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A LETTER TO SOME OF MY NEIGHBORS

This letter is NOT written to our Save East Wilton Manors group, but rather to those in the neighborhood who, for some unknown reason, choose to spread hearsay and fabrications about our cause or intentions in order to divide us. Poco French wrote the following letter after hearing and seeing some of the accuations regarding our leadership and our mission. (If you have not heard them or seen them on the Internet, suffice it to say they range from SAVE EAST WILTON MANORS being a renegade 'vigilante' group to an anti-gay organization to having a political agenda). All wrong at any level.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is my belief that many of you have an incorrect perspective of what is happening in East Wilton Manors. I have known most of you for many years, have respect for you, enjoyed your friendship and listened to you for information about issues and causes that concern you.

Please allow me the same respect and objective hearing.

I am an organizer. I believe absolutely in the ability of a grass roots effort to accomplish the un-accomplishable or stop the strongest foe, more so than any other force in a democratic society. I believe that it is not only my right, but my responsibility to aid, organize, mobilize and make known the beliefs of myself and my like-minded neighbors.

I am one of a group of ten or so organizers of the Save East Wilton Manors movement. Our group began after reading an article in the Sun-Sentinel on July 18th about the proposed development of the G Resort on the Science of Mind Church property. Phone calls to neighbors ensued, voices were raised and a movement began. It is unrealistic to assume that only one individual could have planned, organized and brought about the tsunami force of frightened, angry residents that are the neighborhood members of this grass roots movement.

Frightened? Absolutely. Because we recognize that this kind of development in ANY residential neighborhood will change forever our quality of life, our ability to have a neighborhood setting, and will drive down the value of our properties in an era of already falling values. Our neighbors see the benefits of a tourist driven development such as this in our community as well and anyone in this city and we state over and over again that we support this development in the city. We do not however, see any advantage to it being plopped into the middle of any residential neighborhood. We see outlandishly high prison-like walls facing homes and residential streets; overflow parking from party goers and their debris on our residential streets and in our yards, in our businesses' parking lots; increased crime in our neighborhoods; traffic snarling an intersection that could never handle the increase this will bring to it; and noise, good grief, can you imagine sitting on your deck on a cool Saturday evening with friends and family only to be bombarded with live bands and partying?

Angry? You betcha. Those of us who mobilized this grass roots movement understand that waiting 89 days from the time this was announced until the next general meeting of our neighborhood association was 89 days that this project had to move through the development process unimpeded and unchallenged. Now we are called vigilantes and have whole web sites dedicated to us with silly and inappropriate postings.

I am saddened to see the vilification of this movement. I am saddened to see good friends and neighbors called bigots and anti-gay. I am saddened to witness people I know and love buying into a hateful campaign against a neighborhood of people who have a legitimate concern, have come together to fight for their quality of life, to ensure that their concern will be addressed, and fight for that cause, but most importantly, who have the right to do so.

You may expect to see more red shirts, signs, and angry people. We do not expect everyone to agree with us, but we do expect everyone in this city to respect our right to form, organize and fight. We are not shallow, we are not trivial, we are certainly not vigilantes, we will not be set aside, we will be a force to be reckoned with, and you'd better damn well believe we know how to accomplish our ONLY objective through an organized grass roots effort: save our neighborhood.

~ Poco French

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