“Sometimes people MUST raise their voices when speaking in a soft or even a normal voice goes unnoticed. From the sound of the applause, there was great concurrence from the audience regarding what Steve Lee was saying. Steve is well worth listening to!”

That was the misguided comment from a reader to my commentary, L.A. County Must Investigate Health Risks in Val Verde; Protect the Greater SCV Communities, and I must disagree fully. Raising your voice specifically to drown out someone or interrupt them is unacceptable behavior and is happening all too frequently. When you watch that video, Rage Explodes at Local Meeting, of Steve Lee going from calm speaker to completely out of control screaming, he loses all credibility as a community representative.

Those outbursts are a total disservice to the community because very few take him seriously at all. He has become the likes of a court jester in Val Verde, a hapless clown that most don’t listen to except for the gullible. That also goes for the individuals that don’t bother to look at an issue holistically and ask intelligent questions, instead they mock others while being scripted by those with their own agenda.

We saw it at the recent regional planning hearing at West Ranch High School—opponents laughing and shouting out comments as supporters of the landfill spoke. There is a lack of civility at allowing both sides of an issue to be discussed publicly with facts being presented to compare and contrast. Doing so allows for the weighing of both sides of a matter so that an intelligent decision can be made. Yet, that has become less of an objective for some members of the community.

Instead, it has become more commonplace to shout down anyone that is states a different viewpoint, which is what is happening now with the landfill. That is wrong. Just as whipping up the unsuspecting with bogus information that is neither valid nor checked is equally wrong. Yet, time after time we continue to witness this type of behavior in the community and elsewhere.

What is wrong with wanting to have all the facts laid out on this issue?

If there is a question of health surrounding the Val Verde community, then shouldn’t we all agree that the same level of testing be done there that has been completed on the landfill? It is a logical conclusion that all concerned would want to understand the facts surrounding the proposed landfill expansion and any issues being claimed by the community.

The reality is that all the testing in the world will not change the opponent’s minds if it does not support their thesis. We saw that recently when opponents laughed at an air quality report that was commissioned by a Val Verde community group because the report did not support their position. That report concluded at the time it was done that there was nothing wrong with the air in Val Verde.

If they don’t agree then do another test with a different company, have three or four tests done and if they all reach the same conclusion then it is indisputable. This is why I am asking for testing in the Val Verde community. I want to know if there are other mitigating factors such as the sanitation in that community that may be putting the public at risk. That is a legitimate request and one that the Val Verde residents should support since everyone should want to get to the root cause of any possible health issues.

Unfortunately, the reader that made the comment at the top of this commentary appears to want to blindly follow an individual that is apparently incapable of a civil conversation on the topic. That person wants to shout down others rather than work together to understand the scope of any issues. You have to ask why Steve Lee isn’t embracing testing in his community? Doesn’t he want to fully understand if there are truly health issues in Val Verde?

Thankfully, the L.A. County Regional Planning will be looking at the facts and will make the right decision based on the legitimate data being presented. That is why there should be a battery of tests done on Val Verde so that all the information can be considered as well, which is something that the community should embrace instead of the rumor, innuendo, and blatant falsehoods be bandied about now by the uninformed.

Dave Bossert—Commentary

Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on several boards and councils. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.