I went to the Holiday Inn on Hurstbourne Parkway last night as a boy of a correspondent, generally aware of the implications of the public forum on the Ohio River Bridges Project but somehow expecting to remain unblemished by the circus at hand. I left as a man…. with a headache.
Being a recent college graduate return to our fair city, I have tried to stay updated on the continuing saga on the ‘bridges that could’ but I’m suddenly aware of how serene it was to watch events unfold from a much safer distance. I experienced everything I expected to last night, hearing from project representatives and concerned citizens on both sides of the debate, but what I was completely unprepared for was the degree to which I was to be “sold” on the project itself.
Walking into the convention area of the Holiday Inn, I was at first asked to sign in with the other public speakers, but after identifying myself as part of the media I was quickly handed off to Bob Lauder, a VP at Doe Anderson public relations firm to be formerly introduced to the proceedings. As featured at the top of this post, I was shown to a conference room lined with various charts and statistics, replete with project representatives and engineers to explain them to me, that everything might suddenly become clear.
“Great,” I thought, thinking to come out on the other side an expert on the topic. “My brain!” I thought, coming out on the other side of the room 30 minutes later, my mind ready to burst with mock-ups and data.
Here’s is where I have to apologize for the lack of technical information in this piece, for I honestly feel I now know infinitely more, and yet understand infinitely less about the project as a whole. Jumping from one eager engineer or Doe Anderson representative to the next, I can’t deny that the underlying purpose of the project’s presentation was to inform, but I suspect that it might have also been to overwhelm.
If the intent of last night’s Kentucky-based forum on the Ohio River Bridges Project was to educate then I suppose it succeeded, but if it was also to induce understanding amongst its participants then I can’t help but call it a beautifully orchestrated failure.
But wait, there’s more! Stay tune for my run-ins with more than one interested and interesting parties in part 2 of my crash course in the OBRP.