Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007 | In light of the letters that totally misinterpret my blog post recently, I feel I must respond to some of the points raised.
Regarding the Navy Broadway Complex and NTC, I was criticizing only the objections to the projects that were based on the fallacy that these properties would otherwise be parks. That was, in fact, part of the past discussion for both developments, and it cast a pall over the projects that I feel is unwarranted.
I was NOT, however, suggesting that these or any projects should go forward without scrutiny from the public or without having to clear all of the requirements under CEQA or any other law.
Furthermore, I never suggested, as Linda Wilson says in her letter, that “the real villains are the ‘concerned citizens.’” Actually, I said the opposite: In most conflicts, there is no villain. What I advocate is breaking the dialogue out of the mold that somebody must be the bad guy just because there’s a disagreement.
We ought to know more about the motives of the different parties of any conflict. I am a taxpaying citizen of San Diego too — someone who pays attention to issues and votes for my representatives based on how well I believe they represents the community’s interests. I want to know more. I want you to know more.
My point on “concerned citizens” is that sometimes they do, in fact, have ulterior motives. Are they evil because they have some interest or stake beyond altruism? No! But I as a reader of news stories on the subject, I do want to know that stake exists. And reporters sometimes continue to quote project opponents without reporting that stake because they just need the voice of “the other side” for their stories. I’ve seen news stories that fail to mention important facts about opponents’ interests, and I suspect sometimes it’s because it makes the opponent less credible and might cost the reporter their go-to foil.
Understand: I’m not pro-developer; what I’m calling for is a more productive, honest discussion of an issue. I’m saying we’d do well to get out of the cynical mind frame that anyone trying to make a buck is inherently evil and trying to cheat the public out of a good thing every single time.
Perhaps if we keep our eyes open and our skepticism poised appropriately while still according our opponents’ viewpoints a modicum of respect, we’d be more effective.
For those who would suggest I’m naive, I’ll concede that perhaps I’m overly optimistic about raising the level of discourse. But should we just give up on improving the quality of information and debate because we’ve always done things this way? Or should we start thinking about how to do it better?