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Mailbag: Thank you, Newport, for respectful discourse

July 16, 2013

A wonderful thing happened at the Civic Center the night of July 9. The City Council considered three proposals for the reuse of the old City Hall site down on the Peninsula. All three proposals were thoughtful, well-prepared and responsive.

The staff recommended the city enter into an agreement with R.D. Olson to ultimately develop a boutique hotel on the site. The Council Chambers were packed, standing-room only, the first such occasion since its opening in December. All three proposers were represented. This looked like the makings for an emotional and bellicose evening. And then it happened!

All three proposers addressed the council and humbly and politely addressed each other. Each was genteel and kind, offering thanks to the city and staff, and congratulations to the recommended team. I expected this reaction, as I know both Mr. Bob Olson and Mr. Bill Shopoff. They are both honest men who conduct themselves with integrity. The representative from Sonnenblick did likewise.

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It was the next occurrence that really pleased me. Members of the public in the chambers, you citizens of Newport Beach, applauded each of the proposers. You showed a great deal of civility, politeness, kindness, compassion and all the attributes that I aspire to in my daily conduct.

You affirmed for me that you, my neighbors, are intelligent and exacting. You have done your homework and know how you want your council to act. And you are civil and compassionate. You appreciate a respectful and thoughtful public discourse. I could not have been more proud to say, "I am a resident of Newport Beach," as I was when I witnessed your actions.

So I want to say, "Thank you."

I can guarantee that in the next breath I will get a message that makes me wince; an insult from someone with less than the facts, shouting vitriol in a reactionary and vulgar tone. So be it.

But I will think back to July 9 and refresh. I am so very proud and honored to be your representative and am redoubled to conduct myself as you showed me. Thank you very much.

Tony Petros

Councilman

Newport Beach

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Catholics protect life

Re. "Commentary: A free society allows healthcare choices": I'm visiting from out of town and have been reading the recent comments regarding the Catholic Church, the 1st Amendment, etc. To Ms. Margaret Mooney (July 9), please read the 1st Amendment. Separation of church and state isn't in there. "No law prohibiting the free exercise thereof... (religion)" is.

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