Comment 51883

By adrian (registered) | Posted November 18, 2010 at 20:45:32

I'm not entirely certain where I stand on the entire issue myself, but I do feel that if city staff - like Anna Bradford - were able to entirely avoid negative consequences for everyone, while achieving their goal of a better Farmer's Market, they would have done so - but in the real world, easy decisions like that don't exist.

Realitycheck asked, "Does anyone else find it strange that the market was redesigned in a way that tenants would be forced out?" To me, this is the most vital question. At some point, early in the process, the decision to have fewer stalls was made. By whom is not clear to me (although perhaps it's on record). In any case, once this decision was made, this situation was inevitable.

What this shows is that decisions that have a substantial public interest need to be framed as such right from the beginning. When plans for the market were being developed, did anyone, at any point, stand up and inform the public that the direction they were heading in was one where there would be fewer stalls, and that would mean, inevitably, that certain popular stallholders would be removed from the market?

Now that we're in this situation, we likely really are left with rule-based criteria. Some are subjective (e.g. "Degree of innovative expression ") and some are not (e.g. "Local Hamilton Farmer "). In a situation like this, decisions that are made on the basis of emotion are incredibly subject to accusations of bias, unfairness, influence, and so on. To avoid that, and in the interests of fairness, we're left with the rules. To me, that means if we wish to help people like Julia Serna, we need to revise the rules. For instance, perhaps there should be some additional criteria (and these could be subjective, objective, or both):

  • Degree to which owner depends on stall for their livelihood
  • Popularity of the stall amongst market goers
  • Extent to which removal of the stall has negative consequences on persons dependent on the stallholder
  • Etc.

On the other hand, the first criterion is to have completed the application, which is worth a whopping 25 points. Hopefully all of the worthy stallholders who are not in the current group did so.

Edit: Ryan, for the life of me I can't remember the Markdown syntax for links. It drives me crazy - I always mix up the parantheses. Can regular HTML anchor tags get added to a whitelist?

Comment edited by administrator adrian on 2010-11-18 19:53:20

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