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How can there be a vocal minority on a proposal never put to a vote?

Original post made by Carol Mullen, Old Palo Alto, on Dec 3, 2007

I've learned quite a bit from the interesting and thoughtful comments that appear in this forum about Palo Alto's patchy infrastructure.

However, there seem to be catch phrases for any comment that's critical of staff or Council. These phrases are all undefined to the point of meaninglessness, but they only appear in a post by someone who claims to be angry and claims to know more than he or she could possibly know about everyone else's opinions and motives.

One of these phrases, "vocal minorities," appears, over and over again, about projects which have never been placed on the ballot. Anyone is entitled guess about the likelihood that the finished proposal will be accepted, but there is nothing speculative about these posts. They KNOW.

The posters who use this phrase seem allergic to any sort of public criticism of any staff proposal, even on basic grounds: that the proposal is too vague, is not as high a priority as others Council has never received, or hasn't, doesn't have an identified revenue stream to pay for it.....

These posts seem to assume that polling is as democratic as voting.

Polls on bond issues are especially unreliable when the project is just beginning to be shaped: the questions are nebulous, because the plans are nebulous.

"Will you write a blank check for "any new library"? Are you opposed to "more storm drains"?

The only question of this sort that I can answer is "Would you vote for a Council member who made decisions based upon a poll predicting the outcome of an election?" "Would you vote for a Council member who supported avoiding putting a bond issue on the ballot because he/she thought it would fail?"

I can answer those questions, and I'll bet I've got company.

I'm also willing to bet that Mayor Guiliani put the response center for terrorism in the World Trade Center (which had already been attacked by Al Queda) without the benefit of citizen review.

Comments (2)

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Posted by Mere human
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 3, 2007 at 11:34 pm

The "vocal minority" is the flip side of Richard Nixon's "silent majority."
He claims to be able to predict the future in a way that mere humans are unable to do. Maybe he's the new Messiah! after all, 'tis the season.

Like this comment
Posted by Superman
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Dec 4, 2007 at 12:19 am

It appears that some are wilting under the pressure of accurate and ample responses to assumptions that they put forward without consideration of facts, or opinion to the contrary.

I sense a frustration and desperation in these unfortunate souls - a frustration that unfortunately finds catharsis only in personal attack.

My uncle used to say: "If the kitchen is too hot, perhaps one should be playing in the sand box"

Mere human, thank you for admitting your status - we're all in this together,even though some of us are more adaptable.

"“A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.” - Oscar Wilde


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