Published on September 26, 2014
THE NEXT FORM OF DEMOCRACY: HOW CITIZENS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE BUILDING NEW PARTNERSHIPS AND MOVING BEYOND ADVERSITY Presented by Santa Rosa Together, in partnership with: Matt Leighninger Deliberative Democracy Consortium Santa Rosa, CA September 25, 2014
THE DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY CONSORTIUM
THE CONTEXT FOR ENGAGEMENT: HOW HAVE CITIZENS* CHANGED? More educated More skeptical – different attitudes toward authority Have less time to spare Better able to find resources, allies, information (Internet) * citizens = residents, people
THE CONTEXT: FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN Have the most at stake in community success More motivation to engage, but even less time Want to engage in community, not just politics
THE CONTEXT: INCREASED USE OF THE INTERNET Available free for download at BIT.LY/IWJGQN
THREE MINUTES AT THE MICROPHONE Retrieved from Cincinnati.com, July 27, 2012
“What drove me to try planned, structured public engagement was my awful experience with unplanned, unstructured public engagement.” ─ John Nalbandian, former mayor, Lawrence, KS
TREATING CITIZENS LIKE ADULTS Give them: Information Chance to tell their story Choices Legitimacy Chances to take action Good process Food and fun!
SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: PROACTIVE RECRUITMENT Map community networks; Involve leaders of those networks; ‘Who is least likely to participate?’ Use online as well as f2f connections; Follow up!
SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: SMALL-GROUP PROCESSES No more than 12 people per group; Facilitator who is impartial (doesn’t give opinions); Start with people describing their experiences; Lay out options; Help people plan for action.
SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: FRAMING AN ISSUE Give people the information they need, in ways they can use it Lays out several options or views (including ones you don’t agree with!) Trust them to make good decisions
SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING Money that citizens decide how to spend A structured process – citizens research and develop proposals Citizens vote on proposals Builds support for gov’t, elected officials
SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: ONLINE TOOLS Texting, Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, and beyond… Particularly good for: Providing background information Data gathering by citizens Generating and ranking ideas Helping people visualize options Maintaining connections over time
SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: ENCOURAGING CITIZEN ACTION
SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: FUN “Sometimes you need a meeting that is also a party. Sometimes you need a party that is also a meeting.” Gloria Rubio-Cortès, National Civic League
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
HOW TO SUSTAIN ALL THIS? (AND WHY?) Increases in: Trust Efficiency Equity Connectedness …which increases: Economic growth Public health
TWO ASSUMPTIONS TO RECONSIDER 1. Government is the only problem-solver
TWO ASSUMPTIONS TO RECONSIDER 2. It is the job of government, acting alone, to sustain engagement
The regular opportunities, activities, and arenas that allow people to connect with each other, solve problems, make decisions, and be part of a community. Civic Infrastructure
3. Democratic decision-making and problem-solving Building Blocks
WORKING GROUP ON LEGAL FRAMEWORKS FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Local public participation ordinance Definition of public participation No mandates – model is ADR Principles for successful public participation Possible use of commission or other agency at local government level Best use: to start a discussion about how you want participation to work in your municipality
“PORTSMOUTH LISTENS” PORTSMOUTH, NH Ongoing process since 2000 Several hundred participants each time Addressed a number of major policy decisions: bullying in schools, school redistricting, city’s master plan, balancing city budget, whether to build new middle school
JANE ADDAMS SCHOOL FOR DEMOCRACY WEST SIDE OF ST. PAUL, MN 50-200 people in “neighborhood learning circles” every month since 1998 Involves recent Hmong, Latino, Somali immigrants Young people involved in circles and other activities Cultural exchanges - food, crafts, storytelling Has resulted in new projects, initiatives, festivals, and change in INS policy
“CREATE BUCKHANNON” BUCKHANNON, WV Ongoing process since 2009 Weekly lunch, using open space process, called “Meet and Eat” Have created a park, a weekly summer music festival and market, a city plan, various downtown improvements and safe biking and walking routes
“DECATUR NEXT” DECATUR, GA
What online tools can do: Help sustain community connections
SLIDES AVAILABLE AT: WWW.SLIDESHARE.NET/MATTLEIGHNINGER GUIDES: PLANNING FOR STRONGER LOCAL DEMOCRACY – BIT.LY/PSLDNLC USING ONLINE TOOLS TO ENGAGE THE PUBLIC– BIT.LY/IWJGQN MAKING PUBLIC PARTICIPATION LEGAL – BIT.LY/1F2MGAP
RESOURCES www.icma.org www.participedia.net www.deliberative-democracy.net www.everydaydemocracy.org www.publicagenda.org www.kettering.org
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
DIGITAL DIVIDES (PLURAL) Overall, Internet access growing Different people use different hardware Different people go to different places on the Internet Communities just as complex online as off
What online tools can do: Help citizens gather data
What online tools can do: Help people generate and rank ideas
What online tools can do: Help people visualize options
COMMON MISTAKES Treating Internet as a one-way medium Not enough recruitment Transparency without proactive engagement Gathering ideas and not implementing them
STRENGTHS OF OCCASIONAL ENGAGEMENT Making policy decisions, plans, budgets Catalyzing citizen action Rebuilding trust, fostering new leadership
LOCAL PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ORDINANCE Broad and non-exclusive definition of public participation No mandates – model is ADR Principles for successful public participation Possible use of commission or other agency at local government level No reference to changing sunshine laws as usually a matter for state legislature Best use: to start a discussion about how you want participation to work in your municipality
Available free for download at BIT.LY/1F2MGAP/
PUTTING THESE TACTICS TO USE: PARTICIPATION COMMISSIONS AND Participation commissions or advisory boards can: Develop multi-year participation plans Develop guidelines on when/how participation should happen Assess and evaluation current participation efforts Provide annual report to council on status of participation Help strengthen networks for recruitment ADVISORY BOARDS
PUTTING THESE TACTICS TO USE: BETTER FORMATS FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS Stronger networks, online and off, for recruitment and dissemination of information Better use of social media to raise interest, discussion before and between meetings Clear avenues for public to present ideas for the agenda At the meeting (or as a pre-meeting), a format featuring small-group discussions Proposed guideline: Electeds cannot vote, act, or make decisions until information from meeting is made public
PUTTING THESE TACTICS TO USE: PARTICIPATION STAFFING IN CITY HALL Larger assumption to discuss: What is government’s role in supporting participation? One office – or participation skills distributed throughout departments? Training opportunities Need for principles, protocols, and metrics to guide the work
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