Well, having lost about an hour of my life to a poorly run city meeting today, I will now indulge myself in a 30 minute coffee break to rant about it.
As we walked in about 7:55 to take our seats, we members of the public – including regular attendees Stephanie Taber, Mike Trollinder, some college girls sent to “observe” by their government teacher, and a couple of staffers – were told that the meeting was postponed until 8:45, because the chair, Tami Ritter, couldn’t make it on time. That was it, that was the whole explanation – “the chair can’t make it…”
I’m busy these days, I get up early to beat the sun. It’s still hot when you are actually working out there. Today I assumed this City of Chico Internal Affairs meeting would take my day from about 7:40 am to, on the outside, 10:30 am. The bike ride takes 10 – 15 minutes, and then there’s locking it up and dragging the old heinie into the building, getting uncomfortable in the chair, etc. Sometimes I walk in a minute late and they’ve already started the meeting, sometimes I sit and wait five to fifteen minutes for the committee to show up. But this was too insulting – Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin, worth over $200,000/year in salary and benefits, chuckling, directed us to a nearby coffee shop where we “send the tab to Tami Ritter…“.
I was so mad I thought I was going to melt a hole in the chair. Debbie Presson can apologize all she wants, it’s insincere, these people don’t care about our time or inconvenience. I told Presson and Constantin the meeting should have been postponed to another date. Asking people to just kill 45 minutes is outrageous. I reminded both of them that they would continue to be paid for the next 45 minutes, and they informed me they had work they could do. Presson puttered, walking in and out of the room for who knows what reason. Meanwhile Constantin proceeded to engage in chatter with a woman from the Cussick neighborhood about the traffic study on the agenda. So, the question is begged – why couldn’t they just have the meeting without the chair?
I left in a huff, I needed to cool off. I had asked Presson what I should do – ride my bike two miles home, and come back? She had no advice for me, because she is never inconvenienced in any way, what would she know? So I went outside to try and figure out what to do. I had a pile of chores to mull over.
As soon as I got out of the building, I realized, I was Downtown at 8 am – eeeee-uuuuuu! The park is bad enough that early in the morning, with the creepy weirdos and their bindles, but the piss smell Downtown is enough to take a couple of coats of paint off a garbage scow. I turned on my heel and headed back inside. I picked up the public copy of $taff reports and started reading through.
The worst thing was, I was there to hear the second item on the agenda, the discussion of city owned properties and how they are leased to organizations like The Nature Center, who has not made a rent payment in over two years now, owing about $200,000 on a loan made with RDA money. I wanted to know where that discussion is at, they keep taking it off the agenda. They’ve had special meetings about it. They’ve drop kicked it to later meetings when it’s been agendized for public discussion. The newspaper has mentioned potential litigation, wondering, as I am – is the Nature Center suing the city or the other way around? I was hoping for some clarification on that issue this morning.
I have no interest in Item A, the Downtown parking conversation, which has gone rambling along without any result for a couple of years now. Oh yeah, they finally installed those “Smart meters” they’ve been talking about, BFD. Now rich people can have the convenience of putting their parking fees on their credit card, oh geeshy sakes, that’s so important to the public at large it makes me want to barf. They act as though Downtown is the only commercial district in town, while small business and shopping center owners and their customers, all over the rest of the city, are paying the property taxes that support this masturbation. Give me an “F”!
I was sitting in the hallway at 8:45, reading and trying to decide how much longer I should sit around waiting, when a wet haired Tami Ritter strolled into the building, carrying a steaming cup of drive-thru coffee.
Sound familiar? This was former council member and mayor Mary Flynn Goloff’s regular routine. She was constantly late, came in with wet hair and a fresh cup of coffee. A lot of times she didn’t even show up, sending Scott Gruendl or Andy Holcombe in her stead. That went on for years without question. When I talked about it here I was told I was a bitch, it was a personal attack, etc. When she left her seat last year we found out the hard way – she’d been in and out of re-hab for substance abuse again and again over eight years on council, eight months (?) as our mayor. When will this town wake the hell up?
Should we be able to ask these people the following questions:
- what, if any, prescription drugs are you using?
- are you now or have you ever been treated for the abuse of drugs/narcotics or alcohol?
- feelin’ a little hung over this morning Hon?
I told Ms. Ritter it was unreasonable to keep the public waiting 45 minutes, that the meeting should have been postponed to a later date. She smirked at me, “Thanks for your input,” and whizzed on by. Committee member Andrew Coolidge whisked in just after her with Sean Morgan, who was apparently filling in for an absent Reanette Fillmer. I’ll give Ritter this much – at least she showed up. Fillmer was about a half hour late for the last meeting I saw her at, and she came in sulking like a 7th grader.
Ritter called the meeting to order, thanked everyone for their patience, and announced, “future meetings will not be at 8 or 8:45 but at 9:00…I hope that helps everybody with their schedule…”
Everybody? Who the hell is she talking about? She’s the only one who seems to be having trouble getting to these meetings. Oh, I guess she might be referring to Fillmer.
After that, I couldn’t sit through another 45 minutes of inane chatter regarding the Downtown parking study, I’m sorry. Looking over the reports I see that conversation has not progressed one iota, same old crap. As soon as the $taffer started reading his same-old report I felt like somebody was pulling a plastic bag over my head. I’m so sick and tired of going to these meetings and being treated like a sack of shit who doesn’t have anything better to do than hold down a chair. I’ll have to e-mail Constantin and ask him for an update on the Nature Center lease, that’s all I really wanted to find out anyway.
But, if they think I’m going to quit, they got another think coming. Sure, I get mad at the way they treat me, I’m busy and it’s hard to squeeze in the time to go, and then I have to figure out a way to tell it on the Taxpayers blog. Today I came here to talk about it, because I’m pissed off. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to quit – stuff that in a coffee cup, Ms. Ritter.