Twice, during the last two months, representatives from the City of San Diego, Greater Golden Hill CDC, and MAD Oversight Committee met with mediators from the National Conflict Resolution Center to establish more productive, positive methods for communication between the different agencies and to more clearly define the role of the Oversight Committee. The mediation cost the City and Greater Golden Hill property owners approximately $5000 to conduct.
Early on, it was clear the mediation did not address attendance by Oversight Committee members. At the November 17th meeting of the Greater Golden Hill MAD, only six members showed up, failing to have the seven needed for a quorum.
The six members that did attend were unable to vote on any agenda items, but they did discuss business. Specifically, they passed out to the seven audience members the National Conflict Resolution Center mediation report.
The statement consisted of 11 elementary-school-style agreements, referred to by Oversight Committee secretary Barbara Houlton during the meeting as “vanilla flavored.”
One of the agreements led to changing the meeting date from the third Monday of the month to the first Monday of the month; the secretary from the Oversight Committee and a CDC representative are required to post the changes on each respective website.
The following agreements focused on who should email whom and established some deadlines for each agency to respond to action items.
The tenth agreement came in bold lettering: “The OC (Oversight Committee) and CDC members agree to treat each other respectively and professionally.”
Three examples followed, giving definitions of playing nice with one another (the italicized words are theirs).
— "No derogatory statements about each other in e-mails or other writings."
— "If an assumption is being made about someone else’s motivation or intent for doing something, ask them about their motivation or intent, rather than assuming what it is. Described another way: clarify assumptions with the person about whom you are making them regarding his/her motivations."
— "Keep in mind that communication between the OC and CDC members is public information and reflects on both groups."
The final agreement was to notify the mediators by March 2009 if more mediation is needed.
After distributing the ice-cream flavored accord, an audience member from the community addressed the Oversight Committee: “I’m terribly disappointed at the attendance of our elected officials on this committee. Number two, I’m disappointed that the City and the CDC and this committee have not reconciled through mediation at this point of time, some kind of better working agreement.”
To get the full vanilla-flavored scoop, the mediation agreement will be posted on the CDC and Oversight Committee websites at: goldenhillcdc.org and ghcgs.org.