Since this was the last public meeting on the study before it heads to the City Plan Commission, I have to admit that I expected microphone comments and audience murmurs to be more heated and brazen than I’ve experienced in previous meetings on this subject. Sure, some people expressed outrage, even to the point of being disruptive (I mean, come on, it’s not a true neighborhood town hall meeting without tempers flaring) but that seemed to be the feeling of a few, or even a couple, rather than the overall tone of the crowd of 300 or so who had gathered.
On one extreme, you had a man telling the study committee to "leave us alone", and a woman accusing the committee of "fraud". On the other, you had people elaborating about the virtues of the proposal (former councilman Ed Oakley was admonished by some in the crowd to "wrap it up"). But for the most part, the people who spoke (and those who clapped for them) had thoughtful questions, measured comments, and "thank yous" for the committee for adjustments made to the proposal at neighbors’ request (more on those changes in future Back Talk posts, so keep visiting).
Essentially, the people who showed up at last night’s meeting were much more educated about the proposal than those who attended October’s meeting, and in many cases, they were the same people. Kudos should go to two places for this: first, to the Bishop/Davis study committee, which held seven neighborhood meetings this month to both give an overview to neighborhoods and property owners who will be most affected by any changes, as well as to get feedback from them; and second, to Oak Cliff residents, who obviously attended these meetings or contacted people to get their questions answered and concerns addressed.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the proposal is final or that last night was the last chance to weigh in. Committee members were vigorously taking notes last night, and I would imagine that a few more changes will be made to the proposal before it goes before the plan commission. Larry Good of Good, Fulton & Farrell, the study’s consultant, guaranteed that the latest plans would soon be posted on thinkdavis.wordpress.com. We’ll let you know when the plans are up, and anyone can leave comments there.