Epidemic cronyism and developer-driven decisions?

The complaints sound entirely too familiar to me:  a project framed by big business that would forever affect the livability of a residential neighborhood; public concerns dismissed without full exploration by independent analysis; cronyism and developer-driven permit decisions; disrespect for those who dare disagree; political appointments used to “expedite” approval;  even open meeting violations.

In this case, we are talking about Roseanne Greco’s harsh criticism of the South Burlington City Council over its failure to uphold public opposition to the F-35 siting; but the way she characterizes the political culture over there in Chittenden County, certainly sounds a whole lot like what’s going on right now in St. Albans with regard to redevelopment  of the Smith Homestead and reconfiguration of Maiden Lane.

How can members of a legislative body choose to remain uninformed?” Greco asked. “Educating oneself before making a decision should be an obligation.”

Tell me about it, Roseanne!

Whether we’re talking about environmental, health or traffic impacts, it’s getting to the point where no one wants to hear the bad news if its going to disallow some project upon which the business establishment hangs its hopes for a bonanza.  

No argument is allowed to trump the economic one, even if that economic one is extremely weak, short-sighted and captive to private enterprise.

Those who persist in voicing concerns over unanswered questions eventually find themselves shut out entirely.

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task to galvanize the aggrieved into an effective political force to challenge a fouled process.  The machinations have become so familiar that most people just shrug and say “What can you do?”

What you can do is vote in every single election and on every single ballot item.  

If you don’t like or trust anyone whose name is on the ballot, write-in the name of someone you do trust.  Not “Daffy Duck” or “Your Aunt Fanny,” but a real person from your neighborhood.  That way, your vote becomes a statement of protest, not merely a prank.

If we could just get all qualified voters to the polls to exercise this opportunity for protest, the poor choices we are given on the ballot would be shown for what they are in the final tally.  

No more allowing the unprincipled to claim a “landslide” victory when all they’ve managed to capture is support from less than 10% of the population, as actually happened last September in St. Albans with the parking garage bond vote.

At least on the local level, it remains true that we get the government that we deserve.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

5 thoughts on “Epidemic cronyism and developer-driven decisions?

  1. online every day & saw this also. I was taken by the sincerity as well as the gravitas of truth in Roseanne Greco’s statement. Good to see there are still those who won’t just give up and go home but will at least make the truth and their voice heard for the record & whatever it’s worth.

    Everyone who stood steadfastly making voices heard seemed to take a hit & pay a price. James Marc Leas was given pretty shabby treatment re his vtdigger op-ed campaign which is one reason why I no longer support vtdigger though most of the writers do make a significant contribution to the VT news scene, they or “some of them” have seemingly gone the way of the msm:

    http://vtdigger.org/2013/10/28

    Since neither the writer of the story or the editor ever actually made their case I thought some of a story of this but a VPR correspondent asked for a bit more info & as far as I could see it was not provided so I didn’t see how I could proceed from any angle with a diary.

       

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