Nope, doesn't sound good.
So while Agenda Man sits on his back porch with a cooler of Bud Lite and stares out into the quaint Sierra Madre greenery for hours on end, Agenda Traffic Cone has consented to fill in for the angst-ridden superhero. The only proviso here being that he's asked to be recused from any discussion of traffic lights as they pay his employer.
Oh, and one other thing. It must also be pointed out that Agenda Traffic Cone is not exactly known for having a sunny disposition. Years of being run over by thoughtless drivers having skewed his perspective on the goodness of this world. Doctors at the National Center for Decorum Studies (NCDS) have diagnosed him as suffering from chronic Civility Deficit Disorder, or CDD, an untreatable condition known to cause uncomfortable social situations and gratuitous mellow harshing. Needless to say, he can be somewhat abrasive at times.
That said, here is Agenda Traffic Cone's report.
Hello and welcome to the Cone Zone! I got a copy of our August 10, 2010 City Council Meeting Agenda. It is filled with all the usual devious and oblique language you've come to expect from such documents, and I've seen a lot of them over the years. If you're willing to get your information from a talking traffic cone, then I am willing to share what I know with you. Just don't hit me with your car, OK? It makes me very angry, and there could be consequences. I do have a cape, you know.
This one kicks off with a closed session. It's closed because they don't want the likes of you being there. You make the lawyer lady nervous, and she really doesn't trust you guys. You could say something bad to the Stonehouse fellows. And if that happens they might not let us have some rocks we want, or something. They could go also and embarrass those supposed "Slow Growth" guys on the City Council and build the Taj Mahal up there. Or maybe 20 Taj Mahals. Who knows?
After they've finished with the lawyers and developers, the City Council will then turn the lights back on and go through the rigmarole that always kicks off these meetings. They'll act all pious and caring, mug for the camera, tell really dumb jokes and laugh too much, repeat the same heartwarming stories about the same 10 or so people they always talk about, and then pretend for a moment that they think God hears them. Which I sincerely doubt. You can only pray that God has better things to do than listen to the Gang of Four.
Next come the "presentations," which means public comment, and an introduction to some new volunteers to the Fire Department. Which I guess means Terry Miller will be in attendance. Even more newly hired cops will be introduced (an almost monthly event around here), a VFW donation to the SMPD (probably donuts) will be made, and then something about "Emergency Preparedness Month." Which I think boils down to keeping lots of canned stew and band aids in the house. Oh, and a talk about the AM Radio Station. More on that one later.
We then will move on into what they call Action Items. And if watching paint dry is your idea of action, then you'll have come to the right place. They also call it the Consent Calendar, but I haven't the foggiest idea why. I know I personally wouldn't give my consent to practically anything these guys do. But then maybe I'm not their target audience.
1. Consent Calendar
Item a) Spend more money than many people will make in a lifetime. This time they'll be shoveling out $1,603,000 big ones for City Warrants, the Library, and payroll. I looked up how much money they've spent at some previous meetings, and these guys must think we print the stuff. On July 27 the figure was $902,000, then on July 13 $884,000. On June 22nd $741,000 was spent, and just over a million dollars on June 6. It's like Crazy Eights Night at the Morongo Casino and Resort every time these guys get together.
Item b) Authorization of payments on behalf of the CRA. The only letter missing here is "P." Add that and you'll have a good idea of what $4,240.62 is going to get spent on. California is probably among the very few societies in this world where cities pay rent on buildings they own.
Item c) A TUP for your trash. Hazardous waste must be disposed of properly or the bad guys win.
Item d) La Salle High School wants to use our pool. Apparently this takes a lot of paperwork. Everything takes a lot of paperwork. Maybe that's why we're spending $700,000 on payroll this week. Wouldn't it be cheaper to just get a doormat for City Hall that says "Buzz Off" on it? Sure, let the kids swim at the pool. But please, spare the trees.
Item e) Recommendation to destroy police personnel records. This one has got the look of the first of many cave-ins to the SMPOA we'll be seeing from the Bobbleheads. After suing us umpteen times over all the Mickey Mouse stuff these jamokes do to each other, they now want to make like none of it ever happened. Just burn the paper and fuggedaboutit. I'd say all those papers should be turned over to The Tattler instead. Could make for some fine reading.
Item f) Award a new contract to the guys who screw up SMTV3 on a regular basis. Apparently in Sierra Madre bad service is always amply rewarded. $35,000 will now be forked over to Community Media of the Foothills for doing an awful job broadcasting things like our City Council meetings. This is just so ridiculously typical of how we do business in this community.
Item g) More retirement benefits for City employees. While people out in the private sector look to potential retirements in places like Slab City, the special boys and girls that work in The Palace continue to get the very best benefits our taxes can buy. In this case it's an amendment to their 457 Plan (click here) that allows them to borrow against their retirement without any early withdrawal penalties. Which I guess makes our pension contributions an extra paycheck.
Item h) New Sierra Madre personnel rules and regulations. Don't date the people you work with. No graffiti in the johns. Tell people they can "look it up on the website."
Item i) Emergency and public service radio broadcast policy and guidelines - Ever since Elaine Aguilar let it be known that she wants to use our newly minted emergency AM Radio station as a venue for broadcasting government water rate increase propaganda, my enthusiasm for this station has virtually collapsed. What's next, a Susan Henderson talk radio show?
Item j) Cash for the insurance company that pays off all those SMPOA lawsuits - Another ton of money that will get spent.
Item k) Pedestrian access easement over a portion of Lot C - The developer at One Carter needs to build a sidewalk there on his own dime. Probably so public transportation riding house cleaners and maids can walk to the McMansions that are to be built there.
2. Dr. Sami's Parking Problems - a medical facility is better than what some people want to build on that stretch of Sierra Madre Boulevard. And such a thing is not out of character for a town that first came to the world's attention as a haven for those suffering from tuberculosis. On the other hand, the Planning Commission's decision to blow this one up because of inadequate parking was a good one. This stretch of street is a traffic nightmare sometimes, and we hardly need people jackassing in and out of parking spots being added to the mix. That is, if they'll even be able to find one.
3. General Plan Update - Many people have joined the discussion groups that will help give shape and meaning to the new General Plan, making it truly a peoples' document. Rather than a SCAG bag of Sacramento driven consultant managed centrally planned city killing fascism.
4. Discussion - Introduction of new utility bill format. The Water Rats want to make sure we get to see how fabulous the "Tiers" will look on our utility bills. The fact that this item is labeled as a "utility bill" discussion rather than what it really is, something designed to help push forward water rate hikes, is a good sign of how important this is to the long tailed little buggers.
5. Appointment to the Library Board of Trustees. Apparently there is an empty deck chair on the Titanic. Hopefully the City Council will find a large enough seat to occupy it.
6. Consideration of Public Facilities Fees - Anything that charges people attempting to build high density multi-unit housing in Sierra Madre lots of money has my support. This might be on the agenda because the BIA's former lawyer has told his Gang of Four Bobbleheads to kill it. The possible sneak attack of the evening.
7. Minutes Approval. This was moved to the end of the meeting for some reason. Can't say I remember why. Or if I should even care.
Then it all stops.