The influence of the crowd

Great Wolf meeting

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p dir=”ltr”>There are a lot of very sweet, kind and hard-working people who live at Eagle Ridge. Of that, I have no doubt.

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p dir=”ltr”>However, during a meeting with Great Wolf Lodge representative Bryson Heezen a couple of weeks ago at the community building the atmosphere was–and I try to be diplomatic–downright rude.
Maybe it’s the power of a crowd. Or, that I can’t completely understand the complexity and depth of concerns that many Eagle Ridge residents. But when I left the meeting, or as it happened when I was ejected by Eagle Ridge security, I was left shocked by what I heard.

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p dir=”ltr”>What I saw wasn’t just rude, it was plain mean.

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p dir=”ltr”>Answers to questions were met with scoffs, derisive laughter and off the cuff commentary dismissive of what Heezen had to say. It was chaotic and the negativity seemed to spiral into a hate tornado directed at Heezen, no matter what he had to say.

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p dir=”ltr”>Indeed, Heezen was there to put the company’s best face out there for the public, but by the tone of the meeting at Eagle Ridge, I would have thought he was trying to build a toxic waste dump based on the reception he got.
I understand the apprehension that comes with a city’s growing pains. Concerns are valid, but to greet the entreaties of a business that seeks out Gilroy to do business like the invasion of a Mongol horde, is no way grow Gilroy’s economy. It’s also bad business.
Gilroy is growing whether we like it or not. As new homes are built around town, people are coming to Gilroy to live in them. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle on this one. With more people, come more problems. Gilroy will need more cops, fire personnel, better roads and better sewage. There will be more students in the schools and there will be more cars on the road.
A lot of those people will need jobs and the city will need tax revenue to keep up with everything.
That’s where Great Wolf Lodge comes in. Whether it’s Great Wolf, or another industry, Gilroy needs to attract new businesses. Businesses are risk-averse, however and they don’t want to move to a town full of NIMBYs.
N.I.M.B.Y., a term that George Carlin popularized in the 1980s, stands for Not In My Back Yard and the term has been used to describe many of the arguments used against the proposal.
The problem here is that neighbors are prone to protest any development near them. The city could theoretically put the world’s biggest roller coaster on the 35 acres that are zoned for recreational development. How would they feel about that? Or what if Apple wanted to build here and bring in a ton of traffic? Would people protest?
I support their right to protest as much and as often as they want. I just hope they will remember to be polite, which was definitely not the case this time.
 

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