Addressing the City Council

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other ...

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.” Sir Francis Bacon Sr.

Over recent months, I’ve attended every City of Menifee City Council Meeting held at City Hall. During my observance, I have been struck time and time again by the lack of decorum. Not of our City Council Members, all of who serve with dignity and tolerance, but of our citizens addressing the Council. While my shock does not apply to all who have taken the podium, I never cease to be amazed by the rudeness and hostility displayed by many of our Menifee residents. Left in a state of disgust and dismay, I find myself asking, “Why?”

Why would anyone address an elected official, often being half-informed, and hurl insults and innuendos? Why would anyone place themselves in a position of attention and express to everyone in the audience just how narrow-minded and malicious they are? Why would any citizen address any governing body with nothing more than a line from a newspaper article (mind you, not even with the entire context of the article having been read!) and cry foul over something that they don’t even understand?

I’m not speaking of expressing opinions. I realize the importance of such as I am doing just that here and now by writing this article. As a citizen of this great country, I am blessed to have the opportunity to stand on my soapbox and share my vast array of opinions with whoever stops to listen. But in doing so, I realize there is a delicate balance between spewing my opinions and sharing rational thoughts. Emotionally charged accusations may be the way to grandstand and grab attention, but are the audience members really listening? The words coming out of the mouth express one belief to the listeners, but the manner in which is it said expresses even more. My entire life has been spent trying to live by these words:

“Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house... let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta

That being said, I am still left to ponder as to why these opinionated citizens cannot find the ability within themselves to approach the City Council with dignity, honor, and respect. Lack of respect for others only exhibits a lack of respect for oneself.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” Plato

As a long time Menifee resident, I find it highly disrespectful and vulgar to watch the parade of attention-seekers grab the microphone at the podium to spew hatred to my elected council, many simply for their own purposes. I do not believe for one moment that many of these individuals speak out on behalf of anyone but themselves, or a tiny, uninformed minority.

There should be room in everyone’s heart for grace and tolerance. Sharing informed, intelligent ideas and educated opinions are what made this country great from its inception. But it seems we must wade through the muck and mire of ignorance and hatred to chance upon a ray of hope. Where witlessness and rudeness abound, there opens the door for love and tolerance. It seems that I need to make room in my heart to suffer these individuals of which I speak, and understand their limitations.

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  1. I have found that a majority of people living in Menifee seem to be particularly ignorant. Just check out the City of Menifee Facebook page, all they do is argue with one another...I had to "un-friend" that page it was way to negative for me.

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  2. In my opinion the masses seem to take one source of news be it the news paper, watching CNN, or Fox news, (no one watched MSNBC so they don’t count) how can an individual ever come to a well rounded conclusion about an issue unless you have all the information. Fox swing right CNN swings left. If you feel it is your responsibility to stand and criticize you elected city counsel then at the very least be informed. There is an old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease but the wheel with the loudest squeak gets replaced.”

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  3. The more close to home the issue is, the more heated the discussion. The residents in Menifee are either for change, or are so opposed to it they will fight to the death. It's very sad that the residents in this city seem to be so uneducated that they cannot debate without yelling or name calling. A sophisticated person will always find a way to get their opinion/point across without violence or expletives.

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  4. Tina, thank you for writing this article. I agree with you. I recently attended a city council meeting was aghast at the behavior of the speakers. I would hope that I live in a community where we can work together to solve problems. That we can come from divergent and competing interests and compromise with respect and dignity so the most good is done for greatest segment of the community. Yelling is just that, yelling. It does not move the debate forward; it just creates noise. I can understand people being heated and passionate about their cause, but a certain amount of respect and decorum should be adhered to not in respect of the people of the council (though an upstanding citizen would do that), but for the institution itself. How many men and women have lost their lives just this month defending freedom? Would these grieving families be comforted that their sacrifice was being honored in the words of those that address the council? Just because you can doesn’t mean you must.

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  5. Please help to remind everyone that the "Real City of Menifee" facebook page is "Cityof Menifee" (City Seal & logo) and we also have "Real City of Menifee" (City Seal)--- the one with the dash (City-of Menifee - not City Seal) is a private site maintained by two residents and is not affiliated in any way with the municipality of Menifee.

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  6. Well put Tina! and over-due!

    Unfortunately, this behavior has become commonplace. Menifee seems to be a microcosm of what's happening at local, state, and federal levels.

    At-least our council seems to demonstrate self-control, patience, and tolerance with these folks. I'd tell them where to stick it!

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  7. In the 7 years I've lived here in Menifee, I've noticed a disturbing amount of "unwashed" looking people moving into the area. I know I sound snobby or judgemental, however I will not be shopping at certain grocery stores in the area. It looked like bring a bum day at the Stater Bros in town here off Newport. I used to enjoy going around with my kids in town,but I get the ick vibes.Has anyone else noticed this trend? I love our city,it's just getting that Hemet look sometimes to me.Sorry if I've offended anyone.

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  8. I think if you have to say "sorry if I offended anyone" you know your comment was offensive and shouldn't be said. And it is just that kind of judgement and hostility that this article is condemning. Everyone you meet on this Earth is a part of your community and should not be judged by clothing or style, but by their actions and treatment of others. Shame on you

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  9. Yes,you are right.Shame on me for being judgemental or hostile.I am not the most stylish person you'll ever meet.I don't drive the newest car or even wear the latest fashions.I'm too busy working and raising a family in one of the nicest cities I've ever lived.I treat everyone I meet the way I would like to be treated.Reading what I posted earlier,I see your point.Thank you for listening.

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  10. I fully agree with you. It was disheartening to me to witness the outright rudeness and lack of civility I saw at the meetings I have attended. When citizens pepper their comments with threats of recall, it is difficult to believe they have the best interest of the city at heart.
    On that note, it is also disruptful when an elected official takes her frustrations so personally that she leaves the meeting if an unreasonable constituent ruffles her feathers. Huffing and puffing on either side will not pave the way for reasonable dialog. If the elected officials can't model what reasonable dialog should look like, we can't expect the citizens to behave any better.
    I would like to attend a city council meeting that did not resemble a Jerry Springer rehearsal.

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  11. I agree and also find it very very dishearting to hear the anger and disrepect aimed at the Council. Most of these speakers were and are still anti cityhood citizens. they did not want to be a part of a City and now find fault with what ever the Council does. Until they accept the City and work toward solutions, this is not going to change. also this behavior is allow by the Mayor who could drop the gravel at any time, however, he does not want to step on the 1st Amendent. I attend the city council meetings so I do understand that this behavior continues. I have also noted that the council member sometimes are disrepectful of each other and those they serve.

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  12. I think its a sign of the times in a way..no excuse however for rudeness..perhaps people are under alot of stress due to hard times? we certainly have had our share and more in this economy, but council meeting should be under Roberts Rules which usually keeps things under control....

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  13. I did not attend the meeting but would like to say this. Treat others as you would like to be treated. So I ask......is this how you would like to be treated?????? If you are mistreated and hold a public office. Well it is a public office and things like that happen when you hold a public office. Don't seem surprised. I'm not saying it is right I'm saying it happens. Take it in stride and conceder the source then move on. I don't feel you writing this article was the best idea. It seems as though you are using this sight to spew out how you felt at the meeting but couldn't say. To tell the truth it sounds a bit childish. I don't believe this sight is for personal retaliation on the residents of this city just because of a few bad apples. After all who allowed the city to go section 8 anyway????????? There is an old saying and it goes.......If you cant take the heat get out of the kitchen. But for heaven sakes don't get on a public sight and cry about your job. If you cant handle it maybe someone better qualified can. All I am saying is it is part of the job of public office don't use this sight to complain about the bad apples it seems a little immature.

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  14. "If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen" ???

    I think the previous poster missed the point. Perhaps change profile name to "BadApple".

    BTW (which means "by the way")... Tina is not a council member, but don't let that stop you from making your nonsensical point.

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  15. No, I am not a member of the City Council. I am just a citizen and a local writer who loves Menifee. No one at City Hall had any input on this article whatsoever either. My point is made in that one of the previous commenters assumed I was something I'm not and criticized me for it. This happens every City Council meeting. A shred of information is blown up into mythological proportions and harped upon by the uninformed. Wastes everyone's time and breeds negativity!

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  16. I agree to a point, be respectful. The few times I've attended the City Council it seems to be the same folks with a cripe and I truly think its for attention. They appear to complain but, not do their homework on the very subject they are against. For some reason I find Sun City residences bitter and angry perhap it goes along with getting old, I'm not sure. But I really think its for attention. In the larger community of Menifee I find the attitude a bit different and more joyful, now if we can weave the two communities together we should come out with a pretty nice Menifee in the future. With that said Tina, this really is water off a ducks back, you should work in the corporate world and see how they act towards each other, this here is a walk in the park!

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  17. I feel that this is all based in ignorance. A person may use a style of communication you dont approve of, but remember we have this guiding document called a U.S. Constitution. It gives you certian rights to carry your live out in freedom. Just as the writer of this article has a right to slam certain Menifee residents it also gives people to speak in public forum in ways that may offend you. I believe that if you believe in something enough to be passionate you will offend people. Just remember that your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you. I in no way condone any statements by either side of this I just condone the freedom to say it.

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  18. The Mayor does have the gavel and could put some decorum back in the meetings,he however chooses not to do this.Is this due to ineptitude or by design?I think the latter.One observer was correct most of the loud and rude comments are from a small group of Sun City seniors who believe their advanced years affords them the license to vilify anyone they choose.This is the mayors support group he encourages to make unfounded comments.If you want more insight about this look up the mayors behavior as a member of council in another city.The pattern was the same.

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