"I can't believe that at 10:30 we are talking about bird poop," commented Commissioner Carlo Ginotti.
A few moments earlier, City Manager Don Johnson had suggested that cutting down the maple trees which form a visual barrier between the Veterans War Memorial Plaza and the City Hall parking lot would solve the problem of bird droppings. The bird poop adversely affects the monuments, nearby shrubbery, and parked vehicles. Actually, Johnson's recommendation was included in his thoughtful letter which suggests that CITCOM needs to give thought re the use and purpose of the Veterans Memorial Plaza.
Johnson's recommendation to set aside portions of parking income from Arts, Beats & Eats for city parks (improvements and possible new parks) received 5-2 approval, with Commissioners Goodwin and Poulton voting No. He smiled when reporting the very positive results of his much maligned dog census. More than usual, he participated in the evening's dialogue, adding context here, correcting an erroneous impression there. Johnson's performance this night projected an image contrary to the negative image reported in the Car Show story elsewhere on this page.
After listening to 12 Public Comment speakers, many of whom wanted to talk about traffic signs going up, coming down, and going up again on Mohawk, "the only street directly accessible off of 696," CITCOM got down to business.
Directed Staff to Install a traffic light at Sixth and Main.
Directed Staff to Install a crosswalk at Seventh and Main.
Instructed Staff to find a way to enforce pedestrian safety at crosswalks.
Approved issuance of Capital Improvement Bonds for Sidewalk Improvement programs.
Approved a small distillery license for a proposed mom & pop operation (after wasting time trying to describe what qualifies as "food" or "snacks" to go with a shot of whiskey).
Approved a change of ownership involving D'Amato's and Goodnite Gracie's
Approved a changed Plan of Operation or two.
Removed Permit Parking on Berkshire.
Made a less-than-clear decision about Pull-off parking areas on North Campbell.
Approved a Police Locker Room Rehabilitation recommendation (needed partly to eliminate the need for females to walk through the men's locker room).
Agreed to Fire Department's request to accept an Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
Let me break down my complaint that, overall, CITCOM talks too much.
Not Ellison: In fact, the
mayor occasionally finds it necessary to shut down wandering dialogue. When he
talks for more than a minute or two, it is almost always to provide
context for the matter under consideration.
Not Poulton, who sometimes leaves us wondering whether he cares how a specific agenda item goes.
Goodwin: As she has gained confidence, Peggy seems to feel she should say something about every agenda item. On the plus-side, she makes her case briefly, sometimes with a philosophic observation, other times with a focused question or two.
Rasor enjoys appearing unpredictable. Unpredictable in what position he takes and in how long he will take to state that position.
Ginotti seems compelled to summarize whatever has been said by everyone else before offering his own position.
Not DuBuc who is as laconic at Poulton. He feels no compulsion to comment on every agenda item, unless he has something new to add.
Fournier remains a puzzle. More often than not, he comes across as simply liking to hear his own voice. Indeed, he has now and then said of himself, "I'm rambling." Like former Commissioner Terry Drinkwine, he comes across as really thinking out loud -- a characteristic which is more irritating than enlightening.
Reading my own thoughts now that I've gone through The Seven, I realize that -- looked at one-at-a-time -- our elected officials all seem reasonably articulate. Must be that something about sitting at The Table that turns the group into a loquacious bunch of people who too often fail the test of distinguishing between the important and the trivial.
Frank Versagi is the editor of Versagi Voice.