Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Reversal of Fortune in A Virtual World

In an amazing reversal of fortune, staunch defenders of the infamous Sunland Tujunga debacle: "Food Truck Night" (FTN)  have completely reversed their stand and removed their support of the hotly debated weekly event to join the side calling for the strong control of, or complete dismissal of, the event. Prominent community activists who previously attended every FTN and deliberately stood in view of passing traffic to show their patronage and support of FTN are now calling for "picket signs" and an organised effort against the Sunland Tujunga Chamber of Commerce who created Food Truck Night.

Recently 'talks' between two rival groups: one for the CofC and support of the Food Truck Night and the other for the merchants (brick and mortar stores) to contest the FTN, faced each other in a 'standoff' and ended the meeting in conflict and disagreement. The primary battle ground for this controversy exists in the virtual world as Facebook pages are created by the score to discuss talking points primarily with those of like mind. Facebook members of opposing views are either denied membership in the page and prevented from posting their views or are challenged by the majority in packdog behavior until every view but the one the page is devoted too is silenced. Excellent ideas for solution to the conflict are shredded without consideration.

The Meeting of Twelve as the talks between six merchants and six Chamber of Commerce members is popularly called, was mediated by a professional assigned to guide the talks by Councilman Alarcon. No record of the talks has been produced so any reports from participants is suspect as none agree on what was discussed, concluded, or carried over for further discussion. In fact the talks have been so hotly debated on Facebook by both sides that further talks may not be possible. Any invitation by the Chamber to 'discuss this face to face' (in the real world) is dismissed with suspicion by Facebookers who want an answer on the medium they have become accustomed too.

In truth, there is a third "member" of this controversy who is hammering at the virtual door of the meetings for admission. The General Public has not been represented in any formal discussion and is the driving force behind the social media use of multiple Facebook pages as they find a marginal way to air their views. More than that however, is the final straw in this huge pile of very real controversy: every Wednesday night hundreds of happy customers greet the food trucks with enthusiasm and buy the wares offered there; they have no idea what a brou-ha-ha this is. They do not participate on little-known Facebook pages; they consume goods in a real world and vote with their attendance. Their innocent delight is the one element of honest opinion expressed without rancor or agenda. They will be the ones who suffer the consequences of decisions made in ether.

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