Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Democracy In Action

...or perhaps it should be "democracy inaction." I went to a townhall meeting last night which was supposed to be all about the development going on up on the mesa. I went to complain about the lack of information especially when someone will be detonating several hundred pounds of explosives 500' from your house. Many people have reported damage to their walls. I noticed a crack in my garage floor. The contractor doing the work has an insurance company on board, but supposedly they are playing hard-to-get. Then there is the dust. Anyone who attended AlbuFURque knows about the dust as the party was temporarily shut down when a wall of dust/sand enveloped everyone. On my nightly walkies in April and May I frequently commented to myself that the company was doing a lousy job with dust control. According to our councilman the company had been cited and fined. I have noticed more water trucks as well as efforts to apply mulch on disturbed areas. Too little too late, if you ask me.

The public meeting quickly deteriorated into an unorganized bitch-fest. You always get one or 2 people that have to take over with their anger and outrage which then expands into all sorts of subjects only marginally related to the issue at hand. We had the native American who was outraged that the sacred petroglyphs were being covered in dust. We had the woman who had health problems due to the dust and had to give us her complete medical history. There were a few folks complaining about falling property values due to more houses being constructed (even though the new houses will be selling in the $200-300K range). I almost did a *headdesk* when someone said the area was geologically significant because there were only a few places on earth like it. She was referring to the Rio Grande Rift Zone which extends pretty much the entire length of the state and is a place where the North American Plate attempted to split apart and failed. As she described this "unique" feature you could hear "oohs" and "ahs" from the audience. I wanted to scream.

I attended this meeting as someone who has also been on the other side of the table. I have been the gov't representative on several occasions where we had to take comments from the public. I've heard all of this crap before. I guess it's just a part of democracy. Everyone should have a voice, but 9 times out of 10 it just deteriorates into a bunch of self-righteous whining. So when I see the guys in front of the crowd nodding their heads, I know they are thinking, "What a bunch of bullshit!" Been there! Done that!

I especially cringe when the topic of lawsuits gets thrown around. People may have loads of anecdotal evidence to support their claim, but when you get into a court, you had better have some real evidence. I could sue because the dust ruined AlbuFURque (it didn't), but then the burden of proof would shift to me to prove that the party was ruined. OK. Now what is that worth? You say you have breathing problems. Did you have them before? How much more dust was in the air compared to a normal ABQ spring? Here's a pic of a petroglyph buried in sand. OK. What did it look like last year before the development? Don't have one? What's your proof? So we'll see how this thing plays out. I know I will be more diligent in documenting things.
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