Final Thoughts on Commenting @ the NEJAC Hybrid Public Meeting July 26, 2023

Hola a todxs:

First a little bit of self congratulations for the *Anthropocene Alliance*.
Not only did esteemed climate activist and member Ruth Santiago provide
powerful testimony during the stakeholder section, but both Wanda Rios of
Asociación de Residentes de La Margarita, Inc. and myself were 2 of the
first 3 people seated for public comments. *Huzzah for the alliance!*

Anyway, I ended up with the honor to kick off the public comment section.
Keep in mind, as I describe this each speaker only has 3 minutes, 180
seconds. So when I hadn’t finished the first page of my 3 and half page
comments, I knew I was in trouble. 😦 My challenge was to communicate
recommendations to the panel on issues regarding infrastructure and
capacity development needs for Puerto Rico post hurricanes. And why hadn’t
organizations applied for assistance before.

At 1:30 I started editing my comments on the fly as I was reading. Keeping
an eye on the clock I begin to only hit the highlights. As time hit 3:00ish
I was asked to finish up. 😥 I had got through most of our advice but
hadn’t got to why help had not been requested. Jumping entire paragraphs,
now I was asked to finish again. 😨 Which I casually inserted: “I have just
a few more points.” Cheeky. 😎 I was a few sentences from closing when they
cut me off. 😳 I did slip in a thank you before they switched off my mic. 😇

Both testimonies that followed were both long. But I admit, I took full
advantage of leading off. Everyone was immediately reminded to stick to the
3:00 minutes. I’m sorry for that. I should have *practiced more*…🙄 but I
did learn a few other lessons.

– If you are going to provide public comments in person, *address
exactly what is being asked*. I spent too much time justifying and not
enough time answering just the questions asked.
– The second, which I learned from Wanda, if you are going to speak, *make
it forceful*. You can even raise your voice a little for emphasis!😮

I’ve cut down what I took to read, to just the basics. I think I could have
finished this 2 and half page version. It is attached.

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