When it feels as though your life is about to change, it is easy to feel stressed. Our anxiety is amplified through social media, where facts quickly become misleading. We buy into the tension, the craziness, and unfiltered noise, making it even more chaotic. It feels as though the right thing to do is to join in on the unease. But it’s not! The chaos will get worse if you amplify it, consider a different path. First- Take a step back to see what the motives of the individual or group had who began the conversation. Then- politely back off the downward spiral and seek knowledge through resources you choose to base your own opinion.
You will see that there is a motive with a personal vendetta to gain support for a cause. The individuals (or groups) have no reason to correct false narrative as the dialog furthers their ambitions. Soon five becomes fifty, and suddenly fifty is merely a starting point. About halfway through the storyline, facts no longer exist. Then base your opinion through personal research and fact-finding.
It isn’t beneficial for you to join the existing conversation with your new-found understanding as those in the group have made up their minds. You only amplify their anxiety pushing the conversation further from reality. Simply start your new group dialog, making sure you state the facts with empathy for those who feel adversely affected. Don’t feel bad if your new group isn’t significant; theirs isn’t either. The noise makes it seem more noteworthy than they are. The silent majority is called that for a reason.
A real-world example in play is the Olympia Hills development in the southwest corner of the Salt Lake Valley. Lorin Palmer, a person whose backyard is a corridor to the vacant land, has created a firestorm of misinformation. If you were to believe half of the story portrayed, no one would want the development. Knowing where the motives for the disruption come from, it is easy to step back to see what is happening. Palmer isn’t the only person with personal ambitions, there are elected officials who are using the emotion to gain attraction. Their stories gain power because of the stress in the community, which is heightened by existing traffic conditions, not land-use planning.
Now look at the facts:
From the information shared by the anti-development group, you would think tens of thousands of people will show up tomorrow crowding streets and filling public spaces. The fact is, the timeline for development, which assumes a healthy and robust economy, is that the phasing will take us into and beyond 2037. Seventeen years! The traffic studies show that long term planning reduces traffic congestion through the construction of new highway and roadway systems.
We are in a critical housing crisis, with home purchases being unattainable for many of our residents today. Affordability isn’t discriminatory as it is affecting all ages of our citizenry. We are living in historical times where home builders are unable to meet the market demands. The formation of family units (natural and in-migration) has outpaced housing creation pushing home prices out of reach for many.
We value homeownership. The benefits are profound and long-lasting attributes of healthy communities. Employers seek areas where their employees can purchase homes, knowing the workforce is more stable, harder working, and inclined to contribute to the local area. Our economic growth and stability can only be maintained when citizens who desire can attain their dream of ownership or can find a meaningful rental within their budget.
Not too long ago, a small group of similar-minded people hoped that there would be no more growth in the area where these antagonists now live. Yet here they are, and now that they enjoy the benefits derived from prior strong elected leadership—who voted against the minority then—they now want the doors closed to others.
The development has committed that a minimum of ten percent of the new housing will be built for residents earning less than the area median income and that five percent will be built to the average. These are our workforce residents, our children, and grandchildren as they start in life’s adventure wanting to live where they grew up.
In direct opposition to the feelings we gained from the misinformation, we now will likely support the development knowing the truth. That is why the elected officials Mayor Wilson, and council members Shireen Ghorbani, Jim Bradley, Arlyn Bradshaw, Michael Jensen, Ann Granato, and Max Burdick voted in support; they knew the facts.