Mission Viejo

No Censors Allowed

By Ed Sachs

President John F. Kennedy said, “If [the United States] is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all - except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms.”

I am not surprised to learn there are those who oppose this paper. Just as there are those who do not like Fox News or MSNBC or the New York Times. Recently, while attending a candidate forum featuring the Orange County Board of Supervisors candidates, I was surprised to hear Mission Viejo Councilman Frank Ury declare the Community Common Sense as “rubbish.”

His meaning was clear. He would now be the censor to tell us what we should and should not read. But, you see, it is the censor who is not invited. The censor must not be sworn into public office. There may be any number of reasons for opposition to the articles presented in this newspaper. Attempts to shut down speech, whether you agree or disagree, should never be tolerated!

One of the many reasons this paper was established was to give voice to community members who are limited to 3 minutes for public comments during council meetings. Elected officials may speak for hours during public meetings. Increasingly, local residents feel as though their voices have not been heard, nor their opinion considered. It is through this and other publications that residents may speak to their fellow voters.
Local government affords the closest proximity to the taxpayer. A public forum such as this offers those voices an opportunity to communicate with their neighbors about issues that matter to them. Frustration emerges when a simple council majority can create public policy based on influence by a smaller group.

Thomas Paine wrote, “Arguing with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” So when local politicos do not choose to listen to their residents, another act may be informing the voting public of the facts. Voters decide for whom they will ultimately cast their vote, whether in favor or against the programs of any given politician.

Certainly there would be any number of residents who agree on a given policy or on funding various projects. But there may also be a number who disagree with that policy. Why censor others from learning what is occurring in their community, thus preventing them from making an intelligent decision?

The censors may be outraged, but censors cannot shut out dissenting voices. If their kneejerk reaction is to cut off debate, quash speech, engage in name-calling or label opinions they don’t share as rubbish, there is most likely a reason. Censors fear the truth. Censors fear your seeing what’s behind the curtain.

Ed Sachs and his family have lived in Mission Viejo since 1991. Ed spent 30 years in the consumer electronics industry where he was inducted in the Hall of Fame. He retired as President Emeritus at Pioneer Electronics in 2009. Since retirement, Ed has opened his own leadership-consulting agency while becoming active in the community. In 2012, Ed ran for Mission Viejo City Council. Ed and his wife Leagh, an accomplished and award winning photographer, have two sons, David and Daniel.
Questions? Comments? The CCS wants to hear from you! Contact Mission Viejo Contributing Editor Steve Magdziak at: (949) 441-0499.

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