Who wants this thing anyway?
Posted by Dale on September 5, 2008
It is hard to sit through hours of public commentary on a draft environmental impact statement, as I learned back in July when the DHS road show came to town. It’s even harder when most of the people speaking are just spouting boosterish rah-rah rhetoric.
To stave off boredom, I decided to keep a tally sheet, counting the number of speakers for and against. I also counted how many on each side were local and how they were dressed. The numbers should not be terribly surprising:
- Speakers in favor: 32
- Speakers opposed: 10
Of the 32 for:
- From elsewhere: 19
- Local: 13
The 32 for were dressed:
- Suits: 31
- Casual: 1
Of the 10 against, seven were local and nine of ten were dressed casually. From this casual sample (this was the afternoon session), I would draw the following conclusions. Large business interests from other Kansas cities want to make money, and the fact that they wear suits means they probably have an office job in a tower somewhere. People opposed nearly always come from the area (the three who were not local all live within 30-40 miles and own animals) and tend not to wear suits when they have something important to say.
Do we really want a facility that a bunch of suit-wearing CEOs and professional lobbyists think is a swell idea? When has that ever been a good idea?
I would also conclude from these numbers that the claim that this process has gone on largely under the radar is a correct assumption. Clearly, business interests have been contacted and made part of the process, but average citizens are still pretty much in the dark about what’s going on and their right to speak up. It was also not lost on me that the comment sessions were held in a K-State facility; even worse, a facility that has no proximal parking whatsoever. This was not coincidental, and amounts to bad faith or perhaps even an attempt at intimidation on the part of one of the NBAF’s biggest boosters, namely, the K-State administration. What employee in their right mind other than a tenured faculty member would stand in a university room and speak against the powers that be?
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