What, me go to City Hall? Yes, it’s actually your building! As a citizen you help pay the bills to keep it open and running, in addition to the salaries of everyone working in there. So come to City Hall and attend a meeting so you can see how decisions are made that impact you and your family.
What to expect? It’s just a building, a few parking lots, with a park, a fountain, and an outdoor stage. Just walk past the fountain and into the lobby. You see that there are information desks and kiosks, plus plenty of people to help you out, but in the evening there are less employees, and sometimes it can be pretty quite.
Once inside, turn to the right, go down the hall, and through the double doors. This Large Public Room is where you sit, and the city officials gather. Your seat is to the right; two rows of large bench seating labeled "We the people". I’d estimate it holds like 200 people, plus the city officials. In the front of the room there are three distinct seating areas; 1) furthest from you is a tall, judge-like, bench, 2) closer to you is a large circular desk, and 3) within the circular desk is a large conference table:
1) At the "judge-like" Front Bench sits (from left to right): Assistant Clerk (AC), City Clerk (C), Common Council President (P), then the Comptroller (CT), and next the City Attorney (CA)... the next spot might be for the Mayor (?), yet he never seems to attend these meetings. 2) At large circular desk sits the Common Council Members (Wards 1 through 6, plus three "At Large Councilors". 3) At the big conference table inside the circular desk are city Department Heads and special guests.
Up on the front wall, above the Common Council president's head, are voting lights. They will turn “red” or “green” for each council vote to let you know how members cast their vote. If they all flash “red” on something that would increase taxes, like a hospital parking garage, you should clap with loud applause because you've just help keep taxes low.
There are Seven Voting Lights, six for Wards 1 through 6, three lights for the "At Large" Common Councilors", and finally a 7th light for the Common Council President (who only votes in cases of ties).
Between the Clerk at the "Front Bench” and 1st Ward Councilor, is the "Speaker's" podium. It's here that guest speakers, and "We the people" get to stand and address the council- as well as those in attendance. In most cases each speaker has 3 minutes. As a bonus, you'll be on TV the following week as all common council meetings are broadcast on public access TV. The three blue X's in the diagram indicate where recording cameras are located.
If you would like to speak, show up at 6:45PM and "Sign-in", at the podium just inside the double doors. Once you are on the sign-up sheet, you'll be called to present at the "speaker's" podium. Each speaker only begins after agreeing to the rules that the president reads to each speaker.
In some cases, speakers show very rare talents. For example, hospital CEO Perra was able to Speak And Be In The Audience At The Same Time!
Good things, happy things, happen in the common council chambers as well, for example People Show Love!, and you can often see Residents Showing Emotion, and watching the Vote Outcomes Can Be Suspenseful!. So please come to our meeting, its free, can also be fun and entertaining.
We are excited your planning on attending, here's what your view might look like as you carry out your civic duty, A Seat With A View!
Okay, so you can't make it, please be sure to checkout and join us on Facebook #NoHospitalDowntown