I attended the Huntsville City Council meeting tonight (I’ve been watching them on TV so I thought it might be a short one). Not all of them are this much fun, but I encourage everyone to attend a meeting now and then.
Did I say fun? Absolutely, darling. Tallulah Bankhead, Molly Teal, Maria Weeden, Russell Erskine, Leroy Pope Walker, and Gov. C.C. Clay were all in attendence. The personages from the Maple Hill Cemetary Stroll (Huntsville Pilgrimage Association) were there to receive recognition for their work in restoring the Maple Hill Cemetary (they’ve raised about $250,000 for preservation of the cemetary).
BTW Madam Molly Teal ran a house of ill-repute, which later became Huntsville Hospital. Think of that next time you visit…
Liz Hurley accepted a check for $16,500 from Huntsville Fire and Rescue and the Huntsville Firefighters Association which will be used for breast cancer equipment at Huntsville Hospital.
Councilman Colonel John Olshefski was welcomed to the Council – he said that he was putting together his team to develop a strategic plan – I’d like to be a fly on that wall…
The biggest issue discussed tonight was whether or not the firefighters should be allowed to collect donations for Muscular Dystrophy at street intersections (‘Firefighter Boot Ordinance’). The con argument (from City Attorney Joffrion): it may be un-state-constitutional (cities can’t support NGO charities) and un-US-Constitutional (equal protection) and unsafe for volunteers / drivers and liability / worker’s comp issues. The pro argument (from Fire Chief Sublett): firefighters want to do it and are willing to accept the risk and other cities do it. HPD Chief Hudson opposed it for public safety reasons, pointing out that while police / fire personnel were trained to direct traffic, they usually have an emergency vehicle with lights flashing nearby.
City Councilmembers seemed to support the concept, but were wary about the legalities, liabilities, and risk. IMO it is an unnecessary risk to City personnel and it would create traffic delays. The firefighters proved (tonight!) that they can raise money for charity without this technique.
It was fun to see a high school classmate’s little sister (who is now a well-respected attorney) advocate an ordinance to another fellow high school alumnus (who is now a well-respected city administrator). When the biggest issue of the day is the ‘Firefighter Boot’ ordinance, you know you live in a cozy town.
The Council voted to authorize the Mayor to hire James from Huntsville Development News to perform a ‘retail inventory’ of the City, in anticipation of retail growth. I’ve been reading that blog for a couple of years, and James is bright, competent, and creative. Good move, Mayor Battle.
The next Council meeting will be an economic development work session held on November 18 at 6PM.
The Huntsville Museum of Art will showcase the new addition in a public open house on Sunday, November 21st. The museum’s construction is on time and on budget.