03/24/2011: "Power naps"
I met a few friends at the American Legion the other night. The local news was on in the background. Someone over by the TV yelled out, “Hey, isn’t that Howie?” The bartender turned up the volume and the small crowd huddled around the set. Sure enough, up on the screen was Rip Van Rosenfeld, catching forty winks in another Council meeting.
Our own Friday Harbor representative was on King 5 News. In the interview he denied that his snoozing was a result of a medical condition. No. His power naps are a result of his age (70), the warm room, the comfortable chair, and the boring Power Point presentations he is forced to sit through. (Presentations by the Auditor showing all that red ink in the County Budget?)
Then came the most stunning excuse for this snooze fest imaginable. He said, “It depends on your definition of sleeping.” (How Clintonesque’, I thought). Is it nodding off for a second and then popping back up, or is it a deep rapid eye movement type of sleep? Let me put it this way, any deeper and he would need a teddy bear and a blanket.
The definition of sleeping is “The state of not being awake, or alert. Unconscious.”
Perhaps he finds that the people’s business is trivial or irrelevant, and not worth paying attention to. In any case, Rip Van Rosenfeld is not losing any sleep over this.
How did the Council meetings turn into a slumber party? By their inaction the other Councilors enable his behavior. Someone should slap the table and ask him to wake up and pay attention. Perhaps the reason no one does this is because they aren’t paying attention either.
After the news clip ended the crowd at the American Legion broke out in cheers and applause. Some were surprised that our little County got this kind of attention. Upon reflection, I guess that this behavior is embarrassing to all of us. It must be the exception to see elected leaders who pay so little attention to business. I have heard about many meetings across the State that go long into the night while dedicated leaders listen carefully to what the people have to say. Sadly, this does not happen in San Juan County anymore. Frankly, I don’t think our Council listens to anyone.
To his credit, Howie says, he’s “open to suggestions about what to do about it.”
So here’s a pajama-gram for the Council. Turn down the heat and save some taxpayer’s money. Sell off the cushy Lazy Boy chairs and bring over some of the old hard oak chairs from the Court House. If you find that the job is still too boring to keep your eyes open, resign and let someone who has an interest in the people of San Juan County do the job.