Gianni Longo holds an Our Smokies, Our Future flyer. (The Herald/ Archived Photo)

By Joe King, king@seymourherald.com

Gianni Longo, the independent facilitator of Our Smokies, Our Future, has a successful record in the field on visioning and urban planning, yet his history in the industry is what seems to concern many Sevier County residents about the process.

Although Longo did not return phone calls nor emails for a week after his first set of responses were published, he did later submit his responses and said he was not trying to be evasive.

“I want to rebuff charges made by Dr. Marc Hayes in installment eight of your series,” Longo began. “He states that a quote on page 58 of a report of the Forum in Barcelona ‘accurately describes’ my position. That attribution is completely false and for four reasons.”

Longo went on to the list four reasons added that he did not write the report and the report is about dozens of presentations made at the conference, it is not a quote of something he said, he does not agree with what the quote says, and he does not believe that way of thinking has any place in modern discussion about how communities should go about thinking about the future.

The quote in question is: The people’s right to the city may be taken away.  At the core of this are the critical resources of land, water, air, and energy.  These elements must jointly belong to the people and should be removed from private control.”

Although many of the questions asked concerned Longo’s participation United Nations sponsored forums, Pastor Rob Bremer’s suggestion of holding a public forum to discuss residents’ concerns regarding OSOF was met with defeat.

Not as part of the OSOF process,” Longo responded. “The OSOF meetings are designed to gather ideas first and to prioritize them after. I believe in the democratic process; however, and if the leaders of the concerned residents strongly believe that such a forum would be helpful, they should organize it, invite the community, and express their ideas and concerns.”

Ed. note: Be sure to check future editions on the Herald for more of Longo’s responses as well as the results of the Nov. 13 Pigeon Forge OSOF forum.