Public encouraged to share views
By Nancy Gross
Kristofer Young invites all of the Ojai Valley to attend a town hall meeting on Health Care Reform because he can see no reason that Ojai should not participate in this nationwide exchange of ideas. “First and foremost, this is about democracy, in the sense of an informed public.” The meeting will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at Chaparral Auditorium, 414 E. Ojai Ave.
His forum’s view is that “we cannot go on paying double for second-rate health care in this country,” but he encourages people to come who have differing views, as well as those who have no well-defined position on whether health care in the United States ought to be changed or left as it is.
Young is the lead organizer for Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, Ojai Peace Coalition, Organizing for America, and Health Care for America Now. “I am a doctor. I know enough about how critical health care reform is. We have to change this,” Young says. But he believes another part of this process is simply showing up, standing up, and being counted among the community sharing in the democratic process.
As facilitator, Young will deliver the introductory remarks. He intends to ask participants what kind of forum they would like to have, as well as where they are from. Town hall meetings in other parts of the country that have turned disruptive and violent, and where some protestors have arrived by bus from other areas seemingly to create these disruptions, is something he is on the lookout for.
Young would like to hear any peaceably presented views about why health care reform is not important to some people. He hopes to provide a review of what is in the works in Washington, D.C., and to try to tease apart the real issues from the gossip and scare statements that have been circulating.
Ojai’s mayor, Joe DeVito, has been asked to attend, as has Rep. Elton Gallegly. Young has encouraged these officials to send someone else on their behalf if they cannot attend. He hopes all the following groups will have members present: Ojai City Council, Board of Education, Food for Thought, the Green Coalition, and every organized faith in the valley.
Young expects to be able to set up a lottery format that will give some participants the opportunity to speak briefly. Presenters may include physicians who reside in the area. Young, a holistic chiropractor, sees health itself as very important to the democratic process, and not only the other way around: “Healthy citizens are more productive and cooperative.”
Because of the tense nature of some of these meetings, Young is inviting the Ojai Police Department to be in attendance.
Young’s hope is that this discussion will “shake it up peacefully,” and only peacefully.