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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Civil discourse: Canceled for lack of interest

Really. Civil discourse: Canceled for lack of interest. No kidding. Only one town official RSVP’d for a free seminar offered by the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County and The Saratoga Vital Aging Network. Every city and town council had received an invitation to attend “Keeping Civil Discourse Civil,” a nationally recognized program that trains community leaders to deal constructively with tough conflicts, enabling them to find common ground. So the event, which was open to the public but geared toward public officials, has been canceled. “We naively thought that in the wake of the shootings in Tucson our public officials would welcome techniques for dealing with inflammatory rhetoric and engaging in meaningful dialogue about controversial issues,” Barbara Thomas, president of the league, told me Friday afternoon.The event was intentionally scheduled for an evening that did not conflict with a Saratoga Springs City Council meeting.The lone town official, by the way, was from Milton. Kudos to the one person who thought the event was worth one evening.Civil discourse is more than common sense and courtesy. Being able to communicate constructively and work through differences to achieve goals are skills. Some people are better at it than others, and there isn’t anyone who couldn’t benefit from at least some training.Too bad the public couldn’t vote on which public officia



Blogger Judy said...

I re-read this blog searching for the reason Mr. York was so negative. (See comments on the Sound Off link.) But...still wondering why the bee in his bonnet!

April 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM 

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