I attended the City Council meeting Tuesday evening, and for almost three hour was totally appalled at what I witnessed. The only positive I heard was the approval of monies for lighting of the soccer fields at Centennial Park, along with looking into safety issues at same.
What is described as "lengthy but confusing discussion" was more like a comedy of competing voices.
Between Councilmembers Lingenfelter, Yocum and Scott Stehly, I couldn't keep count of who got more words in, but most were repetitive, redundant and echoed each other more than they differed. As for length, these voice exercises went on for over an hour. Even after Mayor Gates suggested giving direction to staff and proceeding to other business, it took council over 20 minutes to formulate a concise, coherent, understandable motion.
When they did eventually form a motion and passed it, the audience applauded – amazed that this group got it together enough to get it done. Then Mayor Gates pulled agenda item 6F out of order to be heard next. Item 6F involved a rezone in my neighborhood, which the council had approved at the Sept. 5 meeting erroneously.
I say erroneously because all of the members did not have information available concerning opposition to the rezone. A petition and letters of opposition had not been received or reviewed by all council members. Council member Yocum, upon learning of the discrepancy placed the item back on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting.
A number of neighborhood residents opposed to this item attended the meeting, filled out the request to address the council, and sat quietly through the comedy show preceding this item being called, expecting we would be called to speak when the time came.
When the item was called, the council members stated they had not changed their minds and basically there was no reason to redress the issue. And that was the end of it.
After sitting for almost three hours listening to nonsensical crap spewing out of all of their mouths, they were not going to allow any opponents of the rezone speak.
If the intent was to not let us speak, why were we even allowed to complete the forms and made to think we could and would be permitted to talk? If the intent was to not let any opposition have their say, and the council had made up it's mind, why was the item even placed back on the agenda?
None of the council members live in the neighborhood of the rezone or have any vested interest in the action, they were looking at a map that does not actually depict the area surrounding the rezone, and they refused to hear any opposition after they themselves placed it on the agenda.
Does this sound anything like a fair and open council, concerned about its citizens? I didn't think so at the time and I don't think so now.
So, I decided to speak my mind despite the council not wanting me to.
As I was rising to leave I not so politely informed the council that what they were doing regarding the rezone was B.S., that all they did was talk to hear their own voices and that they were looking at the wrong damn map. Yes, I was loud and out-of-line and I was politely escorted out of the meeting by Police Chief DeVries. I felt more respected being escorted out than I felt witnessing the council at work.
They all looked and sounded like bumbling idiots who couldn't put one cohesive thought together among all of them. I was embarrassed for them and felt sorry that they conducted themselves so poorly in public.
I believe in calling it like it is, and this meeting was for the most part BS just as I called it. If the council doesn't like my opinion that is too bad. They need to up their game and start being responsive and responsible to their constituents.