Recent stories in the Enterprise about the Tree House business project in Town Neck have demonstrated once again how imprecise English can be; how quickly the wrong impression can be given while being mindful of journalistic brevity. Suddenly, “resident” becomes “neighbors”; the handful of residents who filed suit to stop the project become the Town Neck neighbors. I’m not sure what the actual Town Neck neighbors are now, but apparently, we’ve negotiated a deal with the company and the town. Say what now?
The people who filed suit to try to get their way and kill the project are unknown to a lot of us. But that’s OK as long as Tree House and town officials understand that those people do not in any way represent the “neighbors” of Town Neck. I live a stone’s throw from the Tree House and do not agree in any way, shape, or form, with them. I favor the project. My wife and I both support it.
Over the last few months we have had conversations with about a dozen “neighbors” and, although many are curious about how this is all going to work, none are opposed to the project itself. The handful of residents opposed to the project represent themselves and themselves only. Yet, stories persistently sound as though the neighborhood brought suit to kill or severely alter the developers’ business plan.
In the future I urge the press and town officials to be mindful about how easy it is to mislead the public with a few carelessly chosen words. We have enough problems with public discourse already. Words matter, or they should at least.
William J. Fleming