For those you who have never seen Parks and Recreation the setting of this blog may be harder to visualize. You should watch a couple episodes and then return to this post.
All set? Ok here we go.
After a looooonnnnnnggggg period of waiting, dealing with highest and best bidding, and more waiting, and more waiting, the East Providence City Council was finally meeting. The vote determining the new owner of the library was here.
The vote came toward the end of the meeting, at about 9:30 PM., i.e. after about 3 hours of me having an internal nervous breakdown in my chair. The commissioner began reading his report, and, as anticipated, recommended that the city council vote to approve the sale in my favor. Mechanically, each council member “aye-d” approval in turn when their name was called. I was beginning to relax, watching them go through the motions, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman leap up out of her seat and run toward the front of the room. “May I speak?” she demanded.
She was the second highest bidder for the property and she had props. Literally. Props. As in a full slideshow of her vision for the design studio she wanted to have in the library. The council listened patiently while I clung to my chair and hyperventilated.
Then another member of the audience stood. “May I speak?” he asked. The council members stared at one another questioning, until finally one asked out loud, “I don’t know. Is this a public hearing?”
I sort of fell out of my chair. This was not happening.
The bewildered council finally decided that yes, let the guy speak. Thank god. He was, it turns out, my future neighbor. And he had plenty to say too, about the neighborhood residents’ collective desire for the library to be limited to residential use.
So how did it finally all wrap up? You can watch here:
The library voting begins around 1:10 in the council meeting recording. I get up to the podium and make a bit of a fool of myself at 1:24. Enjoy! Don’t’ laugh at me too hard!