Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Happened at the Big Public Hearing?

The big public hearing over the rezoning request for the vacant land surrounding the Bush Turnpike Station in Richardson was held last night. It was the biggest thing to hit the Richardson city council since Channel 8 accused the council of trying to set up a red light district in Richardson.

After the jump, the reason for the question mark at the end of the headline.

Supposedly, the council chambers were packed to the rafters and an overflow crowd was in the hallway. Supposedly, the council got an earful from an angry crowd waving pitchforks and torches demanding that progress be stopped well short of their own back yards. And by "supposedly" I mean I don't have a clue. I don't know because I wasn't there. I didn't listen to the cable television broadcast. I didn't read about it in The Dallas Morning News or on the local blogs.

I expected to read about it. I really did. Before the hearing, it was hyped by the city in a mailing to residents summarizing the development plans. It was hyped in emails from neighborhood groups wanting changes. It was hyped in the local blogs like an imminent plague of locusts. Then, the morning after the hearing, ... nothing. My email inbox was empty. The blogs were silent. Only Ian McCann of The Dallas Morning News even acknowledged that a public hearing took place. His report from late this morning:

"After hours of presentation and public input, which was largely opposed to the proposal to zone nearly 145 acres of vacant land near the Bush Turnpike light rail station, the Richardson City Council decided to continue the hearing to the Jan. 31 meeting. I'm still listening to the final hour of the hearing, but expect to see more details about the proposal, and any changes that may be proposed, over the next two weeks."

That's it? After hours of presentation and public input, "expect to see more" later? Well, I guess I had it coming to me. I chose to skip the fireworks and watch a rerun of "Arrested Development" instead, confident that others would fill me in later. I guess I was taken in by The Dallas Morning News's hype about its redesigned website, its iPad app, its "consistently strong local journalism" (emphasis theirs) with "insights and perspectives of the experienced journalists at The Dallas Morning News." Was it too much to expect the News to cover the biggest news in Richardson this morning? Was it too much to expect the local blogs to do their usual twisting of events beyond all recognition by the people who were actually there?

And to any readers who expected more from me today, I apologize. I let you down. If anyone knows what happened last night, let's hear it. Because it's news to me.

P.S. Despite what some might think, "Arrested Development," a comedy series about a shady homebuilder and his irresponsible family, is *not* a documentary about Richardson land developers and the city council.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

Ian McCann tweets something that might explain why no one's bothered to write about the public hearing: 'In 300 minutes of talking, little was said that hasn't already been said.'