Tough towns all over.

The Free Press’ second-day story on the near-fisticuffs at Detroit City Council is thorough, and a wider look at what’s apparently a problem not limited to the Motor City. In nearby Warren,

…it has not been unusual for council members to clip their nails, eat potato chips, read the newspaper or tap their pencils loudly when a colleague they didn’t support was speaking. …The council meetings are so infamous that former Warren residents who have moved to Florida or the Upper Peninsula have been known to request video copies of the council meetings.

Just a thought, though: The problem isn’t helped by locals who comment enthusiastically on how entertaining this all is. On the other hand, having covered council meetings and prayed for anything more exciting than the sound of the rubber stamp to happen, I must say, I empathize.

Posted at 9:15 am in Uncategorized |
 

4 responses to “Tough towns all over.”

  1. alex said on March 26, 2004 at 10:27 am

    The Chicago Reader used to have a delightful column called “Council Follies.” Here the meetings are anything but deadly dull. We’ve got one of the most colorful councils anywhere, replete with ex-cons and all sorts. My alderman’s an old-school rad commie with a heart of gold and a mouth on her like a truck driver.

    The “Follies” gal took her act to either the Sun-Times or the Trib�I forget which�where they promptly defanged the column and eventually let it drop. The Reader has a new one now that’s not as aptly named but still a fairly good read.

  2. deb said on March 26, 2004 at 6:50 pm

    ack! they hired her, defanged the column and then dropped it entirely?! there’s the problem in a nutshell, folks — writers with high readership numbers at alt-weeklies or similar venues are lured away by bigger papers because they actually have a following…and then the very product that brought those writers through the door dies a slow and horrible death.

    when editors like this wring their hands about why newspaper readership is down, i want to stuff them in a room with a dozen rabid wolverines.

  3. ashley said on March 27, 2004 at 1:17 pm

    “…The council meetings are so infamous that former Warren residents who have moved to Florida or the Upper Peninsula have been known to request video copies of the council meetings.”

    Yankee go home.

  4. Bob said on March 27, 2004 at 3:41 pm

    Fort Wayne once had councilman-at-large Paul “Mike” Burns, former mayor and perennial curmudgeon. He made Archie Bunker look like a bleeding-heart liberal; he never heard of a minority he didn’t disrespect, and freely used ethnic slurs and stereotypes in his statements to the press. He once referred to Mexican-American citizens as wetbacks. He was contemptuously homophobic. Although the press skewered him often, so far as I know no one ever took him on in a council meeting.

    To me he reflected poorly on the city’s electorate; despite his public bigotry, he was reelected time after time without campaigning.