What a long afternoon yesterday! BUT, I think it was worth it. When our commissioner was telling us about their weekly meetings, he said usually there is 15-30 minutes of business on the agenda and then it's opened up for citizen open comments. Then we get a call from his assistant who says there is a bunch of stuff on their agenda for this meeting, so show up an hour later. Well, of course DH has to be an hour early for everything, so we were pretty much there at the original time we were supposed to be there.
Sit and listen to their agenda items and all those speaking about them........for 3 hours! Luckily it was all kind of interesting, as it had to do with the area of the county we live in, regarding commercial land use. Lots of people taking their 3 minutes to give their opinions. One of the speakers was a real estate guy......he was our original landlord when we first got married over 30 years ago!
So, finally it was "citizen" time. Our commissioner had told DH to try and go last. So, a few other citizens take their turn (and these were all the same people who had already spoken earlier...guess they just wanted to go on some more about it). When people speak there is a light on the podium alerting you to your 3 minutes almost up and then a bell chimes to let you know your time is up. That happened several times throughout the afternoon. DH's speech was over 6 minutes. There was no way to convey 2 years of hell in 3 minutes! So, we had planned for me to finish reading his speech (for my 3 minutes) if he got cut off.
While watching the few citizens get up and speak during the open time, I was watching the 7 council members. By then, of course they had been sitting there for hours and I'm sure were as tired as everyone else. Half of them weren't even listening to these people (though to be fair to the council members these people weren't bringing up anything new - they just wanted to talk some more about what had already been decided and voted on already that afternoon). I thought "great - they are going to pay half attention to what DH is saying".
DH starts his speech and every single one of them was focused on him and listening very intently. As we see his 3 minute light start to flash, but then no "bell"....they turned it off and let him keep speaking the whole time! I could see the concern, amazement, etc at our situation, in their faces. When he was done someone in the spectator section said "you guys need help" and another said "well done". He went to sit back down and several of the council members had more questions, so he had to go back up for another minute or two. Then one of them asked if they could make a copy of his speech, so he gave it to one of the assistants. Then DH and our councilman's assistant told me to go talk.........WAIT! I didn't write up anything to say! I was only going to talk if DH got cut off at 3 minutes. So, I just went up there and winged it for a minute, said thank you, and went and sat back down. Then one of them had questions, so I had to go back up. He wanted to know if any of the sheriff's had ever asked to see our video's from our security camera system. I said no, we've offered several times, though. He said he'd like to see some of them and he might take us up on DH's offer to come spend an evening at our home and see for yourself.
I think it went well. Several of them then talked and gave their opinions, though until I get a chance to watch the taping of it, I really don't remember all what they said, but they said they need to work on this, most definitely. I guess the head sheriff (who our councilman doesn't like) would have been watching (it's broadcast live) and our councilman was sure he wasn't going to be very happy and he'd be hearing from him.
DD and her boyfriend got to watch it live on a cable channel we have. They said we did great :)