By: Ira Rather
I have a pretty bizarre hobby—watching Coral Springs Commission Meetings live on Advanced Cable, and also watching replays through the city’s website. Yes, viewing a meeting from start to finish even just once makes me an oddball, because think about it:
Have you ever done it? Have any of your friends? (If your friends are City Commissioners or other city employees, they don’t count.) And have you ever even had the slightest desire to watch a Coral Springs Commission Meeting in its entirety?
If not, you don’t know what you’re missing, because move over Marx Brothers. If you want real comedy, look no further than City Hall on Sample Road. (And we doubt the new $30 million City Hall on University Drive is going to make it any less funny.)
The average meeting lasts between one and two hours. Several minutes are first spent on an invocation, thanking God for making Coral Springs such a great place to live and own a business—or asking God to work harder to make it a great place to live and own a business. (This is time wasted, because everyone knows that the Lord prefers Margate and Tamarac far more than Coral Springs.)
Immediately after, many more minutes are spent awarding certificates to Coral Springers and thanking them for their hard work on various projects, mostly of a volunteer nature. And while certainly deserving of this recognition, it always seems odd that the Commissioners spend more time thanking them for their efforts than they just spent thanking God for his (or hers). The recipients of these awards then thank the Commissioners for their time and thanks.
Hugs and kisses and handshakes of thanks from everyone and to everyone flutter around the chamber like moths around a lightbulb.
Pictures are now taken (this takes forever), and everyone thanks the photographer. After this, the photographer thanks everyone for posing.
After these thanks, thanks are given to any departing city workers, whether because of retirement or an impending sex scandal. These city employees are now obliged to thank the Commissioners for their outstanding leadership, as well as thanking Coral Springs residents for being such wonderful people to serve. (Granted, we’re sure they must have dealt with some real assholes over the years, but they’re included in the thanks anyway. What do they care? They’re getting the hell out, and with a great pension, too!)
When a Commissioner or ex-Mayor leaves his position because of term limits, they too are thanked for their service, even if the existing Commissioners hated that guy’s guts or not. (They usually did. Just ask former Mayor Roy Gold!)
When citizen requests/citizen speakers step up to the podium, they usually thank the Commissioners and other city officials for the fantastic job that they’re doing, which in turn prompts the Commissioners and other city officials to profusely thank the speaker for the fantastic job that they’re doing. The speaker then thanks the Commissioners for these additional thanks. Usually two or three times.
In the event that a speaker addresses the Commission and he doesn’t thank them, but instead criticizes their policies and actions, the Commissioners get real mad, but they still thank the speaker for his participation in the meeting anyway. However, it’s usually a very quick thank you, followed by a grunt and a rolling of the eyes. (Think about your spouse telling you to lose 20 pounds because they love you so much, or telling your 5-year-old the importance of brushing after every meal.)
If you really thank the Commissioners, like the whole nine yards that leaves brown on your nose, you’re allowed more than your normally allotted 5 minutes of speaking time. Just see the June 4th meeting, where speaker Carl Prescott attempted in vain, for the 20th year in a row, to get all fireworks entirely banned from Coral Springs. (The guy almost recited the entire Gettysburg Address, and the Commissioners let him drone on because he had thanked them so much five minutes before! If he had thanked them just a little bit more, they would have let him recite the entire Torah!)
When city business finally comes up and is discussed and voted on, Boccard thanks Vignola for his hard work on the issue. And Vignola thanks Boccard for his assistance in the matter. Both thank Bruck, because after all, she’s sitting right there looking all pissed and menopausal. (Her second menopause.)
Powers thanks our men and women in uniform. (Military, not McDonald’s.)
Daley thanks Boccard, Bruck, Vignola, Powers, and the janitor, because Daley has to say something to get on camera and justify his seat on the dais.
Bruck thanks everyone.
Powers thanks all men and women in uniform who have served, including The Crusaders and the SS.
Boccard, Vignola and Powers, realizing that they forgot to thank absolutely everyone like Bruck did, grab the microphone once again to offer even more thanks.
Bruck thanks a guy in the third row for saying “Bless You” after she sneezes.
And everyone in the audience thanks God that this meeting will soon be over.
If you do the math like I always do, for an average 1-hour meeting, 30 minutes are spent on saying thank you to each other, with an additional 15 minutes spent complimenting each other. This leaves about 15 minutes of actually conducting city business, which when you think about it, with this group, might be a good thing.
I urge you to view the June 4th meeting in its entirety to get an idea of our dysfunctional city government in action, and to see this idiocy for yourself. It would all be so hysterical if it wasn’t so tragic. The link to the meeting is here: City Commission Meeting
Of course, if you decide to pass and say “No thanks,” no one can blame you.
Ira Rather is an advertising professional and sometimes publisher of www.thecoralspringer.com. He is a former Brooklynite and 20-year Coral Springs resident who is working to improve living conditions in the city, and is also interacting with private and governmental agencies to implement policies and establish new regulations for the aggressive hunting and eradication of the invasive Burmese Python.