Julie Stalmer 8:30 a.m., May 1
- Community Blog
- Abnormal Heights
When boosters want to foist a project on the public, they sometimes encounter opposition.
Rather than address the objections raised, they'll frequently dismiss any concerns as being the invention of "naysayers".
This convenient label allows them to ignore inconvenient truths, and the media frequently goes along with the game. Say a developer wants to scrape away historic buildings in the name of progress and profits. If the neighborhood cries foul, they can be bulldozed by just calling them naysayers or gadflies, and the alleged journalist smirks.
The resulting news story then details all the claims of the developer, reports the support of the development officials, and then obligingly notes that some naysayers objected.
This sort of fair and balanced coverage has distinguished San Diego's local media for decades. Only recently, with the advent of online news gathering organizations that can afford to take the time to properly investigate stories and follow up on the claims of "naysayers" have we found out that "gadflies" have a nose for things that stink.
Remember Bruce Henderson? How about Mel Shapiro, or Richard Rider? Ian Trowbridge, or Pat Flannery anyone?
Their contributions to the public good are immense, and all the more impressive in that none of them got paid for their efforts to expose the often uncomfortable truths about how our city is run. In fact, I would bet that each of them has lost money, time, and friends because of their efforts.
These "naysayers" are too often the only independent analysts in our town, and rather than dismiss what they say we ought to pay more attention. Sure, they're often enough incorrect, and sometimes overstate their case. But this is true of our city officials too.
Personally, I've been called all sorts of names over the years I've been involved in local issues. Jack McGrory called me an urban terrorist because I opposed the ballpork giveaway. Just this week, Jim Madaffer called me sickening for opposing the reappointment of CCDC board members who have been at the helm while Nancy Graham conducted her conflicts of interest.
I won't let the labels stop me. It's a sign of progress that they are frightened enough to attack me this way. It means we're getting closer to the truth of the matter.
If you're unhappy with the way the city is being run, I hope you'll join us naysayers at the next public meeting to give them a piece of your mind. You don't have to be eloquent, or well-dressed, or an expert on every issue that comes before the public. If you are concerned, you have the right to speak and be listened to.
You might be dismissed as a naysayer, but over time you'll regard this as a badge of honor.