Peoria, IL -
Last night city officials passed the "Ramsay Ordinance" mandating the screening of citizens as the city prepares for the quadrennial onslaught of media seeking answers to the critical age-old political question, "how's it playing in Peoria?"
Bill Van Ostrand ( Dem - alderman 3rd district) summed it up. "In 2000, the media did a (expletive deleted)-poor job representing our town. In this day and age when we're competing for new high payin' jobs with places like Chicago and East Peoria, we can't be commin' across like goobers!"
Every year the media focus national attention for about a week here in Peoria to see how the presidential race is perceived in the midwestern city. The media go around town looking to find Peorians to interview in places like restaurants, the VFW and Wal-Mart. Last year Peorians watched in horror as Chris Matthews brought his "hardball" tactics to unsuspecting diners at the Flap-n-Jack. His infamous interview of Charlie Ramsay caused a huge uproar.
"Everybody in town knows about Charlie's condition'" said local resident attending the meeting, Phyllis Diller who noted she's not THE Phyllis Diller, she's married to Randy Diller of Diller's Pump & Well. "He can't help it. When he gets nervous, he just starts cursin'."
Mr. Ramsay has Terret's Syndrome. While he takes his medication religiously, he does lose it whenever he gets flustered. When Chris Matthews pushed Ramsay for details on Al Gore's healthcare policy on live TV, Charlie had an episode. NBC was subsequently fined $55,000 for Charlie's vulgar verbal assault on Matthews' mom.
"Add this to the fact that Charlie didn't have his partial in that day and he just looked like a toothless lunatic. Peoria's reputation as the Pearl of Central Illinois' is forever tainted" Diller concluded. "I think the Ramsay Ordinance is a good idea. If it protects us from liberals like Chris Matthews destroying the reputation of our community, I'm all for it."
At press time Charlie Ramsay was unavailable for comment.
The council passed an ordinance in which the media would only be allowed to interview pre-screened citizens with official bright yellow "Peoria Pundit" tags.
A special committee to the mayor's office presented screening criteria last night. Committee chair Janice Winslott outlined the process for the council, "first, everybody's gotta pass a drug test. Then we ask them who they're votin' for and why. If they can't answer that in ten seconds or less, they're off the list - and no foul language either."
Official Peoria Pundits are also given a list of important do's and don'ts like not talking with your mouth full, making sure your kids don't act up, and not wearing John Deere hats.