I had not planned to attend the hearing as I was busy packing up gear to leave for the Kerrville Folk Festival the next day. However, I had the TV tuned to Channel 6 and was getting more and more incensed as I listened to the developers’ arguments. The breaking point came when someone from the Freeport McMoran crowd talked about how much nature itself pollutes. (Was it foxes shitting in the creek? Frogs peeing in it? I don't remember.) I got on my bike, went down to City Hall and signed up. (The policy of letting people sign up for an item that was already under discussion was changed soon after this hearing.) People kept leaving the crowded chamber to make room for others, then coming back in while another group left - all to stay within the Fire Marshall’s occupancy limits. Various people assembled at Liberty Lunch to strategize, while others stayed out in the street to waive signs at passing cars. My time to speak came sometime in the early morning hours. I know I compared their testimony to Reagan’s infamous “Trees pollute more than automobiles” quote, but have no idea what else I said.
I do remember vividly how the cheers that greeted Sally Shipman's motion turned to boos and hisses once everyone realized what her convoluted wording actually meant: give the developers what they had asked for. The anger in the chamber was such that in the end Council did not dare pass it. I was a tired puppy when I got to Kerrville the next day. Instead of going out to the campfires that night, I curled up early in the van and went to sleep, surrounded by music and happy that we had prevailed.
That’s me in one of Alan Pogue’s photos from that night, sitting on the floor.