Blue moon, Just like the one last night. Yes it was, look it up. I couldn’t make it to the City Council meeting last night so I enlisted the services of a Ghost Blogger. Yep. So here in his words is a recap of last night’s adventure. Pay close attention when he talks about the ninja babies….who knew?
City Council Meeting Report
Decent crowd. Saw a few faces that have not been there in a while and who were regulars during all the controversial times, so that gave me some hope there would be fireworks. I don’t miss the dark days, trust me, but the meetings have been a little vanilla lately.
Richard Sowrey, Mayor Pro Tem, led the meeting in Vern’s absence. I didn’t hear any mention of where Vern was so hopefully all is well with him. Richard did a good job overall. He is really just a calmer and better groomed version of Vern anyway so his performance was as expected.
Department/Council Reports were uneventful, as usual.
The Committee Reports were pretty generic, other than the Parks Committee reporting that the 2nd order of bricks will not be ordered until after the 1st of the year. No explanation was given as to why and no one seemed to care. Also, the Waterfront Compliance Committee reported that 50% of the bulkheads that had been identified earlier this year as needing repair had been completed and more progress was expected soon. Nice job.
There were no Unscheduled Visitors, which was both surprising and disappointing at the same time, given the return of some old controversial regulars, as mentioned above. They had made some memorable appearances in the past as unscheduled visitors and I was hoping for some repeat performances. Nothing. Nada. Even Vern, I mean Richard, seemed surprised. Actually, he looked relieved.
The Consent Agenda was actually approved in whole, with no items being pulled. And without Vern there we did not have to hear the usual: “Is there any discussion?”………”Ummm, Mayor, there can be no discussion on a Consent Agenda”………”Oh, that’s right…All in favor?” Richard has obviously mastered Robert’s Rules of Order.
Item A. Resolution 2013-11 was something about flood insurance. I kinda dozed off during that one. It passed, I think.
Item B. Ordinance 2013-06. This was where it turned bizarre. I woke up just in time to hear one of our police officers stating that there are 6 terrorists that are on an FBI watch list that live in Clear Lake Shores. They consider themselves “sovereign citizens” and feel they are above laws and ordinances, or something to that effect. He said they are constantly showing up at court and disrupting the proceedings, and they show up at City Hall and barge in on meetings and other city and police business. They also carry guns on them! I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode at that point. At that point I asked Rob Scherer to pinch me and the bastard did. I have a bruise to prove it. Anyway, I know the Island is full of crazies but I always considered them to be harmless crazies, unless politics is involved, of course. They can sure figure out creative ways to get dead people to sign petitions and vote, and also waste reams of paper and city staff time on useless Open Records Requests, but carrying guns and jumping over the counter at City Hall was never in their bag of tricks. Now we were talking about a whole new level of crazy that I didn’t even know walked amongst us. Apparently the police, and City Administrator George Jones, think an ordinance is needed in order to give the city something to charge these dirty half-dozen with. I think the penalty was a $500 fine. I guess a “disturbing the peace” or a “disorderly conduct” charge won’t stick to a sovereign citizen? But an ordinance will? Confusing. Not surprisingly, and rightly so, Councilman Ianni challenged the need for the ordinance and wondered aloud if it would even enforceable, would it apply to all citizens or just the “terrorists” in question, etc. He said something like: “so, if I show up at City Hall and start screaming about something I don’t like then I will have violated the ordinance and I have to pay you $500?” At that point Councilman Burns woke up and said “yes, and you will also need an attitude adjustment”. I thought we might finally get something juicy going but it fizzled. Councilwoman Bailey then muttered a few questions but her microphone was not on so I couldn’t hear her anyway. Then, just before it came to a vote, Councilwoman Boren wisely asked for a moment to think about it and the she asked a few more questions. This pause was good, because it was uncovered during this time that the City Attorney had not yet reviewed the wording on the proposed ordinance and had not even been consulted on whether or not it was even enforceable. Sloppy work there, guys. No new ordinance should be voted on that has not been through the City Attorney first. The whole thing was tabled until next meeting. Now, the real question is: who are those 6 terrorists? When I got home I did a little googling on the whole “sovereign citizen” thing and a found a whole handbook called, you guessed it, “The Sovereign Citizen’s Handbook”. This is the most interesting chapter, in my opinion:
Includes special chapter on Having Ninja Babies!
With 15 years of experience in keeping our children safely outside of the system we included a special chapter that shows you how to keep your kids safely out of the system and even use alternative documentation for establishing their identity! Without a mark or a number C.P.S. employees have no claim to your children, which keeps them from devastating your children's lives.
In chapter 14, Having Ninja Babies...
Whether you're birthing your baby at home or in a hospital, we show you how to have your baby without creating the birth certificate and social security number ("fictitious business accounts") or giving up your child's DNA.
Item C. Ordinance 2013-07 involved amending the Community Pool rules to tighten up a few areas and outlaw a few new activities. Apparently there were some issues recently. One involved a resident purchasing 50 guest passes for her company party that was held at the pavilion, and then all 50 people crashed the pool at one time, overwhelming the staff and, I suppose, the chlorine level. What were you thinking? Also, crowd attending a bachelor party on island invaded the pool and allegedly were not on their best behavior as part of a ………bachelor party. Go figure. Ah, memories…. Anyway, vomiting and ogling the 16 year old lifeguards is not allowed at the pool any more. Thanks a lot, guys.
Item D. Last but not least was a family on Narcissus asking for a variance to allow some existing 3rd floor attic space to be converted into living space. Apparently it had already been rejected by ZBOA and they were under the impression that their next course of action in their quest for resolution was to appear before Council and request a variance. However, before they could even get stared presenting their case Mayor Pro Tem Sowrey read a letter from the City Attorney stating that they would need to take the issue to court, not Council. That procedure is intended which keep politics (Council) out of it. I was always under the impression that what they were trying to do was the right protocol, but I guess not. Anyway, once that opinion was read there was really nothing Council could do or act on. I did feel for the home owners, though. The whole ordinance in question has always been an issue. It is the whole “box on a box” discussion. The intent of the ordinance was to keep folks from building houses that look like a giant square box. The wording is something like the “living” square footage of the upper story cannot be greater than 60% on the floor below it. So, you build it the same size but you make 40% of it attic space. Simple. Maybe it should say that the “total” square footage of the upper story cannot be greater than 60% on the floor below it. Can someone on P&Z look into that please? Other than a poorly written ordinance the other issue is clearly inconsistent enforcement of some of our ordinances by the Building Inspector. The owners of the house in question presented 2 or 3 houses that were built AFTER their which appeared to violate the same ordinance but still passed inspection. I can understand their frustration. In any event, it looks like the city may be headed to court, again.
Great job Casper!
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