Thursday, July 31, 2008
Army Corps Press Conference: In which the story gets buried by the story
The Army Corp of Engineers held a press conference today at the Inn at Middletown in which they laid out their reasoning for wanting to build an Army Reserve Training Center on Boardman Lane in Westfield. Only press were allowed at the meeting. The Eye will have a full report on that meeting later this evening.
In declaring "press only" the Army Corps of Engineers unintentionally created a secondary story which will be the lead when this "package" is aired on the suppertime news this evening.
The Corps refused to allow Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, State Senator Paul Doyle, residents of the affected are and other political leaders into the room (though they allowed entry to Attorney General Dick Blumenthal), creating a story in which the Army appeared to be keeping something from the local government, and simultaneously angering the local politicians.
I arrived at the meeting just in time to hear Doyle and Giuliano complaining to the assembled press corps.
As I was leaving, Diane McCartin, who has been the public face of the Corps in these meeting climbed the spiral staircase to the hotel mezzanine to find Mayor Giuliano standing at the top.
"I'm sorry I had to keep you out of the meeting," McCartin said to the mayor.
"It's unfortunate," the mayor replied. "Because no one will hear anything about the facts of the meeting. All they'll hear is that you locked us out of the room."
McCartin then invited the mayor to join her, and some Boardman Lane neighbors to view the presentation she had made to the press. Giuliano followed McCartin and the group of residents into the hotel conference room.