Last night we had our second community meeting about purchasing an abandoned school building from the school district that owns it and turning it into a community center for our little village. The deal is under way. Our one dollar nominal buying cost has been paid. The meeting was to marshal more community support and to disseminate the most recent information. Enter the naysayers.
Our erstwhile community business man with ulterior motives showed up again and, this time, he brought even more reinforcements. Last time around he and his brother tried to convince the community not to buy the building. This time he brought his dad and uncle along for the ride too. Another negative community member was also present who also has ulterior motives for wanting the property for himself. None of the five men had a positive thing to say the entire meeting. They refused any form of monetary support, made doom and gloom predictions and kept pushing for the team heading up the purchase process to divulge an exit strategy for when, not ‘if’ the venture fails (one is in the works but that wasn’t the point of the meeting).
So here we had this group of people last night that was excited and engaged. They were ready to talk about writing bylaws and electing a board for the 501 C3 we’re forming and none of that got done because every time someone tried to move the conversation in a positive direction our five naysayers (there was another community member present who also has ulterior motives for entirely different reasons) stepped in with questions and comments that had no positive spin. Since there is no formal structure in place, it was hard for the meeting leader to control their floor time to speak so they just kept interrupting and jumping in.
People in the community are aware that these five men don’t have the best interests of the community at heart. Those that live in the village know what’s really at play here. They’re not swaying anyone’s opinion. They’re just talking and we’re all hearing it because we’re a captive audience but we don’t agree with them. Unfortunately, their disruptions are hampering the true process and that seems to be their new goal. It sure worked for them last night.
At some point, we need to move forward as a community and elect a board who can then hold formal meetings. Once we’re having real meetings, the naysayers will have to request agenda time and they’ll be limited to a few minutes each to speak their minds. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take negative people and schemers out of the mix entirely?