What happens in
City Hall Room 309?
Quite a bit.
Longtime watchers of CITCOM have learned to get a feel of the tone, not the content, of the meeting in Room 309 which precedes each City Commission meeting.
The clues re tone are include how the guys and gals walk out of the room; how many and who hangs back; if a late-minute conversation can be observed through the open door; how many and which commissioners just walk to their seat and settle in compared to how many and who steps down into the audience and schmoozes a little; whether they do more than shake hands with the city officials who have been seated along the walls behind The Table waiting for the meeting to begin; which of those city officials they have a conversation with; whether, when they sit down, they immediately begin fiddling with their computer or look around and wave or nod to someone here and there.
Formally, they cannot make any decisions re CITCOM agenda items in Room 309, but they would be less than human if they didn't touch on an item or two and reach gentlemanly and ladylike agreement about how things will go at The Table. In fact, on those occasions when they have had a tiff, several of them have a facial or body language "tell" which can be observed depending on how the camera is scanning as they work their way to their seat.
One thing to keep in mind is that faces in repose very often are misleading and cannot be used to form a firm opinion of someone's personality or mindset or mood at the moment.
Versagi Voice has been asked to "go around the table" again, now that everybody has been around long enough to have established an identifiable style:
Jim earns a B+ for chairing the meeting. He's smooth and accommodating most of the time, but he gets upset more than he should with others at The Table. It's who he is. Over the years, he's engaged in, brief and heated exchanges with -- from memory -- Drinkwine, Rasor, Poulton, Goodwin.
Dave is an attorney. He likes to ask questions, detailed questions, too many questions. His quiet style differs from that of former commissioner and attorney Jim Rasor, but the questions and his demeanor often give the same impression as Rasor: that he disbelieves what he is hearing and is cross-examining a hostile witness. When he engages in actual dialogue at The Table, that stern lawyerly image is replaced with friendly chatter.
Peggy approaches most issues with her heart, but not unthinkingly. So her first thought re any matter dealing with alcohol elicits a predictable first reaction: negative. But like former commissioner Terry Drinkwine, she openly examines her first reaction most times and changes it occasionally. Her extensive attention to Safety in general and Suicide in particular sometimes leaves the impression that she doesn't pay enough attention to other agenda items.
Jeremy has overcome the concerns that some of us had that his professional involvement in non-Royal Oak politics might improperly affect his work at The Table. Seems not to have been a problem at all. Some have suggested that his national role might be used to benefit Royal Oak, but that doesn't seem to have happened either. His demeanor at The Table is to be quiet unless he has something to say. He is one of the two-and-a-half at The Table who seldom, if ever, pontificate just to hear their own voice.
I wish Sharlan would talk more. Most often she asks questions. Good questions, some of them the kind that Mike Andrzejak used to ask: questions he knew the answers to but wanted the public to hear. I get the impression that she sometime wants her colleagues at The Table to hear the answer -- all at the same time and in public.
In the last couple of months, Kyle has come alive. Before that, frankly, it was understandable to wonder whether he regretted having won election. He just sat there, saying nothing for almost an entire meeting. His black beard gives him a scowling look in repose and -- unless he is smiling -- when he's speaking. Scowling or smiling, he asks questions in a manner which suggests need-to-know or curiosity, almost never suspicion or anger.
Mike has come a long way from thinking out loud as he forms his thoughts. "I'm rambling," he has acknowledged once or twice. His typical comment, even when it's on-target, still seems a bit longer than necessary, but he does not pontificate. One admirable characteristic: When the panning camera captures Mike while someone else is speaking, he appears to be actively, not passively, listening.
Thanks for one of the most intelligent and thoughtful observations I have read about gay marriage.
Why do people hide
behind a screen name?
During those months (years?) during which that interactive Patch website was alive and kicking, one visitor guessed that an obvious screen name was mine. I appreciated when another poster who frequently disagrees with me about many things posted, essentially, "Versagi never uses a screen name."
There's a bit of validity in the charge that it is arrogant to transparently take unpopular stands. From the other end, is it cowardly to make forceful statements while hiding behind a screen name?
The most frequent reply when this question is asked is, "My best friend (or wife, or husband, or boss) disagrees strongly." Don't want to embarrass or anger that person? That person has never been told?
Geez, some of my most interesting discussions re controversial topics are with my wife and friendly volunteers in our civic circles.
At the moment, for example, the PBS series about the Roosevelts is a hot topic. It is impossible not to sympathize with and admire Franklin's reactions to suffering polio. But that doesn't change detestation for him still strongly held by those who maintain that he knowingly guided the nation into WWII, including provocatively cutting off our oil exports to Japan.
Not many of those who so-detest Franklin, though, would say so in print without hiding behind a screen name.
Work was suspended Friday
for the demolition of the Interstate 75 bridge that
would allow for the construction on the M-1 Rail
James Canning, a spokesman for the M-1
project, said Friday more utility relocation is needed
prior to the demolition. The postponement will not delay
completion the M-1 Rail, which is expected to be done by
late 2016, Canning said.
The work, which was scheduled to begin on Friday was not expected to affect access to the Detroit Lions game or other downtown events. -- Detroit News
City Council approves regional water authority
The Detroit City Council today approved creation of a new regional water authority and a crucial bankruptcy settlement with bond insurer Syncora. The council also unanimously shot down a proposed transfer of 45,000 city-owned parcels to the Detroit Land Bank. Under the state's emergency manager law, today was the deadline for the council to vote on each of the three items proposed by emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Council President Brenda Jones and Councilwoman Mary Sheffield voted against the new water authority. Jones said the deal should have gone before voters.
The council was much less supportive of the proposed land transfer. -- Detroit Free Press
Democracy is messy, but no blood was shed
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND — Scotland has spoken. After two years of campaigning, thousands of debates and public meetings, and the biggest turnout since the introduction of universal suffrage, Scots voted Thursday to reject independence and remain part of the United Kingdom.
By a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent on a massive turnout of 86 percent, Scotland decided not to become the world’s newest independent state. After a nervous final fortnight, the scale of the "no" campaign’s victory surprised even some of its own supporters.
Although Scotland as a nation voted "no," the "yes" side did come out on top in a number of electoral districts, including Glasgow. Despite long being a stronghold for the Labour party – which spearheaded the cross-party campaign against independence – Scotland’s largest city voted to leave the UK, by 54.5 percent to 46.5 percent. -- Christian Science Monitor
French President Francois Hollande said Rafale jets destroyed an Islamic State logistics depot in northeastern Iraq. France is the first nation to join the US-led air campaign against IS. -- Christian Science Monitor
asked the doctor for whom I am
setting up the program, why HE
didn't for pay lunch and the
requested fee, he said, "Ah, this is
the African way and I am broke,"
Ah, to which I responded, "I may be
white but I am not a stupid white
person and I am not an ATM machine;
you wanted to work with me for my
skills, not my money, I thought. This is unacceptable." He was
shocked. I may meet with him next
week and determine if I will
continue the work there. I doubt it.
On the Road years ago:
"Buona sera," greeted the owner as we entered an Italian restaurant in Louisville. Because I would be going to Italy in a few months, I welcomed the chance to practice the language, so I replied, "Buona sera. Possiamo avere una tavola per cinque?" Good evening. May we have a table for five?
Pleased, the owner escorted us to a quiet alcove, seated us, called over the head waiter, and recommended two bottles of Valpollicella to begin the evening -- all this while still speaking Italian.
Three hours later, as we were leaving, I saw him sitting wearily on a stool in a corner. "That was a great meal and the service was excellent," I said in English.
"A-a-h-m glah-id y'all enjoyed the foo-id," he drawled, with not a hint of Italian accent.
Half-Robot helps marine archaeologists
A group of marine archaeologists kicked off a mission this week to explore an ancient shipwreck at the bottom of the Aegean Sea — not with a sub, but with a semi-robotic metal diving suit that looks likes it was taken straight out of a James Bond movie.
Sponge divers first discovered the 2,000-year-old shipwreck off the Greek island Antikythera in 1900. They recovered fragments of bronze statues, corroded marble sculptures, gold jewelry and, most famously, the Antikythera mechanism, a clocklike astronomical calculator sometimes called the world's oldest computer. Teams led by Jacques Cousteau pulled up more artifacts and even found human remains when they visited the wreck in the 1950s and 1970s.
But none of those previous expeditions had access to the Exosuit, a one-of-a-kind diving outfit that weighs 530 lbs. (240 kilograms), and can plunge to the extraordinary depths of 1,000 feet (305 meters) and stay underwater for hours without the diver being at risk of decompression sickness. -- Christian Science Monitor
The world is
coming to an end -- again
2012: The Mayan Calendar has been added to the list
The Last Word re Global Warming?
Global warming "hucksters"
Ancient climate change link to CO2?
The global-warming hockey stick is broken
No energy is "renewable"
Monsoons getting drier?
DTE getting serious about solar?
Pseudo climate change science