<p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">We all saw it on the Internet—the fellow at a public meeting being hauled away from the microphone before getting wrestled to the floor and tasered during a Q&A with John Kerry. Fortunately, silencing argumentative speakers with a taser is not a common occurrence at most public meetings. While I might confess that there have been meetings where, in retrospect, one might have secretly wished one was armed with a stun gun, facilitators generally try to avoid confrontation. Yet there’s no denying that sometimes people show up at public meetings looking for a fight, begging for outrage, and hoping to irritate and inflame.
We all saw it on the Internet-the fellow at a public meeting being hauled away from the microphone before getting wrestled to the floor and tasered during a Q&A with John Kerry. Fortunately, silencing argumentative speakers with a taser is not a common occurrence at most public meetings. While I might confess that there have been meetings where, in retrospect, one might have secretly wished one was armed with a stun gun, facilitators generally try to avoid confrontation. Yet there's no denying that sometimes people show up at public meetings looking for a fight, begging for outrage, and hoping to irritate and inflame. This is the wrong attitude to take into a public meeting-especially if you are the public.
And how many times have we heard people speak at public meetings who bore us to death with their ramblings and cannot get their point across?
While much has been written about how facilitators and consultants should behave at public meetings, maybe it's time for a list of simple guidelines for the public on how to speak effectively at a public meeting.
This is my quick list. I'm interested in what others would add.
Ten things the public should do:
1. Introduce yourself and state your interest or stake in the issue. I am Barbara Faga and I am a member of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association. I reside at 101 Oak Park Lane.
2. State your position, either for or against or undecided. I am against the traffic calming plan proposed for my neighborhood.
3. State three points that support your position, and try not to ramble. The organization of the three-paragraph essay that we learned in sixth grade-and haven't used since-works well: Introduction, Point #1, Point #2, Point #3, Closing.
I am Barbara Faga and I am a member of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association. I reside at 101 Oak Park Lane.I am against the traffic calming plan proposed for our neighborhood.Our neighborhood association has not informed us of any traffic issues that would require us to put islands and bumps in the road.If this plan is built it will cause me to have limited access to my driveway as I will only be able to access it from one lane going south. I would like to see an estimate from an engineer of how much this construction will cost the neighborhood. This traffic plan is unwarranted, will impede neighborhood traffic flow, and is too expensive.
4. State a good reason for your opinion and/or use a metaphor to illustrate your perspective.
This new plan will cause me hardship as I have to bring my elderly parents to my home several times a week and do not want to make all the left turns and go around a traffic island to get to my driveway. I will need a yellow brick road just to find my driveway.
5. State your concerns calmly. Do not scream, swear, threaten, or appear hostile. This will make people scared of you rather than interested in what you have to say.
I am very concerned that this plan will affect the value of my house. I will be upset if you approve this plan.
6. Cite a coalition of assenters or dissenters, if possible.
Several of my neighbors could not be here tonight. We have formed a group against traffic calming called OPERATION, Oak Parkians Entirely Reacting Against Transportation Issues in Our Neighborhood.
7. Arrange to be seen and heard. If you know that several people you agree with are going to speak, try to break up the points among you so everyone gets to present their case without a lot of repetition. This will demonstrate that there are many people who agree with your point of view and many good arguments to be made. Politicians are influenced by numbers.
8. Bring in experts. If you have friends who are experts or if you have the resources to hire professionals, bring them on. It helps to have people who can present the facts authoritatively.
9. Offer to participate in a focus group or study of the area. Everyone likes mediation. It takes a lot of time and gets people away from the microphone.
10. Get to know your elected officials. You elected them and they appreciate putting a face to a name-and a vote.
Inclusive Prosperity: No Displacement Necessary
Recent analysis identifies nearly 200 U.S. neighborhoods that have achieved the highly-sought-after goal of increasing the prosperity of residents without displacing the existing community.
Making Healthy Places
The editors of the book "Making Healthy Places," recently published in a second edition by Island Press, discuss the intersections of public health and planning, including key concepts such as green gentrification, health impact assessments, and AI.
Chicago ADUs Concentrated in More Affluent Neighborhoods
An analysis of city-issued permits shows that homeowners in gentrified wards are building accessory dwelling units at much higher rates than those in less well-off communities.
Tempe’s Car-Free Developers Headed to Atlanta
Culdesac, developer of a massive no-parking multi-family development in Arizona, is headed to Georgia.
Is it a Rowhouse, or a Rowhome?
Philadelphia has long been acknowledged as the capital of rowhouses in the United States. It’s becoming more common for those rowhouses to be referred to as rowhomes.
Maps for Proposed San Francisco Bay Tunnel Revealed
Planners presented two options for new tunnels that would help connect more parts of the Northern California megaregion to San Francisco and Oakland.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Smart City Expo World Congress
Daniel R. Mandelker
City of Charleston
City of Crystal River
Sun City Center Community Association, Inc
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.