Our Voice: Enough of uncivil discourse
by Press Editorial Board
Oct 18, 2013 | 9968 views | 13 13 comments | 525 525 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The First Amendment is the bedrock of journalism and the foundation of our ability as citizens to criticize those in power without fear of retribution.

Perhaps the founders should have included a niceness clause.

Public discourse about the future of the Tracy Municipal Airport, the runway length and the ability of developer Les Serpa to build more homes in his Ellis project turned decidedly divisive at the City Council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 15.

People stood up in the audience or shouted their disagreement while others were at the podium. Others used their Brown Act mandated time to speak to make derisive remarks about the quality of others’ characters. Still others complained that they were called names and their honor was impugned, only to turn around and list their accuser’s character deficiencies.

There was no attempt to listen or collaborate and find common ground in the best interest of the community. "My way or the highway" seemed to be a theme for most parties.

The result of literally five hours of name-calling, insinuations and backbiting was that all parties dug in their heels on their positions and the community was robbed of informed compromise that might serve all parties.

Should we not leave all the name-calling, vendettas and circus-like shenanigans to people who do it best — Congress?

We expect more from those who would lead or advise our local leaders. We bet the rest of the community does, too.

Comments
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behonestguys
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October 18, 2013
From what I saw on TV,the Greek was the most reasonable. He admitted he "broke bread" with Les twice (who last admitted having lunch with a developer to discuss a project in public - obviously nothing to hide there) told him both times not to mess with the airport (Les admitted breaking bread twice, but couldn't remember anything else from his conversations) and Nicolai saw how Ellis made sense as part of the path of development. He also pointed out that Les still had a project based on 4000 feet, which is what he agreed to in his revised project. So what's the problem - leave the airport alone and just build based on its current parameters. Then we can start focusing on more important stuff.
chickpotpie
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October 18, 2013
How funny behonest. I thought the greeks made a saying: never look a gift horse in the mouth. Not just greeks, but I guess everyone. When folks talk out both sides, u need 2 listen.

I think he started out by admitted writing an article opposing Ellis and heres the catch, then started saying he had lunch and it waz all ok now. He has lunch with Les twice before or after the articles? Uh?

Funny thing. I guess well assume the article came first. Then came out a Tsukapolis connection in city meeting.. oops.. All of a zudden ..kasham. He is up there saying he is having Thai and leaving Mark to eat his own burger. I guess he is still welcome over at Daves place? LOL.

I guesa that guy is all over the place now. But hey, he said, hez jus a country lawyer. I guess that means he is jus now a free agent like Roger?

Only way to tell is stay tuned cuz with some people, ya hear em talk but ya wont know what to believe.
backinblack
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October 18, 2013
dd35376, The TP Staff made Congress, thus the federal government part of the editorial, not I. If you don't mind allowing me to choose what part of the editorial I comment on, I'll gladly provide the same courtesy to you.

Vic get's it, TP's reference to Congress makes the entire article come across as a hack piece with an agenda a la a few former Town Criers. Ask yourself, if TP wanted to stick to a local subject, why did they feel the need to include their comment about Congress? I'll help, it was an intentional dig.

For what it's worth, since the hopefully permanent departures of amlee/lovemylifemore, cathlab/bookhater, debbdaves, and others of their ilk, this website has reached a degree of civility I have not seen for awhile. It still has a ways to go, but it is better, at least in my opinion.
dd95376
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October 18, 2013
To the people commenting: First, the issue is the city and not Obama or Reid or Cruz. Second, let us keep the comments civil - a nice opportunity to show that it can be done. Third, we are now seeing how Surland's money to support certain candidates is now paying off, despite the good judgment of the county and eventually the state. If Ellis is that important for Tracy and for a few elected officials, by all means let us rid ourselves of the airport and the gravel pits (they are dusty) and anything that might bring Surland land values down. It is too bad that Mr. Serpa bought the wrong land. We, however, do not have to bail him out.
chickpotpie
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October 18, 2013
If u dont like livin near an airport dont assume everyone is the same. I used to live near an airport and loved the place. I especially miss the airobatic box. I just love watching them up there. Some evenings we would sit at the end of the runway and watch them come and go. I dont understand people who dont like airports telling other people we cant love living somewhere, just because they would be unhappy livin there.
fortheunderdog
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October 22, 2013
for cpp, It's ok for people to want to live near an airport but once the noise begins to bother them I'd rather not listen to them belly-ache to the city council that it's too noisy. I like watching the aerobatics too but not for an entire weekend, every weekend. So if people do happen to purchase a home at the end of the runway, please don't complain about the noise after a couple of months or years. It was, after all, your choice.
victor_jm
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October 18, 2013
There are people who enjoy living like sardines in a can. There are people who don’t enjoy living like sardines in a can, who like open land, who enjoy tranquility and solitude, who enjoy a quiet night of sleep without having to listen to a neighbor’s dog barking for an hour at 2 a.m.

Now, our economics isn’t about the people who enjoy tranquility and solitude. Our economics is about expediency and efficiency. It is about sardine living, about a particular tempo of life most of us must ultimately submit to as more open area is “densified,” and because of this, the bias of our leaders, in spite of their proclamations otherwise, is with those entities that best promote dense, high-speed living.

Interesting how we accept this fate as if it were our destiny. Don’t fool yourselves; we often have just a handful of people who dictate the conditions and contingencies of our lives.

The author(s) of the above article invalidate their understanding of “the gestalt of everything” with this ridiculous comment:

Should we not leave all the name-calling, vendettas and circus-like shenanigans to people who do it best — Congress?

JustinKeepSwimming
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October 18, 2013
I actually came away with a new look at Tracy politics. With the exception of the bald cop on the council, who allowed himself to be led by the catholic lawyer, I felt their behavior was exemplary. And after 20 years of Les just taking the catholic lawyer's tactics, he stood up and said some eye opening statements. One is that the catholic lawyer did not go after the other two developers in 20 years. Second is that we see he actually cares about the airport and tries to reach out. He may not be perfect, but the Tracy Press has never lifted a finger to let the community know any of this, to the best of my knowledge.

I cannot see myself going back to the Catholic Church after the catholic lawyer and the Greek lawyer, who control both the bald headed cops made such a mockery of our town for 20 years. I'm sorry, but both bald headed cops should know better. One of them was so confused, he could not even vote. And when he finally did he still sided with the catholic lawyer who called down holy righteous indignation to justify his un-pope like behavior.

Finally, I won't be back to the Catholic Church until this is addressed by the dioceses. We should not accep this in community or body.
JustinKeepSwimming
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October 18, 2013
We have been, are, and forever shall be tired of the tree huggers (that term was used by the Greek lawyer, not me).

me-here
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October 18, 2013
just keeps... you have me more confused by your comment than I was at the Council meeting. Which bald headed cops, which catholics....and in my opinion, the only confused one on the council was Ms. Young.

The ying yang over the lenth of the airport was way too long...not that hard to decide if you want to appease Serpa or get the money from the FAA. What was really interesting was the agreement or non-agreement with Serpa causing rise to a $50K check received and deposited by the City. Was it "rent" for the airport or payment for the "non-agreement" Agreement?

More of the public should attend the Council meetings. This is reality.

JustinKeepSwimming
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October 18, 2013
If you ever been to the Catholic Church you would know who the catholic lawyer is. I think the Greek lawyer said he also broke bread with AKT and I think that's why he admitted breaking bread with Les. It looked like he was replying to Les's comment that he doesn't complain against AKT, because he is Greek. Nancy was the one who looked the most confused to me yes. But I thought she articulated through why she voted and said that she was not a criminal as accused by the catholic lawyer. I'm glad she stood up to him, even if admittedly she did look shocked by those accusations. I would have been shocked if I were her. Totally uncalled for. And in the end it turned out that the airport is not making money and asking Les for loans.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 18, 2013
BIB

While in agreement with th basics of yer comment I'd like ta point out that both what yer comment an th press's article illustrates perfectly is that we can't expect our local an Federal Governments ta behave civilly tawards one another if We The People don't behave civilly tawards one another. In that, at it's base root, our Government is simply a reflection of We The People who, under th Constitution give th Government th power ta rule over us.

In a sense, our government ain't gonna behave any better than th raw materials that create it; namely We The People.

If ya examine th problems in government, Fed or Local, at th root of th problem ya will find We The People.

So when yer pointin fingers an callin names in government, that's what yer doin ta yer frends an neighborin citizens who ALL allowed th problem ta manafest itself in th first place.

It seems that our entire society, governmental an citizenry, have socially digressed ta th point of two cowardly school yard bullies hurling insults at each other over stupid thangs like who's father is better or who's mother wears combat shoes. Truly a pitiful display from people who should be ciivilized adults.
backinblack
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October 18, 2013
Congress? Seems to me Obama, Pelosi, & Reid are the biggest offenders when it comes to name calling, vendettas, and circus like shenanigans.

If you guy's pay attention most members of Congress act with civility, so how about narrowing down your accusations to the specific uncivil members?

Wait, I know, because most of the uncivil

behavior is on the side of Obama and his obsequious cohorts on the left. Problems cannot be fixed if cowards are unwilling to acknowledge the crux of a problem.

Granted, all corners of the political spectrum are at times guilty of incivility but to any reasonable person who pays attention, most of the name calling, vendettas, hate mongering, etc comes from the left.

TP Staff, how about writing an editorial showcasing every uncivil thing Obama has said since the start of his original campaign for president? I wont hold my breath waiting.


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