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January 11, 2013

Heard Around Town: A city council straight from Bizarro World

SALEM — Whether this city knows it or not, we have spent the past week in Bizarro World, a fictional planet straight from the universe of DC Comics.

A lot of strange things have gone on.

Let’s start with the 300 ballots cast last Thursday night by the City Council in a futile effort to elect an 11th member to replace Joan Lovely. For every ballot, the city clerk had to read each councilor’s name, record the same 5-5 tie vote on the ballot and hand it to the council president. That happened 300 times.

Poor Joseph O’Keefe. He presided over the entire mess as the acting council president. Not only did he have to stay up until 3 a.m., which was way past his bedtime, but he stood for all 71/2 hours. The guy is 79 years old. Give him a break.

O’Keefe should be filing a workers’ compensation claim against his fellow councilors. By the way, if you see Joe, wish him a happy birthday. He turns 80 on Sunday.

And poor anybody who tried to watch the entire train wreck on cable television. It was great theater until 1:30 a.m. when the station mysteriously terminated its coverage with an hour still to go of Bizarro World. Anyone crazy enough to stay up that late missed ballots 218 through 300, or whatever.

Apparently, the show was programmed for only six hours because nobody thought an elected body in its right mind would take seven hours to vote.

So if you wondered why someone on your block was screaming at 1:30 a.m. last Friday morning, it was an SATV viewer staring at a blank screen.

For anyone old enough to remember, this brought reminders of the infamous “Heidi Bowl” in 1968, when NBC broke away from the wild finish of a great football game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets to show a made-for-TV movie about a hapless orphan.

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