What does "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Smell No Evil, Say No Evil" school board member Cecily Kinnane have to say on this? Why, nothing, of course; she's too busy trying to figure out how she got a math degree from an Ivy League school and still didn't have even the teensiest little clue that those test scores might be just an itsy bit funky.
Or she's in hiding, trying to figure out how in 2 years she can rewrite history to convince the voters she led the fight for reform instead of being Chief of the Beverly Hall Nod Squad.
If it's good enough for Cecily, I'm against it.
The Garden has been quite conscious of its public image as it has solicited and distributed praise for the project; it would be appropriate for them to assume responsibility for the human tragedies that ensued in equal measure. It would be both the right thing to do and - by the way - good PR.
But it's not likely, I think, given the approach and attitudes exhibited by Ms. Matheson during the community process. Whatever the skill sets were that got her the job, they didn't include listening to or establishing any rapport with those who didn't support her unequivocally. It's a shame; the Garden didn't have to end up alienating such a huge block of Atlanta's citizenry. Her contempt for any alternate viewpoints and her obliviousness to how arrogant and uncaring she looked galvanized and transformed the opposition. She became the recruiting poster for those who opposed the project.
In that respect the opponents - if not the park itself - may have had the last laugh. Once considered a rising star in the field, Ms. Matheson now appears to be an aging albatross around the Garden's neck. They can't begin any community rapprochement with her there, and no one else wants her.
I've watched Watson for years. He's the quintessential "go along to get along" politician.
Our favorite Watson moment was his paid shilling for the deck in Piedmont. I had friends who were pro-deck right up to the moment Watson stood in front of an all-black southside NPU and said "They" (later parsed to mean the neighborhoods around the park who opposed the deck) don't want people like "you" (southside black Atlantans) in "their" (the northeast again) community, but "we" (his client, the Garden) think it's "your" park too and "you" shouldn't let "them" (the racists of Morningside, Virginia-Highland, Candler Park, etc.) keep "you" out.
It was pretty standard-issue pronoun-based race-baiting, but what made it great was the immediate follow-up and (unanswered) challenges to Watson from the local city council member: If these neighborhoods were full of and dominated by ugly racists, why had he chosen to live among them in Morningside for years? Could there be other reasons for opposing the deck than race? Could Watson be supporting it because he was being paid to do so?
In terms of Watson's effectiveness, note that the NPU in question voted unanimously to oppose the Deck, though to be fair, it may be that his use of pronouns was so convoluted and confusing that the citizens were as much baffled as offended.
Reconcile that overall performance with the adjectives used in your endorsement. Watson's major attribute is being soft-spoken; if you want someone who won't rock the boat, he's the man.
But I don't think this is the time and the place for that, and I hope that "we" will join "them" in choosing a better candidate.
Atlanta City Guide
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