Manufactured Consent?

To the Editor:

People write letters to the editor for a number of reasons. Many want the chance to express their opinions because they believe that their opinion matters – to themselves if no one else. But what if your opinion really doesn’t matter to anyone other than market researchers? What happens then? Just take a look around.
Governments go through a great deal of effort and expense to consider the opinions of the people they govern. They use data collected through various sources, but what if those data are wrong? Or worse, what if the data are right but the interpretation is wrong or skewed on purpose? All of that would take a lot more than 500 words to explain, but one of the easiest and cheapest ways to know what “the people” want is to talk to them. Eureka! That is what this town has been missing all these years. However, something a little different (and possibly worse) has been going on with the current administration.
I’m not seeing the consensus over building big in Bayonne, or redesigning it for a generational group that will age and behave differently (statistically speaking) by the time these “Millennial Towers” are built on North Street. It’s very clear from reading this “news”paper that some people are for this type of thing, and some people are against it. The fact that none of the residents immediately affected by these huge towers (46th St included) were asked to participate in the planning or decision to grant the variances to allow them is injurious. The announcement for upcoming meetings to determine the “citizens’ vision” for the city plan is downright insulting.
City Hall put a wrecking ball through the Master Plan when they unilaterally granted deviations from the norm of five stories all over town. Residents’ visions for their neighborhoods and literal backyards were crushed with the iron fist of “consensus.” But is there really a clear consensus about any of these issues? Even if there were some statistic available, I take issue with the merits of the opposition’s arguments and their interpretation of what I will loosely call “evidence” for now. In my opinion, no one in town is informed. Not the residents. Not City Hall. Not even me.
If there was ever a time when your opinion mattered, Bayonne, this is it. I hope to see many of you at this series of planned vision quests, where our opinions will reportedly mean something (or not, if the future can be predicted reliably on the basis of past experience). If you don’t believe my opinion, then simply rely on the fact that everything published in the Community News is mostly true.
Say “no” to Phase 2 of North Street.
Say “no” to “Phase 2” of 46th Street.
Say “no” to Bayhattan as the future of Bayonne.
Say “yes” to moving forward through positive, well-planned change.
Say “yes” to having your voices heeded, not just heard.


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