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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The majority depends on the Council to preserve their rights

Noisiest aren't the majority

“What seems to be the voice of the masses is the voice of a few – magnified and distorted.” Larry Tramutola

A recent post about bike trails facilitating crime caused some (mostly anonymous) controversy. Essentially, the comments could be summed up as, “you must think that bike trails are bad, and you're wrong because . . .

We believe that bike trails are one of the advantages offered by a beautiful and vibrant city. However, beneficial trails cannot result from government’s “knee jerk” reactions to people who make noise. The City Council is not responsible to agitators; it’s responsible to all Costa Mesa citizens.

Agitate to get your way

Special interest groups have learned to pack meetings and disrupt proceedings to try to get their way. Alinsky wrote one of the earliest texts on using disruptive tactics to “get your way” back in the 60’s. Occupy (Wall Street) agitators (they prefer to be called “activists”) continue the process. 

These groups (or even individuals) offer unqualified “petitions.” They fill newspaper commentary and Commission and Council comments with opinions unsupported by anything beyond “I feel strongly about this (and almost every other) issue.”

Those who don’t pack the Council Chambers or wave signs from the sidewalk in front of City Hall don’t forfeit their rights because they don’t agitate. They are depending on the City Council to preserve their rights and to look out for their interests – that’s why they elected the Council.

Planning makes the difference

Intelligently-planned bike trails can be a reason productive people want to live in Costa Mesa. Bike trails help kids travel safely. Trails can enhance the lives of Costa Mesa citizens – if they're done right and designed to benefit all citizens. And we surely have a lot of room to improve bike access in the City.

Done poorly, in response to aggressive agitators, bike trails can be repellent to the majority of Costa Mesans as well as terrible wastes of time and money. They can significantly devalue surrounding property values; that is, they deprive property owners of value just to add an additional biking trail in Costa Mesa.

It’s not an issue of bike trails or not – it’s an issue of responsible government versus “knee-jerk” government.

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