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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Comments: doing it right

By their comments you can 

know them

Rational debate attempts to refute assertions using conflicting facts or opinions. It can include redirecting discussion to a related or supporting issue.

Here are some good examples of discussion or debate found in commentary about Costa Mesa issues.

Debate about the value and need for sports fields in Costa Mesa developed following a newspaper article about a possible Indian burial ground in Fairview Park.

Address the issue

“Dear . . .,  as important as physical exercise, I might argue more important in the bigger picture, kids need to learn to respect public property and go by the government's policies and rules when new ideas come along for new uses for public property. . . It's not just about the fields.”

Whether one agrees with the commenter’s opinion or not, it is an example of assertive but respectful use of opinion in debating an issue.

Supporting another commenter following a letter-to-the-editor headlined, “Council opponents are distorting crime rate:”
 “. . . We have a strong sense of community, just look at the value that organizations like Costa Mesa United have added to our town.
These scare tactics are just that. Another play right out of that law firm's pro police union playbook.
 ‘Spread fear and doubt and make the city council members assume a defensive stance.’
It is a fabricated storyline and should warrant no more attention than the background noise it is.”

This is opinion, including evaluation of the tactics and their source – directed to the issue.

More -- done right 

Here are a couple more samples of comments directed to the issue in a respectful manner.

“CEO Hatch took time in his comments to attempt an end at all the rumors and misstatement of facts. As CEO stated, there have been 10 new hires to CMPD over the last 10 months. Careful what anyone hears from unions,” about the issue raised in a letter-to-the-editor. And,
 “Respectfully, (name) I appreciate the information. My question however was how many "Lateral" Officers have left other departments to come to the City. . .”

The last comment was an attempt to divert discussion to a slightly-related discussion point. The author seemed to want to tie it to the discussion to support his point – a valid tactic.

A way to learn 

Sharing opinions, facts and logic in discussion – or debate – can be an effective way to learn about Costa Mesa issues.  Some Costa Mesans are doing just that.

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