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Opinion: Looking Out For Residents' Interests

Letter to the editor: Karen Mendonca explains philosophy of representation, and the quest for compromise in Rancho Laguna Park issue.

I thought that I would respond to the Lamorinda Patch Editor's invitation to share some of my thoughts. I have chosen not to address, point by point, each factual inaccuracy contained in the letter, but, rather, to take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts as they relate to many of the points contained therein.

The truth is that I care very much about the opinions of our citizens. I do my homework and come thoroughly prepared to every Town Council meeting. I listen carefully and respectfully to all input provided, and, then, as an elected official, it is my responsibility to make the very best decisions on behalf of the Town of Moraga. Each Moraga Town Councilmember serves as an "at-large" representative, and that means we are to always make decisions that are in the best interest of our community-at-large. While individual passions can run high on given issues, decisions must be made that reflect the values of a civil society. Moraga citizens can, and should, have the expectation that their elected leaders will consistently look out for their best interests and will always keep in mind that they are in their elected positions, first and foremost, to be effective stewards of the Town and its resources.

With regard to the notion of a non-existent "silent majority" in the Town of Moraga, the reality is that many of our citizens are working adults with children whose lives are filled with a plethora of responsibilities, including the maintenance of professional careers, raising of children, school-related commitments, extra-curricular involvements, and volunteer assignments. Because of these numerous commitments, many of our citizens cannot attend Moraga Town Council meetings — at least, not on a regular basis. For this reason, they have elected representatives they hope will do just that — represent their interests — when making decisions that are important to their quality of life.

Safety concerns are paramount when making any decisions related to public park use. Rancho Laguna Park (RLP) has been the site of an off-leash dog mauling so severe that it required surgery for the victimized dog and the putting down of the attacking dog. It does not require much imagination to realize how easily that victim could have been a small child. In addition, an off-leash dog has been reported to have knocked to the ground one of our senior citizens while she visited the park. Several reports have been detailed of off-leash dogs stealing food from residents trying to enjoy family picnics at Rancho Laguna Park. Moreover, many individuals who are on-leash dog enthusiasts will not use RLP during off-leash hours because of the potential conflicts between on- and off-leash dogs.

Off-leash dogs in public parks necessitate careful attention be paid to safety priorities, and to minimize the importance of this consideration is a serious mistake. Our parks are not privately held amenities; they belong to all of our citizens, and off-leash dog activity in a public park is a privilege, not an entitlement. For good reasons, many municipalities do not allow off-leash dogs in any public park, and those that do almost always mandate a fenced, appropriately sized, and separate area for off-leash activities.

Finally, it is important to note, that in an environment of scarce resources, these precious park commodities must be fairly shared. In order to realize that goal, it is necessary to move from an advocate's perspective to a diplomat's reality. There is no perfect solution to most problems or challenges, but there is usually the opportunity to craft a realistic compromise that is respectful of the diverse needs and priorities of a heterogeneous community.

Karen Mendonca

Karen Mendonca is a candidate for re-election to the Moraga Town Council Nov. 6.

2nd Generation Moraga November 12, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Have fun with your sleuthing, let me know if you find DB Cooper or those aliens in area 51.
Chris Gerding November 12, 2012 at 06:16 AM
My life's pinnacle has been achieved this evening. I've been accused of various sins, ratcheting upward from incivility to being a scary bully. My not-quite-anonymous accuser has all but provided his true identity with his own uncontrollable, self focused babble, then feigns horror that I might give him away. A true set of passive aggressive behaviors....but this night is different. No time for human judgments tonight. But there's yet more to come. I receive unsolicited online counseling to avoid spiraling out of control....by a participant named Congodog. (Talk about life milestones) But then it turns intensely spiritual. I see the bright white light at the end of the tunnel. My life is flashing before me. Little cherubs whispering in my ear that Elite Soccer is of the Devil....but dont worry, Jon...I don't believe them, not for a minute. Everything will be OK...I can die now.
Nice and Rough November 12, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Wow.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Friz is my brother. Now, deep breath, and let's all simmer down.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Do not Die! I would miss your insight. But not your sarcasm. To Do is To Be, To Be is To Do Do Be Do Be Do

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