Barnidge: Richmond council meetings are fun, even without the shouting and screaming

blogimage.jpgThe mayor didn't spend the evening pounding a gavel, no recesses were called for tempers to cool, and the police didn't have to clear the room even once. My first visit to a Richmond City Council meeting in a while had none of the rowdy outbursts that highlighted past meetings, but that doesn't mean it was short on entertainment.

You just needed sit back and let it happen.

The fun began Tuesday night, as it always does, with public comment. This ritual passes without fanfare in many towns, but in Richmond it's a community therapy session. About a dozen speakers needed time on the couch.

One man felt he'd been treated rudely when cited by police. He wanted the council to know. No apologies were demanded or lawsuits threatened. He just needed to let off steam.

Someone else was displeased with billboards that have sprung up around town, part of a national campaign to stamp out illegal guns. He found it distasteful to see the image of a handcuffed suspect every time he turned a corner.

One animated fellow went on a rant in defense of Indiana's religious freedom bill, blaming homosexuals for most of society's ills. When his language colored outside the lines of good taste, Mayor Tom Butt urged him to sit down.

A local union representative was dissatisfied with how management treats city employees. A female resident was unhappy with a 12-foot iron fence near Harbor Way. Several women implored the council to fund the city's commission on aging. (Funding is in short supply, in the face of a $7 million operating deficit. Seems like that might be a topic worth addressing. 

Then there were three individuals who pleaded desperately for the council's help because they were being "targeted by technology." That one made me sit up. I've had problems with technology, especially when my stupid cell phone can't find any bars, but I never figure it to be part of a plot.

Marilyn Langlois, a former council candidate who sympathized with the targets' plight, offered a more detailed explanation of their request:

"To follow the footsteps of the Berkeley City Council, which in 2002 adopted a resolution supporting the Space Preservation Act HR3616, which was introduced by (Rep.) Dennis Kucinich, to prohibit any weaponization of space and provide only peaceful use for space research, so we could declare Richmond a space-free, weapons-free zone."

She cited some "exotic" weapons that could be scoping out Richmond residents at that very moment -- electronic, psychotronic, high-altitude ultra low-frequency weapons; plasma electromagnetic sonic and ultrasonic weapons; lasers; chemtrails. She didn't name a culprit, but obviously it's the government seeking mind control.

It's probably because Berkeley outlawed such weapons that they relocated to harass Richmond residents. If Richmond passes a resolution, look out El Cerrito.

The also were agenda items, of course, including a tussle over whether to pay $10,000 for a consultant to propose a "best use" for Point Molate; a lengthy discussion over whether parking restrictions on 23rd Street should end at midnight or run 24 hours; and a hearing over whether a medical marijuana dispensary that planned to relocate, acquired a permit to relocate, but then didn't relocate, can still operate where it's always operated.

I think I understood the council to say yes, but I can't be sure. It's hard to concentrate with those plasma electromagnetic laser chemtrails hovering overhead.

Contact Tom Barnidge at [email protected].

Reposted from Contra Costa Times.


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