UPDATE: I don’t know what time the City Council returned from its junket to the digital hospital, but the meeting was still underway when I checked the video feed just before 2PM. The Councilors appeared to be speaking to an empty chamber. The Council website reports that the $500,000+ Malcolm Pirnie contract to design a storm water management plan (to replace the one that was working just fine) was approved on revote, but the link inviting us to watch the discussion and vote is not working.
I made the mistake of listening in on today’s Birmingham City Council meeting. It’s detrimental to my health. After spending forty-five minutes covering preliminaries (like the lack of minutes from previous meetings mentioned below — I’m now hearing that the three-month lag is actually an improvement over past performance) and lauding an employee who is resigning to take care of an ill family member (which is important), the mayor called the Council into executive session to, apparently, announce the Trinity Medical Center deal and inform them that they were all invited to the 11:30 press conference at the old HealthSouth digital hospital site on Highway 280. He even got a bus for them to ride. Too bad he can’t do that for the citizens who depend on public transit for everyday needs.
The Council emerged from executive session around 10:45, and Council President Carole Smitherman informed the members of the public who had business before them today that they would be adjourning the meeting so they can go to their photo opp. Councilor Roderick Royal strenuously, and rightly, objected to yet another last minute announcement from the mayor that disrupts the regular meeting of the Council. He was voted down, of course, because after all this is big bucks for the city (the original site for the new Trinity Medical Center is in Irondale, while the digital hospital site is in Birmingham), and who wants to miss a chance to get in front of the TV cameras?
Probably the dumbest moments came when Carole Smitherman first proclaimed that the Council would be back downtown to resume the meeting at 12:30 and then a few minutes later cut off Councilor Royal’s objections by saying that the Council could have “been there and back by now”. Councilor Witherspoon echoed her comment. Excuse me? Has either of them ever driven out 280 before?
Does anyone else think Larry might have been afraid he would lose on the Malcolm Pirnie re-vote?
I think my head may explode. Time for some deep breathing exercises.