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Watch Your Words: Speak Civilly
Valérie Dufort-Roy | Klish Way

I was once told by a beloved neighbor that “Del Mar is the only city where you can jump into your shoes, and head straight to the City Council meeting, if you don’t like what you see on television.” I thought the close-knit community had a lovely way to advance administrative and ideological decisions. A few years back, it seems to have been true. The City Council meetings were a robust demonstration of civic organization, led with respect and decency. We sat as a family with our young child and explained the process to her. While following local issues, we integrated life skills that my child could grow to appreciate. She was cheering for our neighbors when they spoke up about issues that mattered to them.

Watching the Del Mar City Council meetings more recently has been interesting, to say the least. Spouses devoting their lives to bettering the community have been questioned about their integrity, despite the sincere and tireless work they have offered the City. We have witnessed a constant, methodical rupture in the decision-making process, as if teenagers were reacting to their adults, systematically disagreeing with their long-term and experienced colleagues. Repeated heated exchanges in tense tones have become far too common. The rupture is now reflected in the community, lending voice to those who feel that the discord is a license to become disagreeable in the way they disagree. Is it a general malaise that is hovering over the council, or possibly a necessary balancing act for a council that agreed far too easily in the past?

Knowing that 14% of the population is of minority age in Del Mar, do other parents feel that the Council meetings are still showable to young people? Are the tone and behaviors displayed during the meetings family-friendly? Do parents want their children to mirror the deficit in team-work and negotiation skills as seen during our current Council meetings? I don’t!

Our elected officials are the ultimate representation of our town, and should unequivocally commit to represent us in the finest ways. This election season, it might be interesting to hear how the candidates plan on restoring healthy civility and decency to our Council meetings. Our cozy coastal town does not need to mimic Washington’s antics, and even less to experience its divisive repercussions. Our young people, who are future voters and councilmembers, are watching too!

••See our article on page 15.

Or check out our website for The Del Mar Code of Civil Discourse http://bit.ly/civilitydelmar

 

 

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