It is been interesting to observe the conversations this last month as both sides on the LHD debate took a hiatus so the campaigning over the debt exclusions could take center place.
Even as the vote loomed, people were discussing the local historic district and asking questions about it. The attitude displayed was one of genuine inquiry – they want to know what’s going on, and the details of the proposals.
I mean you can go to an average town and sure enough, people are debating the schools – in every community it’s about school administrators, school buildings, school curriculum, school teachers and school votes. People can grasp that concept.
But what on earth is a LHD? One side tries to paint it as equivalent to the Devil and another side are depicting it as the very salvation of the city. It can’t be both – which is why people are still trying to wrap their minds around it.
Will it raise my taxes? Not really.
Will it put more money into my pocket? Not really.
Will it cause hurt to our city? Not really.
Will it cause the earth to open up like a great fissure and swallow us up alive? Not really.
I mean, the conclusions of both sides are based on long-term consequences and political conclusions.
That is why it is important to watch the videos and to read the LHD website. I like the Forum the best because both sides tried to strut their stuff and so you get a perspective on the entire debate between citizens.
One priceless element is the value of friends, neighbors and relatives. Their influence goes beyond facts and statistics. An impassioned anti-historic preservation advocate may have several anti-signs on surrounding neighbors’ yards. Why? The nearby neighbors were heavily influenced by someone they respect. Conversely, I see the same little nucleus’ of neighbors in favor of the LHD around a well-respected supporter.
But the majority of citizens just want to be well-informed on the issue.
That is why we need to get brochures and flyers out. Before the anti-historic preservationists try to influence with intimidation, misinformation and scare tactics (They already have that track record), supporters need to be armed with facts – people are asking – give it to them and let them decide.
The PortPride people did everything they could but even they had to, at the end, stand back and leave it to the citizens to make the final decision and, in this particular LHD issue, in turn persuade their city councilors.