In Douglas Adams’ classic The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, moments before the Earth is demolished to make way for a hyperspace express route, the alien in charge tells the outraged humans they should have known.
“All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint,” says the peevish Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council.
“What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light years away … I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that’s your own lookout.”
The ultra-bureaucratic Vogon doesn’t get it. And neither, it seems, do administrators at the Langley school district, who were caught off guard when Routley residents strenuously objected to the district canceling plans for a school in their neighborhood.
The superintendent pointed out the Routley site has not been in the school district capital plan since 2008. The information has been on the district website for anyone who wanted to have a look.
And parent were consulted, too – the minutes of a parents advisory committee meeting prove it.
The problem is, many of the people who bought houses in Routley did not belong to a PAC because they didn’t have kids in school at the time. It seems they were trying to plan ahead by buying in a neighburhood where a school would be ready about the time their children would be school age.
They didn’t learn the plan had changed until a sign went up announcing the site would instead be used for townhouses.
There is a legitimate case to be made for a land swap that would allow the district to acquire a much-needed school site elsewhere, but the way it was announced has overshadowed that discussion.
To insist, as the district has, that proper notice was given may be technically correct. But for the parents caught unawares it probably feels like trying to reason with Vogons, creatures the Guide describes as not “actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous…”
– Langley Times