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Disagreeing with someone doesnt make you a racist
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Editor, Ceres Courier,
It's important to value the difference in others. When someone disagrees with you, it is okay to say "Good, you see it differently than I do." Why must we believe that it's our way or the wrong way?

I attended the Ceres City Council meeting last week, where the item of a police health program was discussed and incredibly negative accusations were made by individuals who should be setting a higher standard of professionalism in our community. All because one individual saw things differently and asked questions.

It is my perception and understanding from what transpired that Councilmember Linda Ryno sought to understand why the city is collecting money for a health care program that is operated under the auspices of the Ceres Police Department, when the city is not in the health care business and is not covered by medical malpractice insurance. Something she disagrees with. It is also my understanding from reading city staff's report, specifically the city attorney's recommendation that by providing such a service, in a way that it is currently structured and operated, exposes the city to a liability risk. That's the reason why Ryno disagrees with it.

Ryno, along with the other members of the City Council and the city attorney, are all in agreement that the program offers a great service to so many individuals, who otherwise would not receive medical care. I, myself, agree that this program is an exceptional "out-of-the box" approach to providing services to a much-needed population, especially at a time when the new affordable health care system remains quite confusing and still not so affordable.

Yet, rather than embrace a new perspective that is brought to light -- one that should be deeply considered for the economic well-being of the city -- name-calling and finger pointing transpires and relationships are damaged. Kudos to Mayor Chris Vierra for halting the matter before it escalated further.

Stephen R. Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority and author explains in his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" that the key to valuing the differences in others "is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are." He writes:

"The person who is truly effective...values the differences because those differences add to his knowledge, to his understanding of reality. When we're left to our own experiences, we constantly suffer from a shortage of data.

Is it logical that two people can disagree and that both can be right? It's not logical: it's psychological. And it's very real.

And unless we value the differences in our perceptions, unless we value each other and give credence to the possibility that we're both right, that life is not always a dichotomous either/or, that there are almost always third alternatives, we will never be able to transcend the limits of that conditioning."

In my opinion, Ryno is right. The city is exposed to a risk because it does not have liability coverage. She's not against the program she's just against putting the city at risk. We should be thankful for her insight and concern. After all, isn't that what the voters expect of her - concern for our community?

Mayor Vierra and the rest of the council are right. This is a valuable program that should continue because it offers a great service to our community.

What's not right is the way it's structured and operated through the city. So work together and make it right.

Of all people, I would think that Frank Johnson from the NAACP would appreciate valuing the difference in others, even if an agreement cannot come to pass. It does not mean they are racist, it just means they don't agree with you.

Renee Ledbetter,

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