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Friday, June 3, 2011

Town Hall at PHS

The Town Hall Meeting at Portsmouth High School on June 2  featured many guest speakers who gave presentations and reports about the progress of the fight against prescription drug abuse in Scioto County.  Many thanks to all those who organized the meeting as an evening full of pertinent, up-to-date information. A good crowd in attendance listened to many speakers including state representatives Dr. Terry Johnson and Danny Bubp. The meeting was a wonderful success.

Before the meeting began, the crowd milled in private discussions and the press took an opportunity to interview various officials. The meeting, scheduled to begin at 6:00 P.M., was delayed as people continued to gather at P.H.S. One very brief incident occurred before the actual start of the meeting (about 6:20 P.M.). It was very minor, but I feel obliged to report about it today.

A gentleman in the crowd stood and made a brief announcement to all. He emphatically said, "Excuse me, it's 6:15 and this was supposed to start at 6, but I see there's too many photo-ops going on." He was told by means of public announcement that the meeting would begin very shortly, and he sat down and waited a few more minutes. During the time he was sitting, a couple of people spoke to him, and he left the Town Hall before it actually began.

This was a very unfortunate incident. The vocal man in the crowd is actually one of the key people who, with the help of his very artistic brother, designed the much heralded and visited "ground zero" Martings window SOLACE Memorial Display. In fact, the centerpiece of the work, the "Be the Wall" props, were created thanks to the two men. The Scioto Rx Task Force and the Scioto County community owe much to these innovative, gracious people. They should be recognized for their fantastic contributions.

While I am on the subject of the Martings Memorial, I would also like to give props to Cindy Richards. She originated the idea of displaying in the window and worked tirelessly to see the memorial become a reality. I don't know if she has ever been mentioned in the many reports concerning the wall. Thanks so much, Cindy.

I am very sorry that such a turn of events took place at the Town Hall. Knowing all involved (organizers and this particular attendee), I'm sure nothing negative was intended in the course of actions. Everyone was trying to facilitate the meeting, and the unfortunate delay just materialized as complications and gaffes often do. Still, I am sad about it.

My personal opinion is that important meetings should begin on time. I am not one who fancies "fashionably late" appearances or tardiness. In the case of the Town Hall, with the tremendous number of speakers coming from great distances, some leeway probably should be given. However, I do understand the value of "delivering promises" of promptness due to personal time constraints of attendees. Maybe we all should pay stricter adherence to these matters in the future. After all, the attention to the public must always our main concern. 

As far as the "photo-ops" message is concerned, I too believe these opportunities, although essential to the movement, must be secondary to the "meat and potatoes" of group business. Undoubtedly, some of this activity was going on prior to the Town Hall, but I think it is almost impossible to tell if the delay was caused solely by the press coverage. Again, in the future, more consideration for the crowd might be taken. For example, the press may be given a time slot before or after the schedule of the meeting to conduct interviews, to take photographs, and to film reports. Adherence to such policy may also better serve the public in attendance.

Today, I want to report that the Town Hall Meeting was a great success. In no way do I want my blog comments to cast a dark shadow upon anything that happened during the meeting. The event was planned and executed very well. I was very glad that Fix the Scioto County Problem of Drug Abuse Facebook Group was part of the agenda, and I want to thank those in charge for allowing me to share my comments. I also want to thank everyone who attended the Town Hall. Even though it did start a little late, I hope all enjoyed the opportunity to hear from so many involved in the movement to fight rx drug addiction. 

My friend, I am sorry you left the meeting. I hope you hold no ill feelings. I do understand your frustration with the opening of the meeting. I sincerely hope you realize that minor goofs and delays were not the intention of any of those involved in organization. We all are fighting for the same cause. I pray you return soon.
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