Kittens, I’m not gonna lie. You may need to come over and walk me off the ledge. I learned something very valuable tonight – government sucks at every level. For some reason, I thought it was just our national politicians that were corrupt – boy HOWDY, was I wrong.
The night started with such hope. There we were, dressed all in yellow and wearing our backyard chickens buttons, ready to make a difference. I’d never been to a Cobb County Board of Commissioners meeting before so I don’t know how many people usually go, but the room was PACKED. The Board read a bunch of boring amendments, blah, blah, blah, something about immigration, and then finally the important stuff – backyard chickens! Then they opened the floor for the “HEARING”. It’s a confusing name for this process where people get up and talk and the Cobb Board of Commissioners sit there and try to stay awake. I’m talking to YOU – Bob Ott.
Truthfully, I expected the poultry people to be wearing overalls and talking about how many eggs they needed for a fluffy omelet, but they were GREAT. A veterinarian gave facts about the diseases that dogs carry (26) or cats (34) vs. chickens (6). A grad student talked property values. Person after person got up and spoke about freedom, and caring for the earth, and the nuisance law. I was prepared to speak but after seeing how impressive everyone was, I chickened out. See what I did there?
But then I said, what the heck, and spoke anyway. I took Moon up to the podium with me, announced my name, and gave them my two cents. Which is how I know that there was really only one commissioner listening – Lisa Cupid. You can tell when someone is paying attention and they were not. Still, I killed. I got a big laugh when I said that while chickens may be unusual pets, they aren’t dangerous.
I read the news every day and I’ve yet to read about a child being mauled to death by a chicken!
I should have stopped there. But no, I went on to say that people usually present two arguments against chickens. The first, what if their neighbors has too many chickens, and secondly….
Yeah, I couldn’t remember the second. It was Rick Perry all over again. After staring wide-eyed at the Board for what seemed like forever, I finally remembered and mumbled something about fancy subdivisions and houses being too close together, then showed them Moon, told them she needed real food and ran back to my seat.
I didn’t matter. I could have perched on a chair and pooped an egg in front of them and they would have remained firm in their votes. It was SO obvious that they could not have cared less about what we had to say. Their minds were made up.
To have backyard chickens- even ONE – you need 2 acres. If you don’t have 2 acres, you can pay $150.00 to apply for a variance, then have all of your neighbors sign something saying they don’t object, put out SIGNS so that everyone and their uncle can have a say about what you do on your own property, then MAYBE you can get approval and have chickens. For two years. Then you can do it again. The fact that this is a victory shows you how little we expect.
PATHETIC. What really got me was when Chairman Tim Lee said that the Board represented 700,000 people in the county and that a large number of people in the community, especially the real estate community, did not want the law changed. It was all I could do not to yell out, “ISN’T THIS A HEARING? WHERE ARE THEY?” There must have been 25 people that spoke in favor of chickens. Guess how many people spoke against? ONE.
One goofy lady. She cornered me and Moon in the Ladies Room and told me how her neighbor had chickens and she couldn’t even take her dogs outside because of chicken hawks. I told her that I couldn’t take my cats outside because of dogs, so maybe she could help outlaw those too. Then I gave her a swirly.
When the Cobb County Board of Commissioners prepared to take a vote, only Commissioner Lisa Cupid stopped to ask questions. Questions like, “Is there a way to waive the $150.00 fee since it seems a lot of people want chickens because of financial hardships?” and “Have we given this enough thought, and talked to other cities to get their input and to look for alternatives?”
The Board replied, “Oh, yeah, sure. Whatever. Just vote already.” I might have paraphrased that last part. Anyway, they voted to approve the amendment.
The bottom line is I’m not getting chickens. It was a total waste of time.
And unless I find that Party City receipt, a total waste of money.