Can’t we all just get along here? Rodney King’s words seem to echo throughout City Hall, with calls from the council to put past contentiousness behind us and move forward to solve the city’s problems collegially. I fully understand and fervently agree with the sentiment. I wonder, however, whether we can put the past behind us if we ignore it. Which, like it or not, seems to linger like the proverbial elephant in the room.
Somehow, somewhere, we took a wrong turn. Everyone knows something is wrong. We live in a toxic culture of secrecy, mistrust and uncivil discourse. We seem to be long on problems and short on solutions.
Why did we have to wait for four years for voters to address the issue of a council member who regularly berated residents from the dais? Where was council leadership, and why did they let the situation fester?
How did the Mo/MOM issue escalate to where we are today, with armed gunmen appearing in our hotels and our city seeming to be handcuffed? How did it get to where the residents must be kept in the dark?
How did we get to the point where the city manager suddenly and unexpectedly retires, effective immediately, with a handsome settlement, after years of hearing from the dais how wonderful she was?
Why do we continue to hear of allegations of hostile workplace environment claims but are left to wonder about the underlying cause and what, if anything, is being done to remedy the alleged problems?
We have a chance, with some new council members and a new city manager, for a new start. Nature abhors a vacuum, so city leaders should not be surprised if rumors fill the void created when they don’t level with the public.
But rumors aren’t a solid foundation for progress. Residents will be ready to move on once they know how we got here. They believe steps are being taken to ensure we are moving out of our toxic culture with plans never to return.
Mary Locatelli, Laguna BeachView Our User Comment Policy