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Getting Along

August 14, 1993

In response to "When the Neighbors Aren't Friendly," Commentary, July 31, I offer more good news about mediation and community-based dispute resolution organizations like ours.

Disputes between businesses, neighbors, family members, landlords and tenants, consumers and businesses, employers and employees are appropriate for mediation.

Mediation and conciliation are readily available to those who are challenged by language, physical, mental, emotional or financial difficulties.

Intake, casework and mediations are done in confidence by professionally trained neutral third parties who do not give legal advice, find fault or impose outcomes.

Disputes, particularly those based on a misunderstanding, are frequently conciliated by telephone.

Participation is voluntary. Disputants are in control of the outcome and do not give up their right to use the courts if an agreement is not reached. most mediations result in an agreement.

The Ventura Center for Dispute Settlement (VCDS), like many community programs, trains individuals in conflict management and dispute resolution techniques which can be used in families, neighborhoods, schools, social service organizations and businesses.

And, I have yet to hear a "mediator joke."



Cathy Andresen is executive director of the Ventura Center for Dispute Settlement.

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