Tuesday, February 12, 2008

City Council Meeting, 2/11

As a service to those of you who don’t come outside when global warming takes a day off, I will hereby provide you with comprehensive coverage of tonight’s city council meeting. My apologies to those expecting a blog of the emergency environmental bill public hearing--I was painting my house and couldn't get there early enough.

Devastatingly, the wireless connection that I formerly used to provide the live blogs is no longer available. You see, there is no wireless internet access in city hall, and I was “borrowing” an unsecured wireless internet connection from a chap named Garreth. Fare thee well, Garreth.

So, I am coming to you on a delay, but these thoughts and words are real-time.

7:31 P.M.

Invocation and pledge of allegiance. All aldermen are present. As usual, the sound system is inadequate and I can barely hear anything, especially when I am whispering things under my breath to other people.


Whoops, Alderman Sam was late. I didn’t notice at first because there are a ton of people here and I’m sitting in the back with the VIP crowd.


Periodically, the committee chairmen (who are various aldermen) give reports as to what the committees are doing. This is happening right now. I suspect it makes everyone feel good to know that the government is doing something.


Sitting in the back with the VIP crowd pays off, as Ray Weaver just informed me that the city council meetings will now be viewable on Verizon Fios!


Have you ever stared at a light and focused so intently that your peripheral vision becomes a blur and you are temporarily blinded? Isn’t that the best?!


I notice a police officer standing guard at the door. I understand that this will be permanent. Also, a reporter from The Capital was talking about a reporter getting shot. Was this in today’s paper? Geez.


Minor Carter, a lobbyist who represents the city to the general assembly, informs us that the Mayor, Speaker Busch, and the Governor have collaborated on a public safety plan for the city. This was just a tease, as the full details are not completely worked out yet. (Edit: I later learned that this involves manipulations to the parole/probation process).

On a side note, Mr. Carter dresses very nicely, and is a founding member of the A.S.S. fire brigade.


The stop the gunfire signs are out!
Timm Kostenko, another local blogger, stood and implored collaboration—effective collaboration—to address the crime problem, evoking a tragically inspirational anecdote. The mayor immediately responds that there are already public safety groups in the area. Do I hear a denial of the problem?


Bob McWilliams is up to speak on behalf of the Eastport group ‘Stop Gunfire Now’. The signs are up again—I can’t see a thing. Seemingly there will be a parade of such testimony, and I’ve only painted my living room so far!

The Mayor is continuing to place emphasis on citizens doing things themselves. She is very short on patience with Mr. McWilliams, who ran against her for Ward 8 Alderman some time ago. She directs Bob to make a plan and send it to her. For me, the citizen demands have been made clear—START BY HIRING MORE OFFICERS. WE KNOW IT TAKES TIME BUT TELL US IT’S STARTED.


The parade continues. These people have been standing up for like 10 minutes. The tone is the same: Annapolis’ crime rate is high when compared to almost every peer of ours, and high compared to objective measures. They have stats to back this up, and everyone has anecdotes to back it up. I have carpal tunnel syndrome.


Oops, I did that thing with the lights again.


Parading. This, in case you forgot, is the legislative meeting where things get voted on. Nothing has been voted on yet.


The parade slogan is “We live in fear”. Alderman Sam assures us that the council and mayor are working behind the scenes in ways we don’t even see! He also wants feedback on gun control, noting that guns pull their own triggers.


The mayor informs us that there have been many press releases related to public safety. How true!


I gave up soda for Lent, and right about now I really want one.


The parade requests a date of March 15 to come up with a joint plan. Of note, ‘parade’ is not a derogatory term.


The mayor defends herself, saying she is doing more than talking. She is becoming quite defensive, although I can’t see her facial expressions because these people are still standing and I don’t plan on moving.


Mrs. Politics alertly realized that our Valentine’s Day plans conflicted with the Maryland-Duke game, so we promptly suspended our affection for each other to accommodate the TV schedule. Just kidding—we just changed our reservations.


Macy’s Thanksgiving Day, Parade of Roses, etc. Paul Foer is currently testifying, and has somehow wandered to an unrelated topic. He is talking about Tiananmen Square. On a brighter note, people are now seated.


The VIP crowd is exchanging humorous quips and one-liners to amuse ourselves, as none of us has any soda. Nothing has been voted upon yet.


Paul Foer accuses people of only caring when white people get beaten. I am anticipating someone challenging me on this, so here is his quote: “Don’t just be active during a crime wave. Don’t just come out when white people get beaten.”


The parade continues. The current speaker is a former resident of public housing, a current Eastport resident, and a convicted murderer. He lost 3 brothers to gunfire in public housing, and the shooters didn’t live there. He is here, apparently, to support the Mayor. More inspirational than most of the other speakers, and the message is different. It praises the job of the Mayor and police. Sort of difficult to tell where he is coming from, or indeed his point.


The aforementioned inspirational speaker is still speaking, and Paul Foer verbally objects to his abuse of the 3 minute time requirement. They jab back and forth a bit, entertainingly. Paul had a point though.


People are standing again. Residents are displaying remarkable stamina.


3 minute break, then the legislative action will begin!


The “3” minute break ends.

Legislative Items.

O-6-07: Review Time For Legislation, specifically Zoning Map legislation. Apparently this bill failed to be referred to the correct committees. There is a revised version, and amendments to that. PASSES (second/third reader).

O-27-07 Revised “D”: Environmentalist Paradise Bill. 12 Amendments moved by Stankivic, who is being guided by the city attorney. This bill is headed for postponement, clearly a move that was anticipated and worked out by the aldermen and mayor.

There is a bunch of procedural babble that is frustratingly taking place. The babble can be attributed to Alderman Stankivic, who didn’t introduce the amendments until this afternoon and nobody had time to figure out what to do about it. Three members of the city council are staring at the lights, and 2 aldermen aren’t even present right now. Ok, now POSTPONED.

O-47-07: 2 Hour Parking Limitations. Amendments. PASSES (second/third reader).

(9:24 Alderman Hoyle is gone. It’s been like half an hour. Edit: she never returned.)

R-24-07: Extending Water Service To County Fire Department. This has been revised from what’s on the internet. I’ll have to check it out. Alderman Stankivic opposes because the county is not being forced to pay triple the rate for water like other non-city residents receiving city water! PASSES.

R-4-08: Giving Parking Meter Money To Homeless. Amendments. Apparently new meters are actually being installed for this. Alderman Stankivic sensibly requests a fiscal note, and Arnett seconds it. Shropshire opposes the fiscal note. POSTPONED.

First Reader Passages:



Anonymous said...

Did the "former resident of public housing" who lost three brothers to violence from "outsiders" mention whether the bros had criminal records themselves? Since he is a convicted murderer himself, that seems a possibility. It also suggests that criminal acts occur in public housing because criminals live there (at public expense)

Anonymous said...

the mayor is into social engineering and feel-good kumbaya programs to make public housing residestn happier with themselves.

More important to get criminals out. One strike and your gone. Bring back Pat croslan.

Anonymous said...

Pat Croslan was heading things in the right direction. But, she demanded a certain degree of personal responsibility out of public housing residents. Moyer found that unacceptable and got rid of her. The only thing Moyer expects out of public housing residents is their vote every four years.

Bob McWilliams

Anonymous said...

responsibility? who you kidding? They don't even pay utilities. They all have cell phones and game boys, tho. Most of them are third,fourth generation public housing and have no intention of leaving. Get a mayor who demands some behavior standard instead of a voting block

Anonymous said...

The APD issue isn't that they don't have qualified applicants but rather Capt. Hopkins dumps them because she doesn't like the way they look, speak, smell, walk or just aren't "her" idea of a police officer.

Take her out of the equation and you will see good, compassionate officers on the street.