Posted on March 17, 2019

Seriously, we pay them to do this?  Part 2 (Part 1 is here.)

The Department of Planning and Zoning is going to have two “Community Workshops” on MAC zoning.  Originally, at the 2/11/2018 Town Council work session, these had been discussed as if they were, in part, legitimate attempts to gauge community sentiment about MAC.  But anyone who looks at the details of these workshops should realize that’s nonsense.  I’ve already covered that here.

And yet, Planning and Zoning will try to sell the Town Council on the idea that they have assessed citizen sentiment, and that Vienna Wants MAC!   Presumably, nobody on Town Council is actually gullible enough to believe that (the Town government’s interpretation of) Post-It notes from whoever attends those workshops is an estimate of typical Vienna citizen opinion about MAC.

My best guess is that this is solely to give cover to the pro-MAC Town Council members who want to rubber-stamp changes to MAC.  Despite the absurdity of it, they’ll treat this as if it is a legitimate attempt to determine citizen opinion, and then use that as cover for railroading the changes through as fast as possible.

But here’s the weird part.  See if you can figure it out.  It’s not just they they are “gauging community sentiment” via interpreting comments on Post-It notes. (After carefully controlling the displays those comments can be attached to.)

It’s equally and weirdly about what subset of the Town’s population they are trying to attract.

And so, we are paying the Town of Vienna employees in Planning and Zoning to …

  • put together little 3-D models of MAC buildings to show how cute they are, and
  • work up virtual reality tours of MAC areas so you can ooh and aah over it, and
  • do life-sized mock-ups of the MAC sidewalk complete with trees, so you can walk down a real MAC sidewalk (bring your stroller!), and
  • have computer-based “workstations” for teaching the party line on MAC, and
  • Facebook-living it, and
  • have models with Duplo blocks (Hey, Kids! Build Your Own MAC Building!), so it can be a
  • family-friendly drop-by outing, and
  • did I forget to say, bring the kids!, because, really, this this is going to be a
  • family-friendly! place to bring your kids and your strollers and learn about MAC.

Now, lest you think I’m making that up to be sarcastic, I’m not.  Much.  Those were all items mentioned at various public meetings this past month.

Does that sound like maybe they are trying to attract a certain subset of the population?  (Separately, does that sound like what you thought you paid Town of Vienna employees to do?)

Not clear to you yet, you say?  You need another hint.  OK, have a look at the ad on the Town’s website:

See if you can put two and two together, and figure out why they are doing this.