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ORANGE COUNTY PERSPECTIVE : Can We All Get Along?

June 03, 1993

The aptly named group Orange County Together has produced a warning worth heeding: The county shares many of the social and economic conditions that spawned last year's Los Angeles riots and must work to prevent similar outbreaks.

Orange County Together was formed in the wake of the riots to assess conditions and to see if "it can happen here." The qualified answer was yes, if we do not pay attention. The group brought together representatives of all the ethnic communities in the county, politicians, police, academics, business people and clergy. Wisely, the group did not let up as the riots receded in memory. Members held community forums and made sure grass-roots groups were queried and heard.

Today, the organization will issue its report and discuss the recommendations. Among the worthwhile suggestions are more community-policing programs, more incentives for employers to promote diversity in their work force and a multicultural center to promote better understanding among the races.

Orange County has grown more urban in recent years. While that has brought the excitement and vitality of city life--with cultural diversity, theater, opera and a wide range of cuisine--it has also brought urban problems, such as gangs, guns and graffiti.

United Way is to be commended for its $100,000 grant to Orange County Together; the County Human Relations Commission deserves applause for helping form the group. Now it is time to see that the recommendations are implemented, not forgotten.

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