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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Council Notes from Lynn City Council Meeting July 13th, 2010 - Woof Woof!

Last night's City Council Meeting was incredibly awesome. I find it amazing that when dogs are the topic there are 100 people there and more people to speak on both sides of the issue than on any other topic I've ever seen brought before our council in 4 years. I was going to do this post as a video post with a dog muzzle on, but they're sold out. No doubt, this is due to the passage of the ordinance requiring pitbull owners to muzzle their dogs if out in public.

The public hearing started out with hearing from those in favor. Arguments were mostly made due to attacks on themselves or other loved ones by alleged pitbulls. Police chief talked about the 51 attacks in 2009 and spoke in favor of the ordinance. One Lynner said, "To own a pitbull is like owning a machine gun." That's the correct quote, unlike the incorrect quote the Item printed today that said that the person stated that all pitbulls should be machine gunned. Slightly different. She's not a dog killer.

At some point during this, I'm pretty sure Duffy fell asleep. That amused me for a while. I couldn't get a good picture without being obvious. Plus, Phelan was on us like a nun schoolteacher last night. You got out of line at all and a gavel was pointed right in your face. I've never seen his head get that red.

Then the Opposition's turn. All the standard stuff you'd expect to hear. Blame the owner, not the dog. Placing the blame at the wrong end of the leash. Breed Specific legislation is unfair, unjust, etc. Most of the people talked about how they've been bitten by German Shepards. A lot of people talked about how you can't even really define a pitbull. One guy even did an art project with pictures of several different dogs that look like pitbulls and passed that around. It was pretty funny watching the councilors confused faces as they looked at that poster.

It became pretty clear to me at that point, as it did to Lynn-Side Edition author Tom Sheehan, that the council had pretty much already made up their mind. You can always tell when they start figiting. You can see the thought bubbles over their heads pop up... Oh no, the public is overwhelmingly against this idea...but we already agreed beforehand that I get this amendment and he gets that amendment and we all get to approve this ordinance today....... What do we do now?....

So then, it was the council's turn. Part awesome, part comedy hour. Keep in mind it's now about 10:30PM.

The WORST AMENDMENT AWARD of 2010 goes to Crowley by a landslide. His amendment was a copy paste of a firearm type statement and required a CORI check annually. A CORI check. ANNUALLY! To own a DOG!  Needless to say, this was shot down.

The BEST AMENDMENT AWARD of 2010 goes to Dan Cahill.  If this were the Declaration of Independence (and it felt that way at times), he was the Thomas Jefferson of the evening. Come to think of it he even quoted Ben Franklin with "If men were angels, there would be no need for government." He got in an amendment which states that if you get certified training for your dog, the ordinance does not apply to you.  SHEBANG! BOOM! BOOM! POW! Nice work, Dan "The Man" Cahill! 

Cyr, who for some reason refuses to speak in to the microphone (stop being a ...), tried to derail the training amendment by saying it is putting undue burden on owners, but Cahill explained that there is no additional burden, since they don't have to do the training. They will just have to muzzle in that case.  Um, duh?

Then Crowley comes in with the how we gonna know argument "Are we going to have them wear red armbands?"  Really???? Red armbands... that's the imagery you're going to throw out there? At one point, Crowley refers to our loving animal agency as the MSCPA - I think that's some kind of accounting firm for dogs...

In the RUNNER UP AMENDMENT category, Brendan Crighton (who himself is getting really close to a cool nickname on this blog.... All Care VNA site design could seal the deal), put in two biggies. He got the registration fee knocked down from $50 to the normal fees for all other dogs. Totally fair. There is no need to put additional financial obligation on all the good people who pay their fee.  The second amendment got rid of some language which gave the dog officer sole discretion to kill pitbulls if he/she felt like it.  He then got the fine reduced from the unlikely to collect $300 to $50 more inline with mass general laws.

Then Lozzi spoke...Oh my LORD! I don't even really remember what he said. Something about the fact that when a pitbull bites, that's the only dog that can tear the skin..... WHAT???  The audience jumped all over him on that one and Phelan from his mighty podium stuck his gavel high in the air and told us "every one of you have had the opportunity to express your opinion. Councilor Lozzi's opinion will NOT BE SURPRESSED!" It was quite the eloquent edict. It would have worked too, if Lozzi were expressing an opinion and not an outright lie.

Finally, Phelan got the last word, as he does on things like this. He slapped down all the amendments he didn't like and whined about that for a while, then he sited some questionable statistics from a website called Animal People (I'm not joking). Then he gave us a story about a little girl on Christmas in the safety of her own home whose pitbull snapped and attacked her arm.  Since your ordinance has nothing to do with inside your own home, I'm not sure what your story had to do with the debate, but thanks for sharing.

With the amendments, it passed unanimously!  I was neither for nor against this, but I'm really happy that Dan got in The Great Compromise of 2010. 


Other big news from Council is the OECD Block grant and various HUD monies got approved. An 8.5% increase over last year. They are using the extra funds for community policing (one of Mayor Kennedy's campaign promises) and to fund the outdoor movie events that are happening all over Lynn this summer.

Great stuff. As always, don't take my word for it. Watch it for yourself on lynnhappens.com


That's all for now.

-Corey

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