Lack of Decorum At Oxnard City Council Meetings

With the passage of Measure M by the voters, in Nov. 2020, there are new specific local regulations in the way City legislative bodies are run. This includes City Council and Council Committees to be governed by Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), subject to certain exceptions. RONR is the most widely used manual of parliamentary procedure in the U.S., for meetings of many types, including government and business.

RONR gives order to meetings, particularly in climates of hardened or impassioned division of opinion. A class on RONR was recently given by a Parliamentarian, per Measure M, to City staff and elected leaders. It is important for a City leader to behave appropriately in public, to earn the respect and appreciation befitting the position. Either respect the organization in the use of words on the dias, or it suffers credibility and standing with the public.

It calls for avoiding making personal attacks, name calling, questioning motives of speakers, and to just focus on the issues, and not personalities. Best to just stick to the issues.

Fact-based commentary and opinion, core values of openness, integrity, and common sense seem to have been pushed aside by a few exceptions in our leadership, in favor of name calling, mudslinging, and strawman arguments. A straw man (sometimes written as strawman) is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted, but instead replaced with a false one.[1] One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”.

When someone speaks truth to power there is a deployment of these tactics by certain individuals in our City leadership, meant to distract and deflect from the real issue addressed, and cause questions of the validity of facts and opinions stated by persons perceived as enemies, rather than constituents, citizens in good standing in the community, afforded the right to speak under the Constitution. Men and women have fought and died for this right, and to diminish or dismiss them is a disservice to the sacrifice made in blood, and to our representative form of government.

For the majority of our City leadership, and staff the rules of the road for meetings are followed. There are a couple glaring exceptions. I hope and pray those few will take this as an encouragement to represent our City, and values in the manner we should expect, and we can all be proud of. Stick to the issues, share your own facts, and sources, stop with the dirty politics,  and let’s work together to make our City better.

Douglas Partello
Retired Neonatal Respiratory Therapist
Community Activist
Homeless Advocate

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal


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John Jake

Sometimes decorum needs to be thrown out the window and people need to speak like this to those in charge.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CQtORfuL3U-/?utm_medium=copy_link

George Miller

Looks like Citizens Journal has a good sensible Oxnard voice in Mr. Partello.

Tommy

“Stop with the dirty politics,” – a good goal !