The Sound and the Furry 

A city councilor who signifies nothing

There's nothing more entertaining than an idiotic politician. Celebrities in and out of rehab is pretty funny. Football players whining about money is ludicrously funny. But for my money, you just can't beat a political hack.

That's why I love to watch City Councilor Jimmy Motznik.

He's one of those guys straight out of old-school-hack central casting. Actually, he came straight out of the sewer, where he used to toil while employed by the city's Public Works department. You can take the hack out of the sewer, but you can't take the stench of bad ideas out of the Motznik. Or something like that.

Motznik's résumé of clownish behavior is impressive. I'd forgotten about one particularly idiotic episode until Councilor Bill Peduto reminded me of it during a recent radio interview. Peduto was reminiscing about when Motznik wanted to bring back the rodeo in Pittsburgh. Animal-abuse advocates aren't big on rodeos. More importantly, Pittsburgh wants to shed any shit-kicker backwater image it may have.

But the sheer absurdity of bringing up the rodeo at city council, as if it freaking matters, is what is so laughable. The finances are going to hell, bullets are flying and killing people in many neighborhoods -- but our first order of business is bringing back the rodeo. It was a bad idea that went nowhere. And now the Clowncilor has another one: cats.

Yes, cats. That's what's ruining our city. Now, if we just had licenses for cats, that would solve everything. We could charge 12 bucks for a license if they're not fixed, seven bucks if they are. That's per cat, per year. Then we'd get something going in this tahn.

Don't we have anything more important to worry about?

Mr. Peduto-head doesn't think, as I did, that Jimmy-boy is looking for a cheap revenue-raiser. In fact, I think he's just too baffled to come up with an educated guess as to the motive.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must fully disclose that my apartment is full of cats. Three of them. I picked one up off the street a long time ago, and the damn thing was pregnant. So I gave away most of the litter, kept the mom and two babies, and years later (they just won't die) I still have three damn cats. Now they are all fixed. But I still don't want to pay $21 a year because Jimmy-boy had some bright idea one day. They're indoor cats. They aren't going anywhere. They don't need a license.

As many have pointed out, you pretty much can't put a collar on a cat. Jimmy-boy suggests licenses could be put on some kind of on-cat ID implant, so that if the cat got lost, you could find it. But there is already computer-chip technology to solve that problem, and if I want to imbed my cat with a chip, I will. I just don't need the Clowncilor's assistance.

Now I don't mean to beat a dead horse, as in reminding us of George W.'s unnecessary invasion which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of American soldiers, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Because people tend to say, "That's old news. Quit your whining." But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Clowncilor's previous transgressions.

There was the time he used a city car and then was reimbursed for mileage as if he'd been driving a personal car. When Channel 4 news caught him doing that, instead of 'fessing up or spinning some creative lie, he went running down the streets Dahntahn like a madman, all "caught on tape" (as the kids say) by the news crew.

There was the time he put on his old sewer boots, and put his feet on the table at the council meeting, to dramatize his feelings about the city budget. And then there was the time, earlier this year, when he decided to launch a blog ridiculing a local political blogger (me) on behalf of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Only the mayor apparently didn't authorize Motznik's blog, and asked the Clowncilor to take it down after one day's publication. Because it was embarassing. Like the Clowncilor himself.

Can't wait to see what he does next.


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