Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cringe: May 17, 2007

Dear Diary,

It is now 2:30, 2:31, 2:32 p.m. and I have spent the better part of today doing sweet fuck-all.

Last night I went to a neighborhood meeting about a shopping mall that They want to build in Elk Grove. I should not have gone. First, because I don't intend to be here long enough to see the damn thing built. But second, and most important, because I HATE GROUP GROPES. I am allergic to them. I get internal hives that make me (a) twitch, and (b) say rude things in just a loud enough voice to annoy (or in some cases amuse) those sitting near me.

Last night's meeting was an exercise in oligarchy. Ostensibly we met to view our concerns about the shopping center. Actually, we were enticed (with promises of individually-wrapped cookies and Macy's gift certificates) to listen to a promotional presentation by GGP, the corporation that is hoping to get their plans for this whizz-bang mall okayed.

It was incredibly boring and incredibly disinformational (is that a word?) and, for me, incredibly maddening. I spent most of the morning trying to write about it in a reasonable manner. Report on the matter, as it were. If I tell you that that post was titled, Democracy Devolves to Dog and Pony Show, you'll get a whiff of why I'm struggling with this.

I hate stupidity. I loathe even more when those in charge assume those not in charge are too stupid to know when they're having a fast one pulled. Rather than an open airing of citizens' thoughts, we had to endure a host of woefully inadequate generalizations. We were told several times that GGP is a "high end mall developer" and is not in the business of building strip malls. I thought I saw Lady Macbeth wafting through the chamber at that one. The presentation was so short of specifics that I thought perhaps Louis, GGP's main guy, was more than a tad unprepared. In fact, were I to grade him, he would have gotten a C in presentation. He waxed eloquent on the "beautiful water features" whatever they might be and assured us more than once how excited GGP is about the project (well, yes, I guess so, since it's a profitable business for them). But his only response to the various issues we had about the project was, "that's what the retailers tell us they want." As in, go ask your mother. No, go ask your father. No, just do as I damn well tell you.

Instead of a democratic give and take, question and answer, We, the People were made to write our questions on a form and hand them in. Then They, the Oligarchs got to cherry-pick and edit, revise and summarize so that the builders could do their own cherry-picking of questions they would answer. That resulted in some breathtaking exchanges, like the response to the question about security. Seeing as we are perched on the edge of the Sacramento's gangland, what considerations have the builders given to mall security. Answer: Security is very important to us. We will hire our security from LA. Oh, good, because LA has such incredible security that they have had no problems with security at their malls. Hell, no. Well, maybe a little. Maybe a lot.

There was also a concern that the retail businesses would post objectionable material on their billboards. Oh, no, we won't allow that. We're very concerned about family values. Here's where my mumble turned to a hiss, "You're going to control Abercombie & Fitch?! Purveyors of the most sexualized and/or controversial ads in the marketplace. Good luck."

My question concerned who did their demographic research that resulted in only second tier retailers like Macy's being willing to come in. Answer: We hired a market research firm in Sacramento. They set up four focus groups, two of those who have lived in EG for over five years and two of those who have lived here for five years and under. Sounds fair enough, doesn't it. Until you consider that the vast majority of those living in Elk Grove fall into the second group. Was that inequity of demographic taken into consideration? Can't answer that one, because the oligarchs chose to edit it out.

I didn't mean to get into this rant. I meant to write a Cringe worthy diatribe against myself at public meetings. But that's not what came out, is it.

I flew out of the meeting to get home in time to see Melinda bounced from AI and my favorite blonde not even make it to the finals of America's Next Top Model. T'was not a good night for me....

5 comments:

  1. OH! OH! OH! I am so pissed about Melinda being bounced. I hate AI and will never watch it again. This was the first season I've ever (lowered) allowed myself to watch and, dang it if they didn't bounce my girl. I hate them all. However, I'm hopin' Melinda does well and gets a CD out there soon. I just love that "Trouble is a Woman" song she did (and posted it on my blog today) and feel she did a better job than the original singer.
    Anyway... *sigh* Bastards!

    Oh, and about that meeting stuff: wow, you made me look-up and learn a new word today. Good Show!! :)

    Oligarchy: I thought you made this up and it meant something like Stan and Ollie anarchy. I guess that could apply. lol

    Rant on... I mean, listen, the truth is... there are only seven people running all of the businesses in the USofA. One of them is in charge of the malls.

    Vulture Capitalists Every One of 'Em.

    Did you at least get a cookie and a gift certificate, or was that a swindle, too?

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  2. I applaud you for even attending that meeting. I have an internal activist who just rants and raves alone in her car and is entirely unable to get up the energy to actually vent in a public forum on issues of importance. The fact that you were there is terrific.
    I'm with you on AI too! We all know Melinda was the most talented contestant but was appealing to an older set that doesn't vote. I watch, I don't vote, so I really can't complain about the results (kind of like my internal activist thing I guess). She'll have a great career anyhow. Just wait. I feel it. I'm quite sure. It may actually have been a compliment to her that the 13 year old's of the world just don't get her.

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  3. Oh Jane... don't hate me. I've tagged you for a blasted meme. I didn't know what it even was when someone tagged me since I'm so out of it.
    Forgive me, OK?
    Now I'm curious to know all about you...
    Jennifer

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  4. natalie: I did not get a cookie and a gift certificate. They were there, but I eschewed (sorry, I did that just so you keep going to your dictionary!)

    cce: my problem is i can't keep my mouth shut. I want to have a conversation, a dialogue, even when it's me and hundreds of others in the audience

    jennifer: i won't hate you because you tagged me; i'll hate you because you're beautiful....no, that's a line from a commercial, isn't it.

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  5. Jane, Jane, Jane.... when are you going to learn to skip the meetings to stay home and drink instead?

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So--whaddaya think?