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BEACHCOMBER: Harmony Resolution Needed?

  • By David Barron

I attended a meeting the other day where a lot of ideas were raised about the Monterey Park community and it's diversity. It was déjà vu all over again, as Yogi said.

The meeting was called by the old Asian Pacific Legal Center, now called Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The idea of the meeting was to continue pursuing a solution to an incomplete council meeting held late last year regarding a city proposal to require Roman or Latin characters on all businesses signs. By the way, I felt this was against the U.S. Constitution regarding free speech.
The AAAJ believes it was very successful in beating back the proposed initiative because the council took no action. The AAAJ instead proposed a "Harmony Resolution" for the council to adopt.
The whole thing arose because the City Attorney ruled that an existing city code requiring English on business signs was unconstitutional. This was discovered when the city was revising its municipal code to make it user-friendly and eliminate any conflicts.
The proposal raised a storm of protests led by the AAAJ and supported by the Mexican American Legal Defense Foundation (MALDEF). More than 200 protesters were at the recent meeting.

During the February AAAJ meeting, the group reviewed the history of the issue and asked for suggestions of what will be next. Basically, they plan to proceed with their earlier attempt to get the city council to adopt the Harmony Resolution.
More than 20 years ago the city was embroiled in an English-Only proposal that divided the city. At that time, the demographics were more like 50 percent Asian and 50 percent non-Asian.
I believe that our community is a marriage of many races, ethnic groups and age groups. Like any marriage, there must be accommodation for the differences. Both sides must give something. I've been told that marriages are like 60-40. Each partner must give 60 percent -- there is no 50-50.
To give 60 percent, we must do our best to understand the other partner and make sure we do not get involved in any hot-button issues.
If your spouse is sensitive to the shape of their nose what do you do about it? You never discuss noses, whether it is the person’s or a movie star’s nose. Secondly, you have to practice what the old song says, "accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative. " But in reality, you have to ignore the negative and move on.
If your neighbor yells into their cell phone, never cuts their grass or has frequent family parties with loud music-- ignore it. On the other hand if they are successful, have loving families, have beautiful music, work hard in their own way, have different educational values and measure success in others than you do - accept it.
There were a lot of discussion of ways to encourage "harmony" among community residents, but in the end it was left to another meeting. 

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