My firm does some work with Erie County. As a meeting I was attending was wrapping up, the Erie County Legislature was heading into session, so I thought I'd stick around to see how things work at their Leg meetings.
While watching, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with an individual who regularly attends EC Leg meetings. Here are some interesting pieces of information I learned about the EC Leg and their members: 1) Meetings are held at 2P.M. Amazingly, there is no one whining about that and how difficult it is for the public to make the meetings at such an inconvenient time - for the public, not the Legislature. 2) All committee meetings are during the day. 3) EC Legislators make $42,500. 4) Every single Legislator has a District Office, which is staffed. 5) There are no public speakers. 6) There are no LCTV cameras, or any other local cable access outlet, televising the meetings.
Stunningly, there is no uproar in Erie County about the County Legislature's suppression of free speech. There are no cries of censorship. Amazingly, EC county government continues to operate without the nuggets of wisdom that the Niagara County Leg has the privilege of being party to twice a month via the public comment session.
Okay, so the last paragraph had a slight tinge of sarcasm in it. But in reality, there are some things that EC does better, and some things Niagara County does better. What was most interesting was what a professional and respectful manner in which the meetings are conducted. No bickering, no one-upsmanship and no accusations. Sure, there were plenty of proclamations, nearly 40 I believe, but the EC Leg conducts its business without, for a lack of a better word, the bullshit that so often accompanies the NC Leg.
I recall Greg Lewis stating something to the effect that every time he walks out for a Leg meeting he feels like he's walking into a war zone. It's truly unfortunate that he feels that way. That being said, it's understandable why he does.