Thursday, September 4, 2008

Speaking to The City Council

As part of my fight for my chickens, on Tuesday night I spoke in front of our city council. I had already spoken to several of the councilors but I needed to speak to the whole council (including the mayor) to publicly introduce my idea to change the code regarding chickens.

Let me just say that I love to speak in front of people. Really. I do not have that "fear of public speaking" phobia that something like 90% of the population has. I was a theater major for awhile in college. I teach a class to 60 adults every Sunday.

I really like speaking in public.

And I was scared! Really scared!!

This was a very formal setting: microphones, audience, TV cameras, flashing timer lights, all six councilors and the mayor looking at me. I was shaking and couldn't sit still in my chair. I read my statement (I much prefer to speak without notes but people had encouraged me to read it because they are very strict about time limits - I had 3 minutes), I got lost a couple of times but managed to recover quickly.

My points were simple: chickens are ecologically sound, they (and their eggs) are good for our health, having chickens and their cheap eggs is financially beneficial, and other cities in our area allow them so we would simply be bringing our city in line with everyone else.

Turns out I am the talk of Town Hall. Even before I spoke, I was approached by several people (some who I recognized, some not) who joked about how I should have brought a chicken for "show and tell." The lady at the recording secretary's desk who knew I was the "chicken lady." I guess this is good, because the more people who hear about it, the more likely it will happen. On that note, I was interviewed by a very nice reporter from The Oregonian today. She is doing a very thorough job - she's even going to interview my neighbor who called on my chickens because he was mad about my cat! He isn't aware I'm trying to change the code, that should be an interesting interview!!

While I was very nervous as I spoke and the whole experience was stressful, I'd do it again if it would bring my chickens home.



MommaofMany said...

Good for you!! I am hoping and have prayed that you are victorious! We are in America after all!

Nancy M. said...

I had been wondering all weekend how this went for you. My computer has been down. I'm so glad you did it, even though you were a little nervous. The more people who feel for your cause, the better chance you'll get your chickens back. Do you know when they will decide?

Anonymous said...

Jill, we just read about your situation in the Oregonian. We have three chickens and are only too close to one of the four houses that surround us, so we are really anxious to see how this all turns out. Good for you, though, keep fighting!!! Will continue to check your blogspot for updates, and will also contact Gresham to let them know we are supporters.
Regards from us and our chickens: Madelyn, Jane & Emily

kyml said...

Hats off to you. I was cited early 2007 for having 3 chickens and you would have thought it was the highest priority in the city. I received 3 mailed copies of the citation notice, one of which came certified mail! Sure glad the city had all that extra money to spend on mailings. The code inspector drove to my complaining neighbors numerous times but was apparently to busy to knock on my door and have a 2 minute chat with me about the ordinance before sending an official violation notice. I appealed the first notice due to the inspector saying no chickens were allowed in the city limits period which was not true. The inspector was livid about my appeal and said if I fought the appeal she would immediately re-cite me. Guess who was at my door the next morning re-issuing a violation. The inspector forgot one thing though, I had already gotten rid of the chickens and her notice said I still had them which was not truthfull so here came the second appeal letter outline the inspectors untruthfullness. Surprising, the inspector suddenly retired after that and never heard from her again. I did get a final visit form another inspector and the director of that department to really make sure those criminal chickens were gone! Sure glad they have those priorities down at City Hall!

thecitychicken said...

When I was a teen I videotaped the Gresham city council meetings. So I know the formal setting you're talking about!