It was like a rock concert at City Hall Tuesday night as three members left office and four were sworn in.
People were packed five deep outside trying to get a glimpse and hear some words. Scalpers could have made a fortune selling tickets. If the fire marshall were there, he would have closed the place down for overcrowding. But he may have been the only public offical who wasn't.
Mayor Hilary Bryant changed seats with Don Lane, who will serve a second consecutive term on the council. Lynne Robinson became Vice Mayor and Ryan Coonerty, Katherine Beiers and Tony Madrigal were replaced by newcomers Pamela Comstock and Micah Posner and returning councilwoman Cynthia Mathews. David Terrazas, elected in 2010, comes up for reelection in 2014.
If people were more interested in hearing speeches than in the ice cream and cupcakes waiting across the street at the Civic Auditorium, they got their money's worth. But as with some sporting events, the best seats were at home watching TV because if you didn't get in by 6:30 p.m. – a half hour before the meeting's start – you didn't get a seat and couldn't hear much.
There was a room of police officers behind the council chambers in case of a publicized protest by people who had occupied the courthouse lawn and a bank building last year, but not many turned out and those who did peacefully ate soup made by India Joze restaurant.
Bryant, who was showered by gifts from other councilmembers, including a photo of an elephant's head from her house and a trophy for all of her activities such as surfing and running, pledged to focus on economic development and making sure the city had a solid base.
She also named public safety and youth activities as her priorities.
Outgoing councilman Ryan Coonerty noted the large crowd and suggested that it was a reflection of the community that so many would turn out to see the council change hands.
Don Lane mentioned the city's three murder victims, including Shannon Collins who was stabbed to death on Broadway around noon and 13-year-old Joey Mendoza, who was shot in a drive-by in the same neighborhood.
As Lane and the other newly-sworn councilmembers took their seats, Tony Madrigal and Katherine Beiers stood in the crowd outside, unable to get seats.