Monday, September 15, 2008

Wasted Evening

I just spent most of the evening at City Hall listening to a city council meeting and . . . hmmmm

It involved the opening of a homeless facility, a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself, provided it is being done right. It is not. Such an enterprise, if done properly, can make a big improvement and if done incorrectly can create more problems than it solves.

This one is poorly thought out.

1) One block from a Junior High School (528 feet). (No sex offender is allowed to be within 1000 feet of a school which would eliminate quite of few of our local homeless.)

2) in an area of congested parking. Parking cops have a field day there.

3) building is around 800 square feet. It could meet some of the needs but not all of them or even a significant number of them and once this building gets established they never will create a facility adequate to better meet more needs.

(It would be funded as a co-operative by several churches and would not be state funded. This is good, but again it has to be done right. The meeting was to get a permit from the city to do it.)

The big issue is number 1. In my opinion that should be a show-stopper right there. We need the facility but it shouldn't be where hundreds of kids walk by every few hours.

Still it was astonishing to sit in this meeting and see people talk. We had a couple of candidates for local office give stump speeches. We had a couple of people who just babbled nonsense. (It was entertaining to see the mayor and city council, heads propped up by their hands, looking at nothing in particular, while bouncing the eraser end of their pencils off the table while the speaker discussed things that were inexplicable - - fortunately there was a 4 minute time limit and when it was done so were you.) There was one that I'm not even sure was speaking English.

Most of the people on both sides had very valid points and I'm glad I didn't to make that decision, but what amazed me was this. It stayed civil because we are a moderate sized town and most of us are at least vaguely acquainted. The disagreement that was there was not along party lines at all, as there were Democrats and Republicans on the council on both sides. Everyone agrees that it's a good idea but the disagreement is over the right way and proper place to do it.

I got bored and left before any decision was reached. I was there because a friend owns property adjacent to the building and he's quite concerned.


Blogger The Vegas Art Guy said...

It's always interesting to see government in action. It reminded me of the school board meeting I attended where they were discussing building a new school and if the new school would be built to take into account that is was located in the ghetto.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

City council meetings. GAG! I went to one once. Never again! We peons in the front didn't get to make speeches. The Council Members sat on a stage at the front and tried to look important. The we peons were asked if we had anything to say. I was there at the invitation of a friend who was petitioning to save a very historical house. When I raised my hand the Mayor asked me to state me name and address. I did. He then said: "Sit down. You don't live within the city limits."

But I pay taxes on the school that's within the city limits and was entitled to a voice, so I wrote the local paper about the pompous mayor and they actually published the letter. Then the Mayor called and said he was having an "off day." I told him I was having an "off day" and hung up on him. Pomous ass!

Incidently, the house was saved and the mayor lost the next election. :)

11:42 AM  
Blogger Mustang said...

I have a theory about town hall meetings and school board meetings. They are poorly structured, not very well managed, and utterly boring … on purpose. The fewer people who attend means the politicians can do what they want. Few people realize that local government often follows parliamentary rules, which in my view is only exciting in London. I should attend more of my local town meetings … and I thank you for reminding me of how important they are.

I have one short anecdote. Years ago while stationed at Camp Pendleton, the city of San Diego erupted over the issue of homeless people. There were so many to deal with, it was winter, and California gets cold at night (even in the summer). Subsequently, someone discovered that the sudden influx of homeless people resulted from the fact that other California cities were purchasing bus tickets and sending their problems along to San Diego to deal with. Bus tickets, it seems, are cheaper than building facilities to house the homeless. San Diegans, not to be undone, rounded up hundreds of “recent arrivals,” and sent them on to Phoenix. I have often wondered … are these people still making the rounds? As they say, action passed (along) is action complete. So much for empathy, huh?

12:58 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

I was unprepared for the boredom of that long meeting. The motion has been tabled on a technicality (the initial report to the planning commision had some misleading information).

7:13 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

oops! spelling error! commission

Mustang I spent the winter of 75/76 at NTC San Diego so I know about Diego winters. Not like we get up here but they can get chilly.

7:15 PM  

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