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LETTERS ON BAROWS: Ruffled Feathers after City Council Meeting

(Note: The following letter to the editor was sent to LCCN by Cerritos Community leader Chuck Sooter regarding the recent incident involving Mayor Pro-Tem Bruce Barrows.)

Dear Editor:

As reported in the June 8 Edition of the LCCN, a tense discussion after a recent City Council meeting between two politically active individuals ended with harsh words and physical contact leading to accusations and threats of possible legal actions.
As a seven-year, volunteer mediator (for the Fullerton Superior Court in the Small Claims, Civil Harassment, and Unlawful Detainer cases), I shudder to think of the possible repercussions to both individuals and the city of Cerritos from a continuing knockdown and drag-out fight this incident might engender.
From my experience with many personal mediation cases and observations of court cases, nothing is made better by continuing a personal dispute in public and the courts. Persons with political ambitions in particular need to stay out of the conflict arena as the public quickly loses faith in anyone who can’t get along with the opposition. There is a saying in mediation, if you wrestle with a pig, both of you get muddy, but the pig enjoys it. Continuing a dispute only causes continued personal anguish, stress, and tarnished reputations. Plus, lawyers are expensive.
There is a lesson for all of us in this case. What I’ve observed is that life is fraught with conflict and controversy and no one is immune from losing their temper under the right circumstances. The higher-order issue is not who is right, but how to make it right. The only good remedy to personal disputes of this nature is to apologize, forgive, and move on. It is impossible to reconcile with someone until you have forgiven them. Most mediated civil harassment cases are settled in exactly this way, sometimes with more formal ground rules for behaviors.
In conflict mediation, the past is seldom discussed, but instead, closure is gained by getting back on the right path. I often suggest that no matter who is more at fault, the bigger person should apologize first as an initial step toward reconciliation and normalization of civility. After some venting, soul searching, and time to calm down, over 90% of the mediated cases settle with a handshake. If both gentlemen involved in this dispute apologize and forgive, I would consider them both to be the bigger man. The ideal solution is always for the parties in a dispute to remember to be hard on the issues but soft on the people. Life’s too short to carry a grudge.

Chuck Sooter
Cerritos

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3 Responses to LETTERS ON BAROWS: Ruffled Feathers after City Council Meeting

  1. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, MEAN WHAT YOU SAY... BUT DON'T SAY IT MEAN!

    June 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    What Mr. Sooter has left out is that in order to bring about resolution to a conflict the parties involved first must express desire to move forward.
    Bruce Barrows’ arrogance and lies to the media speak volumes.
    Jay Gray on the other hand, dropped criminal charges agains Barrows even though the DA was proceeding to file a criminal complaint. Gray made a move of reconciliation, leaving the door open for Barrows to take responsibility at the Cerritos City Council meeting and apologize for verbally and physically attacking a member of the community, instead Barrows apologized to the city and dug in on defending his horrendous behavior. Furthermore Barrows contradicted his own statement to police, published here in the Los Cerritos Community News. Bruce Barrows may get away with his brazen violent behavior and the Cerritos City Council’s tacit approval of his behavior is disgusting but the “Better Man” here is clearly Jay Gray.
    Gray has always impressed me as honest, decent and an upstanding member of the community. Cerritos desperately needs community leaders like Gray who can put the greater good ahead of their ego and vengeance.

    • Bob

      June 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Guess the better man will just have to run and get elected to the Cerritos City Council.

  2. The 'Better Man' in he Crawley Obscene Email Scandal?

    June 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    IRONICALLY it was MAYOR JIM EDWARDS who brought down former Cerritos City Councilman John Crawley and exposed his proclivity of sending obscene emails under a false name.

    Crawley’s shameful behavior came to light after he sent a dirty email under the name of Councilman Jim Edwards, though it was in November, Edwards waited until the City Council campaign wherein Edwards was elected to publicize the news for political gain.

    How ironic that Edwards sat there quiet as a MOUSE and did not comment on the Barrows Attack. You’d have to look real hard to find ‘The Better Man’ on the spineless Cerritos City Council.

    in Edwards own words published in the Press Telegram:

    “This is not a censure for just John Crawley, it is a censure for the five of us who sit here” and the city’s future leaders, said Councilman Jim Edwards. Edwards’ name was falsely used in the e- mail, found by the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station to have been sent from Crawley’s home America Online account.