Watching and listening to the debate at Jan. 3’s Lewiston City Council meeting on the proposed amendment to the Rules Governing the City Council was saddening in several respects.

The amendment, apparently provoked by a desire to alter the role of the mayor during debates and voting, was wordy and duplicative of much of the current language in the rules. Councilors disagreed on how much to rely on rules, suggesting no real need for the amendment.

The strongly worded negative comments, and accompanying or responding facial actions, demonstrated long-standing grievances among council members.

I appreciated the comments of community members, including those of a former council member and a former mayor, who emphasized the need to agree to disagree, and to recognize the duty of all council members to those who elected them.

The council finally agreed to postpone further discussion of the amendment until the next council meeting, after an executive session, which would include the city attorney, a consultant on the amendment’s language. I hope the council might also consider the services of a mediator, to promote a less adversarial atmosphere.

Words matter — whether spoken or put into formal, legal documents — and should be chosen carefully.

I suggest that in their executive and public sessions, all keep in mind the words of the writer C. S. Lewis: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Christine Holden, Lewiston

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