A Doug's Life: All I Ask is a Little Respect -- and Not for Me

Pardon my ignorance, but will someone please tell me when respect and common courtesy went out of st...

Pardon my ignorance, but will someone please tell me when respect and common courtesy went out of style? Apparently, I never got the memo.

I think I can remember the last time I heard someone express respect for another's opinion, but the memory is fading. Anyone else notice that people these days are far more likely to tell you why you're wrong than why they're right? Even worse, they're downright nasty about it.

The most extreme examples are in the political arena or anything involved with government. I mean, there are no two sides to an issue anymore. Either you see it my way or you're an idiot, right?

Yeah, that's a real adult attitude.

Take the current presidential race, for example. I refused to watch any of the Republican or Democratic national conventions, simply because character assassination isn't tremendously appealing to me. Just seeing the many rants on Facebook is more than enough for me. If a candidate spends half his time telling me how bad the other guy is, I'm thinking he's pretty darn insecure himself. Whatever happened to stating your beliefs clearly and letting me decide whether you're better suited for the job than your opponent?

But as bad as this whole Romney-Obama showdown is, it pales in comparison to what goes on every other Tuesday in the Menifee City Council Chambers. You want to see and hear bitterness and hatred? Stop by City Hall just after 7 p.m. on Sept. 18. Sadly, it's guaranteed.

And this time, the politicians aren't the main culprits. It's people who live and work right alongside us here in Menifee. I call them the Haters -- that small group of residents who show up at every meeting, determined to use their three minutes of fame to denigrate, humiliate and castigate council members.

City policy allows residents three minutes each to speak during the "public comments" portion of city council meetings. At various points of the meeting, they are allowed to address issues not on the agenda and to speak during public hearings on a specific subject. The last line of Menifee's "decorum policy notes" at the end of each printed agenda states that "while we encourage participation, we ask there be a mutual respect for the proceedings."

Good luck with that.

From what I can determine, the Haters have made it their mission to disrupt city council meetings ever since Menifee voters approved cityhood in 2008. Most of these folks are residents of Sun City, and it's obvious they wanted to stay that way and not be placed under the umbrella of a Menifee government with which they don't agree.

I can understand where they're coming from. Sun City was a relatively quiet, rural community of mostly senior citizens for decades. But in the last 10 years, new housing has cropped up all over the place. Without meaning to, young families are starting to surround the old folks. The resulting demand for growth has led to the arrival of new businesses and traffic that is at times unbearable.

Fine. I get that.

If I were in their position, I'd be frustrated, too. I might even share their belief that the "pro development" faction of the city council outnumbers the "traditionalists" 3-2 in most votes. Yeah, that would probably stick in my craw.

But I darn sure wouldn't embarrass myself the way many of these folks do during their three minutes of "fame." I mean, what does it prove, other than you can't control your emotions?

There's a whole list of these people who speak at every city council meeting, whether they have a legitimate gripe or not. After a while, it becomes clear that their purpose is not so much to address specific issues as it is to attack certain council members out of frustration and hatred. You hear these people often enough and their credibility goes right out the window.

No one is claiming that Menifee city council members are perfect, or that they always make the right decisions. But no one deserves the kind of treatment these politicians are given on a regular basis. It's cruel, unprofessional and childlike, and it's an embarrassment to others who have to sit through it week after week.

You don't agree with something the council does? Fine. State your case. If you absolutely disagree with something a council member has said or done, express your feelings in a respectful manner -- being respectful not just because the council member is a public official, but because he or she is a human being. Believe it or not, it can be done.

Because of public meeting protocol, council members do not respond to public comments. They have to sit there and take it while the locals take pot shots at them. To a degree, that's part of the job. But when someone calls you out, attacks your political party beliefs or uses sarcasm in an attempt to humiliate you, it's time to clear the room.

If you ask me -- and I know the Haters didn't -- a little respect would go a lot further than personal attacks against these public servants. Don't like what they're doing? Don't vote for them in the upcoming election. That's your right.

But while they're still in office -- and if they remain in office come November -- try some constructive criticism for a change. Really, it should not be about the Haters and their personal issues. It should be about what's best for all of Menifee. And that will only come about if common decency is observed.


Doug Spoon 4801363983866122529

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  1. Interesting, you want respect, but show little respect by saying that a certain element are "haters". I'll ask the same question, where has respect and civility gone to. They seem lost on you Mr. Spoon.

    1. “If you ask me -- and I know the Haters didn't –“
      I guess Mr. Spoon you should have checked with the haters first. They need to be loved too you know.

    2. Look its just a descriptive phrase, it is how they present themselves, their tone of voice,, You know as a person what and how you wish to covey what your saying..when you put it on paper it has to describe what he heard..I am there every meeting and believe me I cannot think of a word nearly as nice as Mr.spoon was able to use.. We are inundated with media about this same thing happening in our schoolrooms and playgrounds children being verbally abused .castigated, harrassed. its called Bullying, thats what they have become, against people who cannot defend them selves..shame on these poor representatives of our community.

  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! It's about time somebody reported on those meetings. I refuse to go anymore because those people are so horrible it's not worth being there. I asked one of them to be quiet one night when they were making nasty comments behind me and she told me to shut the "blank" up! I was shocked and disgusted. They should be banned. They treat both the councilmembers and the other residents like trash! Kick them out!

    1. Simple Decorum. Frustration may be high folks, but when you go to these meetings please state your position with convection but put yourself in check..and clear your mind and get your point across. We all live in the same community and want the best for it. Yes it has changed in over 10 years but it can evolve with the new and the older citizens. They both have so much to offer each other. When you are polite and kind people listen.

    2. At one time there was a proposal to move the public comments to the end of the meeting.This would allow those who wanted to listen without the harangue of the "haters" to leave when the real business is finished. Maybe it's time to re-visit that proposal.

    3. Please lets do that, It would have to be divided into 2 parts. those who are making community event reports, can still do them at the beginning of meetings. the rest of public speaking could go to the end..that way i could hear the city business with out the "haters" pouring out their venom all over all of those attending.. great idea

    4. I like this idea especially the two parts. I for one will send an email to each council member suggesting they consider this proposal. I hope you will join me.In the current political climate they just might act.

  3. The author of this article has called it exactly right.
    The purpose of these people who speak at every city council meeting is not so much to address specific issues as it is to attack certain council members.
    I couldn’t agree more; when someone calls you out, attacks your political beliefs or uses sarcasm in an attempt to humiliate you, it's time to clear the room, as the mayor has done with effect, to halt the disruptions. Even going so far as ejecting an “adult” offender who couldn’t control his actions (or was it on purpose?)

  4. 9:10Pm...I really like that idea, try and propose it again. The bottom line with these folks is what: ATTENTION. What is so sad when you watch this group is, they seem to want 'approval' from the instagator, and one wonders why. If you don't like something just get up and say this is why I don't like it and then give your solution. I once had a boss who I highly valued his opinion, I would walk in his office and say 'how would you handle this?", once he grew tired of me and said, 'Why don't you find a way to handle it", I then said to him. "I surely can find a solution but then we won't need you.' What I'm trying to say is this, if you dislike something, then have a better way of doing it and propose it..but not get ugly and throw hate around...stay at home then.