A Doug's Life: Can't We All Just Get Along?

And here all this time, I thought I was moving to the peaceful outskirts of society.

Oh sure, it's nice and quiet around my place at night. I can look up and see the stars, which rarely make an appearance in the night skies of the San Gabriel Valley. An afternoon stroll around the neighborhood is quiet and restful. Even in the more crowded "downtown" section, people generally are friendly and polite.

But you know what else I found? You folks can be downright feisty when you've a mind to be.

Donna complains on this website about the lack of dining choices in Menifee. Sam says it's not an issue. Jane wishes for a Panera Bread cafe in town. Josh whines that this would just add to the traffic problem.

The city announces that Panera Bread is coming to town. Jordan says, "It's about time." Jenny responds, "Not in the Marketplace! Where are we supposed to park?" Gloria says, "Our community needs the business." Chris responds, "Hey, mind your own business!"

(OK, so the names have been changed to protect the innocent and some of the comments have been embellished. But you get the idea).

Mary wants a Wal-Mart. Joe hates Wal-Mart. Rick says to widen Newport Road. Sue says that's a waste of time; build a freeway overpass at Holland Road.

Hector says they're all wrong. Just head south to Scott Road, make a right, make another right, turn left at the railroad tracks, hike across the creek bed, skateboard down Haun Road, and you'll avoid a lot of the traffic.

More housing. Less housing. Compete with Temecula. Don't become another Temecula. Where's the theater? Who needs a theater?

And of course the latest controversy: Should we allow a tattoo shop in Menifee? Does it matter if it's near a church? Will it be a "bad influence?" Are those who oppose it simply ignorant?

Jason: "It will be a haven for drugs." Julie: "Your drug-dealing neighbor is the one you should be worrying about. Jack: "You're an idiot." Jane: "AND SO'S YOUR OLD MAN!"

Welcome to paradise.

Actually, I'm not surprised. In fact, it's kind of refreshing to realize that no matter where you live -- and no matter how many horses there are per square mile, or tattoo parlors, for that matter -- people are people. Get two or more of them together and the conflict ensues.

I suppose if I had continued to settle into the peaceful existence of Menifee without ever hearing so much as an argument over a parking spot at the Super Target, life would've become boring sooner or later. And believe me, having worked as a journalist for more than 30 years, I'm used to people complaining.

So in that regard, I feel like I'm getting a little slice of home cooking from the old neighborhood. It's kind of like reality followed me out here. Maybe that isn't a bad thing.

But to all the rest of you, as an "outsider," I would say this: Exercise your right to free speech, but respect the other guy and avoid name-calling. OK, so you're convinced you're right and he's wrong. In the end, the two of you alone are not going to decide things. Once you, the other other guy and several thousand others make their feelings known, these issues are decided by city officials, in a courtroom, or by someone who has a lot more money than the rest of us.

I'm not here to pass judgment on how many businesses we should have in town, what those businesses should be, or how long the left-turn lanes at Newport and Haun should be. I haven't been here long enough to make an informed decision on a lot of these things.

I'm just a guy who found a town with a lot of things I like -- enough things to make up for the few I don't like. If I can help change the negatives into positives, I will. But in each and every issue, I will continue to play the role of the objective journalist and try to see both sides.

I wish more people would try to do the same.


  1. Yeah, well written. Love it. We need you in Yucaipa!

  2. I like your article. It's the beauty of the ugly human race. I do think it's quite humourous that people feel so much more empowered to have feelings, views and opinions (like me) when they are behind the confined comfort and safeness of their computers. I'm a Libra, I am always looking for balance and somehow always hear myself say in my mind, Can't we all just get along"? Continue your journey in Menifee and we will peek at your doing's behind our protected safe place. ~Cheers!

  3. I moved here 7 months ago from a nearby town. I hate it here. People are nasty. More bored, nosey people with nothing to do but wreak nasty havoc.