The secret to a good council meeting?

I love this story from a New Hampshire council meeting. (The article disappears behind a paywall eventually, so here’s a PDF version.) Essentially protesters against the town rules against street drinking decided to protest by turning a council meeting into a drinking game – having a drink whenever certain phrases were uttered.

About six members of the libertarian Free Keene movement drank in unison from brown glass bottles, soda cans, paper coffee cups and metal flasks every time City Council members or officials said certain words or made certain actions.

Aside from the huge debate underneath the article, the suggestion by the police that they can’t tell if something is alcohol (a sniff, maybe even a swig, perhaps) or the fact that the argument is that blanket bans are often ineffective, what got me was that the council meeting was attended by 50 people!

Even if you discount the people playing the drinking game (6) and the people mounting a counter-protest (3) that still leaves 41 people attending to watch their town’s democracy in action. Given they have a population of around 23,000 if Wandsworth had a proportionate turnout we’d need a public gallery of something like 500.

While alcohol might make our meetings almost bearable, I don’t think it’s the answer, but I’d love to know what they are doing to get so many people along to see how their town is run. What would make you go to a council meeting?