CSG Snaps Back

The Coalition for Smarter Growth seems to think I was wrong to expose their and Jane Lyons’s ethical violations and put out a statement to that effect.

Before they get to attacking me for exposing their dirty laundry, the executive director says he takes “full responsibility” and says that they “have implemented an improved tracking system to ensure such an oversight does not happen again.” It’s great that he takes full responsibility, though it’s unclear that this has resulted in any consequences for him or Jane Lyons.

Nonetheless, they quickly move from taking “full responsibility” to attacking the messenger:

Mr. Lublin’s two posts impugn the reputation of a young and extremely accomplished person — a 2019 graduate of the University of Maryland who has demonstrated utmost integrity in advocating for policies which she and the Coalition for Smarter Growth believe to be important for our collective future.

We believe Mr. Lublin’s attack on Ms. Lyons is driven primarily by his policy disagreements with CSG. Of greatest concern to us is that Mr. Lublin has ignited a round of online harassment and intimidation on Twitter, Facebook, and NextDoor that is is all too common today, as he must certainly be aware.

I don’t see how not registering as a lobbyist in a timely manner demonstrates “utmost integrity” in lobbying. I mentioned Ms. Lyons’s credentials and accomplishments in my post yesterday. It doesn’t explain why she didn’t register or why CSG failed to make sure she did. College educations make people better able to navigate bureaucracy. One reason education is the demographic that best predicts voting is that it gives you the skills to navigate the barriers to getting on the rolls.

In terms of my views, I agree with CSG on some issues and disagree on others. If you summed up my perspective, it would probably be that I agree with the broad thrust of where they want to go but think they are sometimes are overzealous. In any case, it’s a strange and new notion that people can only point out failings on the part on people with whom they agree all of the time.

It’s certainly not an approach that CSG and their allies have taken in their own attacks and would seemingly have prevented them from issuing their own “personal attack” to discredit me. Recently, CSG attacked both an individual homeowner as a hypocrite and anti-Thrive 2050 protestors generally in a press release. And they and their friends haven’t shied away from attacking the ethics of their opponents.

One area I do very much agree with CSG is the lamentable state of social media. That’s why (unlike CSG) I stopped putting out blog posts on Twitter and Facebook. (I’m sufficiently a philistine that I had to look up NextDoor after reading their statement.) While some people manage the rare feat of holding thoughtful discussions, social media promotes incredible negativity and piling on.

Again, I have never seen CSG object when their supporters engage in this behavior and attack people who disagree with them. Today, in fact, CSG Executive Director Stewart Schwartz liked a tweet by former Councilmember George Leventhal (a guy not exactly known for being unwilling to attack people) suggesting that I’m a misogynist. I haven’t seen the harassment of Lyons mentioned here but I hope it is no worse than served to me on occasion. “Politics ain’t beanbag” so I’m not surprised people are unhappy with me on occasion even if, like CSG and Lyons, I might wish they were kinder about it.

I received a polite email from a friend of Lyons telling me that they have found her an ethical and thoughtful person. I don’t know Lyons but I am not surprised that people find her this way. Effective advocates usually are personable and, while CSG and Lyons have their perspective on the issues, they are certainly informed and knowledgeable–as are their opponents. But she and CSG should have been on top of these problems. I’m glad they’ve taken the time to address them.

CSG is an influential, effective organization with tight links over at the Planning Board and the County Council as well with business interests. Indeed, Councilmember Hans Riemer complimented Jane Lyons for “chairing” the discussion on Thrive 2050. Clearly, I’ve stepped on some powerful and influential toes.