by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
My attendance at Asheville City Council’s formal Tuesday meetings has been far from stellar. I skipped out before the meeting was over the first time I went. That was about twelve years ago. I ducked out because the meeting was running into the wee hours, and I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast.
Then, I skipped another meeting a few years ago. The Moody Blues were going to play Knoxville Tuesday and then come to Asheville a few days later. I begged the boss to let me go to Knoxville to do a preview arts and entertainment piece in lieu of city council coverage. Paper sales probably spiked that week.
Other than that, I have dutifully sat through every meeting until tonight. Perhaps it was because I was feeling so good. For two days, I was not dizzy, nauseous, or fatigued. I could see. I could bend. I had no allergy problems. I read several hundred pages including half a book on vector calculus. It was just like being in college again.
Still on a roll, I went to city council. Oh, how I wanted to contribute to society while I could. Then, council called a lo-o-o-o-o-ong closed session. Before that, pot supporters had slowly trickled into the room. I know we’re not supposed to profile, but pot smokers have a reputation for gabbing. A few already reinforced the stereotype by weighing in during public comment.
There I sat with a universe of things to do back at the office, but nothing there for me except my fears about taking notes about our community’s need for hemp paper, hemp rope, and medicinal MJ. I had hoped that Police Chief William Anderson had parked a paddy wagon outside to intercept everybody when they rolled out and rolled up. I told another city council correspondent I was not going to survive the meeting without rolling myself a big one. So when the pot crowd slowly began trickling back, and I realized my paddy wagon fantasy was only that, I kept my word and split.
Before daydreaming about the paddy wagon, I was fantasizing about speaking during public comment myself. I would have asked how many there earned more than $25,000 from mental or physical labor, and not from “informal” markets. I would have asked how many paid more than $500/month for rent. Then, I would have left it at that and let the mayor and council think about how they could legalize pot and raise taxes on the workforce so they could subsidize the influx of pot-smoking stereotypes. That was before one of them got up to tell council that instead of spending money on graffiti removal, they needed to get people jobs and provide housing for them.
OK. Now, I’ll go find out what really happened.