There was so much more I could have been doing last Tuesday night. Watching that new series of Netlfix. Cracking on with the model tank I'm building. Soaking in a fragrant bath. Instead, I chose to endure the webcast of Shoalhaven City Council's ordinary meeting.
As painful as it was, it made for compelling viewing. Like watching a train wreck, you couldn't turn away.
Here, on this cold winter's night, for all the world to see was dysfunction at its worst, as councillors sniped and interjected, called seemingly endless points of order and carried on like a third rate debating club. Apparently, though, that's par for the course.,
What made this particular train wreck even worse was the time devoted to debating a useless motion that had nothing to do with council business and a lot to do with garbage grandstanding.
The motion, when flagged by Greg Watson last week, was breathtaking in its irrelevance. He initially wanted council to apologise to the police for the disrespect allegedly shown through the Black Lives Matter protests. He wanted councillors who attended protests during the COVID-19 crisis to apologise.
Trouble was, there had been no protests in Shoalhaven and no councillors had attended gatherings elsewhere. The dog whistle had failed, which should have been the end of the matter. But, no, the veteran councillor went full Trump, amending the motion to include a denunciation of Greens Upper House member David Shoebridge's call to defund the police.
There was a lot of noise on a bandwagon which had nothing to do with rates, roads and rubbish.
At one point, a despairing Jo Gash, who has many family members in the force, implored councillors to get back on track and deal with council issues. And she was spot on. There are so many local issues to deal with, wasting time borders on negligence.
Councillors should check their egos at the door, show respect and focus. Ratepayers and residents expect robust debate about local issues over which council has control. Get on with fixing Nowra's traffic problems. Fix the infrastructure. Balance the books.
The hours devoted to watching this schemozzle was time well spent. I'd urge everyone to do the same next month. If you don't like what you see, then let your councillors know. The more people watching the more likely we'll see better behaviour.