During Monday's discussion of the District Wide Master Facilities Plan (in particular, the Community Dialogue that was held November 6th), several board members commented on the added value that comes from personally attending the community meetings, as opposed to simply responding to the on-line questionaire . (Although everyone is certainly encouraged to do that, here
: the deadline is 8 a.m., Thursday
I'm also posting this on the PIF blog, because it goes to the heart of the Public Issues Forum philosophy: it is in hearing the perspective of citizens who see the issue differently - and understanding why they see it differently - that is the foundation for finding the common ground on difficult and sometimes contentious community problems.
As was also mentioned during the board discussion, when people sit down and talk face-to-face, and feel that their voice has been heard, they tend to be less defensive of their own position, and therefore, more open-minded.
I have long believed that voting - although clearly important - is only a small part of citizenship. Part of being a citizen is “being there”, interacting with other citizens.