Looking back at how the political climate has changed since he was first elected in 1992, [retired Councilman James] Bond said that coastal Southern California has gradually shifted toward a more liberal or left-of-center way of thinking. He said that accompanying that shift has been a swing toward more mean-spirited elections and campaigns.As council watchers the last few years, our perception is that criticism of the council majority's actions came from across the political spectrum, was usually well-founded, and was overwhelmingly validated by the public in November's landslide election. Mean-spiritedness went both ways, and was often originated or exacerbated by council members' contemptuous, erroneous dismissal of public speakers as being a fringe minority.
Bond was critical of people who he said abuse the public comments portion of the council meeting, which is reserved for members of the public who want to address the City Council regarding non-agenda items.
“This year I was really disappointed to see that we had regular herds of people to criticize the sitting council,” he said. “To make disparaging and in many cases totally untruthful comments or remarks is not the way you elect, select and support your representatives.”
We hope the new council gives, and earns, more respect, regardless of individual political affiliations. Public civility is likely to follow the tone set by the council.