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As we move forward on big decisions in our town it seems like a good time to remind ourselves of some guidelines for how we engage one another. Del Mar has an enviable tradition of very vigorous citizen participation in our decision making processes. We tend to feel strongly about how we shape our community whether it be about big issues or sometimes very small issues. The outcomes of these public conversations have produced a town we take pride in.

In an era where the civility of our conversations at the national level has deteriorated dramatically, we need to nurture the quality of our local conversations carefully. The “Tea Party syndrome” of blaming government and demonizing leaders is unbecoming anywhere but especially destructive when our leaders are our neighbors.

For several elections our Council Members have not had to engage in door knocking and debate campaigns but that does not take away from their legitimacy as leaders. They have volunteered to step up and work conscientiously to make good decisions. We owe them our respect. We are fortunate to attract very talented and hard working city staffers. We owe them our respect. Hundreds of citizens have volunteered to serve on city commissions and committees. We owe them our respect. Looking for hidden motives and secret plots is hardly a way to treat hard working conscientious Delmarians.

As we all engage in this wonderful experiment in democratic community building it is important to remember to separate the issue from the person. Fight for the issue but take it easy on the person He or she is your neighbor, your lifeguard, your planner.....


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