Oh, man. Last night the Salem City Council passed a motion to investigate me and two other people.
Shit! THIS IS F@#KING SERIOUS!
So serious, it deserves a scandal-worthy name: Sign-Up Gate. The three of us being investigated, naturally, are The Sign-Up Gate Three.
I've made an annotated photo of myself that can be used by investigators, local media, and the New York Times (once this inquiry goes national, as it deserves to, given its importance).
We can credit (if that's the right word) Councilor Jim Lewis with laying bare the details of this scandal (if that also is the right word) near the end of last night's City Council meeting.
Lewis noted that the minutes of the June 8 Council meeting -- which was a public hearing on a proposal to build a new police facility -- listed Geoffrey James, Susann Kaltwasser, and Brian Hines (moi) -- as testifying on the "Support" side, even though in his opinion what we said in our three minute testimony didn't seem to support us being supporters of "Support."
So he made a motion for City staff to investigate Sign-Up-Gate that passed unanimously.
I move that we request staff to go back and review tapes of the June 8 public hearing and verify that in fact these names are in the right place.
Um, I'm pretty sure that CCTV doesn't keep stuff on "tape" anymore. Regardless, here's a tapeless video I made from the CCTV recording of last night's meeting that shows Councilor Lewis' determination to get to the bottom of Sign-Up-Gate.
This is a marvelously stupid waste of time. Lewis' unsavory motivation seems to be that he wants to paint the three of us with a naysayer brush, because we dared to make some positive suggestions about how to improve the current police facility proposal.
But since I love pointing out stupid stuff that emanates from City officials, I agree with Lewis that an investigation into Sign-Up-Gate is warranted.
And not just a cursory investigation, a freaking full-blown Benghazi style inquiry. Two years and an 8oo page report -- yeah, that sounds about right to me.
This is called-for because Lewis' motion opens up a hugely complex can of philosophical and psychological worms. It's going to take some serious effort to delve into the deep cosmic questions underlying Sign-Up-Gate. Such as:
I can't really remember what column I checked on the sign-up sheet for those wanting to testify at the police facility hearing. I recall staring at the "support," "oppose," and "not sure" columns (not sure about the name of that last column, if it even existed) and being uncertain about which box to check.
After all, I, along with the two other members of The Sign-Up-Gate Three, support a new police facility, but oppose some features of the current $82 million proposal.
So shouldn't we be able to declare, via the boxes we checked on the sign-up sheet, what position we are taking at the hearing? What gives City staff, or Jim Lewis, the right to decide what, um, box, we should be put in, support-wise or oppose-wise?
These questions lead into deep waters of the Subjective/Objective Ocean, a murky philosophical realm.
Testifying at a police facility hearing isn't like holding up a sign that says either Yes or No. Geoff, Susann, and I each favor certain aspects of the current police facility plan (the location is fine), but not other aspects (such as the size/cost, and not including seismic retrofitting of City Hall and the Library in a Public Safety bond, as was originally intended by City officials).
Here's a video of my testimony at the June 8 City Council meeting. I focused solely on the need to make the Civic Center earthquake-safe. I supported making this part of the police facility bond -- which again, was intended by City officials until the size and cost of the police facility doubled.
But, hey, if Councilor Lewis and City staff want to inquire into my state of mind when I made these remarks, let's get it on. I love to talk about myself!
I've written 51 blog posts about planning for a police facility. I've never said that a new police facility isn't needed. I've always supported one, so long as it is wisely planned. So as noted before, I support a police facility, but not the particular plan the City Council was considering on July 8.
Which, as the agenda shows, was a progress report. Information only.
Citizens like me, Geoff, and Susann were invited to testify at the public hearing because supposedly the City Council was open to ideas about how to make the current police facility plan better. It hadn't been voted on yet. That's why a public hearing was being held: to allow the Mayor and City Councilors to hear from citizens.
Councilor Jim Lewis, though, seems to view any criticism of the $82 million plan as being tantamount to opposing a new police facility.
That is SO WRONG, it boggles my mind that he made a motion to have City staff look into whether The Sign-Up-Gate Three should be blazed with an Oppose mark in the minutes of the July 8 meeting, just because we made some positive suggestions about how to improve the current plan.
Groupthink seems to be alive and thriving in the minds of Lewis and other members of the current right-wing City Council majority. Any constructive criticism is viewed as naysaying from boo-birds who don't want any change in Salem.
Well, on second thought, maybe an 800 page report on Sign-Up-Gate isn't needed. Nine words might be enough:
You're fucked up, Councilor Lewis. Stop this stupid shit.