Conference at a Glance

Many thanks to all of you concerned San Diegans who took time out of your busy schedules to attend the 1st Annual Community Conference on Restoring Civility to Civic Dialogue.  You all helped make it a very successful event.  We, the organizers, have received numerous positive remarks about the conference and were gratified by the large turnout of community leaders, elected officials and candidates concerned about rising incivility and interested in engaging in a community dialogue to reverse this trend.

It was the consensus of those in attendance that we must build upon the momentum for Restoring Respect established at the April 9th conference at USD’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theater.  We look forward to continuing to collaborate with partner organizations and our fellow concerned citizens in raising public awareness about the crisis of civility in civic life -- and holding candidates and elected officials accountable for actions on their part that contribute to the culture of incivility. 

Over the next few weeks we will be telling you about important activities and opportunities for you to continue this dialogue. We are in the process of redesigning this website to reflect the fact that Restoring Respect is an ongoing initiative to bring positive change to San Diego’s civic dialogue. Please check back with us frequently to see how things are developing. We will also be reaching out to you, our fellow concerned citizens, with information about new projects being launched in partnership with other concerned community organizations.

We are also in the process of developing a statement of Principles of Civility based from your comments at the Conference. These will be formalized and presented on this website for your continued comment and discussion. Most importantly, as we finalize these principles we will be asking you to publicly support and disseminate them to the broader San Diego Community. It is our hope that, working together, we can help make San Diego not only America’s Finest Community, but America’s Most Civil Community as well.

Civility is Patriotic” Dr. Larry Hinmann, USD Professor of Philosophy and Restore Respect Conference Panelist.

View the videos of the conference online!

Conference Origins

Last fall the Catfish Club of San Diego hosted a discussion regarding civility and the need for a return to the time when we treated one another with respect. The panel included Rev. George Walker Smith, Chairman and Founder of the Catfish Club, Ed Quinn, former General Manager of KGTV, Dorothy Smith, Ed.D, former member of the San Diego Unified School District and member of the San Diego Ethics Commission, and Carl Luna, Ph.D., Political Science Professor, Mesa College.

The panel discussion was well received by those in attendance and as a result it was agreed that we should broaden the discussion in a format that will provide for broader community involvement. The goal being to attempt to mitigate the rise of incivility amongst individuals, community leaders, public officials and the media in our own San Diego community’s civic life.

The first step is to talk about this and openly engage diverse views. As a result we have put together a regional conference for the community entitled: Restoring Respect: Community Conference on Restoring Civility to Community Dialogue.

Conference Purpose

This free, half-day conference is scheduled for April 9, 2012, and will be held on the beautiful campus of the University San Diego at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. The morning will begin with an address from nationally known journalist Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee, followed by a student perspective, and a panel discussion followed by an interactive question/answer period. Our panelists include: Chancellor Constance Carroll of the San Diego Community College District, Murray Galinson of the National Conflict Resolution Center, USD philosophy professor Larry Hinman, political consultant Tom Shepard and the LA Times’ San Diego Bureau Chief Tony Perry. The panel will be moderated by San Diego Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna.

The conference aims 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 principles attendees will be willing to commit to in their public lives.

The conference has been designed to bring together people from across the San Diego Region including:

  1. Public officials and candidates for elected office.
  2. Social and economic community leaders
  3. Business leaders
  4. Concerned citizens of our community
  5. Secondary and post-secondary students
  6. Members of the media and political consulting industry

Schedule of Events

Time Event Title
8:00 - 8:30 Registration and Coffee/Tea Reception in the KIPJ Rotunda and Front Plaza.
9:00 - 9:15 Introduction and Opening Remarks
9:15 - 9:45 Keynote Address
9:45 - 10:30 Interactive Panel Discussion: Creating Principles of Civility
10:30 - 10:45 Break and Attendee Discussion
10:45 - 11:30 Interactive Panel Discussion: Formalizing Principles of Civility
11:30 - 11:50 Signing Ceremony: Committing to Principles of Civility
11:50 - 12:00 Closing Remarks


Carl Luna, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, San Diego Mesa College

Keynote Speaker:

Dan Walters, Political Columnist, Sacramento Bee


Constance Carroll, Ph.D., Chancellor, San Diego Community College District; Murray Galinson, Director, National Conflict Resolution Center; Larry Hinman, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, University of San Diego; Tony Perry, San Diego Bureau Chief Los Angeles Times; Tom Shepard, President and CEO, Shepard & Associates


  • San Diego Community College District
  • University of San Diego, School of Leadership and Education Sciences
  • Catfish Club of San Diego
  • San Diego State University
  • San Diego Foundation
  • Murray and Elaine Galinson
  • KGTV 10News
  • UC San Diego
  • Weingart Foundation


  • Rev. George Walker Smith, Chairman and Founder of the Catfish Club
  • Carolyn Smith, Catfish Club
  • Ed Quinn, former General Manager of KGTV
  • Dorothy Smith, Ed.D., Former member of the San Diego Unified School District and member of the San Diego Ethics Commission
  • Carl Luna, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, San Diego Mesa College