Monday, October 27, 2008

City Council Meeting 10/27: Live Blog

Yes, live!

This is a public hearing meeting, which ironically means that there will probably be less public speaking than at a regular meeting, because at least at this meeting people have to talk about what's on the agenda.


Yikes, the Maritime Republic of Eastport is here. They have children, confirming the worst fears of mainland-ers that they are developing a youth indoctrination program. Their annual Declaration of (Tug Of) War will come be expressed in a battle on November 8.


The city just received a grant that will allow them to buy yarn. I'm sure I'm leaving out some relevant information but that's what struck me.


We are now being treated to a presentation on the Legacy of Slavery in Annapolis. There is a screen, and a projector--likely causes of "a case of the Mondays" for the MIT department. The right side of the room must now move to the left side, because the screen is set up on the right side of the room. Lesson: when looking for factual information, always look to the right.*

(*Political pun!!)


The presentation has come to a halt because the presenter tried to access a web page and it says "page cannot be displayed". Finally, vindication!! Presenter: if you are reading this right now, I will sell you the secrets of my internet "borrowing" for $5, payable in $.05 installments for however long it takes.


As an aside, the pre-meeting conversation included the nature of the whereabouts of former city attorney Shaem Spencer, who is now a district court judge in Glen Burnie. I was informed that an unofficial city delegation was sent to heckle the honorable magistrate, a field trip that I imagine to be hilarious.


I noticed that Alderman Paone is drinking a diet coke--an endurance technique that I pioneered some 18 months ago when this blog first began. Well done, sir.


The presentation is over. I believe that now the public will be heard.

Bill: O-05-08, to correct a technical error in the code regarding free standing signs.
-P/Z director John Arason gives a brief.
-nobody speaks for or against.

Bill: O-18-08, more technical changes to.....wait for it......sign regulations!
-Arason testifies again.
-I dare say that the public is again, ambivalent. Alderman Arnett seems to know the deal.


I will send $2 to anybody who writes a comment while I am writing this blog. You only pay the $4.95 shipping and handling.


Of shipping and handling, which is the more expensive undertaking?




My goodness, I think it's easier to make yourself a criminal in this town by putting up an illegal sign than anything else. If I were the Downdown Dictator (one of my pet name's for the office of mayor), the sign code would read like this:

15.535.9525 Signs:
If you put up a sign, we will grab 20 random people who passed by your sign. If none of those people say "that is a dumb-ass sign", or "who thought this would be OK?", then you can keep the sign.


Alan Hyatt, a local mogul, is representing Shopper's Food Warehouse--who apparently have been aggrieved via signs.


For the record, my favorite signs are THIS ONE (watch for immigrants cross the road!), and THIS ONE (not overly wordy, yet you understand completely the choice you have to make.)


Classie Hoyle, whose ward this concerns, has not commented at all during this exchange.


Bill: O-30-08, clarifying the duties of DNEP and the Public Works Administration.

-an unidentified employee is testifying.

-small government tip of the day: if two government departments can't figure out who does what, maybe one of those departments doesn't need to be there

-since when was Public Works an 'Administration' and not a 'Department'?

-a man with a briefcase is talking about sprinklers. I don't know why this is relevant, but then again I haven't read this bill, and he just referenced the bill, so he is probably making a valid point.


I haven't stopped blogging, I've just stopped paying attention to the meeting. I plan to be interested soon.


Ok, I read O-30, and there is a provision that changes the requirement to install sprinklers from a renovation that exceeds 50% of the market value of a house to a renovation that increases living space by more than 50%. I don't know if this is the first time this came up, but people are really focused on it.


Bills: O-31-08 and O-34-08, reducing the Homestead Credit to either 1o5% or 102% depending on which bill you like

-Doug Smith: reduce it to 102%

-Mayor Moyer suggests that the 110% level is necessary to achieve the level of services that the citizens have come to expect.

-Randy Landis (who gets called "Gimpy" by the mayor on the way up to the podium): also likes both proposals, likes the reduction to 102% better

-fyi, for the purposes of this bill, 102% means that the tax-assessed value of your house cannot increase by more than 2% each year. currently, it can increase by 10% (or 110% using the semantics of this bill)

-Mayor Moyer applauds herself for reducing the property tax rate, a statement that doesn't

-Mike Dye: in favor of both, don't care which percentage is chosen as long as any effort is made to lower the percentage. the real purpose of this is transparency (because if the Homestead Credit is low, then you can only increase taxes through the rate, and everybody knows about it). Mike is taking some direct shots at the mayor on this because she let the credit be 10% then claimed to lower taxes because she lowered the rate.

-Brian Gill: the transparency argument is a good argument.

-Mike Dye: "I have heard a host of excuses!". Brilliant! The Mayor keeps saying "don't just complain to us, because the state and the county do it to", and Mike says "right now, I'm worried about the city". Very awesome.


I lost track of where we are because a luminary came to speak with me.

Ok, nobody spoke about O-32-08 (City of Annapolis Exempt Service) or O-33-08, a confusing bill that I will post about soon.


Legislative Action!

O-24-07: Sandwich Board Signs!! Specifically where and when they are allowed. WITHDRAWN.

R-45-08, job description and pay grade for elections board position. PASSES. 9-0 vote.

R-52-08, creating a historic West St. gateway committee.

-Alderman Stankivic proposes an amendment that there should be a person from each ward on the committee, and somebody who may or may not work for the city is at the podium arguing against this. So, the city is arguing with itself on this amendment.

-The above mentioned person just named like 300 people who are already on the committee, and Alderman Paone just said "well, it sounds like you have everybody represented but the residents", and I just upgraded to the platinum membership to the Alderman Paone fan club.

-Alderman Cordle: this is a moot point because the state owns part of the road.

-The '1 person from every ward' amendment passes (I think).

-bill PASSES. 9-0 vote.


Alderman Stankivic excuses herself.

R-54-08 (first reader), Establishment of a Council Compensation Commission. passes/referred to committee. Rules suspended and this bill PASSES on second and third readers. 9-0 vote.




Anonymous said...

Why does Mayor Moyer continue to talk about lowering the tax rate.

With changes in assessments, Moyer had done nothing but enourmously raise taxes on the people of Annapolis.

Does the Mayor not get it? Or does she hold so little regard for the intelligence of the electorate that she hopes they won't get it.

Either way, the Mayor is being dishonest with Annapolitans by trying to pretend that she's lowered taxes.

Moyer has presided over what is probably the most explosive growth in city government spending during the entire 300 years of our town.

She talks about all the money that's needed for all these wonderful services. Is she talking about such achievements as the empty Market House, the half finished Police station, the millions lost in the pension lawsuit? Exactly what are all these services that Moyer is talking about. I look around and little that has been done for the average citizen, but much that's been done for a handful of Moyer's friends who enjoy pulling down six figure city salaries.

Bob McWilliams

Anonymous said...

This is such great stuff for the 15 of us policy wonks who live in Annapolis. Serious.