Power to the People

Last night, after our air conditioner pooped out and I’d carefully packed up all of our stuff to spend a night at Grandma and Poppy’s place, while Jud was still feeding Gideon his bottle and putting him to bed, I went to a city council meeting.

What? I know.  How wonderfully civic of me, right?  The deal was this.  My parents just moved into their brand new house in a different part of the same city in which we live.  On the corner of their development (which is technically another development that is adjacent to theirs) is currently undeveloped space.  It’s zoned for multi-family housing, which is neutral.  The people who live in the other development have homes that start about 300K and range to about 500K, so they are pretty nice places for our neck of the woods. Those people were told, when they purchased their lots to build their custom homes, that the multifamily housing scheduled to go in on the corner would be nice, tasteful and much like these other ones down the street that are very nice.  There was supposed to be one garage per unit and the heighth would be no more than 2.5 stories.  Everyone was fine with it, especially because the access to the apartments would be separate from the neighborhood, so the traffic would not increase what so ever on their residential streets.  No one had a problem. 

Then it all changed.

Suddenly the land was going to be sold to a developer who specializes in “affordable housing” (aka government subsidized).  There would be many more apartments. They were three stories.  Their entrance was off of the subdivisions main entrance (which would force traffic to cue up in a spot where there is no traffic light).  There were eight garages.  EIGHT. And they were ugly.  But the home owners didn’t find out about the changes until the week before the city council was set to vote on the issue and even then many of them didn’t know about it until the day before (and some probably still don’t know). In spite of the short span of time, the neighbors united and showed up at the council meeting last night in force.

The developer’s presenter had slicked back hair, a cheap suit, an ugly PowerPoint presentation and too much spray tan on his face. He presented their proposal and it was kind of ridiculous.  The neighbors were not impressed. 

Then the neighbors had their say.  And man was it awesome.  The first neighbor who spoke shared well thought through issues with diligence and presented them passionately, so passionately in fact that the clapping after her mini-speech almost led to a standing ovation. Person after person got up and had their say in the political process, including my father who at one point proclaimed his love for the city by saying “I love [this city].” It was pretty cool.

Then the city council closed the floor, had a discussion that included a warning about heckling council members from the mayor (but that guy totally deserved the laughter, his comment was ridiculous), and voted on the resolution.  And it was DENIED. 

[Cue Queen}

The people totally won.

They brought their case to the powers that be and the democratic process worked so wonderfully I had chills and adrenaline and may have pumped my fist in the air a few times.

Congratulations people!  You were heard and your opinion mattered. And that’s why you live in this city instead of the city next door, because your elected officials will do the right thing if you work with them to get it done.  Congratulations democracy! 

 

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  1. Sweet Moses, that is awesome!! I had no idea about any of that going on, but I am pumped just reading about it!

    Anywho, sorry for deserting your table the other night! I was all excited to chat the night away with you all, but Melissa and I had some things to discuss. And I had a great time with her and Heidi, of course!

  2. Power to the people!

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