Elected officials need civil discourse
April 30, 2015
OPINION By DEBBIE PETERSON
Disrespect between elected representatives and the public has been a trend statewide.
As a planning commissioner, city council member and the first directly-elected female mayor of Grover Beach, and now as a candidate for District 3 supervisor, this has been a major concern to me.
As leaders we are held to a higher standard. If we do not model best practice, who will? The tone we set is reciprocated in public comment, spills into the community, and sets the standard for our youth.
There are many excellent local examples of public engagement, but citizens still report elected officials who roll their eyes, condescend to colleagues, staff and speakers, make personal attacks and treat any who disagree with their position with contempt, accusing them of partisanship or ignorance.
Community members ask to know their agency contact, where to find the agenda and speaker slips, the order of the meeting, when to speak, and where to see meetings online or on television. They appreciate the board responding to and clarifying their comments. They want to know about commission or volunteer openings. As the link between the board and the district they want to be heard, understood and thanked.
When we seek first to understand we work together better for solutions.
Debbie Peterson is the former Mayor of Grover Beach and a candidate for District 3 Supervisor
in the June 2016 primary