Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Hall Park Project SOLVED
Hall Park Project SOLVED
guest editorial for Leucadia blog,
When I left in 2005 to go to Morocco with the Peace Corps, my hometown of Encinitas was in the throws of an ugly dispute over what sort of park the Hall Park was to be. Having returned almost 3 years later, nothing has been accomplished. The issue is still in a stalemate.
Who does this benefit? We have what could be a great community asset just sitting around growing weeds! Here's a thought: why don't we work together as a community and come up with a solution? We have the means to do this. A community-based, comprehensive, inclusive, rapid, cost-effective solution to the controversy over the Hall Park development is right in front of us -- so why aren't we all jumping on it?
Some of the groups involved have hired professional neutral facilitators (the La Jolla Center for Dispute Resolution ) to assess the situation and see if it might be possible to come together as a community to work out a solution that sports groups and residents alike could live with. They are trying to get input from all points of view to see where we agree and disagree and if people would be willing to sit down and talk it out.
Isn't this the most mature way to figure this out? We all have to live together as a community -- there are residents around the Park who have kids and like sports, and the sports folks aren't out to upset the residents, they just need more room.
Everybody knows this will end up in years of more lawsuits the way it's going now, so why don't we save time and money and try to get the solution that the majority can live with?
What would stop people from choosing to try a community collaborative solution?
· They weren't happy with the outcome of the community workshop held in 2003 -- There were many people on all sides who didn't like how the workshop was conducted and so were not happy with the result. But that workshop was not facilitated by professional neutrals who knew how to run a meeting with a lot of conflicting ideas.
· They have a reason to keep the controversy going -- There are "spoilers" and people who try to benefit from any problem situation -- financially, politically. You can't let them run the show.
· They don't trust the community to figure it out for themselves -- We all have to live with this, and getting the key sports people and residents to sit down and work it out is the real definition of Participatory Democracy. The City Council would surely prefer to have a plan in front of them that the majority of the community supported, without lawsuits waiting in the wings.
· They figure lawsuits will happen anyway -- Having a community collaboration on a solution involves those who might be "spoilers" and gets their concerns on the table, and so it reduces the chances of a lawsuit, or that a lawsuit would be taken seriously by the courts.
We don't have to settle for the same outcome where someone "wins" and someone "loses" -- let's take control of this situation's outcome and figure it out for ourselves!
Cottonwood Creek Park took 17 years to build -- how long do we want to wait for Hall Park?
Here's a survey the facilitators put out where everyone can give their opinion
Here are articles from North County Times and the Coast News