Dear Editor – ‘Kindness Will Overcome’

Last week, we were witness to a vulgar display of free speech. I wish to repudiate in the strongest terms the profane language used against my fellow Council colleagues and the men and women of the Culver City Police Department. That behavior has no place in Culver City but especially in our Council Chambers. From a secular perspective, this room is the holy temple of public policy. This is where people of
goodwill and good intentions meet to discuss and debate the critical issues that affect our City and our residents. What happened last week was a desecration of this chamber.

We on the Council hold different views and often disagree, sometimes vehemently, with one another. But, despite our differences, we respect one another and do not ascribe nefarious intentions to others’ comments or votes. We are all acting in what we believe are the best interests of our City and its residents. And, although we may disagree, those disagreements do not give license to anyone, either resident or non-resident, to make personal attacks or slanderous statements about my colleagues, our staff or other residents. I have some idea, based on the national temperament, why certain residents feel they can say whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want and on any social media platform they want, but that is not something that any of us in Culver City should tolerate or allow to continue. I call out this bad behavior and verbal abuse for what it is: hate speech!

Now, we see that this abuse has permeated into our upcoming election for City Council. It is disheartening to read the headline in this week’s Culver City Observer – “City Council Race Turns Ugly.” I was particularly upset at the second headline “Did City of Kindness Evaporate in Front of Our Eyes?” As someone who has been working hard along with the First Lady to brand our community as a City of Kindness, I have to ask: “Is the City election so important to you that you are willing to soil your own reputation and the reputation of the City where you live?” And you will soil your reputation, given that the Observer says it intends to name names. When we established the City of Kindness, I asked the questions: “What is the alternative? To be known as a City of violence or a City of angry people?” Well, if this behavior continues, I’m afraid we will all see just what that looks like.

So I call upon all of our residents who love living here and appreciate the benefits we enjoy from being Culver City residents to join with me and say “Enough is enough”! We shall no longer tolerate your profane, defamatory and personal attacks. We are a City of Kindness, and kindness will overcome.

Culver City Council Member

Jim Clarke

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1 Comment

  1. Having been at the end of personal attacks myself, I understand why they are upsetting. But here’s the thing. Elected officials sign up for a thankless job which involves dealing with people who are unhappy with their decisions. I know because I’ve worked for two, who have taken inordinate amount of criticism. And what I’ve learned from this is that you cannot shoot back of the people who you represent, for expressing their opinion, however angrily. The issue that was before the Council – the purchase of drone equipment – elicited a lot of emotions in people. And while you may not agree with them, or feel the fear they do, that doesn’t mean they don’t get to express it to you, their representatives. They spoke passionately, yes. They used profane language, yes. They were angry, and on this issue they have a right to be, especially given our national situation. Meghan expertly managed the situation, by noting that this issue required a deeper more thoughtful conversation, a better structure for deliberation. She was also not heard. I am hoping that we elect councilmembers that help build good dialogue, not just demand it.

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