My family lives in a high ranch in a section of Long Beach known as “the canals.” The houses sit close together, sometimes just yards apart. One warm August afternoon many years ago, one of my neighbors lit his fireplace. Our windows were wide open and in no time our house filled with smoke. We appealed to our neighbors to wait until the weather was a little cooler. Later that evening, we were again invaded by smoke.
After one more attempt to address the problem civilly, it became clear to me that our neighbors did not appreciate that their pleasure was our pain. Drawing on my knowledge of nonviolent tactics to resolve conflict, I went door to door on the street to enlist support and called local officials. Some neighbors spoke up about the problem. The fireplace problem was soon resolved.
Years later, I was out for an early morning bike ride on East Park Avenue in Long Beach when I was run down by a driver who subscribed to the now-popular practice of turning right on red without coming to a full stop….
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