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Re: Civility for civility sake, thanks, but no thanks!!

From: domainremoved <Timothy>
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2014 00:56:46 -0800

Aram and all who value democracy:

First, Aram, thank you for making the very essential question: "Is civility really a call for civil discourse or a manipulation to prevent the truth from being exposed?"

When the call for civility really says "I don't want to be criticized for trying to manipulate an end result," then it is the person requesting "civility" that is really imposing violence on the community by denying the public the hard truth.

Yes, we can avoid name calling without purpose, but to disallow the exposure of villainy just to be nice is to actually promote injustice -- being civil can be the most uncivil act a man or women can commit if it avoids the hard truth.

When we observe fraudulent actions in government, it is not name-calling to call it a fraud. Presenting false information is a fraudulent act. This was widely debated when the city of Palo Alto employees submitted false certification of the zoning for the Maybell property. There was an uproar over the use of the word "fraud", but that was in fact the proper word for it. It was not a matter of being civil or uncivil. It was a matter of objective and accurate reporting. To sugar-coat the actions or excuse the matter just made the excuse-makers complicit in the fraudulent act.

When we see conflicts of interest, we have a responsibility to make the observation and call for the corrective action. Should civil service employees misuse their public office in support of private business, calling for dismissal is the only appropriate response. Yes, there are those that try to minimalize such action by calling the reporter reactive, radical or vindictive, however demanding this kind of accountability is our minimum civic responsibility, and anything less makes one complicit with the perpetrator. Civil discourse required that we speak up, and not minimize the villainy of those that are wronging society. This is the minimum requirement of being a good citizen. Of course, due process must be followed.

I recall several years ago when I observed big Union contributions being paid to several Palo Alto City Council candidates, I was called a radical trouble maker for calling it a conflict of interest -- I made the point that any City vendor that was negotiating a $75 million contract should not be trying to elect the very people that were expected to make a business decision about the contract. The Garbage companies that had a much smaller contract coming before the City were specifically prohibited from mucking with the election. At first it was radical, but within a short period of time it was reported by the papers as a matter of fact and the conflict of interest no longer was an accusation, but an accepted prohibition -- reasonable and fair minds had a chance to digest the information and saw the wisdom. My "provocative" words met the gold standard of true civil discourse.

So what are the next fields that will experience phase transitions in the public opening their eyes? Development, breaking the 50ft. height limitation in Palo Alto, or higher density.

The Trojan horse is the spin of how progress must move forward, and that certain high density is the only way will be foisted on the citizens. Any resistance will be blasted as uncivil, and a public relations spin of NIMBY and selfishness will be the veil thrown upon the residents that simply want to preserve the community that has evolved through the respect of zoning protections, height limitations, density limitations, and protection of open space. All well-embraced community standards that has been honored by the Citizens that have made these historical agreements, sacrifices and agreements which delivered the highly valued jewell we call Palo Alto.

Back to the point of Civility -- when those that want to disrespect the past want to force change, and the truth is used to expose the greed behind the developments, the disrespectful will claim that those voices are uncivil, when in fact the protectors recognize the special spirit of Palo Alto, and know that something this special is worth aggressively defending. Respecting our past is the only civil path to the future.

Said another way, there is no civil way to greet a robber. We all must join in the aggressive defense of justice and community values. Speak up for justice and don't let the false call for civility censor your advocacy for what is right.

Best regards,

Tim Gray

On Friday, December 12, 2014 10:20 PM, Aram James <abjpd1_at_(domainremoved)

>To all who care to listen and or to respond:
>Civility for civility sake, thanks, but no thanks!!
>Do we live in a country deserving of our civility? Read Eugene Robinson's piece (see below), or maybe the recently released torture report, and decide for yourself.

Or does our ongoing national racism not only require our willingness to speak-out, but if necessary, to speak-out pursuant to the mandate of New York Times v. Sullivan and the Nuremberg principals?
>Standing on civility when the issues call out for our actions, even our continuous no-stop outrage, and harsh criticism of government officials, is nothing more than code for maintaining the status quo.
>Is civility really a call for civil discourse or a manipulation to prevent the truth from being exposed?
>I for one will do all I can to resist civility for civility sake. I will not have anyone attempt to chill my advocacy for civil rights under the guise of maintaining civility.
>Speak the truth,
>Aram James
Received on Sat Dec 13 2014 - 00:51:01 PST

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