So, Tuesday night I arrived at the City Hall prepared with my notebook and notes. The chicken ordinance has been my baby for the last year. I have had so much support from Councilor Haller, Mayor O'Brien, REC, and others preparing it. It just means a lot to me.
Dragging my kids and GF up the elevator to the 3rd floor, wondering where we were supposed to be. Luckily the sound of a lot of people talking drew us to the room. We had a small gallery that four rows of chairs were crammed into. We sat down amidst about a dozen other people who were chatting. Liz Sheehan-Castro from Hunger Free & Healthy arrived with bright yellow signs saying "Worcester Wants Chickens!". Another sign by a young girl said "Give Peeps a Chance".
By the time roll call started, there were over 20 people gathered. We had to wade through some other legislative issues before arriving at the order to ask the City Manager to refer to Committee a proposed ordinance for keeping chicken hens in Worcester. Copies of the proposed ordinance were available for the Council, but I didn't have my most recent copy. I have a lot of cities to thank for their ordinances and being able to craft the one proposed: Rochester NY, Buffalo NY, Providence RI, Salem OR.
There was some definite pushback from some of the Council members, but then they let the public speak. I was second, and I am really glad I had those notes because I ended up talking a mile a minute, but was told it was still intelligent and understandable! :) I even ended up quoted in some local news at Worcester Wired and the Worcester Magazine Daily Worcesteria.
Plus, it was approved to go to committee. Public Health and Human Services which seems right. I really hope that public input will be weighed, and know it is still an uphill battle. It is a start, though.