Disagree, but stay civil

A man/woman can and will often be judged by the words that flow from his/her mouth. My great-grandparents, grandparents and parents used to tell me this all the time. Being civil even when you and another party do not agree seems to be a thing that I see less often. A friend told me of this piece in the letters to the editor and wanted my opinion. As I was reading the letter I was shocked at the tone and the many inaccuracies. I felt a need to respond. It would seem that an angry and caustic letter was published about Councilman Roger Kalter for his stand on the property maintenance code. While I don’t always agree with Kalter on issues, the one thing that I do know is that he loves this city, works very hard to support growth and does everything he can to make Marietta a better place to live. I don’t believe that I know of anyone who has spent more of his personal time to help others. Does anyone donate as many hours for community service as he does? There may be, but I am not aware of anyone. So where is the respect for all the good things he does and has done for this community? A letter that was informative and supported the author’s point of view about the property code would have been more effective. Instead it was, in my opinion, a personal attack. When I read personal attacks I tend to dismiss them because they are designed to sway someone/people to the writer’s point of view using emotions and theatrics. Often there is an agenda. This is not how I want to make decisions on important issues or evaluate the turmoil going on in my community. Facts are needed not emotions or personal agendas.

Just to point out a few of the inaccuracies and some statements that lack “the rest of the story.”

Complaints:

Kalter makes many of those complaints because he is asked to do so. Citizens are afraid they will upset their neighbors, landlords or are just fearful in general. Whether there are valid reasons for those fears does not make any difference. If people are afraid?they are simply afraid whatever the reason. Thank goodness they can go to Kalter and he will not dismiss them out of hand. Because Kalter filed these complaints, the knee jerk reaction was to send off a caustic letter to inform all the citizens about the awful Mr. Kalter and make a very personal attack. Perhaps if we were to look at the complaints we would find an inaccuracy in the number mentioned and many of these complaints might be ones we would support. Before we condemn Kalter, I would hope more research would be pursued on this point.

Cold frames:

This is such an angry response to Kalter. I am simply amused by it. I actually went and built a cold frame at this community gardening project. Therefore I can speak from personal experience. I need to correct an inaccuracy in the number of cold frames mentioned in the article. There were 48 people and nine cold frames built. Yes, the window frames have old paint. Instructions were given on sealing this paint and watching for any peeling. The glass is quite fragile and that fact was pointed out. Could children or my grandchildren accidentally fall into the glass? Well, yes … but highly unlikely. They would probably have more of a chance of getting hurt when my next to the youngest grandchild bails off his bike because he decided to try it. Also this was the only kind of glass we had in my youth. A lot of us are still around and fared well living with this fragile glass. I would imagine that this glass remain in some of the older homes in this historic city. As for recommendations not to use glass in this application – well, that would be a personal choice driven by personal circumstance. If you had a child that tried everything, was curious about everything, I would probably opt for something other than glass. However, mine is glass. Most websites are so aware of what they put in print because of this “I am going to sue you world,” they never give other variables that could be used or would work. This is asking for a bubble wrapped world for our children and us. I, for one, am not in favor of that. Are we assuming that the general public lacks the intelligence to deal with recycling and responsibly handling this situation? I hope not. What I did see at this project were people excited to have for the very first time a cold frame to grow plants that would provide food. Many had tears in their eyes. Several just squealed and jumped up and down. Kalter and some of his friends spent days pre-cutting the lumber, purchasing screws and hinges. The money for hardware came from their pockets. For this we should bash Kalter for his efforts? I think not. I do not think I am alone in saying thank you Kalter for your efforts on this project.

Citizens of Marietta and Washington County let us make a call for civility on both sides of this issue. The results of this issue are a part of the community we live in. We all have the side we want to “win.” However, let us work for a compromise and insist that we stick to facts and remain civil in this process. Both sides of this issue have valid points. Our federal government does not reach across the table for compromise; let us not follow that lead. Let us find a workable solution for this issue in a civil manner.

Donis Yoder lives in Lowell.