I am here at the Big House, totally motivated, ready to blog the living hell out of today's Dallas city council briefing on community gardens. A mob has gathered of approximately 11 community garden partisans. They are seated at the peanut gallery end of the council briefing room, where they are training intent expressions of concern upon the members of the council's Transportation and Environment Committee.
In community garden circles, expressions of intent concern are about as raucous as it gets.
Unrest, after all, is relative. I don't know who else saw it, but there was a story in The Times last week about widespread unrest in Iceland over that nation's fiscal crisis. The story talked about unusual expressions of passion among the "usually phlegmatic Icelanders, who recited poetry and tossed yogurt pots and rocks at government buildings to protest what they deemed the greed, ineptitude and spinelessness of the governing elite."
That's way more wild than anything I expect to see from the community gardeners today. But who knows? One of the recommendations city staff will offer today to resolve the city's community garden crisis is a "special use permit" that would take about a year to acquire and cost each community garden about $1,200. Just as the meeting was starting, I spoke with a community gardener who said a typical "profit" for a community garden that sells food is $200 a year. So it would take six years to pay off a permit.
This proposal of Draconian bureaucratic requirements for people growing tomatoes and beans comes from a City Hall that, only today, lost its own Web site and e-mail capacity because they forgot to pay the registration re-up fee for their domain name.
But they want to make sure the community gardeners are properly organized. Hmm.
The community gardeners tend to be a fairly hip and web-savvy lot. Maybe they could offer to help City hall with its domain name problems, if City Hall would agree to take its boot off the neck of the normally phlegmatic gardeners.
Anyway, I'm jazzed. But wary. The first yogurt pot I see coming out of macrame purse, I'm hittin' the dirt.
Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan has just introduced the city's new director of environmental quality. I can't ask questions from out here, but it sounded to me like the young man's name was Chris Leppert. But surely this cannot be. I will listen attentively and bring you more information on this man's name as soon as possible.