The thrift store committee still isn't listening.
At Tuesday's Lake County Commission meeting, Jerry Johnson said that he and his fellow boosters plan to forge ahead with their plan to build a million-dollar thrift store to replace three buildings in downtown Madison. Following significant public opposition, the boosters plan to slow down. That's a good thing.
But they aren't slowing down to talk with the community. They plan to spend more time talking to the community:
Jerry Johnson told commissioners that the committee intends to do more education on the benefits of the proposed store.
Johnson told commissioners that the reason the group came to the county for support is because of the welfare and indigent needs in the county. Johnson said the committee felt it would be a good partnership because the revenue from the thrift store could help out with some of the county's welfare needs. He told commissioners he couldn't understand how residents would have such issues with something that helps local programs [Sue Bergheim, "Thrift Store Committee to Continue Work on Proposed Project," KJAM News, 2012.07.18].
In Johnson's eyes, there can't be anything wrong with his pals' plan. The boosters just need to educate us more so we understand what a great plan a million-dollar thrift store is.
At last week's city commission meeting, thrift store committee member Clark Sinclair said that he and his fellow boosters had listened to the community and were taking folks' concerns seriously. But apparently they aren't taking those concerns seriously enough to rethink their plan and engage the community in an open dialogue. No, in classic patronizing, hierarchical fashion, Sinclair, Johnson et al. are taking our complaints seriously only as objections to overcome as they cling doggedly to their thesis that their small group knows what's best for the community.
Pay attention to what I said last Monday... and heck, to what you yourselves seemed to say at the meeting before that. We need a real community conversation, not another sales pitch.