Thursday, April 20, 2006

LIvebloggin' (Jenga!) From the Bowels of the City

---Vincent E. Griego Chambers, One Civic Plaza

Epilogue in Reverse: First, thanks to Chantal at Duke City Fix for the "blog-in event" invite and the photo you see above. I'm one of the goofy looking guys sitting in the back. Second, the account of the roughly 3 hours I attended the meeting is in reverse order, last post at the top just below this "epilogue in reverse". Three, I didn't mention it during my posting last night but I got to the event late, after spending 45 minutes changing a flat tire in downtown ABQ in an busy alley right next to the Alvarado Bus Terminal. Besides arriving sweaty and a bit flustered, the whole tire-changing experience might have influenced the higher than usual level of snark in the postings below. And now...

8:00 -- Okay, I just checked with my accountant, and it's come to my attention that I AM NOT GETTING PAID TO DO THIS. My butt hurts and Bob Anderson is talking and I absolutely HAVE TO eat something now or the delirium will overtake me....and now it's....

Geraldine Amato! Geraldine...right after Bob Anderson? This is a sign from God or something. Having Bob and Geraldine back to back is like the "Star Spangled Banner" at the end of the old TV station's broadcast day. It's time to go off the air. It's past Sermonette, and the scenes with the babbling brook, and the National Anthem is over and it's time for the test pattern to come up and the Indian Chief to stare back at us until tomorrow morning.

I'm out of here. I enjoyed it and thanks to Chantal for the idea...where's that beer?

7:53 -- Sorry Cadigan, 5-1's a final. Chantal Foster from DCF is taking pictures like we're on vacation. At this point, the "special" meeting is getting to be like the boring part of the vacation when you're driving back home for 20 hours and everybody in the car smells bad and hates each other.

7:46 -- Councillor Michael Cadigan's big dilemma as he stares at his laptop...."Dammit, the Red Sox are down 5-1 in the bottom of the 9th to the friggin' Devil Rays. At home. C'mon Manny, c'mon Manny keep the inning alive!!!"

7:38 -- Don Harris rambles about how scary the narrowly failed wage referendum was, and that he feels "flight" might have happened if it passed. What in the Hell "business" is he talking about? Call centers? What out-of-city/state businesses aren't paying $7.50 an hour minimum, and why the Hell would we want them if they did? Some intense econo-"War on Terror" scare tactic action going on. A higher minimum wage is want the terrorists want. Osama hates freedom and loves raising the minimum wage.

Debbie O'Malley then points out that Eclipse Aviation is only here becuase of the subsidies they get from the City, etc. Definitely the point of the night, so far. Did I mention that I like Debbie O'Malley?

7:29 -- Forget selling beer in the Council Chambers...right now I'd just take John Cleese walking the chamber offering "Albatross!" at the top of his lungs. Sorry, obscure Monty Python reference. Hey, I wonder if I can find the script to that sketch on the 'Net? Gotta be better than listening to my stomach grumble while Debbie O'Malley talks about the American Dream. And I kinda like Debbie O'Malley.

7:21 -- Easily 4-to-1 support in public comments, but a guy is now offering opposition through a blizzard of exemptions. The Council is obviously more interested in these anti-folks as they actually ask questions to these guys. Call it a "courtesy question". The Council's way of saying "hey loser, here's a parting gift."

7:14 -- First real mention that the real problem is the War in Iraq and not the minimum wage in Albuquerque. Councillors now in active "go get coffee and bounce in the cushy chair" mode.

7:07 -- I'm all for hearing folks talk for two minutes on both sides of an issue, but I'd just as soon have the Council simply interrupt things, have a vote, and then invite everybody over to a bar to talk for as long as they want on the issue. I propose Pearl's Dive be reopened for this purpose. It's so obvious nobody is changing any votes based on the public comment, that the comment phase is really just as phony as that intentional five second pause at the beginning of the meeting to "pray" before the Pledge. Or maybe I'm just bitter because I'm already bored and I'm down to 55% battery left.

6:59 -- It's official: Don Harris sounds like an unintelligent Gary Johnson. I'll just leave it at that, and let the reader extrapolate the cosmic meaning of that statement.

6:55 -- Cringing continues. Even those in favor of raising the wage are laughing at the last whack job pro-wage raise speaker. Oh, let's face it...I would sound like a brain-addled loser if I spoke publicly before the Council, too. Especially if I was looking at Don Harris...he's creeping me out and I'm sitting way at the back.

6:49 -- Our first no-name public speaker after Dede Feldman and other polirock stars. Let the cringing begin. Two minutes has never lasted so #*&^%)* long.

6:44-- Okay, I'll start putting new posts at the gotta admit that some of the new Councillors still look damn uncomfortable and bush league. And then there's Don Harris who just seems weird in a bad way. Doesn't he play saxophone...the guy just doesn't swing...and he likes Walmart. Purely Dixieland jazz for that guy. Meanwhile, Sally Mayer has the least sexy voice in the history of the female gender.

6:37 -- If Walmart says its good, it must be good! Don Harris brings up that he just found out Walmart favors a higher minimum wage. There is general agreement that this is as good as the Pope coming out with a edict. Everyone is comforted.

6:27 -- It's Terri Cole Time! It's Terri Cole Time! And Geraldine Amato is walking right behind her while she talks! Cole and Amato mere feet from each other...what was that new breakthrough in colliding black holes theory in the news a few days back?

And Terri only gets 2 minutes like every other schmuck. Worth the price of admission just to hear her get shut up, imho. she does get to keep blabbing, though because of questions and the rush of exhiliration is lessened.

6:19 -- Bruce Thompson (I think) from Santa Fe City Council/City does a real good job explaining the difference between the proposed ordinance and the legally messier Santa Fe city ordinance. Now ex-TV guy and current State Labor Head Honcho Conroy Chino who is pontificating about how much the Guv loves this ordinance. Stands about 3/4rds full. Still no beer sells. I'm thinking of drafting another ordinance to correct this.

6:13--- I just LOVE that faux Separation of Church and State pause they do before the Pledge of Allegiance. You probably know what I'm talking about, but to have this unexplained five or so seconds of silence is a great "wink, wink, say no more, say no more" moment.

....And...we're off.

6:05 (yes that's P.M.)-- Still not started. Stands about half full at this point, but half the folks are standing around. About half the Councillors are seated, too. Manana culture pervades this aspect of city services as well. Maybe I'm just paranoid about the time because of the laptop battery thing. 80% remaining.

5:58 P.M.--Why am I bothering to write "P.M."? Am I expecting this to go into early tomorrow morning? Actually, right now it looks to be quite the love fest, with the annoucement of a compromise avoiding a Mayor's veto hitting the newspaper. The pro min wage hike folks look ebullient in their red ACORN shirts. Looking like no fireworks tonight, just a Kumbaya scene...kinda of a pity but at least the meeting will be short. I'm betting a brief meeting suits the Councillors fine...they were just here on Monday night. Just about time to start now.

5:49 P.M.-- Gene Grant, man about town, is taking dig cam shots like we are at geek press conference. I wonder which of us is Scotty McClellan? By the way, I strongly suggest everyone visiting a Council meeting to bring a laptop..the broadband is smoking and you can check out all the baseball scores during the endless wait, delay and smooze. The internet has never looked better than when you're trying to avoid focusing on some smooze hounds five feet away wearing fancy suits and fake smiles.

5:41 P.M.--Am amidst a small stock tank full of laptop geeks set off to the side of the Council chamber like goldfish in bad haircuts. I avert the eyes of those looking at the geek fish from the other parts of the steadily filling chamber.

They really need to start serving beer at these things.


NewMexiKen said...

Good stuff.

Maggie said...

Love this. We're on the same page with our snarkiness (not to mention Don Harris) for sure!

chantal said...

So nice to actually have time now to read what everyone else was writing.

Good geeky times last night. Thanks for coming.