Recap of Town Hall Meeting #2 : A Party!

Alice in Wonderland Party

In case you missed last Thursday’s (03/31/2011) Tea Party Convention Town Hall Meeting let’s do a little recap. Despite support’s strong showing (3:1) at previous public meetings, the opposition put out a call to the local Tea Party and that helped make the room evenly split (despite opposition claims that they had 70%).

But to those in attendance : Thank you!

We showed up and stayed until the end. The Plan wasn’t railroaded, and Support speakers brought rational, well-supported arguments and presented them in a respectful manner. Those in opposition, well, they brought out their regular, misinformed opinions, as well as some conspiracy theories that stems from their belief that bike lanes are a U.N. conspiracy.

Instead of having staff completely heckled by the Opposition or “asked to give a deposition” as one council person described opposition’s verbal assault on staff, we were there to offer balance. We got in good points and even new ones.

Here’s a few quotes of those people that spoke in support:

“It’s a recreation and safety issue. We’re losing people to Fort Worth at a rate of 3:1 [in terms of home buyers].”
…..

“I’m a motorist and cyclist, but if I felt safer I’d take my car off the road.”
…..

“I’m thinking about the future of Arlington. We cannot look past that. My mother has said something to me for the past ten years. If you wait to have the baby until you can afford it, you will never have that baby. If we wait to build this until we can afford it, we will never build it. And people will not come here and we will not be able to compete with Fort Worth or Dallas or Grand Prairie or any other city in this Metroplex.”
…..

“Looking at the physiques of the people in this room, we could use a lot more hiking and biking. Probably a lot of people in this room, including me, won’t be here  in 30-40 years, so why are we getting our panties in such a twist?”

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  1. I was not at the meeting and am an avid cyclist and supporter of Arlington’s Hike and Bike plan.

    Maybe I’m a little jaded here but my impression was, that this was NOT a liberal cyclists/tea party issue but an issue of a ‘hike and bike plan’ for the citizen’s of Arlington. You making fun or deriding opposing citizens, is NOT helping the issue. So WHAT if the local Tea party asked supporters come out? You make it sound like a bad thing?

    Because they do not agree with our view point on this issue, means that they believe in black helicopters etc. etc.? Nice

    This is a micro-issue that shows what’s wrong with this country today. Stick to the hike and bike plan and don’t try to make this into a divisive political issue.

    If you stick to the issues and educate folks about the cost, lanes etc., like you have done in the ‘debunking’ post, this issue would be MUCH better off.

    Just my 2 cents….

    • Erik C.

      Dieter,

      I’ll step up and defend this post because I respectfully disagree with your assesment of the post. I was at the meeting and it is a valid report of what took place. If anything, it UNDER reports the vilitrol, and conspiracy theories discussed by those standing in opposition to the plan.

      Yes, the Hike and Bike plan is a local issue, but those opposed redrew it as a national one on Thursday. Looking back through their e-mail updates, it really makes more sense that this was their intent all along.

      I couldn’t agree with you more that having citizens showing up to a public meeting is a good thing, and I am all about having people express their views, but when those views are shouted, or demeaning in nature, I just shut down. Councilman Rivera had to actually step in and tell an opposition voice to be more respectful of other people’s views because the opposition speaker was insinuating that bicyclists were un-American.

      This post doesn’t bring up the conspiracy theories to mock people, or deride their opinions because they disagree with the Hike & Bike Plan. This post brings up the conspiracy theories because people on Thursday grounded their opposition in those theories as if the theories were facts.

      If elected officials in Arlington are going to listen to conspiracy theories and base public policy decisions on those baseless theories, then Heaven help us!

      Respectfully disagreeing,

      Erik

  2. Wesley P Miller

    I was there also. One thing that that happened is that when the opposition ran out of heavy steam the idea of putting the acceptance of the Master Plan onto a ballot came up. Not appropriate! In this country we elect officials to guarantee those rights that every human is born with. Our establishing documents call these rights “self evident”. Remember? Rights to are not decided by election. The Arlington elected officials have done their job by getting planners to develop a workable way for all people to use the PUBLIC streets in whatever way is most appropriate for each of us.

    Looks pretty clear to me.
    Wesley Miller

  3. Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to
    new posts.

  1. 1 Breaking the cycle of bad news | Wordsprout

    […] has been infringing on the bicycle movement in Arlington. Recent Bike & Hike Master Plan Town Hall meetings were turned into a spectacle by belligerent opponents and their tea party friends. Star-Telegram […]




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