When the Food Trucks arrived I was enthused. It was something new and not just one new choice but 30 trucks at once. Wow. I attended every Wednesday night at first, in order to try several 'gourmet' foods. I had fun. I'd never eaten from food trucks before. I also did not understand why some people wanted to lock arms with me and "be seen at Food Truck Night", in my company. Apparently they thought I represented something.
The Facebook pages lit up in a new Sunland Tujunga controversy. Heading up that discussion is Tomi Lyn Bowling. Its not that Tomi means harm, she does what she deems best for others without consulting them. She is in a position of power when she does this and her views carry weight. She feels she always 'has the good of the community in her heart' while she affects change. When she is questioned she is hurt and the change she championed becomes secondary to her need for validation. Her fans surround her posts with affirmations and the true topic of discussion is lost.
Writers such as myself and Joe Barrett, will drop everything in such a situation as community controversy and become reporters. However, while informing readers all about it, we become part of the story as well. Our voices add weight to differing 'sides'. (Others such as Doc DeMulle, and Joseph Mailander from Los Feliz, deliberately report the side they favor.)
Other vocal community members like Robin Meares, Tom Borquez, Sharon Ratz and Joseph Sheppard weigh in and state their views. As vitally important as it is to hear that brick and mortar stores are determinedly opposing Food Truck Night (and 'why' they are doing so) their reasons are lost amid the sounds of battle. Tom is inspired to write a treatise on the secret meetings which eclipses Tomi's 'whole story'. A new round of controversy wraps itself around what they (and reporters) write, instead of the issue.
Sonia Tatulian, the Chamber President comes out fighting for ground on issues not even on the table for discussion. Personal insults become all that is exchanged and quiet excellent ideas from stakeholders like Cecile Vargo and Abby Diamond are lost like a flashlight in a forest fire.
What happens in this community is every issue is a stage for key players to fight over in order to be important in their own way. Its time for all the usual people to step away from the controversy and let others whose names are totally unknown to the Facebook crowd, take over. Let the quiet merchants who haven't been heard, the CoC members who have no self interest, the community members who have never dared voice an opinion... step up to the plate and take the reins. There are quiet people out there with an opinion... these are your new Unknown Leaders.