Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Chinatown Working Group Town Hall

The Chinatown Working Group plans to hold a Town Hall meeting on the future of Chinatown and its self-determination, hoping to attract more of the local grassroots into the process. I don't see how it'll work. If the grassroots don't attend the meetings now, which are all open and public, what will attract them to a Town Hall based on the same broad mission?

Maybe if they chalk all the sidewalks of Chinatown De La Vega-style with

唐人街 未來:

Chinatown Working Group

People come out for specific issues that affect them. If a Town Hall addressing some such specific issue can offer steps toward problem resolution, the Working Group will acquire a following in the community.

To draw the broad range of the grassroots, they'd have to hold several town halls each on a different issue, and in each case offer the hope of effective change so that attendees don't leave discouraged with the process. Finding those issues is a challenge.

Alternatively, the Working Group can present a range of proposals. Proposals always spark controversy.

I am afraid that if a town hall on "The Future of Chinatown and its Self-Determination" fails to attract any but the usual suspects who already attend Working Group meetings, it will serve only to discourage the Working Group itself.

A sure solution: install a series of really huge, ugly pieces of temporary art in central locations where they obstruct pedestrian traffic. Place the title prominently on them: "The Future of Chinatown -- Chinatown's Self-Determination" and the sponsor: "Chinatown Working Group." Then the only problem for the town hall on Chinatown's Self-Determination will be finding a venue large enough for the crowd.

Years ago my landlord placed an alarm on the door to our roof. Some recalcitrant tenant set it off three nights in a row, keeping everyone in the building up all night. I announced a tenants association meeting and got 100% attendance with only two days' notice.

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