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Next Step Grassroots Training. When we talk about making a difference in Government, we first have to know how Government works.

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Presentation on theme: "Next Step Grassroots Training. When we talk about making a difference in Government, we first have to know how Government works."— Presentation transcript:

1 Next Step Grassroots Training

2 When we talk about making a difference in Government, we first have to know how Government works.

3 Local Governments What types? What do they do? Who is involved?

4 Types City Council County Commission School District Board of Trustees

5 Other Taxing Entities Emergency Service Districts Community College Districts Municipal Utility Districts

6 City Government Responsible for: Municipal safety Roads Trash collection Water/Sewage lines Land use

7 City Council Who: Mayor Council Members City Attorney City Manager City Secretary

8 City Boards and Departments Planning and Zoning Commission Parks and Recreation Library Metropolitan Planning Organization Engineering Finance Police and Fire Municipal Court

9 County Government Responsible for: County roads County land use County Law enforcement

10 Commissioners Court Who: County Judge County Commissioners

11 Other Elected Officials Sheriff Tax Assessor-Collector Justices of the Peace Constables County Clerk County Treasurer District Judges District Attorney

12 School District Board Responsible for: Budget/ISD Tax Rate Selecting Superintendent Curriculum/Textbooks Bond Elections

13 School Districts Who: Superintendent Board of Trustees School Administrators

14 Next Step Grassroots Training

15 Research Who are your elected officials? What does their voting record look like? What is the debt incurred to date? Places to find information, newspapers, internet search engines …

16 How to Find Information Meetings Government Resources Media Resources

17 Meetings

18 Sample Council Agenda



21 Government Resources




















41 Opposition Research Who are your potential opponents? What are their points of views on your issue? What have they said on your issue? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their points of view?

42 Opposition Research What will they do? What are their potential tactics? What do they think about your group?

43 Next Step Grassroots Training

44 Using the Information You Get Testimony at taxing entity hearings Communicating with Legislators Talking to the Press Public Speeches to Groups E-mail Updates to Volunteers Web Site Postings

45 Using the Internet and New Media Why you NEED to use the internet: Communication with members Expose govt. corruption Take message to the media

46 Using the Internet and New Media A number of websites offer free blog setup and hosting. Several good ones include:

47 Social Networking – – – – –

48 New Media and Old Media How to pitch your website to journalists: Do your homework on the journalist you want to pitch to: Have they ever worked with bloggers? What beat to they cover? When was the last time they wrote a story? What was the last story about? Have they ever written about your issue?

49 Getting Your Message Out Communications Strategy & Message Develop relationship with press Develop relationships with any friendlies you have found in the taxing authorities. Identify local radio talk shows.

50 Working With The Media Prepare, Prepare, Prepare Research the Issue Develop Media Lists Write a Press Release Be honest!

51 Getting Your Message Out Communications Strategy & Message Identify groups you can talk to and get on the calendar. Print up business cards with your name, the organizations name. Leave in restaurants, places of business. Letters to the editor, Opinion Editorials

52 Tips For Writing A Letter To The Editor Include Your Contact Information Be Clear and Concise State Your Point Early Keep to One Topic

53 Building Coalitions Why Build Coalitions?

54 Strength in Numbers We achieve more when we work together!

55 Communicating with Officials REMEMBER: The elected officials work for you – they are literally your employees. So be respectful, but dont be intimidated!

56 TELEPHONING YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS' OFFICES Do your homework before you call Be short and to the point Know your position, and if possible, the opposing argument and why it is flawed Follow up with a letter

57 Extra Tips Write on personal or business stationery Make it brief: Discuss no more than one subject per letter Begin your letter by identifying the specific legislation or proposal you are writing about Be VERY clear without equivocating, what you want your official to do: VOTE YES or VOTE NO

58 If You Receive A Non-Commital Response.... Do not be surprised if a reply is noncommittal. A strong, neutral position is the easiest for an elected official to take. Write back if the reply did not answer your questions, was ambiguous, or evaded the question. In your brief follow-up letter or phone call, make two or three good points and restate your position and request. Remind your elected official you are following the issue.

59 If You Disagree With Your Elected Officials Opinion.... Follow-up Letter Express thanks for the response. Express your disagreement, Refute your elected official's arguments, and Make a new point, if needed. Ask a question or two, which will force your elected official to think about the issue and respond. (Again, remind him/her that you are following the issue.) Do not delay in sending your follow-up letters!

60 Dealing with Retaliation You May Get This…… Honorable City Council Members AFP Citizen Watchdogs …..If You Dont Do This BANG

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