I just came back from a meeting of the City Planning Commission (Port Angeles, WA) about extending the permit for the Farmers’ Market. Everything that’s nasty and personal about national politics had its counterpart at this meeting.
First of all, Port Angeles is one of those small cities (20,000) that’s lucky enough to have a thriving, vibrant downtown. There’s a Wal-Mart two miles away, and a few malls, but these haven’t sucked the life out of the city center.
Two days a week, the city closes off one block — right downtown — for the Farmers’ Market. The whole town really comes to life during these two days. Hundreds of pedestrians are fanning out in every direction, shopping in downtown stores, patronizing the bars and restaurants. It’s great.
Well, at least most people think so. A few merchants are claiming their business goes down during the Farmers’ Market because of parking problems. Other merchants, including some that are located on the exact street that gets blocked off, say their business goes way up during the Farmers’ Market.
The plot thickens: the Farmers’ Market is near the end of a temporary 1-year permit. The few squeaky wheels that have been complaining are now trying to prevent the permit from being extended. So the City Planning Commission had a stormy 4-hour meeting tonight, which resolved nothing.
The most colorful part of the meeting was the Chairman of the Planning Commission, who seems to think his title is actually Commissar of the VIPs. There was thunderous applause after several impassioned speeches in favor of continuing the Farmers’ Market’s permit. So the
Out of the 25 to 30 people who spoke, only about four were against extending the permit. Supposedly 60 merchants had signed a petition against the Farmers’ Market. Where the F&%$#! were they?
Whenever someone spoke in favor of the Farmers’ Market, the
Like they say, Think Globally, Act Locally. All politics is local. Etc. And local politics is every bit as colorful and contentious as Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney cussing at Democrats. And local politics is just as full of sleazebags, 800-pound gorillas, and self-absorbed prima donnas who think the world revolves around them.