Memories are funny things.
They resonate different ways with different people. They’ve also been known to play tricks.
I decided to look into one of these potential tricks after being all but called out by name at Tuesday’s City Council meeting by council member Alan Fetty about a recent editorial I wrote.
Fetty, who’s been involved with renovating economic development since the city of Beatrice and Gage County began discussions in early 2011 to start a new group, took issue with my feelings of being shut out of meetings by that group, NGage.
Fetty, who now sits on the NGage board of directors as the council’s representative, expressed his opinion that I was wrong, that the group has been “very accessible.”
This comment was fine with me. Everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion, though apparently some don’t feel the same way toward me.
What struck me was this. Fetty stretched way back to early last year when the city and county first began meeting, and discussed the media being allowed into those initial meetings.
“The press had unprecedented access to these two groups,” Fetty said, “the group that four of us (council members) and four county members started working on. We invited the press to those meetings, and they came.
“We had press there from the beginning. We’ve been open to allow the press there to listen to all of our discussions, contrary to what you may have been lead to believe.”
That’s not how I remember it. My recollection features newsroom discussions of being kept in the dark for many of those early meetings, which got me thinking harder about the foundation of NGage and my memories in comparison to Fetty’s.
An article published in Wired magazine earlier this year took a look at how memories are replayed by our brains.
It stated that we traditionally think of memories like movies; they remain constant no matter how many times replayed. In reality, memories are more like plays; they maintain the same general story arc, though small details change with each performance.
Granted, I’m susceptible to this same logic, so I took a look through some Daily Sun archives and my old notepads looking for a clue of who’s memories were more accurate, Fetty’s or mine. Here’s what I came up with.
Rumors began to swell in early 2011 the city and county were considering merging economic development efforts. During a March 28, 2011, City Council meeting, mayor Dennis Schuster stated members of the City Council and Board of Supervisors had met once regarding economic development, and planned to meet again in the near future.
Both of those meetings were private.
After those two meetings, a press conference was held in April. Two of the nine people from the city and county attended.
From there, my notes indicate being invited to only one meeting leading to a road bump in the process as documented in a Sept. 7, 2011, story, ‘Media inquiry halts economic development.’
As I wrote in the news story, progress had been slowed because the group was held up trying to determine whether the new group’s meetings were legally required to be open to the public.
After that story from one year and a day ago, the restrictions began to loosen. The Daily Sun began to be invited to more economic development meetings. Things did get better from an openness perspective.
Maybe this later timeframe is what Fetty is recalling when he said “from the beginning.”
I disagree. I don't consider September to be the start of what is now NGage as the group was being developed for the better part of 2011.
But I guess memories boil down to our individual perceptions.