For the record, I should note that generally, except for a few technical, crucial, implacable details set forth in the official record, for the general public there is really no official “going on the record”. The exact content of the official record is something for very well-paid lawyers to argue about with the government’s lawyers. The general public is often allowed a single participatory session to express its opinions on the matters under debate/ They speak “on the record”, but strictly speaking, their contributions to the record do not include any direct input into the debate, except through the votes of their elected officials (all of whom, in this case, appear to weaselishly favor a secretive economic development plan their constituents hate in overwhelming majorities).
I spent a few hours today writing a statement for the record on that matter of urgent public concern, written comments had to be in within a few days of last night’s public meeting. Good day’s work for a Friday. In one way writing a statement for the record was a gesture of futility and, at best, a symbolic protest. In another sense, and the way I thought of it, it was my clear duty as a citizen and neighbor to write on our mutual behalf. I’m always happy to use my writing to try to convince someone to do the right thing. This writing is partly sad, and partly also, writing it is a very helpful meditation exercise — feeling my way toward the connections to make this story more personal, a story to move an emotional individual toward mercy and away from a knee jerk to violence.
Anyway, I sent a copy of my previous post out to several friends and to my sister. I wanted to let them know what I found myself up against, what I learned, how clearly I hopefully was able to describe it, and to eventually get a pat on the head or two from even one or two of them.
To my lawyer colleague and friend of almost half a century I offered the link:
Check this shit out, for a short busman’s holiday. Anonymous frontmen for some Jareds and Donalds have their beady eyes on my neighborhood, and they spent $1,000,000 in public funds laying out a radical rezoning plan. We’re all about to be fucked, so I went on “the record” the day after the sole “Public Hearing” into this matter of public concern the public had no other input into.
To my sister, who had recently compared me to her husband, a man she described as sitting in his easy chair and yelling at the TV, I wrote:
You can either yell at the TV or take action of some kind. The most recent action I’m taking is to put my opposition to the planned sale of my neighborhood “on the record”. I was encouraged that the public hearing last night was packed. I think the facts I set out below speak for themselves, as did many of the community residents who spoke very well last night in opposition to this boondoggle for rapacious wealthy fucks. 150 neighborhood people signed up to speak, I heard about the first 40, then went home to start putting this together as my public comment.
The fucks will probably ram this corrupt rezoning plan through, because that’s what the lawyers who work for the Jareds and the Donalds get paid to do. These types are allowed to ram rezoning plans down the throats of local opposition because their poop emits no foul odor and so forth. The sweetness of their excretions does nothing to relieve the rest of us of our duty as democratic citizens to oppose their foul, if odorless, plans.
>Anyway, read on for the sickening/encouraging details.
To a thirty-two year old neighbor, an ecologist and an idealistic environmentalist, son of two of my oldest and dearest friends, I wrote:
Don’t know if you made it to the meeting last night about the proposed rezoning of Inwood. To my surprise there was a raucous, standing room only crowd in the auditorium of the school across from the 9 cent store on Broadway and Academy. 150 people signed up to speak (I made it through the first 40 or so), so I contented myself with submitting this comment for the record. You have until the end of February to submit a written comment, if you are so inspired.