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April 28, 2008 - 8:38pm

City Council: Live and Uncut

posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, news, city council.

Prologue

Full of cheese and bread and sauce — thank you, Belladessa's Pizzeria — I'm slightly bloated and ready for my first Batavia City Council meeting. It's about six minutes shy of 7:00pm, and folks are still shuffling in, chatting. The board room seems so new it almost sparkles, despite the orange and off-white chairs that look plucked from a middle school classroom circa 1970. It smells like a dentist's office in here. There are maybe a dozen people in the audience, including myself and a man with a video camera. Everyone seems friendly.

That's that for atmosphere.

Part One (The one they call the Business Meeting)

Meeting called to order. (A solemn Christian prayer precedes the Pledge of Allegiance).

Council President Charlie Mallow jokes that he found some "new things" while cleaning up the skatepark during the "green-up cleanup" over the weekend. Wonder what that means.

Of the few decisions by the council tonight, there was only one that may immediately affect folks. That is, the traffic light at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Ross Street will be removed and replaced with all-way stop signs. Watch for that.

Not much else worth mention. First meeting adjourned. Five minute break.

The man with the video camera left. Why did he only tape the business meeting? What is the point of a second type of meeting if it isn't worth recording? Who makes that call?

Part Two (The one they call the Conference Meeting)

Councilman Frank Ferrando told me earlier that the "conference" half of these meetings are spent determining the agenda for the next "business" meeting, giving the council a chance to hash things out before they come up for vote. That being said, there's not much to say here. At least, not tonight. Just a lot of procedural minutiae — deciding whether something is worth deciding. Maybe that's why the guy with the camera took off.

Really, elected officials ought to be lauded if for no other reason than their patience and willingness to go through such process, while we recline in a sofa with a bowl of popcorn and drool at the television in the comfort of our home. Seriously. What do they get paid? Maybe $5,000 per year. Maybe. It may not be entertaining to watch the gears turn, but we should at least rest assured that they're turning.

I must admit, I'm impressed by the general politesse at this meeting. Council members raise their hands to be acknowledged by the president before they speak or ask a question. They often thank each other and whatever guests take the mic. If they raise their voices, it's out of passion, not anger.

Meeting adjourned — 8:35pm. Goodnight.

Sonia Mineo
Sonia Mineo's picture
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Last seen: 10 years 11 months ago
Joined: Apr 28 2008 - 8:55pm
I really like the live & uncut idea. I enjoyed the description of the atmosphere best. Great work!
Charlie Mallow
Charlie Mallow's picture
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Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: Apr 28 2008 - 9:05pm
Welcome to Batavia! It was nice to meet you. It is good to see participants in the process. I appriciate your comments about council, hopefully we can continue to live up to your first impression. Your website should make a great addition to the city. Charlie Mallow Batavia City Council President

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