#3. Sleight Of Hand (Part II)

(I broke this into parts because this is the –meat- of what I want to get across. It will question pretty much –every- aspect of how you’ve been protesting so it’s just not possible to cram into 800 words. Part I ’Way And Means’ discussed techniques. Part II focuses on the –why-.)

I said above that at presentations, like these SAMP Community Meetings, you should focus on the –tech- and not the people giving the presentation because: The People –are- the distraction!

And I made the further outrageous claim that, in fact, the Presenters are the –magician- in the act whose job it is to distract you from the –real- information, which I said was ‘the tech’ (the powerpoints, posters, handouts, animations, etc.)

But there’s a bigger picture. So let’s zoom out one more level and I’ll make one final even more outrrrraaaageous claim: It is actually THE ENTIRE MEETING which is the distraction.


Really. You need to understand that something like a SAMP Community Meeting may not just appear ‘useless’, it may never have been intended to be useful to you. In fact, events such as this are designed to be useful to The Port.

Take a moment with that.

Now this does not mean that the meeting may not have some use for you or your fellow residents. It just means that the primary –goal-, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t about –you- at all.

So when you look at anything the Port or the FAA do, you need to consider GOALS! You need to broaden your view and ask yourself “What are -they- trying to accomplish?”

Some practical examples may help make this clearer:

1. The Port’s new web site: They -say- that it’s designed to be more helpful to the public they serve. Good.
a). But it might also have bee updated simply as part of some new Federal or State regulations.

b). It may have been updated to be more attractive to a very different audience. (Chambers Of Commerce, Airlines, Nations, etc.) Even more cynically?

c). They might’ve made it –look- prettier, while making the underlying information even harder to unearth.

2. Noise Monitoring/Complaint Systems: The Port may indeed want to make their systems easier to use and the data more clear. On the other hand, the Port has –nothing- to do with airline compliance or fines. Federal law requires them to have a system so they have it. But beyond that? They could care less whether the data is clear or the forms are easy to use or whether or not you feel heard. They may just make the web site prettier or recommend an iPhone App simply to get you off their back. They have no –incentive- to actually do a better job at noise measurement or complaint processing. Their -real- incentive is simply to get you to engage more with that system.

3. New Terminal Options: The Port spent exactly zero percent of their first Community Meeting discussing the new terminal. There are three (3) very different options on the table. And yet, every aspect of those options will have an impact on your neighbourhood. I’d be curious to know if anyone at that meeting saw any handouts explaining the pluses and minuses of each option. ALL I saw were those drawings. What does this mean? If you’re a trusting person, you might think that their team simply hasn’t had time to put that together. Another type of person (me 😀 ) assumes that there are no coincidences and that they didn’t have more information because if they had had more information, some pesky resident (like you) might have asked questions about them… and that would have ruined their whole ‘flow’.

SUMMARY: As I said last time, you have to consider that everything the Port is presenting is -intentional-; it’s designed to keep you focused on the wrong things. This time I wanted you to consider that even things the Port is doing, supposedly to help the community, may not simply be designed to be ineffective, but are ALSO designed to work -against- the community. The PR and ‘help’ systems are also part of the damage the Port does to the communitiy–just like the planes! And THAT is tougher to swallow. But you have to try otherwise you can’t fight back.

So the next question gets back to ‘goals’. What does the Port get out of all these efforts? And -why- would they go to such lengths to trick the community? There’s a LOT more to it than just distracting the airport communities and we’ll get into it next time.

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