SMITH: Time to cool down over 'clueless'-gate

It's been amusing, the skirmish incited by a neighborhood advocate accusing new Santa Rosa Mayor Scott Bartley of favoring development that encourages driving, and Bartley responding that his detractor is "clueless."

But count me among those who hope, for the sake of civility and of not fortifying the bad blood that inhibits collegial collaboration on the City Council, that folks would cool the rhetoric.

For the good of the city, adversaries need also to guard against over-reacting as words are lobbed. A case in point:

On the PD's online Watch Sonoma, a reader displeased that Councilman Gary Wysocky and others pressed Bartley to apologize for the "clueless" remark wrote in a post that the advocates of an apology deserve a public flogging.

Presumably, most readers took the flogging remark as a fairly common idiom. But Wysocky complained to the PD for allowing "this type of anonymous physical threat."

Then Wysocky over-pushed — he reported the language in the on-line post to the police.

The newspaper subsequently struck the "flogging" remark from the post. PD Editorial Director Paul Gullixson cut it not because he agreed with Wysocky that it constituted a threat, but because he found it wasn't material to the commenter's argument.

The tone of this power struggle really needs to be dialed back.

Hey, it's the holidays. And this next year, Santa Rosa will continue to face great challenges.

It could only help for all involved to be more selective about how we choose, and react to, words.

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