you tend to be in a car that’s bought and paid for, that’s your personal property! You can do anything you want with your personal property!” he fumed.
Amen! That’s the same logic I use to run a dog-fighting ring in my basement and cook meth in my RV. Read the Constitution.
And if the comments from the public hadn’t soured the mood enough, Councilman Vincent Riggi stood up to seal the deal. “Just to clarify the vote on the smoking: YOU brought up that it’s our part to not abstain, Madam President. I don’t know WHY that left-handed shot had to come out. That’s certainly my prerogative to abstain,” he snapped.
“I thought we were beyond that, but I guess we’re not. And I thought YOU were beyond that, but apparently not.”
“I won’t answer any of the other nonsense I heard tonight,” he slammed the microphone down.
Here’s to a Happy New Year?