Thursday, May 7, 2009

Better than Amy Poehler's new show "Parks and Recreation"

We went to our first public forum this week regarding the town’s proposal to buy a farm from a family in our town and preserve it as green/open space. The land is currently being farmed for hay. The price of the land is $3.5M. At the forum there were two for and two opposed to this transaction. There is a vote on Tuesday to determine if the town should go through with it. Some issues are the price seems inflated, some were concerned about the Non-Profit entity assisting with this transaction (Trust for Public Land) skeptical the price they negotiated with the sellers wasn’t in the best interest of the town/taxpayers. Some were concerned about additional taxes should this land NOT be purchased and houses built, the population would increase, those residing in said houses would probably have babies that would need to be schooled in our town etc. The topic is a fascinating one, unfortunately there was no independent party there to answer questions truthfully that the taxpayers can trust as accurate to the best of their knowledge. Also, the moderator of this forum was weak and worthless which allowed for some shameful behavior.

I won't deny, at a few points in this 2 hour forum I giggled. Some of this was quite funny. One of the speakers was just awful and kept rambling on and on, fading in and out of the microphone causing attendees to shout "we can't hear you" and the Trust for Public Land speaker couldn't get her slide show/visual to stop from automatically advancing so for the first half of her much-longer-than-8-to-10-minute speech, we were distracted by the slides being wrong. The funniest part was, because they were advancing automatically and the person manning the computer would bounce back to the previous/correct slide, they couldn't advance the slide on command. The speaker didn't realize the issues with the computer, she was facing us, but she would look to the computer person and make the hand signal to flip the slide and it wouldn't flip. It was funny.

However, what was most shocking/fascinating was the forum was the shameful behavior of those in attendance. The forum speakers had their obligatory barbs at the others side, but the attendees- my goodness. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. At the end there was time for questions. The weak moderator requested this was a time for questions and not propaganda however the first questioner spouted off on a tangent, bringing up points that were interesting and not mentioned in the preliminary speeches, but his propaganda of approximately 5 minutes prompted the attendees to start shouting ‘QUESTION- WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?’ The old man asked his question but seemed pleased he got to spout off his opinion. Some others got up and asked several interesting questions. One person asked a few questions, all relevant and related to which a woman in her mid-60s (I’m guessing) dressed in a suit and quite professional started calling for the moderator to limit the questions to 1 at a time. She shouted two times from the line that he was taking up too much time. Clearly the questions he was asking were not of her point of view. And THEN, to add icing to the cake, when SHE got up to ask her question, she spouted off in propaganda. Oh my gosh! If school children acted that way, they would be pulled from class and sent to the principals office. And OF COURSE they act this way, look how the adults who help mold their lives act!

I was horrified at the way this quiet small town residents treated each other. It was awful and they ought to be ashamed of themselves. As an attendee who wanted to get some more details about what this vote was for and the details surrounding it, I feel very confused on the details. Unfortunately the forum didn’t begin with an overall ‘ok, here’s what the situation is, people will share both sides and I will answer the logistical details.’ Nope, none of that. Just the two opposing sides and then people shouting and disrespecting each other and the rules as the moderator stood by watching it all unfold. It was a horrible show of humanity and I walked away from that being horrified I live with these people. If I could say one thing to them it would be, “Ladies and Gentlemen, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves acting this way. Get a hold of yourselves and conduct yourselves in a way you hope the children of our town would act.”
Sidenote: Man, my protein nuggets are awesome!

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