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Fly on the Wall, Edition No. 7


Here we go again, as the Fly buzzes around town and sees what's up.

Ding! My stomach just went off

At Tuesday's Manatee County Commission meeting, there were some big votes on important issues.

And very one routine but highly important vote, at least for the Fly.

When meetings get close to the noon hour, some commissioners show a desire to exit and head out for lunch at the Kiwanis or another event, but sometimes Chairman Gwendolyn Brown keeps them there because there are only a few more items and she wants to be finished.

Invariably, at 11:45 a.m., a member will launch into a long disquisition about something and the meeting will run into 2:30 p.m., with stomachs rumbling and people wondering where things got so far off track.

So on Tuesday, as the commissioners plowed through the agenda and the clock closed in on 11:50 a.m., the biggest debate left to have was ... whether to break for lunch or try to get through commissioner comments and then go to lunch. Some commissioners had plans and wanted to leave, others were in favor of continuing and getting it over with.

Commissioner Ron Getman was for sticking around, saying people should not schedule anything for noon on meeting days. "I'll do whatever the board wants," he said. "I don't think the board should suffer."

"I don't have to go to Kiwanis, but I figure the citizens are paying me to be here," said Commissioner Carol Whitmore. "In the last six months, we've been trying to get through this by noon. We do get paid to stay here, but we do have commitments. I'll be back at 1:30 p.m."

After a bit of discussion, the board voted 5-2, with Getman and Brown dissenting, to adjourn for lunch, much the relief of the Fly, who was getting hungry, too.

At the very end of commissioner comments, long after the Fly had digested his lunch, the issue came up again and the rules were quoted.

The 'best' show in town

The Fly tends to be a bit grumpy on Tuesdays after a Monday night Palmetto City Commission meeting. Not just the length of the meetings, but the long debates with issues being raised over and over mean it's going to be a long night.

The commissioners spent 20 minutes debating a stop sign last Monday night, and more time was spent on the ballfields, admittedly an important issue, but it was like "Groundhog Day" as the same arguments were raised again and again.

The Fly finally buzzed off at around 9 p.m., after the important votes had been taken.

By the way, it might be nice if the folks who maintain the landscaping chose a different night to mow the lawns and trim the shrubbery with their very loud power equipment. Several Monday night meetings punctuated with the buzzing of lawn equipment have had the Fly vowing to eat the equipments' spark plugs.

Wait, we're not done yet

Tuesday's County Commission meeting was adjourned and the Fly was packing up his laptop for a quick escape to the warm climate of Florida when Brown had to "unadjourn" the meeting.

Meanwhile, the TV was broadcasting that the meeting was adjourned, the "elevator music" was playing and most people had cleared the chambers.

"Are we on? Are we on?" Brown called to the TV people, and then the picture came back on, Brown apologized, and brought up the important issue of the 13th Avenue Community Center and the discovery of garbage under it.

It was a short session, and soon the commission was adjourned, this time for the day.

Out of the mouths of babes ...

The Fly had fun covering the Ware's Creek shoreline cleanup story, and it was even more fun when one of the Girl Scouts asked, "Are you an interview guy?"

Kids usually react fine to the presence of a journalist in their midst. Once, when the Fly was covering something up at Emerson Point, a youth asked, "Hey, you going to put me on TV?" He got on the Web site, so hopefully that helped.

One day, the Fly was heading out to shoot some pictures when he saw a crowd outside a church. Stopping to investigate, he tried to record people who didn't want to be recorded, so he started taking notes.

"Sweet Jesus," said one woman looking over the Fly's shoulder at his notepad, "he's writing down everything you say."

That's the job, folks.

And that's all for this week.


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