Give Us a Whole Cashew, Not Semantics

George Will once said, “Creative semantics is the key to contemporary government; it consists of talking in strange tongues lest the public learn the inevitable inconveniently early.”

Lest the public learn the inevitable inconveniently early.

We’ve heard time and again words saying, “No city hall in Lake Forest.”

The question was raised about what’s being built in Lake Forest, largely due to this new construction.

And here’s one answer:

However, saying “new public works, a walking trail, a small pond” is not completely accurate. The information is public but you have to really dig to find it. Here is a list of all offices being built and moved there:
Public Works
Economic Development
Building and Codes
Planning
Engineering
Water Billing
Information Technology / IT
Shared Spaces (e.g., meeting rooms, break room, etc.)
Vehicle Parking and Storage

The first building currently being proposed:

It’s a T-shaped building where the top 2/3 left hand side is public works and right hand side going to IT and engineering. The leg of the T is a two-story building with the bottom floor being used for water customers to drop off bills (or sign up / cancel service) and people to drop off “design” applications and plans. Alderman Waldron asked if the design would allow for more offices to come later, specifically if they could build “up” by adding more floors. The architect said the land is big so more buildings can be added later, but also said they can build up to add more offices.

The following offices are (for now) scheduled to remain at current city hall. Or at least the city hasn’t gone public with these offices moving (for now).
Court
Tax & Finance
Grant Writer
Administrative Offices

The space is being described as a community development service area. Semantics. I would call the Murfreesboro Road City Hall “City Hall 1” and the new office space “City Hall 2.”

Now you can be for or against the project … it’s up to you. However whether you support or don’t support this, our citizens deserve to know the full truth. No one really likes the stems and pieces can of mushrooms, nor do we particularly enjoy cashew halves and pieces. We want the full mushroom, the whole nut. Can the city please please make it easier for the public to see the full plans for this space… stop feeding bits and pieces of the masterplan for this property. (Is this some of the property that was purchased by the city at ABOVE appraised value?)

Here’s where the concern comes from regarding whether this administration is being transparent to citizens. From the CITY WEBPAGE, when you click to search for meetings to watch (for example, I typically watch online since direct tv doesn’t carry Channel 3), there’s something missing. Look…

You can’t find the links on the city web page, although all other meetings are here. So our team did some research and found where the “not a city hall” was discussed at meetings. Go to 2:21:30 to see what exactly was discussed. Around 2:39 they discuss why two water billing drive-thru lines are needed. They explained that water billing tends to get backed up when people have billing questions. Cars backing up means heavy traffic in my opinion.

I welcome city officials to provide any updates to these plans. Has anything changed? Anything new going in? Does anything need to be corrected? Why is this video of the meeting not directly linked on the city web page like all the other meetings? No one is arguing that more offices are not needed, but no one likes being spoon fed a trickle of information. Share the information in a place where ALL CITIZENS CAN SEE IT and not just select favored citizens. Please be transparent.

We started with Will Rogers, let’s end with another piece of wisdom, “A politician’s words reveal less about what he thinks about his subject than what he thinks about his audience.”

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