Tuesday, November 10, 2009

City Council Meeting, 11/9

Let’s cut to the chase. It’s hot as shit in here because infinity people showed up to the city council meeting. They came for the Energy Park work session, and decided to stay for what promises to be an “energy” filled portion of the ‘public testimony’ portion of this ‘not a public hearing’ meeting.

7:51

A city employee won an award for saving the city money, and was entitled to 10% of his savings in the form of a savings bond, which is like working for years to save the animals and getting paid in a fur coat.

7:52

Committee reports are starting, which are meaningless, so let me say this. It’s good to be back. Back in the private sector, thriving, an astute observer and watchdog for the people. I know many of you were anticipating reading these thoughts as they come to me, but city internet access being what it is, you have been left totally disappointed. And if you are looking for even more disappointment, I invite you to examine the city hall PA system, which I liken to a cell phone conversation with your hand over your mouth in the middle of a hurricane.

Before we get started, for your reference, here is the flyer everyone is about to talk about.

7:55

The meeting theoretically started 25 minutes ago, and nothing has been accomplished. But don’t worry!! Here comes the public to speak. First up, Zina Pierre!

Zina: “I support Hoyle’s hate crime legislation”.

Me: “That bill (which is not even on the agenda) is a load…a day late and a dollar short as they say. Or where the you know what was Hoyle BEFORE the election when this came out, as they also say”.

Zina: “I support Carl Snowden”.

Another lady: advocates the investigation of the Bowling/Hoyle flyer.

Karen Jennings: Green party condemns flyer. “Annapolis was already a gay-unfriendly city”.

Cynthia Carter: against the fees charged for the new recreation center. “I haven’t seen the flyer but I heard about it and I support Hoyle in her condemnation of it.”

8:01

For the record, I would bet several thousand dollars that somebody running for city office in the most recent election knew about “the flyer” before it went out.

8:02

Cliff Myers: “I’m almost 52, and there comes a point in one’s life where you can’t parse words. What happened in the city was pretty ugly, morally repugnant, and abhorrent.” Flyer caused “irreparable harm”. It’s time to align elections with county and state. 25% turnout = it ain’t working. Partisan elections are useful.

Mayor: “Happy birthday”

Cordle: “I’m contemplating legislation to shorten this (upcoming council) term to 3 years”.

8:05

Dave Miller: said everything elegantly and perfectly about the flyer and the council’s lack of action, especially from Classie. “I spoke with Classie Hoyle’s campaign manager the Friday before the election to tell her about the flyer. I find it reprehensible that Classie took no action on this despite knowledge of it, and gained advantage from it. I demand that Classie condemn this, deny all involvement, and help find the sources of funding and development. I call on Classie to resign her seat since she doesn’t have the moral fiber to deny this act.” The speech was like 4 times as long as that but I couldn’t keep up with the typing. Very frank, direct, and correct words.

After this heartfelt speech, most of which was directed at Classie, Classie turned to Finlayson and was laughing. Un-fucking believable.

8:11

Someone tell Sam he is not the only victim of this flyer.

8:13

Classie Hoyle: “My campaign manager did not relay this to me. I found out about the flyer when the results were rolling in on Tuesday night. I will contribute $500 to the reward fund tonight”.

8:14

Scott Bowling: (note to readers, he was the victim of the flyer): “I care about this city. I obviously was not elected, partly due to events that no Annapolitan should be proud of. This is not about losing an election, it’s far greater. My character and reputation were impugned. My name to whatever degree has been tarnished. My belief in civil discourse quite frankly has been shattered. As with most disappointments, opportunity often presents itself. Ward 3 is probably one of the most diverse wards in our city, but as you really go through the ward and observe, we still remain very divided, and that is very unfortunate. We are not divided by roads; the divisions go further. Since leadership has not come from this body (the council), we absolutely must change the level of discourse. We must end the divisiveness and the notion that character assassinations and attacks are part of the norm and the political process. We must end the ability of individuals and fictitious groups to put out materials without accountability, as they know the board of elections has no teeth and they (the groups) will never be held accountable. Our city holds a place in the country’s history—we can certainly do better than what we’ve seen in this election. I have filed requests with the state attorney general and US attorney asking for a complete investigation. As I’ve said, and many have said before me, the actions of this election are really unacceptable and degrading to our city and to our place in history. I am committed to providing the leadership and stamina to ensure that the antics of this election never occur again. Hate crimes have no place in our state or in our city, or anywhere. I am committed to ensuring as much as I can that the individuals responsible for the hateful and bigoted flyer are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This isn’t about Scott Bowling, because I tell you, I hope each and every one of you has read that flyer. I want to think about the silence that has prevailed up to tonight, because I bet if the names on the flyer were replaced with the names of other candidates, we would be talking about this a lot differently.”

8:22

Guy on crutches: I am here to support Snowden and his appointment to HACA.

Robert Eades: “Find out who put out this garbage.” Robert loudly supports Carl Snowden while concurrently taking a shot at Trudy McFall. “The community loves a person who could bring some fairty (sic) to public housing”. “Just like people are rallying around Scott, as they should, you should rally around the poor people in your wards and communities”. True.

8:28

Trudy McFall: “This has been a really ugly election filled with smears and illegal activities. There were no consequences and people were emboldened to the point until we get to what happened to Scott.” The antics were “cranked up” including what happened in signed emails from Democrat party officials. Trudy is recounting this. “Nobody inside the Democrat party did anything to stop it, investigate it, or do anything. What has come home to roost is illegal, hateful acts in the name of elections in this city”.

Mayor: “I would call on you and anybody involved in the hate blogs to step up and help”.

Mcfall: “excuse me….”

Mayor: “no excuse me, you had your 3 minutes!! You have been a part of these hate filled smears and attacks against me for years”

(holy shit!!)

Mayor: “your smears over the past years hurt my family and my grandchildren”

McFall: “my criticisms were always issue based”

Mayor: “never”

8:33

Pastor: anti-flyer.

Apparently R-71-09 (which is not on the agenda) is the resolution that condemns hate crimes.

The mayor looks exhausted from her argument with Trudy. For the record, Trudy won on speaker points*.

(*Speaker points were invented by my 11th grade speech teacher to give a chance of winning a debate to people with inferior arguments. I once lost a debate on speaker points, and was confused for several years as to why a fuel that was 95% gasoline and only 5% ethanol was a solution go global warming, which was the debate topic. However, since everyone is now selling these 10% ethanol blends, maybe speaker points are given to…the winner.)

8:39

I have never met Tony Spencer, but I believe his title is “Director of Things Taxpayers Do Not Want To Pay For In Tough Economic Times and/or Things Duplicated In Other Departments”. He seems nice though.

8:41

Kungel, KUNGEL…I’ve finally learned Arthur’s last name. Anyway, let me ignore his comments and talk about something else. I have announcement: I have adopted Maryland Ave. as my official economic area/neighborhood in Annapolis. It’s great. There’s a dance studio owned and operated by a Georgetown East Elementary School teacher—she’s there whenever she’s not teaching our children. There’s a cigar shop, a coffee house, and an Irish bar—3 establishments that would sustain my own survival for quite some time. There are jewelers for when you propose to your fiancée, furniture stores for when you guys get married, art galleries for when you and your wife want to class up the home—and that Irish bar for when your wife drives you crazy. The road is bricks, which is historic. You can see the Naval Academy at one end and the State house at the other—a perfect endorsement of Annapolis’ charm. The antiques stores and the funny gift shop give a good reprieve to what you find downtown. I love it! Support Maryland Ave!

8:47

Arthur was given more than his allotted time. People seem to be amused. Arthur always has interesting points but they only deal with city matters in the most abstract of ways, to put it gently. “At least he doesn’t talk about what’s on the agenda”, a VIP seated next to me remarked.

8:48

Nick Berry (Annapolis Democrat Central Committee Chair): “Vital that elections be honest and transparent. Slime against Bowling has no place. ADCC strongly supports full investigation of this travesty.”

David Prosten (Sierra Club): I didn’t hear what he had to say because (1) I was talking to someone else and (2) the PA system is terrible.

8:52

The temperature has cooled down by probably like 10 degrees. I’m quite comfortable right now, except for my left posterior, which is uncomfortable due to my wallet--which is not thick with money--but rather credit cards, symbolizing debt.

Zastrow Simms: “Carl Snowden has fought the good fight for citizens of HACA”.

Lady involved in an EOE lawsuit: I commend you for fighting for your rights. The lady mentioned Annapolis blogs!! Shout out! “Classie did not know”.

Sharon Kennedy (Historic Preservation Commission): supports concept of energy park.

8:58

What is this energy park??? Why was this not a campaign issue?? I know the campaign issues. This must be a “new issue”. Yikes. I’ll have to investigate.

8:59

Ooohh, we’re now in a public hearing for a “memorandum of understanding” with the energy park people (R-63-09).

Tony Evans: classic case of thinking “I’m acting globally”. I believe Tony just said he’d been to windmill parks in Pennsylvania and China! His point (I think) is that we are behind the curve in energy generation and this is a chance to step forward. Move quickly. Note: Tony ended his testimony 1 second before the buzzer went off, showing a high level of talent and earning himself 200 speaker points.

Alan Hyatt: I didn’t get all of Alan’s testimony but I imagine it started with some type of legal jargon and ended with Alan being $3700 richer than he was when he came here today. I strive for that type of career.

Minor Carter: “I’m here to talk about electricity, but I must warn you, I’m not encumbered by a great deal of knowledge on this issue.” “We don’t need another lawsuit so don’t screw it up.”

Not an Annapolis resident: energy park is good.

9:20 (nearly 2 hours after the theoretical start of the legislative meeting)

No legislation has been voted on. Tony Evans has informed me that what is happening is that the group which submitted a failed bid to operate the energy park is trying to get the council to reconsider.

9:20:30

Bathroom break.

9:31

Still hearing publicly about the energy park.

9:45

Classie Hoyle: “I’m sitting here wondering why, with 2 companies that have compiled so much talent to work on this project, why we have to make a choice”. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that after she said that, 50% of the room rolled their eyes and 2 people actually got up and left.

The Mayor then tried to explain to her whey 2 competing private companies might not be willing or able to collaborate.

9:53

Its seems that the losing bidder, “Seven Seas”, was actually the company the city would have preferred, but they failed to provide proof of financial backing in a timely manner, so the next best company was contacted. When they promptly proved their financial ability, they were awarded the right to develop the project. At least that’s what I gather from how these people are arguing with each other.

9:59

The winning bidders seem competent too. These real estate and venture capital guys are really smart.

10:05

On the 19th, the 2 parties are presenting to the city council. Classie just said “Madam Mayor, I had not anticipated a long meeting on that day, with it being the 100th anniversary of the NAACP”. Wow.

10:08

Finlayson just said something for the first time in the meeting, and it was an appropriate and useful comment. On a side note, I saw the honorable Alderwoman at a polling location on election day. She was dancing and swaying sort of effortlessly, much as I imagine someone would at a rave while under the influence of some hallucinogenic drug. I’M SURE SHE WASN’T ON DRUGS, so don’t try and get me in trouble for saying that. I contrasted her emotional appearance with my actual emotions, and I realized it must be the feeling of a politician running unopposed.

10:12

Incredibly, the parties are now talking about collaborating, making the people who rolled their eyes at Hoyle seem like jackasses.

10:19

Paone just said that the “father of solar energy” is here right now. Sam said it too, but I believe Fred.

10:35

I believe Kenny Kirby is almost as tall as Paone. But not as menacing. And he doesn’t have a fan club.

VOTING!!

Sam wants to move R-70-09 and R-71-09 to the front of the agenda but they haven’t even been introduced and nobody knows what they say. But, the council will vote on them anyway.

Paone just said “I for one don’t have a copy of those bills” and everyone told him don’t worry about it, just vote.

Finlayson just asked the Mayor if they can merge the bills. The mayor said “I suppose” then asked the city attorney. After giving his trademark deer/headlights routine, he said the fastest way to do it would be to merge the bill. The answer, of course, is you can do whatever you want. Just make a motion to do it, then you can vote on whether to merge it or not. Problem is, Israel is an expert on elections procedures, and he’s lecturing everybody on the intent of all these boards and processes, and now everyone forgot what they wanted to do, which was to merge 2 “phantom” bills that only exist on the desks and in the minds of the Aldermen (except Paone). Isn’t city government fun?

10:41

City government is fun.

10:41:30

R-70 (Classie’s bill) is passed on first reader. Goes to public hearing.

R-71 (Sam’s bill) is also passed on first reader.

O-20-09: Newsracks in the Historic District. (NEWSRACKS! WHO CARES). Apparently nobody cares, and the ordinance was POSTPONED.

R-31-09 is the resolution accompanying O-20 and that was also POSTPONED.

O-49-09: Boat Shows (leasing the 2015 rights to the same people who have always done it). PASSES 8-1 (Stankivic)

O-26-09: Open Space Zoning District: PASSES 9-0.

O-28-09: Billing for Emergency Medical Services: PASSES 9-0 I think.

O-33-09: Establishing Standard for Use of Overtime: FAILS (it wasn’t even seconded).

O-36-09: Display Requirements for Sale of Fertilizer: PASSES 9-0.

O-44-09: Authorizing Police to Use Tasers: PASSES 9-0.

R-49-09: Fine Schedule for Violating O-44: PASSES 9-0.

O-46-09: Concentration Limit on Housebarges: PASSES 9-0.

O-48-09: Notice of Hearings and Permitting Procedures for Port Wardens: PASSES 9-0.

O-57-09: Lease of City Dock for 2010 Race Across America: PASSES 8-0 (Cordle just left.)

O-59-09: Stormwater Management Standards Conforming with State Law: POSTPONED

R-61-09: Support for Continued Funding of the Choice Program: PASSES 7-0. (Cordle is def. gone for the night and Stankivic abstained).

R-65-09: Annexation Procedure: POSTPONED.

PASSED ON FIRST READER ONLY AND REFERRED TO COMMITTEE:

0-65-09: R2-NC Zoning District Uses

R-66-09: Tolling Zoning Approval Expiration Dates

R-67-09: Street Rights of Way in Mary’s Mew Subdivision

R-68-09: Authorizing the Mayor to Negotiate Short Term Leases With Existing or Prospective Market House Tenants.

R-69-09: Naming the Gorman St. Building after Mayor Moyer.

11:25

Alderman Stankivic voted “no” on the first reader for the Moyer naming bill and now the Mayor is being a little short with Julie regarding procedure on the Carl Snowden appointment. A little late night fun. Paone and Stankivic want an opinion from either the Attorney General or the State Ethics Commission regarding a possible conflict of interest regarding Mr. Snowden. The Mayor wants them to accept a letter from the city attorney and her assurance that she’s “had a conversation with the attorney general”. Carl Snowden IS APPOINTED TO HACA. No roll call was taken.

Adjournment: 11:32 PM.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great as usual. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Brian. You are a community treasure just for helping us get through these meetings. Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

You should sit up front next to The Capital guys--that way Moyers barbs to bloggers don't need to travel as far!

brainyamy2507 said...

You captured this well, Brian. Our mayor's unprofessionalism is yet another reason why I am sooo ready for this administration to leave.

Anonymous said...

I heard the energy folks ran from the meetin all excited with an idea to harness the bullshit from City Council and make it into electricity for a sister city!