by Cory David
As I spend many sleepless nights trying to calculate a strategy for the residents of this community to fight back against the steamroller that is the PUC project, the obvious comes to mind.
If you have attended the two project workshops you will be aware that we were broken into groups after developer presentations. While this might offer a more fertile environment for discussion it also, in effect, allows us to be “divided and conquered.” We become a handful of quiet voices of the few as opposed to a loud representation of the “collective whole.”
At these meetings, we have yet to be allowed to have a public dialogue with the developer and more importantly with our city representatives who support this out sized project. I mean questions and answers people. If we were to be allowed this publicly interactive forum, I believe we would be enlightened to the nth degree. Just think of it, asking these individuals to explain and justify to us, the residents, how this project is going to benefit our quality of life. They might just find themselves “on the spot.” In a world of “alternative truths,” just opening one’s mouth is enough to show your true colors. With ease, we understand the developer’s position, it’s business. What seems to be a consensus among the residents is that we, as yet, do not fully understand the advocacy or motivation of our city officials who appear to so love this project.
Now, we have to acknowledge the risk in this interaction as it can become heated. I just experienced this in my interaction with Mr. Garbino at the last project meeting. I mitigated the situation by removing myself from the situation after stating my case. Those who know me know this is not my usual response. Still if resident attendees recall the vocal outrage they expressed at the first meeting when the developer rolled out the high rises, they will also remember that they were admonished by the council for their behavior. I find this to be the height of hypocrisy as approximately five years ago as I addressed the council to protest proposed fifteen story buildings I was attacked in a profanity laced tirade by the now sitting mayor. All this while a cowardly, then mayor, Kevin Mullin and two currently seated council members silently looked on. Just check the video archives if they haven’t destroyed them. Your council will cry for civility and yet they, themselves, “don’t walk the walk.”
So, I fear that the next project meeting will be the roll out of an initial project plan. We will be talked at but can we talk back? One city official trying to placate me with praise of public inclusiveness in the project planning phase fails to realize the little details we were allowed to discuss pale in comparison to our real concerns. We were allowed to participate in the trivial. They claim to listen. Did they really? Eight story buildings anyone? We need to demand live public interaction with both the developer and our city representatives at this next meeting, not just a presentation. We promise to be civil but those who will be sitting at the front of the room representing the other side of the argument better do the same. These individuals need a constant reminder that
THIS IS OUR CITY!