From where I sat ... which for part of the evening was in the last row of seats at Rancho Community Church in Temecula and the rest was at home in front of my laptop.
Funny, they didn't all look like misinformed wackos, NIMBYs and environmental extremists.
Most of the 1,500 or so people who gathered Tuesday for the first of two Riverside County Planning Commission meetings on the proposed Liberty Quarry seemed like neighbors and family folks, the kind of people you'd run into at Costco or a Little League game.
Nearly everyone who packed the church and sat in the overflow area outside was there to oppose the controversial quarry, proposed to be blasted into a hill just south of Temecula on the Riverside/San Diego County line.
Credit the organizers of the opposition for bringing out a sizeable crowd ---- the largest I've seen assembled either in support or opposition of anything in 20 years of covering news here ---- on a Tuesday afternoon.
Inside the packed sanctuary, the audience was generally well-behaved. Planning Commission Chairman John Roth had the tough job of maintaining order in the emotionally charged room. However, he probably exacerbated the situation by continuing to chastise the audience when they applauded or jeered.
The couple of yahoos who chose to yell at the commission did nothing to help their cause.
Credit also should go to the five members of Temecula's City Council who, in an era of political correctness, minced no words in their disdain for what they said were quarry owner Granite Construction's flawed studies and attempts by the company's public relations team to give Southwest County residents the old "razzle dazzle" for five years.
That brought to mind an incident in December 2006 when Granite's public relations team descended on The Californian's office, swept into our newsroom and started putting wrapped Christmas presents on the desks of reporters and editors.
"Here's one for you, Wayne," said one who put a gift on my desk thinking I was Wayne Halberg, our editor at the time.
When I realized what was happening I walked over to Halberg's desk and said either he should remove the Granite folks from our newsroom or I would ---- and that I did not intend to ask them nicely.
Halberg, who would have never allowed such a blatant ethical violation had he realized initially what was going on, got the PR folks out of the office. The gifts were donated to charity.
On Tuesday, Granite's supporters again stated their strip mine ---- which would desecrate sacred grounds of the Pechanga Indians and be directly in the path of afternoon ocean breezes that make Temecula's Wine Country possible ---- would be good for Southwest County.
Razzle dazzle, indeed.
Contact columnist John Hunneman at email@example.com.