Something new and something old.
Now here is something new and something old at the same time. The January 18th meeting of the City Council could have surprised all in attendance by starting on time for the first time since… who can remember when it started on time or if it has ever started on time with this current City Council. There are 11 people on the panel including 8 council members, the Mayor, the City Attorney and the City Manager. Out of 11 people there was only one ready to get the party started on time, and that one person was Councilman Grant Wehrli. There he was, seated by 7:00 and ready to rock-‘n-roll and do the people’s business; however he had no one with which to council. One by one the others came strolling in by leisurely walking to their assigned seats. It’s almost as if they think it’s stylish to come in late. Now I suppose you could say there was one other Council member who was not late, and that was Council member Judy Brodhead. She finally solved her problem of being late by not being at the meeting. Now there’s a clever solution to the punctuality-challenged Council member.
Now there was something that was new to the point of being refreshing, and that was the fact that the meeting lasted about 1 ¾ hours……wow that’s almost a record setting pace considering some of the meeting marathons have lasted up to five hours. If it wasn’t for Councilman Furstenau’s lack of focus punctuated with occasional whining about not being listened to, or wanting to switch his vote from a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ simply because he couldn’t get his way with the other council members, it could have been a record setting meeting in terms of shortest duration.
Sometimes you get the feeling that the other 7 Council members are delighted that Councilman Furstenau sits among them, because he makes the other 7 look really competent. As long as Richard is there, then the others can’t possibly look that bad.
You almost hope that Councilman Furstenau is not preparing for the meeting for more than 4 minutes, because if he is, then he is truly wasting his time.
Here are just a couple of examples. During one of his meltdowns he chastises his fellow councilmen, panel members, and those in attendance by raising his voice and saying “I only raise my voice because I never get a chance to speak without somebody saying something, and I’m about tired of that. I don’t care who it’s coming from.”. Now I ask you, my fellow citizens, is this the ‘voice’ of leadership that we seek from our elected officials, or is that the whining and crying of someone who is clueless in leadership ability. The other instance occurred after a vote had been taken, and the Council was ready to move to the next topic on the agenda, and Councilman Furstenau wanted to go back and ask more questions about what he had already voted ‘yes’ to. Councilman Boyajian said, “Mr. Mayor, since we have already voted on that, I suggest the Councilman take that off line.” So basically Councilman Furstenau voted ‘yes’ to something he didn’t fully understand. Now here comes the interesting part of the verbal exchange. Councilman Furstenau says “I’ll tell you what; I am going to change my vote on the whole thing.” So now he wants to vote ‘no’ for something he still doesn’t understand. So apparently Mr. Furstenau never heard the saying that when you dig yourself into a hole, the first thing you need to do is throw away the shovel. Councilman Grant Wehrli brought the voice of reason to the conversation by saying “I understand you overlooked something, I get that, bring it up under New Business, that’s why we have Robert’s Rules of Order. Right now we’re in the middle of an agenda and because you had an epiphany that you missed something, the whole meeting doesn’t come to a grinding halt. We move on.” Kudos for Councilman Wehrli for taking a stand to keep the line moving. You would think that Councilman Furstenau would throw away the shovel at this point, but oh think again, he continues to dig his hole deeper by saying “ You know what Mr. Wehrli, we’ll move on, but I’ll remember that. I’m through with this kind of stuff.” We could only wish that Councilman Furstenau would be ‘through with that kind of stuff’, but at last sighting he was still carrying that shovel.