The UEL Dinner on November 17th on the proposed 25 to 35 story Media Towers (developer Mark Siffin) became a circus in itself.
The forum had a mixed panel to discuss the issue -- With Mr. Siffin himself on it. Nonetheless, the Siffin camp found it necessary to bring protesters to the event, holding signs and chanting in favor of the project. People who were attending simply to learn more about the public policy aspect of the project were made to feel uncomfortable as they walked the guantlet of protestors who seemed determined to inhibit thoughtful dialogue. The developer also filled the room with supporters who did not pay for dinner, but did hiss when something was said against the project. Miami rudeness at its finest!
The UEL has not taken a position for or against the project as our membership is divided. However, an open dialogue should not have been used by the developer's camp as a chance to shut down dissenting opinions. In addition, the developer offered very little of substance to the discussion.
Whereas I am normally very pleased with the quality and substance of UEL's programs,
this one left me with a bad taste -- so much so that I am contemplating asking the UEL Board to
reconsider our policy of free admittance to the program portion of our monthly dinners
I would like to know what others think.
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