In an ill-tempered meeting, the Common Council and Mayor Kenneth D. Swan were belabored Wednesday about a shooting incident last Saturday on Washington Street, last Friday's fireworks incident on Pine Street, and the availability of the city budget.
About five shots were fired on Washington Street, and although no one was hurt, residents told the officials they're tired of drug dealing, loud music, and a perceived lack of police action.
Lenny Thomas of Washington Street tore into the aldermen and mayor for their fast and intense response to the incident last Friday of fireworks being shot off on Pine Street, compared with a lack of official visits to Washington Street after the next night's gunfire.
Thomas noted that Pine Street is an affluent neighborhood and Washington Street isn't. "It was in my neighborhood and nobody came," Thomas complained.
He and Kevin Christie, another resident, demanded that the city immediately act on a landlord licensing law, which they believe would help rid the area of run-down housing owned by absentee landlords.
Police Chief Neil B. Merritt said two detectives are working on the shooting case, although he declined to reveal details of the investigation. As for loud music, he said, "We are still out there with the decibel meter. We're still writing summonses."
Alderman Gregory M. Wik, R-8th Ward, said he was looking for $20,000 in the city budget to buy a new repeater station and new portable radios to improve police communications.
Merritt said Police Capt. John W. Cross, who runs a fireworks business on the side and triggered the fireworks show, is scheduled to be off work today and Friday. His three-day suspension expired Wednesday. He said he would meet with Police Board President John T. Pitrello today to decide what happens next.
Merritt also said the state Labor Department is investigating Cross' fireworks license.
The Council scheduled a public hearing on the 2000 budget for 7 p.m. Sept. 29, but absorbed abuse for that, too. Several speakers demanded release of budget figures well in advance of the hearing, instead of distributing a packet at the hearing itself.
Former alderman Dennis J. Stachera said, "Is there going to be more than 15 minutes (to examine the budget) so we can see what we have to swallow?"
City Clerk and Budget Director Richard P. Mullaney said anyone can call or visit him and ask questions about the budget.
"People come to the public hearing every year and make that criticism, but they never call," he said.