We had an unusual set of committee meetings tonight. My notes are posted below:
The longest part of the night was spent discussing the proposal to allow crematories where funeral homes are permitted. A great deal of concerned residents and supporters of Bruce Redmon spoke.
I have a four thoughts on this issue:
1) My position is clear: Based upon the scientific evidence (in fact, the expert put forth by the Redmons), I will not support the release of fine particulate matter of human remains in a residential setting. I’ll be happy to support Mr. Redmon leasing property in an industrial area — just not so close to families.
2) A former candidate for city council spoke and tried to politicize the matter. She (Annie Hanson) implied that my vote would be motivated by politics. Of course, it’s not. Her attitude is the same kind of nonsense is so pervasive in Washington D.C. right now. I suspect she will run again for office at some point. But I don’t see how anyone could support her with that kind of politics-first attitude.
3) I cringed when I heard each variation of this statement tonight: “Council should support Mr. Redmon because he has been a good friend to the community.” I agree that Bruce is a generous and caring person, but no one gets extra consideration because of what clubs he belongs to, or what cause he has donated to, or who his friends are. That’s the Good Ole Boy Network mentality that I have strived to defeat (and we have it on the ropes!). We, as leaders, vote for what’s right, not for who supports the most fundraisers. Period. These residents have invested their lives in their real estate, and I won’t stand for arguments that a business owner should get preference based on how involved he is in the community. (I don’t blame Bruce for these arguments, because he has never implied it, and nor would he.)
4) To be candid with you, I don’t know whether this legislation will pass. It will probably be a 4-3 vote, one way or the other.
– You may have heard the rumor: Panera Bread is moving into the former lot of Bob’s Big Boy, near the Route 8/Graham Road ramp. Adjacent to the building will be retail space. One councilmember asked the property owner about what would be located in the retail space. In a moment of much-needed levity, the property owner said, “It will not be a crematory.” … In seriousness, he has not found a tenant for the retail space, but it probably won’t be another restaurant.
– And then, the meeting started to get weird …