For a quick primer on how they keep the right to a public hearing as quiet as possible, check out this required legal notice of a New York City Community Board Meeting to approve a rezoning application, which I found xeroxed on the counter at my local library, to wit:
Any member of the public has access to these public records and so can easily look up those applications by number and find out that this meeting is to give approval to a real estate developer who seeks a zoning variance to build a sky scraper of luxury housing in the airspace above the local public library, in the combined footprint of the library and the adjacent property, already purchased from its owner.
The text of the notice above complies with the letter of the law, to the letter, but to be a legally sufficient notice it should be required to read something closer to this, in the interests of basic fairness:
We often wonder how these motherfuckers do it. This is a key part of how they do it. We have the right to be heard, but only if we are very diligent, and even then, such notice gives no opportunity to prepare for the only public hearing that will ever be conducted for this decision.
This dog and pony “Public Hearing” is the only legal hurdle the wealthy developer will have in constructing luxury condos towering above the long-time working class neighborhood. Those kids don’t read that much anyway, closing the public library for a year or two doesn’t matter in the long run… as a symbol of a dynamic New York City, this building boom looks good.
Here, in more legible bureaucratese, is the original text of that legally sufficient notice of a public hearing:
Legally sufficient notice to neighborhood citizens, in the interest of limiting attendance to necessary parties for appearance’s sake. Nothing to see here!