Restoring Respect

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About Us

Restoring Respect is a community initiative promoting greater civility in San Diego civic dialogue.

The initiative is supported by a consortium of academic institutions and community groups including the Chancellors' offices of the San Diego Community College District and the University of San Diego, California, the presidents of San Diego State University and San Diego Mesa College,  the Catfish Club of San Diego, the San Diego Foundation, the Weingart Foundation and the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Educations Sciences (SOLES). Restoring Respect organized a well received conference on Civility at the University of San Diego in April, 2012. The initiative continues with Restoring Respect’s 2nd Annual Conference to be held February 20th (8a-12p) at USD’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.  Attendees will include community leaders, members of the local media, candidates and elected officials, students and members of the public, with an estimated attendance of 400-500. The event will consist of  welcoming and keynote addresses followed by an interactive panel discussion. Panelists and speakers being asked to participate include former California Governor  and Senator Pete Wilson, Public Radio’s A Way With Words host Martha Barnette and Union Tribune Editor Jeff Light., University of San Diego president Mary Lyons, San Diego Community College District chancellor  Constance Carroll and the Reverend George Walker Smith. Contact Dr. Carl Luna ( for additional information.

Restoring Respect Mission Statement:

Political campaigns and civil discourse has become increasingly divisive and even hostile, to the detriment of our ability as a community to come together to achieve the public good. As concerned citizens of the San Diego region we are seeking ways to encourage, promote and increase civility in civic discourse by our fellow citizens, public officials both interpersonally and in all manner of media. We seek to promote ways to be civil in our disagreements and respectful in our debates. We seek to make America’s Finest City and County the nation’s most civil community.


Restoring Respect --San Diego Civility Project seeks to accomplish the following goals:

  1. To raise San Diego community awareness of the problem the lack of civility in our public discourse creates in our attempt to achieve the public good.
  2. To encourage the San Diego community to embrace basic elements of civility in dealing with civic activism and political campaigning.
  3. To produce a Commitment to Principles of Civility, a statement of basic principals community members will to commit to in their public lives.
  4. To hold community leaders accountable to conducting public discourse in accord with these basic principles.


The San Diego Civility Project seeks to accomplish these goals through:

  1. Public Engagement and Awareness
    1. Organizing and hosting Restoring Respect’s Annual Conference to Restore Civility In Civic Dialgoue, a major public forum with local, regional and national participation. (1st Annual Conference, April 9. 2012; 2nd Annual Conference, February 20, 2013.
    2. Organizing and holding periodic community forums such as the recently held Restoring Respect’s Breakfast to Promote Civility in the Fall Campaign. (USD, October 3, 2012).
  2. Education
    1. At the College Level
      1. Working to integrate principles of civility into local colleges’ and universities’ mission statements and student learning objectives.
      2. Working to integrate principles of civility across the curriculum of local colleges’ and universities’
      3. Holding events for students, faculty and staff of local colleges’ and universities’ to raise awareness in their communities of issues of Civility and civil conduct in their community and civic dialogues.
    2. At the K-12 Level
      1. Working with local School Districts to integrate principles of civility into their organizing documents and curriculum.
      2. Holding events in K-12 schools of issues of Civility and civil conduct in their community and civic dialogues.
  3. Accountability
    1. Continuing with the ongoing process of formulating community-developed Commitment to Principles of Civility as begun at the 2012 April Conference.
    2. Disseminating the Principles to other groups and communities as well as local media through the website, press conferences, releases and media interviews and outreach to local community groups and organizations
    3. Soliciting community members and public officials to sign on to the Principles through the Restoring Respect website .
    4. Monitoring the effectiveness of and compliance with these principles through the Campaign Civility project which evaluates the civility of the political campaigns of elected officials and candidates
    5. Working with existing media partnerships (10News, KPBS, Independent Voter Project, Investigative News Service) and expanding these partnerships to disseminate Restoring Respect’s findings and evaluations to the San Diego community.

Long Term Goals

Establishing Restoring Respect as a permanent community partnership initiative in an ongoing quest to promote and monitor civility in the San Diego community’s public discourse.

Sponsors and Partners

  • The Catfish Club of San Diego
  • San Diego Community College District
  • SOLES, University of San Diego
  • Dr. Constance Carroll, Chancellor San Diego Community College District & Trustee, University of San Diego
  • San Diego Foundation
  • Union Bank of California
  • SDSU Office of the President
  • League of Women Voters, San Diego Mesa College
  • League of Women Voters, San Diego North County
  • 10News
  • San Diego Mesa College

Initial Organizing Committee

  • Rev. George Walker Smith, Director, Catfish Club of San Diego
  • Carolyn Y. Smith, Catfish Club of San Diego
  • Dorothy Smith, Member Advisory Board, USD SOLES
  • Ed Quinn, Former President McGraw-Hill Broadcasting
  • Carl Luna, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science San Diego Mesa College & Visiting Professor, University of San Diego
  • Jeff Marston, former California State Assemblyman and president, Marston & Marston