Last Thursday evening I was looking forward to hearing more about the environmental impact report concerning the Miramar Hotel’s proposed development from City Hall’s Planning Director David Martin and his staff. When I got to the library, it was clear that a professionally organized opposition group was hell bent on sabotaging the meeting. Flyers were being handed out which were nothing more than scurrilous attacks on the owner of the hotel, computer innovator Michael Dell.
After a short presentation by city staff, the audience was directed from the dais to go to multiple stations that were set up with information on the various aspects of the project and its impact and which were overseen by city staffers. We were encouraged to give input to these staffers who would record our thoughts and comments.
A woman only identified as Julia, but with a large red octagonal STOP sign on her jacket, commandeered the microphone and proceeded to harangue and berate city staff for the next five minutes because the format of the meeting was not to her liking. She said she wanted a Q&A session but after listening to her diatribe, I suspect that she was only there to be disruptive. David Martin was incredibly professional and let her have her unauthorized say and only then did the positive benefits of the meeting take place.
My fiancée Susan and I went to many of the stations and were given very insightful information by city staff, who were also incredibly conscientious in recording all comments, both pro and con, for the record. It is highly unfortunate that so many people were misled to believe that this was other than an informational meeting. Regardless of one’s position on the project, we should not be subjected to that kind of vitriol at a City Hall-sponsored meeting.