It works! I'm here...with a new computer, a new internet connection, a new city council, and a new the same cynicism that has vaulted this blog to the 56th most popular local political blog in the General's Highway Corridor!
Ok, sorry for the late start. Had to set up the new internet connection and it took me a minute. Many new and old VIP's are here, and Mayor Cohen has started off the meeting with a brief statement from each Alderman of which ward they represent and where that is. If you are new to this politics stuff, here's the location low down:
Ward 1: Downtown
Ward 2: West Annapolis and Germantown
Ward 3: Parole
Ward 4: Outer Forest Dr.
Ward 5: Hunt Meadow and Central Forest Dr
Ward 6: Robinwood, Tyler Heights, other random streets
Ward 7: Inner Forest Dr and Bay Ridge Dr/Ave
Ward 8: Eastport
The most disturbing thing I've noticed so far is how tall Kenny Kirby and Ian Pfeiffer are. Being the only Republican, Alderman Paone in my opinion needed to rely on his menacing stature, voice, and trial lawyer experience to get his bills through. But if Kenny Kirby puts on like 7 lbs of muscle, he will clearly be the most menacing member of the council. I plan to immediately contact Alderman Paone for an emergency strategy session after this meeting.
A bit of procedural consideration: Attention Eastport residents: I like you. My last post was not meant to offend you. Please appreciate the attempt at humor and please know that I agree with like 97% of the stuff you fight for. Oh, and I know there are people from all wards involved in your causes. No hard feelings? Great.
Josh says he aims for 'efficiency' and to be 'the best run city in Annapolis'. Also, the third Thursday of every month from 1:15-4:15 will now feature a legislative work session aimed at increasing transparency and understanding of the issues. This of course also means that every third Thursday of the month from 11:15-1:15 I will be hosting a political tailgate in Hillman Garage.
Too many changes! Now, all Monday meetings will be BOTH a public hearing and legislative meeting. This is really not a change at all, as the distinction between the 2 types of meetings was much like the current distinction between commercial banks and Savings & Loans after the banking crisis of 1981: nothing.
New public testimony policy: when the buzzer goes off, stop talking.
The public is speaking...time to test this new policy.
The first speaker is Julie Stankivic and she outed a controversy that I haven't gotten to yet! Ross Arnett, an economics professional and chief understander of the budget, was left off of both the finance committee and the economic matters committee. The committees don't have chair-people yet, and word on the proverbial street was that this snub might be the result of a failure to properly promise his vote for a certain chairperson*.
I will post the committee list for you tomorrow (or some other day).
Herb McMillan: "Reverse the trend; cut the budget".
Resident of Miami Ave: "The time to cut the budget is now".
Steve Samaras: "Brilliant selection of Doug Smith."
I went to high school with Steve's son, Drew, and he produced one of the most memorable moments of my high school life. In government and law class, Drew asked the teacher how fast over the speed limit do you have to be going to get pulled over. Our teacher, Mr. Kirby, reclined to an incredible angle of nearly 180 degrees horizontal in his chair and said "Drew, it's the limit".
Public hearing time. Like half of the room just left. I imagine they were supporting this, not with testimony, by simply by their presence.
O-03-09: limiting the height of building accessories in the MX district to 100 feet. "Accessories" appear to be clock towers, indoor theaters, and other things associated with the Park Place development.
Although my view from the back is obstructed, Alderman Arnett appears to be sporting a winter beard. I once tried to grow a winter beard, only to experience failure after 4 weeks of not shaving produced only the appearance of neglected hygiene.
A reader of this blog has cleverly utilized the comment technology, as I have received his real time complaint that I didn't list the committees. So, friend, per your request:
(Still talking about the height of Park Place).
Park Place representatives: "We want you to help us out". What they actually said I don't know, as a late afternoon coffee manifested into an early evening bathroom break while they were talking. But I'm assuming they said that.
While listening to the PPP (Park Place People), Josh leaned back in his chair to a modest reclining angle that I estimate to be 100 degrees--barely leaning back. I will call Mr. Kirby (not Kenny Kirby) to see if he gives lessons.
Also, I would like to say that I use the moniker "Josh" not as a sign of disrespect, but in recognition of a commonality we have. We both have economics degrees from the University of Maryland. Sharing the experience of learning about 'Neo-Keynesian policies' and 'production possibility frontiers' while continuously being told to "Fear The Turtle" produces a "bond of lifelong boredom" that affords its bearers the right to call each other by any name or nickname they see fit.
But if he asks, I'll call him Mayor Cohen.
I've spotted a woman crocheting while listening to the proceedings of this meeting! Wow. If ever there was proof that meetings are boring, such proof exists in the fact that crochet is the reprieve from the monotony.
People disrespect the General's Highway Corridor. Here are the 5 best things to do on that stretch of beautiful Anne Arundel County, listed in reverse order for added drama:
5. Go bowling! As my favorite comedian says: Some people have their own bowling ball AND their own bowling shoes AND.....no friends. My ball is called the Activator*, my shoes are black Drexel lace-ups*, and....does anyone want to hang out tonight?
(*this is actually true.)
4. Buy a Christmas tree from Matthew Weller's stand.
3. Go to Lures. Locals owners that welcome you to their dream.
2. Bet on when the billiard supply store will go out of business, only to reopen as another billiard supply store.
1. Get on I-97 without driving on Aris T Allen Boulevard.
If they don't stop talking about Park Place soon, I'll be forced to write more jokes, and political humor can get old real quick.
Serious business now...public hearing on O-47-09: to prohibit the use of a taxicab's horn to announce its arrival. Those damned noisy taxicabs! I know what you are wondering: and the answer is: former Alderman Stankivic sponsored this bill.
Robert Eades (owner of a taxicab company): "This is totally stupid".
Alderman Paone is asking a series of questions that alerts me to the fact that he thinks it's stupid too.
All of the Aldermen are seated at acute (less than 90 degrees) reclining angles--they are actually leaning forward! That's just silly. A couple years of practice, and maybe they can learn to recline like a Mayor.
Alderman Arnett just pointed out that it's Maryland law that you can't honk your horn for any purpose other than an emergency. What a spoilsport. Oh wait. His point is that this law is already redundant of state law. So he thinks this bill is stupid too. Good point Ross*.
(*also on the economics-degree first name basis).
Devin Heritage: Let's not create unenforceable laws.
A red-haired person just walked in! Exciting! The audience now includes:
-a red haired person
-a woman still crocheting
-someone with so little regard for free time that he is live blogging a city council meeting
-various city workers that more or less have to be here
-a taxi company owner
-several other people who have yet to distinguish themselves
We now move to a public hearing on O-59-09, which would update our stormwater regulations to conform with state law.
Voting time! There is nothing on final reader because the new mayor and council want to learn more about the bills before making a final vote. All of the following were passed on first reader and referred to committee. The bills sponsors and co sponsors are listed in parentheses.
O-66-09: Clarifying Mobile Food Service Permits (Hoyle)
O-67-09: Rezoning of a Part of Duke of Gloucester St (#214) (Israel)
O-68-09: Changes in the Way Legislation Is Passed (Israel)
O-69-09: Establishing a Financial Advisory Committee (Israel)
O-70-09: Order of Voting (Rotating Sequence with Mayor Voting Last) (Cohen, Paone)
R-73-09: Establishing a Citizens Committee to Review Alcohol Laws (Israel)
Budget amendments passed over Paone's objection.