Posted by Eric Scheidler on Tuesday, October 9th, 2007
5:30 p.m. Here's the scene outside City Hall, where scores of pro-lifers are joined by scores of police officers picketing the mayor. If you look very closely you can see the three Planned Parenthood supporters down the sidewalk.
6:25 p.m. In response to muttering from concerned tax payers over the expense of renovating Mayor Weisner's office, which Alderman Lawrence was questioning, Police Chief Powell stood up and told everyone to be quiet or be kicked out. Then he said, "Do you understand what I'm saying?"—and of course nobody said anything because he'd just told us not to talk!
It was amusing. Unfortunately I was not quick enough getting out my camera for a shot of him shushing us like a spinster librarian.
7:15 p.m. I just delivered my remarks, which you can read here [PDF]. Before public comment began, the Council again voted to restrict remarks, this time to a mere two hours. Alderman Keith, not surprisingly, proposed this move. All voted in favor except for Lawrence, Irvin and Kifowit. God bless them.
After the vote—after it, mind you—Mayor Weisner offered some remarks to the effect that we were lucky they were letting us talk at all, since all we've done is repeat ourselves. At one point he used the phrase "according to the ordnance," and I must confess I laughed out loud, along with several others—Mayor Weisner being guided by an ordinance!
7:30 p.m. Vince Tessitori is now speaking. He began by noting that the thing that popped out to him about the reports was the "utter lack of an investigation," with statements form the reports themselves to back it up that observation. He called for the City Council to ask the Zoning Administrator for his analysis of the situation, which has never been heard.
7:25 p.m. Roger Earl addressed his comments solely to the mayor, remarking that apparently the aldermen are irrelevant. "I mean no disrespect," he said, "but that's the position you're in."
Roger brought forth a most fascinating quote from the August 28 City Council meeting, an exchange between me and Mayor Weisner:
Eric Scheidler: I'd like to know about deadlines, because it seems to me just in the couple in the couple of weeks we've been looking at this . . . I find it hard to believe that this independent investigator will be able to do an adequate investigation in the space of just a few short weeks . . .
Mayor Weisner: Well, well, I don't agree with that at all, I think that we have a public record, we have staff available to be interviewed at the least bit of notice, so I disagree with you entirely.
What's so fascinating about this exchange is that it's clear from both the Luetkehans and Martens reports that staff were not interviewed. In fact, the Martens report suggests that such interviews were explicitly excluded from the scope of his investigation as defined by the Mayor.
Really. You couldn't make this stuff up.
7:30 p.m. Elizabeth Earl recounted for the mayor and city council the 3,500 yard signs distributed around the area, the 1,500 Aurorans who lined New York Street and Galena Boulevard during Sunday's Life Chain. She assured the Council that these thousands would not forget how the Planned Parenthood matter was handled on election day in 2009.
7:50 p.m. Gay Braun and Bonnie Grabenhoffer just got up to oppose a parental notification law. None has been proposed yet. Apparently we are in danger of killing our daughters if such a law is passed.
I look forward to bringing all six of my daughters into the City Council once the parental notification ordinance is on the table. And I look forward to walking around the neighborhood with all six of them during the 2009 campaign reminding voters where the mayor and aldermen stood on the parental notification issue.
8:05 p.m. The chain of pro-life speakers has resumed. Right now Diane Picciuolo is telling the mayor that she no longer trusts him. She voted for him. She used to think he's a nice guy. But now she sees that he is damaging this City. She is outraged that the mayor has never called any kind of hearing where the people could hear what the Council thinks about all this.
8:15 p.m. Dennis Duehning has just delivered an amusing anecdote about an organization called Happy Homes that declares "every woman has a right to a happy home." The idea is that women bring their husbands—who are in various ways making their homes unhappy—to Happy Homes and there dispose of them.
It was quite funny—he refers at one point in the story to the protesters who are causing trouble; don't they know that "every woman deserves a happy home"? Good stuff.
8:15 p.m. Tess Foral, 10 years old, just received a standing ovation for talking about how when she lies, she doesn't get what she wants. She asked the mayor if he wants to teach her a different lesson, that it's okay to lie. She concluded: "Mr. mayor, I'm asking you to do the right thing and close the Planned Parenthood clinic now."
8:20 p.m. Nakia Whitney, a black woman, is focusing on the mayor's use of the words "small minority" to describe the number of Aldermen who objected to "investigator" Richard Martens (in fact it was a quarter of the City Council, and sources say that at least one more alderman was considering objecting too before the mayor caved). She segues from that into the marginalization of minorities and the grim experience of minority women with abortion. Very impassioned speech. I hope Shakita Hart-Burns was listening closely.
8:40 p.m. The remarks have really become focused over the last half hour or so—it's all about Mayor Weisner's betrayal of our trust, the corruption of this process from the beginning, the remaining need for a real investigation into how Planned Parenthood duped the city.
Wanda Geist has just responded to Weisner's opening comment about our repetitiveness. She said the reason we keep coming back is because justice has yet to be done. She concluded, "We'll be back in two weeks seeking justice. And we'll be back in a year and a half seeking justice," a reference to the 2009 election, as I read it.
8:45 p.m. Bruce Sutcliff: "You don't need a lawyer when you have the leader of Planned Parenthood saying that they tricked you on national TV." Bruce assured the mayor and aldermen that we will hold them accountable at the next election, and concluded: "We will demand of our leadership that they fear God, that they care about this nation and about the unborn."
8:50 p.m. Brenda Davies just recounted some of Margaret Sanger's racist statements. Best of all, she outright accused the Mayor of having been backing Planned Parenthood from the very beginning—that, she says, is why he was so eager to get them open under cover of a mock investigation.
8:55 p.m. I just can't type fast enough to get down all the good stuff here. Here's a great line from Matt Davies, after he quoted the First Amendment: "Apparently these words mean nothing to some seated before me as their actions spoke much louder than the words in their empty promises and broken oaths to office." Golden.
9:00 p.m. James Graddis: “The only choice we’re being given is whether we want our planned parenthood protest signs in English or Español.”
9:10 p.m. We're getting close to the end of the two hours that Aldermen Keith, Elmore, Schuler, Garza Peters, O'Connor and Beykirch have deigned to allow us. Remember those names on April 7, 2009. (Don't worry, though—I promise to remind you.)
The Mayor just piped up to ask whether comments began at 7 o'clock. The Clerk said 7:10, but someone called out 7:20. The Mayor replied, "Well go ahead then," and a couple more speakers were called up. It's 9:16 now, so we're getting a few precious extra minutes.
9:20 p.m. Public comment is now ended. The Mayor is now offering some remarks. I am listening to them from the vestibule; I simply could not stomach sitting there and watching him lie and obfuscate to our faces again.
But actually I'm not listening. He's not really saying anything. More bluster. He's claiming that he's just the "chief administrator of an administrative office" and also that he has spent time working in a third world country and caring for a disabled child. He's asking how many of us have adopted any children.
It's really something else. You'll have to wait for JT Eschbach's video to be posted to see for yourself.
9:25 p.m. Weisner is still pontificating. Several other people have walked out of the room. It looks like he's trying to compete with the Chief of Police for the Finger-Wagging Award.
9:30 p.m. The mayor has finally concluded, and everyone is filing out. Another eventful City Council meeting.
See you October 23!