Thursday, July 31, 2008

The titanic battle of press conferences

Stephen Devoto describes the dueling press conferences this week in Middletown as "weird bookends."

On Monday, Congresswoman Rosa Delauro held a private meeting with concerned citizens and local government officials to address the issues surrounding the proposed Army Reserve Training Center in Middletown. The press was locked out of the meeting, and in the case of Middletown Press reporter Sloan Brewster, asked to leave when she had the audacity to enter the room during citizen testimony. A press conference was held after the meeting complete with a podium that held the official seal of the US Congress.

Today, the Army Corps of Engineers will return a volley with press conference of their own, which is "press only" and not open to the public, or to public officials. In fact, when questioned, the Army representative indicated that members of the press will be asked to show credentials - something which rarely happens outside of top-security visits from high heads of state.

According to an article in yesterday's Middletown Press by Brewster, the Army seems a bit confused as to the resistance they are encountering. Still, they seem adamant that the Boardman Lane site is perfect for their needs. A large contingent of townspeople, and elected officials happen to disagree.

In town, there's an official position that the Army is welcome, if they will consider building on two recommended sites (one on River Rd, and one on Saybrook Rd - both technically in Maromas), or on another site, owned by Pratt and Whitney, on River Road.

Still, there are many in town opposed to the construction of the training center in Middletown, anywhere, because it is one more large parcel off the grand list, and a parcel which will then be outside of local regulation. I'm one of those who think the Army should look elsewhere.

As for how this will all be settled? It appears that at least part of it will be argued in the press.

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