My intentions to write a thorough report on last night’s budget hearing got blown to hell by my inability to intently listen to four hours’ worth of whining, threatening, and begging. Here are a few of the highlights from the event and isweartogod I can’t make this stuff up:
-the largest group to speak were those on behalf of Youth Services, many of whom were minors. The cuteness of elementary school students reading messages clearly penned or heavily coached by adults lost its charm before it even got started. Cityline tweeted:
Kids are apparently here as an early strike against a suggestion on the council to merge a couple of youth offices.
I would have liked more of the variety of comments unleashed by the young lasses who testified that Youth Services is what stopped them from “smokin’ and drinkin’ and fightin’ in the streets.”
As with every other public hearing, the “rules” were not enforced, which allowed many people representing a single organization to speak, rather than have one representative. Manipulating children and wasting time wouldn’t win me over; guess it’s good that I’m not a politician.
-a man stood up at random and bellowed about how no taxpayers had spoke out yet, about half a dozen speakers into the evening. Nobody gave him the memo, apparently, that explained that “public meeting” does not mean “taxpayer meeting.
-the florist who is always complaining about the tax rate said:
“I personally know you, and I personally know your spouses. And I have serviced you. For your flower needs.”
There was in fact a long pause between “serviced you” and “for your flower needs.” Read it out loud, slowly, perhaps after ennui has set in.
-four certain threats were made over the night. These followed the “Fund this program or else” formula.
-a woman who lives in ArtSpace complained that there were no sit-down restaurants in her neighborhood. I wanted to tell her that if she crossed the street and walked for thirty seconds, she’d land at Hot Tomatoes and an abundance of restaurants downtown.
-one woman said she wouldn’t pay her taxes and followed this with: “Whatchy’all gonna do? Lock me up?”
-one of the police officers standing by the doors put his hand down his pants. I wish I made that up. Personally, not a great argument for funding public safety. Likewise, if we’re wondering about how the city is wasting money (and they waste a lot of it), we might look at why there were four cops serving as bouncers at the meeting. I know the public can get rowdy, but one would have sufficed– preferably one who had better public etiquette.
I hope each kid got a candy bar, and that one wasn’t split into eight pieces!
-a man asked Mayor Perez (on behalf of a girl) to stop texting during people’s comments
For other details, check out Cityline.