Your View: Residents yelled and City Hall pretended to listen

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To the editor:

In response to “Fighting for the river’s edge” (November 3, 2011), acting City Manager Bruce Johnson’s argument that city officials listened to the concerns raised by Alexandrians, particularly those concerns raised by residents affected most by the waterfront plan, Old Towners, is disingenuous at best.

His assertion is they listened but disagreed.

We doubt officials listened for the content of the messages many residents gave the city about this very unpopular plan (unpopular except with those that may gain materially by its adoption or those who don’t have to live daily with the consequences of this plan).

Listening for content is very different than passive listening or listening with one’s mind already made up. Listening to the city council and mayor, it is clear they wanted to adopt the plan as written and further “listening” was obviously done only to appease the disgruntled Old Town residents.

We also attended most of the meetings held by the city and contend that if they had been truly listening rather than listening to meet an obligation, the waterfront plan as presented by city planners would have been very different and would not have met with the uproar it received.

We have lived in Old Town since 1988, and this is just another example of our city leadership failing to truly listen. We believe the city’s leaders remain confident many of our residents will not hold them accountable during our next election. We truly hope they are wrong. We will do our part to see they are held accountable for their lack of listening skills.

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