Lessons for Local Government Leaders in the 21st Century–How Our Past Shapes Our Future

April 17, 2024

In addressing a new era of political mistrust and polarization, it would be useful to look at our history and how public administration and city/county management have evolved. An excellent historical place to start would be with Woodrow Wilson.

Proportional Representation: The Good Government Municipal Reform that Wouldn’t “Stay Put”

April 17, 2024

In 1936 the voters of New York City launched a bold experiment in election systems reform adopting the “ranked choice voting” form of proportional representation for city council races. Ten years later, bi-partisan opposition from party insiders and Cold War era fears ended the experiment abruptly.

Toward the Public Square: Investing in Society with our Presence

April 17, 2024

There are many ways we can, and should, support civil society. Spending time in the public square, and physically staying connected to society by using public spaces, services, and amenities is one of those ways.

The Political Work and Experience of Hoping with Others

April 16, 2024

What is the point of politics without hope? On the one hand, hope might be perceived as a coping mechanism that makes abstraction of the world and its constraints. On the other hand, it can suggest an act of resistance grounded in action.

I Want a Say in How My Taxes are Spent!

April 16, 2024

By combining the Participatory Budgeting experience of voting on the use of public funds with the Citizens’ Assembly experience of deliberating rather than expressing opinions, we have a potentially powerful new democratic mechanism to define community desired service outputs/outcomes, and to allocate public funds to achieve those outputs/outcomes.

Save Our Cities: It’s Time to Make America’s Urban Political Systems Far More Democratic

April 16, 2024

If American cities were divided into small electoral districts based on existing neighborhoods, then city governments would be truly representative. A city’s various communities would be represented in government proportionally.

Civic Engagement Success Story: Alameda County, Oakland and COVID 19

April 16, 2024

By involving community leaders in decision-making, local health leaders were able to build trusting relationships with vulnerable populations. Among the results were lower than average death rates and higher than average rates of vaccination.

Community Change and Our Civic Stress Test

April 16, 2024

Many of our communities are experiencing tug of wars, civic paralyses, and political stalemates over critically important decisions with incredible consequences for our collective future. We need to reconsider how we approach our public dialogue about community change.

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