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— Laura Freese, San Juan Capistrano 

I believe we are hurting ourselves and our community with the lack of civility that is rampant in San Juan Capistrano these days.

I see it at City Council meetings, when council members are rude and citizens in turn berate the Council members. I hear it when good-intentioned townspeople dispense words of hate like confetti, when describing their point of view or a project they are against.  Demeaning rhetoric is a standard part of social media and public meetings. Falsehoods and lawsuits are commonplace, with passions running at maximum high.

But is it hurting our oasis here in Orange County? Yes, sir.

If nothing else, it is undermining our economic development. Things work better when we work together.  When we have fought the good fight but we have now lost, it is time to work together to mitigate the aura of adversity and bring the community together again.

So, how can we change this aura of hate?

  • Stop the impolite, emotional talk; instead, stress facts and stress what is good.
  • Focus on what is beneficial for the COMMUNITY as a whole, not just an individual’s agenda.
  • Remember that debate is good. It is good to hear different opinions and thoughts.  But hitting below the belt is bad.
  • Lastly, let’s take time to celebrate what is good about San Juan Capistrano and our achievements. We celebrated opening the movie theater in 2009 and the completion of the I-5 interchange in 2013. We should plan more celebrations for all our upcoming accomplishments and even our differing viewpoints.

Our American form of government is based on compromise, which naturally fosters disputes.  These disputes can either undermine our city or, if conducted in a respectful way, can make us a stronger, better community.

In other words: Come on, guys, we are too small a community for hate. We are neighbors and friends.  Let’s work together and make things happen.

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