Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

22 October, 2010

The Crocodile Tears of Tom Christensen

Tom Christensen, a resident of the Marquette Neighborhood and business owner (I think he owns the kitchen supply store on Willy Street and is also a realtor with an office on Willy) recently posted a nice bit of work up at the Marquette Neighborhood Association Yahoo Group regarding the Coop's decision to install a driveway on the Jenifer Street side of the building.

He begins by listing 20 grievances against the Coop regarding how they handled the whole thing. It's a bit like the Declaration of Independence. He describes his list as being "pretty factual". Not factual, just pretty factual. Anyway, he then proceeds to give his opinion.

In sum, all legitimate voices of the neighborhood have been ignored by the Coop. These voices apparently are not considered legitimate participants in this conversation. The only collective voices in favor of the permanent driveway are Coop Management and the Coop Board.

I love that. All "legitmate" voices have been ignored. By this he means those voices that agree with him. Thusly Marquette resident Bill Scanlon who is in favor of the driveway doesn't get to have a "legitimate" voice in the debate. I guess he and the others who expressed support at the MNA Yahoo Group just aren't somehow "collective" enough to pass muster for Mr. Christensen, a self-styled adjudicator on collectivity.

He then laments:

I say we just failed at honoring many of the ideals and principals we otherwise think we embody.

Oh please. The only ideal that got trampled on here is the one that says that Tom Christensen should always get his way. Who the fuck made him ward boss?

That's what this whole thing is about. It's about whether a certain clique of Marquette residents get to bully the Coop. As Christensen wrote: "Shame on me for not being able to communicate so as to stop this travesty." Exactly. It isn't about process it's about the end goal of stopping the installation of the driveway. As a resident named Ana said: "The neighborhood associations do not speak as one voice."

At that same post, Fae Dremock wrote:

Its about whether neighborhood associations (MNS+A and SASY-NA are ignored. It's about whether a full neighborhood has its input and intentions to retain control of traffic ignored.

I just don't believe it. It's not about whether neighborhood associations get their say, it's about whether they get to dictate everything that happens in their neighborhood. If the Coop had bent over backwards and held 80 listening sessions and meetings with neighbors and still decided to build the driveway anyway, people like Christensen and Dremock would have the same gripe. "They didn't listen to us. They ignored us."

From what I can tell, the Coop has not ignored the input of the neighborhood; it has simply decided that its interests run contrary to those expressed by the Christensens and Dremocks of the area and there is a genuine disagreement about how to best handle the current and future traffic problems. And this leaves those who feel they have a right to lord over neighborhood businesses with nothing to do but heap their neighborly opprobrium onto the Coop.
|| Palmer, 8:27 AM


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