Thursday, March 18, 2010

Old Town's impassive response to PDC relocation

Another blog – Old Town – set out some of the details of the Old Town meeting intended as a sort of “top ten reasons” why the Portland Development Commission (PDC) should not move out of Old Town.

But, frankly, what I saw was a lack of passion – but that has always been absent in Old Town and it seems to be consistent with the silly waving of hands at city council meetings as a sign of approval leaving little means of expressing disapproval. Isn't it a form of censorship – a disrespect for freedom of speech?

What transpires at most meetings is an arrangement of bobbleheads around the table while the chair of the meeting 'leads' the participants (if bobbing your head is participating) down the primrose path. This one was little different.

PDC – while there seems to be a good argument that they will not leave – has sh*t on Old Town so much that Old Town seems to enjoy it. One wonders what it takes to get people involved? Having an opinion is a negative.

This lack of passion had one Old Town exception – meetings on the Resource Access Center location. People on both sides were emotionally involved – passion was rife – things were said that later beget apologies. That is when one recognizes an important issue.

Any issue that affects the neighborhood development and economic infrastructure demands passionate responses – but a potential PDC move did not bring out the passion.

Not that there wasn't some well stated opposition. Those that did speak – too few – raised valid issues and noted specific ramifications should PDC move. But passion was absent.

But, it should be noted that the chair of the meeting Alexander Mace was appropriately (he was the chair) near passionate in his arguments. Maybe too exhibiting a feeling of exasperation.

Certainly, Mr. Kalberer comments came close to passionate argument. And had the mayor, who disappeared soon after arriving, stayed around he and the PDC chair may have reached a near heated discourse on PDC decision making.

But, there is way too much emphasis put on consensus such that argument is lost. Meeting environments often have an air of resignation. Rather than speaking up, meeting participants never utter a word. A look at meeting minutes will not indicate either positive or negative comments on any issue. This meeting was not different.

The Old Town blog expresses a hope that Mr. Kalberer will prevail in his aggressive pursuit of PDC as a continuing tenant. The argument seems to be that the ball is in Mr. Kalberer's court – but without fan support he may not succeed.

I don't see that support will materialize. C'est la vie.

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