(By Dave Bossert) On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, the autocrats running the Santa Clarita Organization for the Protection of the Environment (SCOPE) orchestrated a menagerie of opponents at the regional planning hearing on the Chiquita Canyon Landfill conditional use permit (CUP) application. The meeting was held in the multipurpose room at the Pico Canyon Jr. High School in Westridge. The SCOPE directed group of general education diploma (GED) holders, or at least I think some of them had high school educations, behaved as you might have expected—poorly. Many were hooting, hollering, and laughing during presentations and when supporters of the project spoke, which they believed was perfectly fine behavior for a community meeting. It was not.

Those SCOPE zombies were incapable of following simple directions, which created a circus-like atmosphere, and made me question if they actually had GEDs. The chair of the meeting, who was unable to keep control, allowed opponents to hurl comments and scream profanities as if it were a Tourette syndrome afflicted group session in progress instead of a hearing. These opponents engaged in a discourse much like baboons flinging their own feces in a cage; out of control—baboon discourse.

But isn’t this how civility at public meetings has been devolving for many years? We are seeing it on the nightly news lately with people shouting each other down at town hall meetings. It becomes a cacophony of sound, white noise, and nothing gets accomplished. What should be happening is the respectful statement of opinions from both sides of an issue. But that doesn’t appear possible because so many lack the ability to allow others to talk within a format designed to let everyone have equal time. Those that are running the meetings are incapable of maintaining control so that everyone can speak that wants to.

That was not to be either at the SCOPE hijacked meeting where the rules only applied to the educated and not the opponents. One of the SCOPE despots was quick to demand that supporters of the landfill not hold up signage, which the educated complied with because, well, they are educated and follow direction. Yet, she was mute as her disciples hurled vulgarities in earshot of children and consistently interrupted speakers. It was shameful behavior that detracted from their goal of opposing the landfill. The heckling galvanized the lack of decorum and basic restraint needed at this or any public meeting.

Read more here: Commentary: Baboon Discourse Over the Landfill