September 11th, 2019



Monday night I went to a zoning hearing and argued in favor of an affordable housing development near my house. Which sounds pretty dull, but was a thing what needed doing.

I had been to one a few months ago and I knew that a bunch of my neighbors would be there being all gross and NIMBYish and saying "ew, poor people," and I felt it was important to counter that to the extent that I could.

(I am pretty disappointed this swath of my neighbors. Also in my HOA, which has been sending out lots of email encouraging people to show up to the hearing. Oh, but they "have NO opinion or position" on it. Really? Liars. If you really had no opinion, you wouldn't have brought it up...)

I also knew that there would be a huge number of people who wanted to make public comments. So I left work in the middle of the afternoon so that I could get to City Hall and be there waiting at 5 when the sign up sheets came out and be first on the list. I was hoping that I might set the tone a little, and also maybe take the wind out of some of the complainers' sails. (Also, I knew that if I had to sit through a bunch of people being awful, I would end up thinking about nothing but how much I wanted to set them all on fire when it was my turn to speak, and would not make a good impression.)

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The second speaker was a lady who works with the homeless, and the third speaker was a lady in a wheelchair who talked about how she lost her home after the car crash that disabled her, and how important affordable housing was to her. (The fourth speaker was a lawyer for some third party who started droning on about some point of procedure, and I didn't stick around after that.) So I think maybe we did set some tone.

I had my advisory board meeting this evening, and I found out that after three and a half hours of public commentary (until 11:30 pm, ugh), the council did indeed vote yes. Hooray! And the councilor who comes to our meetings said that my comments did have some influence, so that felt good.

I mean, it's a drop in the bucket when you think about the big picture, but it's not nothing. You gotta do good where you can.