A Doug's Life: How Long Will the Spotlight Shine?

On July 1 -- the day we announced plans for the Murrieta 24/7 news website -- hundreds of people gathered outside the U.S. Border Patrol s...

On July 1 -- the day we announced plans for the Murrieta 24/7 news website -- hundreds of people gathered outside the U.S. Border Patrol station on Madison Avenue, and the spotlight was turned on the City of Murrieta.

The town we thought we would be covering primarily for the 100,000 or so residents of Murrieta was suddenly being broadcast across the country. From the beginning, we were in the middle of it. Hiding from the sun under a canopy bearing the logo of our sister website Menifee 24/7 -- we barely had a logo yet for Murrieta 24/7 -- we interviewed residents and protestors of the scheduled arrival of undocumented immigrants.

In short, we witnessed Murrieta's entrance onto the world stage of opinion -- and it wasn't a quiet one.

Some residents wished the problem would just go away. Take the immigrants elsewhere, they said. Some demanded their immediate deportation to Central America, from whence they came. Others came from outside the area to protest, to call Murrieta racist, as the city became a focal point for a national debate.

Weeks later, memories of the immigration protests in Murrieta have faded somewhat. The issue on a national scale hasn't gone away. There is still debate over immigration issues. Racial tensions in this country remain high, as the death of Michael Brown and subsequent rioting in Missouri illustrates. But has the spotlight completely turned away from Murrieta?

The conduct of its own citizens will have something to do with that.

As life returns to some state of normalcy in Murrieta, it's up to the residents to carry on with dignity and strive for a sense of unity. You don't have to prove anything to the rest of the country; just prove to yourselves that you can stand up for your beliefs in a respectful manner.

This city faces an important election in November, and the campaigning has already begun. Your mayor, Alan Long, and incumbent council member Rick Gibbs are joined by seven others in the race for three seats on the Murrieta City Council. Your vote counts, and you owe it to your city to become educated about the facts.

Elsewhere, the city continues to grow. More opportunities are needed for employment, recreation and cultural experiences. Creativity and cooperation will make this happen.

So stand tall, residents of Murrieta. The spotlight still shines. It's just more focused on each one of you as this city continues to move forward. What will you do to help make Murrieta a better place? At Murrieta 24/7, we look forward to being part of that process and we welcome your feedback.

Doug Spoon is co-owner of Premier Media Group and editor of Murrieta 24/7. He spent 35 years in the daily newspaper business as a writer and editor with the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Pasadena Star-News. Doug also teaches journalism part-time at Cal Poly Pomona. He is enjoying his transition into digital news media and is excited about its future. His column, "A Doug's Life," will appear regularly in this space.


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