Zoom, Zoom, Zoom…

Police Chief (and CAO) Darren McConnell in the spotlight

There are at least three important public meetings slated for this week on the borough calendar; A Police Public Forum, a council Workshop meeting and a Master Plan “Update Session.

Police Public Forum, Monday @6.00pm: Given the last few days’ tragic events – there were four “mass-shooting” events yesterday, Sunday, alone – it’s good to see the local PD reacting and holding a public forum. But where else in the world are the police having to hold meetings like this to reassure the community that our children are safe at school, and in reality what comfort the Chief can give? We’ll see…

Council Workshop, Wednesday @6.30pm: An open (in-the-room) plus Zoom “hybrid” meeting so take your pick. From the Zoom participants’ point of view, there are still built-in obstacles to openness and involvement, and there is also a need for the chair to understand basic meeting protocols… assuming the borough uses meeting orders.

Anyway, there is as yet, no agenda published, so who knows what is coming up? Although I assume the usual apparatchiks will be fully briefed in time.

EDIT: the workshop meeting agenda has become available since this article was written >>> Agenda20220608

Master Plan Public Meeting, Thursday @6.30pm: At last, the Master Plan Show! According to the borough website, the meeting is to:

  • Hear about the Master Plan process
  • Get an overview of the draft existing conditions report
  • See feedback from the virtual workshop, including community priorities

Personally, I shall be interested to know how data about “existing conditions” has been compiled, and see (sic) feedback from the “virtual workshop“, an occurrence of which I have remained totally unaware. And when has the community ever been asked about priorities?

I trust this isn’t referring to the “questionnaire” which sought community responses, limited to 200 characters – fewer than a tweet, about topics pre-determined by the “consultants“.

I understand some residents were selected and invited to “focus” groups, but in my experience – I was asked – the focus was very limited and seemed to be centred on the priorities of the local great and good, rather than a “Master Plan”, micro-managing a dangerous street, rather than looking at the whole issue of the condition of the borough’s streets in terms of all traffic, maintenance, security, environment and equity, for example. Don’t be surprised to see new lights or a crosswalk recommended for Riverside Avenue, while the rest of Red Bank’s vehicular traffic woes go unsolved.

That kind of sums up the work towards a master plan. Climate change and other global factors such as population mobility, fuel cost, pollution, etc., have to be prepared for at a local level, but there is little sign that these life and society-changing forces will be addressed. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

PS: Has anyone ever seen the brief the borough presented to the “consultants” to define what the council wanted? Just asking for a friend…

Author: Alan E Hill
Stranger in a strange land

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *