The Cactus Speaks: The Council Retreats to Kindergarten


[EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at editor@seatacblog.com.]

by Earl Gipson

Imagine this. You go to a meeting of public professionals (elected and staff) and you find them with a bag of toys and silly grins. Well, on attending the SeaTac Council retreat Saturday that was exactly what I found. Let me explain (whilst laughing the more I think about it).

There is such a thing called Parliamentary Procedures, which is how many Public meetings (Council, legislature, etc) are conducted. These are based on Robert’s Rules written by Captain Henry Robert in 1876 after he lost control of his meetings and/or herding cats. The cats all left to clean themselves and all he had was the humans remaining so he wrote some rules. A lot of rules by which, we in the US and elsewhere conduct formal meetings. These are really not complicated.

Enter a program called Jurassic Parliament presented at the SeaTac Council retreat this past Saturday. Silly me thinking this was going to be a review/update of the rules that are seldom used or applied. Nope. This was toys provided to Council members and staff with our old favorites T-rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, and the like (some with sound included) to explain how to submit motions, vote, and which dino gets priority when someone opens their mouth to debate, comment, or make a fool of themselves. Sorry but I had to leave and ponder my days watching Sesame Street.

They had to give the toys back at the end so some tax dollars were saved (I hope they are disinfected because I know where some of them have been even though I didn’t see anyone licking them or putting them places they shouldn’t). Side note: In the Council meeting following on Tuesday Council Member Ladenburg mentioned he found lots of value in the “class” or method (no shock here) and I really hope he learned something. We do teach to the lowest common denominator.

Ok, maybe I am all turned around on this. Myself and other Citizens have tried logic and reason only to be ignored as far as Code Enforcement, ethical behavior, economic development, etc. Heck, I even tried poetry and musical instruments. Perhaps sock puppets are the answer.


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