Roger Henry, president of East County NAACP, said his organization has taken no position on the controversy.
"It's unfortunate that the dialogue concerning quality of life issues has deteriorated into such a mean-spirited debate," he said. "Civil discourse has been missing. We find ourselves dealing with charges of racism, police brutality and economic and class discrimination. I urge all parties to tone down the rhetoric so we can discuss concerns without mean-spirited personalized comments.
"As an owner of rental property myself, landlords should hold themselves accountable for the condition of their properties. They can do a much better job of screening tenants, particularly those with a track record of calling the police.
"Neighbors should not assume that someone with a Section 8 voucher will become problem tenants. I'm not one to play the racism card. The overwhelming majority of Section 8 recipients are hard-working, law-abiding citizens. 93 percent of Section 8 recipients are going about their business trying to make a living like the rest of us."
In a phone interview Kay Trail, vice president of the East County NAACP, urged residents to call her (565-5954) or Henry (848-4472) or Pastor Henry Kelly (759-8049) if they would like help resolving disputes with police or neighbors.
"We have not heard from any of these people," said Trail. "If they have issues and want to do more than complain, they need to give us a call to let us help with their problems. We want to focus on positive energy and work toward resolution. The NAACP seeks to heal some wounds and provide an alternative to name-calling and squabbling."