I was so glad that last night’s proceedings at the joint meeting of the Planning Board and the city council Planning & Development Committee was being filmed. Everyone will be able to see locally on cable the presentation by Tropic Star and the input from the public.
But what really impressed me was the confident and strong laying-out-of-the-facts by the Planning Director. It was very clear and very forceful.
If there is any position that is more subject to political influence, it’s the Planning Director. It really does take a strong constitution to do one’s job when so many are trying to sway you with hearsay, misinformation, personal prejudices and their own political agendas.
So many think that rational, common sense arguments will win the day in the political arena but it rarely does. In politics, belief and public opinion have equal value to the facts. In fact, more often than not; to the detriment of many communities; the sentiment wins out regardless if it’s true or not. The key in politics is to be the one who exploits the public opinion to your own advantage. (This is not cynicism. This is political science – always ask – who benefits in the end?)
In a swirl of conflicting sentiment; many politicians give in to the biggest block of opinion and are swayed by who gets their attention at any given moment. It takes strong character and resolve to grab hold onto the facts and make a judgment call based on principles.
This Storey Avenue situation has brought out such a whirlwind. Many of our elected leaders have been unexpectedly bombarded from all different directions and have been tempted to abandon the rational arguments to ‘appease’. (The object of course is to please everybody but in the end – nobody is happy.)
I saw Mr. Port, our Planning Director last night saying (without saying it of course), “Enough, here are the facts and here are the principles by which the City should base its position.” You’ll see when you watch the video.
I thank Mr. Port, for being strong on this position – and Mayor Holaday for allowing him to take that stance.