December 14, 2011 in Uncategorized By: Dave Emerson
(12/14/2011, Los Alamitos) An interesting discussion is taking place in the comment thread to my Sunday evening post, “Time for Kusumoto & Mejia to un-recuse?”
I’m moving what started as a response to that conversation here, to continue a discussion on ways to make the most of a unique opportunity made possible by the convergence of several key events:
- The unanimous appointment of Angie Avery as City Administrator with a three year contract and widespread support.
- Judge Banks ruling that the Council Majority “voted to break the law” when they went with the fifth highest trash bidder.
- The Council majority’s unanimous decision to seek both a possible settlement while filing an appeal to protect the city’s interest in response to that lawsuit.
- A series of published statements by Mayor pro tem Edgar indicating his desire not to “go about it unilaterally” but to “use this opportunity to heal things that are much deeper than a lawsuit.”
- The annual Council reorganization, scheduled for this Monday’s Council meeting.
As the Byrds sang, quoting Ecclesiastes 3,
To everything. . . there is a season. . . and a time for every purpose under heaven. . . . A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!
A search for healing?
In that comment strand “Healer” kicked off an interesting discussion on healing.
Charles Sylvia’s possible roles:
I began responding to several comments, starting with one which I felt placed too much emphasis on Charles Sylvia’s role:
Right now, former Mayor Sylvia is not a key player. I think it’s actually been a long time since he has been.
I’m sure George Briggeman could have found someone else to funnel his money through. Sylvia was a figurehead at best.
Sylvia could become a key player now, by recognizing and apologizing for the harm that was done in his name.
Hopefully he will listen to what he hears at his church and reads in his Bible about speaking the truth in love, about loving one’s enemies, about the blessings pronounced on the humble and the peacemakers. There’s still time for him to do the right thing, and possibly lead by example.
The Majority’s roles:
Right now, however, the ball is in the court of Los Alamitos’ City Councils three majority members: Mayor Stephens, Mayor pro tem Edgar, and Council Member Poe.
I would hope that a respected judge examining all the arguments and ruling that I had “voted to break the law” would serve as a wakeup call to me. . . and to at least one of our three majority Council Members. Hopefully all three.
Any one member of the majority could become a hero, a leader towards a new day for our city.
There are many places any one of them could begin, including Monday’s annual Council reorganization.
Or apologies for past mistakes.
Or sincerely reaching out privately to key opponents.
The “opposition’s” roles:
As we’ve all been told, ”It takes two to tango.” To reach common ground everyone must be willing to sacrifice.
Both sides need to not just talk to each other, but really listen. . . and seek to understand, which brings a phrase from a famous prayer to mind. .
Both sides profess an appreciation for prayer, as do the Sylvias. The famous prayer of St. Francis might be a good place to start:
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Continuing the discussion. . . seeking to listen as well as to express our convictions, is important, in our community’s various online and print venues as well as in our communications to our Council Members, inculding Council comments this Monday.
It’s been said that politicians see the light when they feel the heat. It’s probably true of all of us. We can turn up the heat by what we write, say, and do. For some of, by what we pray as well.
And we can lead by example.
The time is now
The door on the current opportunity could close at any time.
One must sail forth when the time and tide is right.
Shakespeare said it well, in Act 4 of Julius Caesar:
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.