[Deirdre Fulton guest-blogging.]
This Wednesday, the eighth of March, marks the beginning of a Phoenix experiment: "live-blogging" Boston city-council meetings. (It's not really live-blogging, because City Hall doesn't have wireless access.) Perhaps this experiment will help us figure out whether or not the councilors deserve the stunning 16 percent pay raise that they're about to approve for themselves.
11:38 a.m.: Doors to Ianella Chamber unlocked (council meeting was supposed to begin at 11:30). No councilors present; 10 people in the room total. One woman brought her two grandchildren, visiting from Rochester, NY; they will likely recall this as "the most boring thing we ever did while visiting Grandma."
11:47 a.m.: Felix Arroyo is here!
11:50 a.m.: Councilor Charles Yancey is the second to arrive.
[I spend the next half hour doing a crossword puzzle and chatting with a fellow reporter, who advises me to keep a tally of cookies consumed by councilors during the meeting. Also, I'm wondering why I arrived early, and when I will get to have lunch.]
12:21 p.m.: Council President Michael Flaherty calls to order, with several councilors still missing. (Let me dwell on this and emphasize the absurdity --- the city council meeting is beginning almost one full hour late.)
12:25 p.m.: Rookie councilor Sam Yoon is really feeling the invocation. It's heartwarming.
12:29 p.m.: There's someone here from Galway! "You picked a great time, a great month to visit Boston," Flaherty tells him. Um, right. Because it's freezing and everyone's miserable.
12:34 p.m.: First real piece of business, a comprehensive immigration reform resolution. "Twenty-five percent of the people in Boston are immigrants and many more are the sons and daughters of immigrants," Arroyo says. "We need to show them that they have friends in this city...That government is here for them as well..."
12:37 p.m.: Maureen Feeney rises to commend her colleagues for their hard work on this resolution, which is about "doing the right thing."
12:39 p.m.: Yoon: "I was pleased in the preparation of this resolution, the compromises that we made, to see the faces of Boston working together."
12:42 p.m.: Adoption of the sounds-like-it-was-hard-work resolution. Hooray!
12:43 p.m.: Mike Ross is talking about youth violence. Tobin arrives. Lots of aides are milling around in the right-hand corner of the room. I'm hungry.
12:47 p.m.: Discussion of resolution calling for a hearing on a BRA development deal near the water.
12:52 p.m.: Mike Ross is annoyed about the existence of said resolution. He says it "goes to far," and wants to table it.
12:53 p.m.: Resolution tabled.
12:55 p.m.: Jerry McDermott wants a hearing looking into the BRA mosque deal.
1:00 p.m.: Flaherty is on the phone at the front of the room. Who is he talking to? No cookies yet, BTW.
1:02 p.m.: Turner, Arroyo, and Yoon agree, to varying degrees, that the BRA process deserves a closer look. Yoon thinks it could be a good "case study" in how the city --- and more importantly, the BRA --- deals with the land sales.
1:03 p.m.: BRA-mosque matter kept alive, referred to the Committee on Post-Audit and Oversight.
1:05 p.m.: "Given issues that have been raised in other cities, regarding inappropriate recruitment," Turner calls for a hearing on military recruitment in the public-school system. Referred to Committee on Education.
1:07 p.m.: Four late-filed matters. Councilors are so busy, they wait until the last minute to do things! Four boring late-filed matters.
1:10 p.m.: Skimming today's agenda. Forty-seven people "congratulated" by the council today, including 38 "generous supporters" of the 20th Annual Charles C. Yancey Book Fair. (To that end, each councilor has a yellow Charles C. Yancey Book Fair bag on their desk today. Must find out what's inside.)
1:15 p.m.: Even they know how boring they are. Rob Consalvo is thanking a researcher, and everyone laughs when he mentions the "very hard-to-get, official city council citation" she'll receive.
1:19 p.m.: Photo break! Exiting researcher and grandma/granddaughters get photos with councilors.
1:21 p.m.: Phew, they need a break. Now the councilors are just kind of hanging out up front, laughing and talking. (No one's eating cookies.) It sounds like they're discussing their schedules. Don't they have email?
1:24 p.m.: McDermott took a cookie!!
1:28 p.m.: Yancey thanks everyone for participating in his book fair. He forgets Scapicchio, hilarious! (It's impossible to do this without excessive use of exclamation points.)
1:30 p.m.: Scapicchio makes fun of his own reading abilities. Then, offers memories of North End fixture Joe Tecce, 94, who died this week.
1:32 p.m.: Ross wishes to adjourn in honor of International Women's Day, which he proposes on behalf of himself and fellow councilor Maureen Feeney (the only woman on the council). Why Feeney didn't offer this idea herself is unclear, and puzzling.
1:38 p.m.: Meeting adjourned. Parting thoughts: some things just don't lend themselves to humor, or insight; this council meeting seems to be in that category. Until next week!