As we've covered fairly extensively, the city of Fountain ran into some problems of its own creation, when a discussion of medical marijuana ensued sans public input at its last council meeting, prompting Mayor Jeri Howells to walk out of the meeting in protest. Later, Councilwoman Lois Landgraf said she would not presume to question why the mayor would leave a Council meeting, telling the Indy, "I'll leave that to you to figure out."
Now, a newly released transcript of the Council meeting reveals a divisive split in Council; (one that will come to a head tomorrow when an ordinance regarding a possible extension to the city's moratorium on medical marijuana centers will be discussed publicly, this time).
First up, Councilwoman Landgraf, early in the meeting: "I'd like to make a motion that we have a special meeting as soon as legally possible."
Councilman Louis Porsia: "I think we still need to give the public more than 24-hours. I don't think it's fair to them, since they've been coming back and forth — both sides — to do a 24-hour advance meeting. I think it's not right to our public."
"I just think it's sneaky to try to wait for the audience to leave and bring it back up. There's nobody here to defend it — I think it's sneaky."
Landgraf: "We could bring this back on June 1 to have a special meeting. That would give a week to notify the public."
Mayor Howells, still present: "I don't think June 1 — the day following a holiday — is the time you bring it back for a hearing, but I'm sure we'll be out-voted, so whatever you guys go with."
After the mayor later left in protest, Councilman Sam Heckman lamented the meeting's turn of events.
"I never in my life would have expected the mayor to walk out on an issue 'cause she's upset. I mean, come on, really, I'm embarrased."
"You know, come on guys. This Council, I thought, was fantastic, when I got on. We were so in agreement; we had the right direction going, and this medical marijuana deal is blowing us up, OK? It's totally disintegrated us in our opinions, and the way we talk to each other."
Heckman then states his support for a continued moratorium, and popular vote:
"OK now, Gabe — [Mayor Pro Tem Gabriel Ortega] — I'm in agreement with you — let's bring it back for the moratorium to extend it. Let's bring that to the public. I'm agreeing with that because you understand what's happening."
Lastly, Councilwoman Sharon Brown says what we were thinking all along:
"Yeah, I think we're all tired and confused."