Monday, January 28, 2008

City Council Meeting 1/28: Live Blog

Welcome to the second ever live blog of a city council meeting! The atmosphere is warm and welcoming!

6:30 p.m.

The city clerk inquires if I am married at the moment. I informed her that I was not and that I enjoy drinks after city council meetings. I then immediately hacked into Mrs. Politics' computer and disabled her internet browsing functions so she cannot read this.

(Note: Everything in italics is false.)


Alderman Sam gives me a prototype version of the city of Annapolis reusable canvas bags. I will upload a picture this week.


OMG the servers just went down for like 12 minutes. I am so far behind!

Ok, the meeting was adjourned at 7:07.


Alderman Sam gives me a prototype of the new, official, city of Annapolis reusable canvas bags! I will post a picture at some point.

(Note #2: I love Mrs. Politics very much. Today she gave me an edible arrangement, which is a group of fruits, dipped in chocolate, and arranged to look like a bouquet of flowers! Delicious!)


Public hearing opens for O-06-07, a highly technical and procedural ordinance concerning review time for legislation. Local Eastport activist Chris LaDue opposes it (I think) on the grounds that it reduces transparency.


Hearing for O-24-07, which allows those tent-style sandwich/menu boards to be places on sidewalks outside restaurants. The bill would formalize a practice that already exists, specifying various standards. The planning and zoning staff thinks this is fine, in principle, however there is concern that some of the signs are ugly.

Residents are concerned that the signs clog the sidewalks, and businesses want maximum advertising. Alderman Arnett raises a good point--who will decide which signs are allowed (pretty) or made illegal (ugly). Noteworthy is that current sings are required to meet certain requirements for sidewalk space still available.


Alderman Cordle suggests that sandwich boards should be made to include ash trays to accommodate the smokers that will now have to stand on the sidewalk as of February 1st. Hilarity ensues.

Alderman Sam noted how crowded our sidewalks would be with the sandwich boards and police segways! A swipe at the Mayor?! Total hilarity.

The Mayor notes that the city uses sandwich board sings, and implies that the council should not do something ridiculous like ban them.


Debate about sandwich board signs is still going on. Chris LaDue is talking again, which he tends to do, but he is telling the council to enforce the laws that already exist, which is this blog's favorite solution to almost every problem. He says that this is a "solution looking for a problem". The mayor suggests "perhaps you weren't here when there were consistent problems and people wanted solutions".


John Spencer informs me that since the start of his tenure, legislation concerning signs has quadrupled. Debate on this ends.


Hearing on O-27-05 begins, concerning what appears to be annexation rules for including federal property in city boundary lines. I confess that I haven't read the bill. Doug Smith, the ward 1 President, testifies to his confusion about what this would mean. How would the wards be affected? I don't know. Nobody knows.

(Note #3: somebody knows.)


It occurs to me that this concerns the Naval Academy. Prevailing wisdom in the back of the room (a.k.a. the "cool" area, a.k.a. the VIP area) is that there would be no registered voters in the Naval academy, because their voter registrations would be where they lived before.



He tells us that China has banned plastic bags. Relevance points: -10,000.

He then brings up concerns about what services we would have to provide the Naval Academy. Relevance points: +16.

Ooh, he suggests taking the mayor's vote away--165 bonus points.

Sadly, I have lost interest in what Tony is saying.

Wait.......he just suggests that adding 4,000 people is a perfect way to stick it to Ward 1 by diluting their voter base!

The Mayor seems to know a lot about this, and just brought up some good points which I will tell you if you email me. She then ended in a passively aggressive fashion, thanking Tony for his testimony.


The meeting is out of control. The Mayor was arguing with Tony for a while. But, Alderman Sam just jumped in, failing to resist the urge to comment on plastic bags. He claims that while in college he obtained the journal of an important Chinese person, who said that "we will sell the USA the rope to hang itself", apparently referring to plastic bags.


Order is regained.


Hearing begins for O-53-07: green buildings! The Sierra Club naturally is in favor.

The difference between this bill and O-27-07 is that this bill deals with private construction, whereas the other bill provides internal standards for the city to meet.

(Note #4: I am about to take a bathroom break, plus I am going to buy a soda, which means I am going to have to take another bathroom break before the night is out. If you need immediate assistance, you can view the council meeting on Comcast channel 99. If, however, you are like myself and have Verizon Fios television, you have to wait for me to return, because they don't show the meetings.)


I'm back. I thought the soda machine didn't give me the soda, but it was just hidden. Exact change was dispensed.

A gentleman is speaking about LEED standards (which are some type of green building standards), and states that such standards for residential construction is not feasible at this time. Builders simply have not had enough time to make it economical. "LEED for homes is too much", his extended testimony can be reduced to. He suggests a more obtainable standard that would be a more moderate step.


The gentleman basically says that low income housing with LEED standards is impossible without government subsidy.


Another homebuilder type is testifying against the bill for several reasons. She also questions the credentials of the "Green Building Council", which I was wondering about as well. The Green Building Council would specify the building standards.

Building to LEED standards, she says, costs 12% more and saves $250-$295 per year. If true, this is very interesting, if true, which is nice, because not much else is interesting tonight.*

(*with the exception of my humorous commentary.)


The kind lady just said that home builders are like aircraft carriers. Geez, that's one business I don't want to be in.


Various people are speaking, some in favor of green buildings. Various other people are annoyed that time requirements for speakers are not being enforced, which they rarely are.


Ok, that's done. Next, nobody wants to testify for O-57-07, so we are done with that.

Now for O-58-07: to renew the leases for the people who do the boat shows. A guy in a suit from, of all places, the Sailing Hall of Fame is the first to testify. He notes the relationship between the boat show lease and the doings of the SHOF. He seems to be upset that nothing in the proposed new lease with the boat shows takes into account possible collaboration with the SHOF, nor acknowledges any of their interests. It was quite boring.

However, another guy in a sweater (not a suit), said a respectful 'up yours' to the suit guy. Guy #2 apparently was a founding member of the SHOF, but represents the boat shows, and has reserved his testimony on this matter for 38 years, only coming forward now to promise that the SHOF's needs are being met.


I have determined that I am not staying a minute past 9:00.


O-61-07: grant funding. Alderman Stankivic wants to make grantees pay a percentage (50% for now) of any money they get from a city grant. Doug Smith says it's a good idea. Tony Evans says it's a good idea because we needn't have children raised entirely by the state. I say it's a good idea because it incentivises organizations to validate their market worthiness.

A member of a non-profit testifies against this because Annapolis grants are used to "leverage" other grants, which I'm assuming means that other governments use grants from the city as a qualification to give their grants, reducing their need to do their own investigation. I actually think this is a valid point.

This one's done.


O-62-07, hearing on lease for 'New Year's Annapolis'. Seems benign, although having not read the lease, it seems like the city will lose money as a basic premise of this arrangement. I'll try to check it out.

Alderman Israel says that if event planning company makes money, that the city then shouldn't have to lose money. This supports my thought that the city is willing to lose money initially.

I am ASSUMING that the following things will happen, because it is 9:01 and I am leaving.


O-04-08 passes (first reader).

R-03-08 passes (second and third reader). Reclassifies civil service compensation.

1 comment:

Molly said...

Very amusing. Loved the live blogging!