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Dissent is Good 

Editor:

Your reporter’s account of the Mendocino MLPA community meeting made it sound like a failure (“Mendo Muddle,” Jan. 28). Why, because there wasn’t consensus? This is Northern California, this is 21st century America and this is a very important issue. Consensus would be a miracle.

For the past few months, we’ve all been on a mutual learning journey on how to approach the very complex MLPA process. We’ve shared information and concerns and made great strides in the understanding of the science requirements and details of this mandate. But there are very divergent views of where the protected areas should be and how the science and guidelines should be interpreted. This is healthy and necessary debate.

They couldn’t come up with “consensus” plans in other regions, so it’s not surprising we couldn’t either. But that’s not a disaster or a failure. As the story noted, the plans that have been submitted get forwarded on to the rest of the process until a decision is finally made.

I suggest your reporter follow this story a little more closely and make more informed observations. It’s extremely complex and will have a tremendous impact on all of our coasts. Despite the disagreements, I’m proud of everyone who’s been involved in our community process. It’s been an immersion in a very deep pool. Emphasizing the tone of the meeting rather than the substance of the subject doesn’t do either the participants or your readers justice.

Mark Taylor, Fort Bragg

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