|On Deaf Gahan’s orders, Pat tries to be clever — and fails.|
But before we get down to brass tacks and gin-fueled reveries, a wee bit of background from early March is in order.
… In each instance of public comment at council meetings, there is a sign-in sheet at the lectern, and if a prospective speaker fails to use it, there usually isn’t a second chance — until next meeting.
Rules, you know.
What’s more, council president “Silent Pat” McLaughlin recently tightened the rules even more by stipulating that constituents must refrain from the extemporaneous.
Lord, how Team Gahan fears the unscripted.
There can be no doubt on this or any other nearby planet that McLaughlin’s agenda tweak is aimed squarely at your friendly local blogger and his council-viewing colleague, Mark Cassidy.
That’s because it has long been our habit to sign the sheet and indicate our intent with a question mark, thus allowing rebuttals or follow-up comments to be directed at whatever unchecked inanity just occurred.
Really, Pat, is it reasonable to expect a citizen to know exactly what he or she is compelled to say after being fed a whole meeting’s worth of live ammo?
Think of it as our chance for three minutes of orgasmic pleasure following the prolonged agony of watching Coffey’s pudgy index finger wagging like the rear-end plumage on a peacock in spring, or Bob Caesar as that starched-shirt 1920s-era schoolmaster warning against masturbatory anti-establishment individualism.
Ironically, the best way to forestall topical references from folks like us would be to shift the non-agenda public speaking time back to the beginning of the meeting.
Doing so would deprive us of opportunities for improvisation, wouldn’t it?
Think about it, Pat, and while you’re at it, perhaps City Hall itself deserves overdue attention if your honest aim is to maintain order and decorum.
That’s because city council meetings typically are attended by most of the mayor’s upper-level appointees, though never the corporeal dignitary of record, who sends his merry director of communications to emit hurried 45-second Access Hollywood updates of the sort that would have infuriated a red-faced Gahan back when he was city council president.
Memories are mighty short at the top.
In recent months, these appointed officials have perfected an elegantly matched Junior High School stratagem for displaying their displeasure with the public’s right to speak (and by extension, their own responsibility to listen) by deserting the chamber as one when non-agenda item speaking commences.
They rise choreographed as a group and rush into the corridor, tittering, safe in the knowledge that the mayor has their back and the Bud Light Lime’s on ice.
Admittedly this Great March is entertaining, although a third-party contractor must have devised the idea, seeing as not one of them is creative enough to think of it on his own.
I was in Massachusetts on the 20th of April. I’d have watched the council meeting on live video feed, which in today’s Widely Wired World would cost mere pennies to implement, but although communities far smaller than ours provide the option, naturally none of our timer-servers want that level of openness, do they?
Mark attended, and during his public speaking time, he directed specific comments to McLaughlin’s purported reform. Here’s an excerpt, as relayed to me by Mark upon request.
Let’s be realistic about this. It’s not aimed at the general public of New Albany. We all know who is here at most of the meetings, especially at the end. I tried not to waste (council’s) time. I often passed even when signed up, and almost always thanked council for the opportunity. I tried to stay on subject, but according to this new sign up sheet, if I hear something during the meeting, I can’t comment on it.
Pat started to sputter, looked at the sign up sheet and evidently realized that there wasn’t much he could say. I said thanks and sat down. They adjourned and I quickly left.
Please know that I’m thankful to those readers who have taken the time to thank me for NAC’s council coverage, whether here or during those occasions when I tweet from the chamber.
I’ll be back. However, I simply need a little more time off from the prevailing idiocy, much of it emanating from the undemocratic “Democrats,” lest the enduring pettiness of mediocre non-entities like Silent Pat contributes to elevated blood pressure.
My time coordinating the resistance to One Party Gahanism is better spent peeling away one or two votes at a time from Dear Leader’s future total, rather than competing with this reality:
They can’t listen in this position, anyway.