I don’t like it when people resort to either/or thinking. There are few things in this world that can be boiled down to this or that. I got a good look at that last week as I listened to two people talk about the hot community issue of land use.

They each looked at the issue from a different point of view. You could see the validity of each. Though you might agree or disagree with certain points, it was easy to see that this was not a case of good versus bad, but of how each person was affected by the issue being discussed.

I’m not advocating neutrality. We’d never get anything done if we were all “neutral.” On the other hand, being closed-minded or too opinionated also has some evils as well. What a better world it would be if we granted each other some respect, even when we disagreed.

If you live in any county in the San Joaquin Valley you are seeing a big migration of people from expensive coastal cities into the more affordable Valley. Purists would like to preserve all the farm land and ecologically sensitive areas. Pragmatists are saying, “We have to do something with all these people.”

Good sense dictates that planners be open to the opinions of both sides so that the decisions made truly solve the problems rather than lock us in either/or debates. That’s good advice for any organization.