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Citizen Participation

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Presentation on theme: "Citizen Participation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Citizen Participation
Public Policy Group April 20, 2007

2 Contents 1 2 3 4 5 Introduction Midland case T. N. T Exercises
Conclusion 5

3 Why does Citizen Participation matter?
Represent the public better Reduce the possibility of corruption by increasing transparency Know the interests of the people better Empower and educate people Enhance legitimacy, thus, compliance, and implementation (effectiveness) Resolve public dispute better Correct injustice situations Hold public institutions more accountable Use local, indigenous knowledge from citizens

4 Definition of Citizen Participation
Sherry R. Arnstein The redistribution of power that enables the have-not citizens to be deliberately included in the future. - "A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” Journal of the American Institute of Planners James V. Cunningham The process of exercising power on decision making in the regional community by non-experts/citizens - "Citizen Participation in Public Affairs" Public Administration Review

5 Concepts related (Amsler)
Civic engagement: All the many roles and activities through which people take an active part in community life Public participation: Subset of civic engagement that informs the public and involves residents in shaping the policies that affect them Collaborative governance: Subset of public participation that involves the general public and others in informed and reasoned discussions that seek to influence public sector decision-making

6 The Ladder of Citizen Participation (Arnstein)
Citizen Control Delegated Power Partnership Consultation Informing Therapy Manipulation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Placation 8 Nonparticipation Tokenism Citizen Power Varieties and gradations of participation

7 The Key: Understanding the Levels of Public Participation
Inform Involve Collaborate Consult Empower Increasing Level of Participation in Decision Making 3 4 5 2 1

8 Democracy Cube (Archon Fung)
How could we sort out various practical citizen participation methods? Democracy Cube (Archon Fung)

9 Participant Selection Methods

10 Modes of Communication and Decision

11 Extent of Influence and Authority

12 Why Engage The Publics? (Peter Sandman)
You need the help of the publics You need the advice of the publics You need the buy-in of the publics ☞ Consensus Building to prevent & address conflicts

13 Consensus Process A process in which stakeholders engage in discussions and negotiations The purpose of consensus process is reaching a decision that everyone can live with * Source: Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, “What is Negotiated Rulemaking? “, The University of Texas School of Law

14 Consensus Building Process (Susskind)
Convening responsibility Clarification Deliberation Decision Making Agreement Initiate discussion Specify roles of each stakeholder Strive for Transparency Unanimity on package of gains Ratification by constituencies Issue assessment & Identify stakeholders Set agenda and ground rules Use expert, professional neutral Adhere to decision-making process Present approved proposal Decide to commit to a process Assess options Seek to maximizing joint gains Keep a record of commit Monitoring of implementation

15 Recommendations for effective public participation (Widditsch)
Start early & Plan carefully Know what you want, Be flexible Know who is doing what Provide useful information Make meetings convenient Get lots of publicity

16 Sewage Treatment Conflict: Conflict Overview (Wagen & Pfeffer)
Onondaga County recommended the construction of a Regional Treatment Facility (RTF) to be located in the Midland Avenue Southside community. When discharges occur from this facility they will flow into Onondaga Creek and eventually into Onondaga Lake. A small group of citizens in the neighborhood have resisted the County’s attempts to construct the RTF. Local citizens object to many proposed features of the facility.

17 Timeline of Events 1991 County Swirler (sewage technology) plans originated 1998 Amended Consent Judgment sets milestone dates for the County to meet 1998 Public Participation begins after firms had been contracted for the project and key plans developed and submitted to the county Residents request details of location - Community already burdened and disrupted by multiple industrial facilities in addition to public and private projects 1999 Oxford and Blaine residents organized themselves as Citizens for Fair Treatment Syracuse University Public Interest Law Firm

18 Timeline (cont’d) 2000 Southside advocacy organization Syracuse United Neighbors helped form the Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC). 2001 County supports planning storage system in Schiller Park as alternative. City of Syracuse Common Council voted to refuse to sell necessary City-owned and controlled land to the County. 2002  U.S. District Court rules that Onondaga County may condemn property owned by the City that is needed for the Midland project. Onondaga County Dept of Water Environment Protection

19 Timeline (cont’d) Engineers begin preliminary design for the County’s preferred option. 2003 Revised and updated facilities plan submitted to NYSDEC for the Midland Avenue RTF project. Onondaga County Legislature authorized acquisition of property for construction, operation, and maintenance of Phase II Midland Avenue RTF. 2003  Federal district court judge supported Onondaga County's right to use eminent domain with just compensation to acquire a City-owned property. City files appeal. County proceeded to purchase needed private properties and assisted property owners in finding new homes and provided compensation for moving. Lane and Heath

20 Timeline (cont’d) 2003 NYSDEC approved updated facilities plan and engineering design report. 2004 Demolition contract awarded. Site demolition begins. 2004 County officials meet with area residents at a meeting of SUN-Tallman Action Council. Questions are asked and responded to regarding construction and the proposed schedule of construction activities. Currently in Phase II of construction. Lane and Heath

21 The Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC)
“The Partnership for Onondaga Creek is a voice for the Midland Community and the environment advocating for better, non- polluting solutions for Onondaga Creek.” - POC website As Tara mentioned in the timeline, the process of the proposed Midland Ave sewage treatment facility began in 1991. However, public participation didn’t begin until 1998 when the Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC) organized concerned citizens of the Midland area. As shown in their mission statement, they have served as a voice for the Midland Community in the proposal process.

22 POC (cont’d) Helped to bring about negotiations which created 2 viable alternatives (Peace Council) Meetings took place from December 2001 – August 2002 City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, NYSDEC, Atlantic States Legal Foundation, the Onondaga Nation, and POC were all “at the table” Consensus on alternatives was nearly reached but unilateral decisions spurred controversy Grassroots efforts and research of alternatives by the POC helped to bring about meetings in which the major stakeholders were present. These meetings were conducted over an 8 month period and were intended to create viable alternatives that all parties would agree too. Aside from technical issues, this group also developed common ideals to make the solution acceptable for the entire group that includes making the solution compatible with creek restoration and reducing pollutants going into the creek. By July 2002, there were 4 cost effective DEC approved alternatives which the other stakeholders agreed to as well, with underground methods being the more acceptable means. Unfortunately in August 2002, the County Executive, Nick Pirro stalled the process claiming that extra funds might be needed. This created an impasse amongst the stakeholders that was only fueled even more when in November 2002 a Federal Judge and the County gave the green light to buy land in the Midland area for an above ground plant instead of the more popular underground ones. This unilateral approach by the county has added to the controversy.

23 Title VI Administrative Complaint
Filed in April 2004 on behalf of POC by SU to challenge the collective actions of Onondaga County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) in selecting and approving the placement of an above ground, regional treatment facility on Syracuse’s Southside. - Several years after the end of promising meetings between various stakeholders in this situation, a complaint was filed against the County and DEC against their actions during this decision making process.

24 Administrative Complaint (cont’d)
Also addressed claims of inadequate public participation Offered only after a method had been selected Comment occurred on uncertain phases of the project Timeframe for comment and search for alter- natives was shortened by County Information was presented in a confusing manner This complaint paid particular attention to the lack of public participation that occurred throughout the entire process dating back to 1991. In 1991 the County developed plans for the treatment facility and began to contract key firms for its construction. However, public participation didn’t occur until 7 years later in 1998. Secondly, comment periods were used on phases that were not yet finalized The county shortened the time frame in which the public could comment as well as the amount of time allotted for a search for alternatives. Finally, the information was presented to the community in a way that was not easily understood. All of these factors led to ineffective public comment on the proposed project.

25 “Environmental Justice for All Tour”
Took place in Syracuse Sept. 24 – Oct. 1, 2006 Led a tour of the Midland area highlighting the environmental injustice, including lack of public participation. “All levels of government must make it their number one priority to include members of affected com- munities in the planning and design of new projects prior to completion of the planning and design phases.” (Poindexter of POC) Unfortunately, public participation continues to be an issue in this decision making process and more recently has resulted in a walking tour of the Midland area. Syracuse Residents, politicians, and media were invited to join the tour which highlighted the various environmental injustices occurring during this process including inadequate public participation. The simple take home message from this tour was that people want to be involved and included in this decision making process since it affects their community.

26 Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today (TNT)
Official citizen participation process in the City of Syracuse Divides the City into eight neighborhood planning areas Each area has an assigned staff person, but the meetings are completely citizen driven City officials from various operational depart-ments attend to address questions and concerns

27 TNT (cont’d) Each planning commission maintains a 5-year neighborhood plan Commissions submit annual requests for Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) A small amount of CDBG money is set aside for escrow projects Spin-off - Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative

28 TNT Strengths Fosters relationships Identifies community needs
Increases accountability “We turned the lights on … and we turned the heat up for everyone else.” Peg Stroman, TNT founder Provides an outlet for community dialogue Institutionalized by City Ordinance

29 TNT Weaknesses Self-selecting - not representative of the public at large Community divided by arbitrary lines Inadequate staffing/resources No guarantee that ideas will be implemented Not well designed to withstand changes in administration Currently underutilized

30 Sample: Southside TNT Agenda
Call to Order Review/Accept Minutes Questions for city officials Midland RTF Generate criteria to evaluate recommendations Brainstorm ideas that the negotiation team can take to the DEC led meetings Evaluate ideas based on pre-determined criteria Announcements Adjourn

31 Questions to Consider What concerns you about the RTF?
What solution would you like to see implemented and why? Determine the best solution from your group and nominate a representative report back to the class.

32 Conclusions Citizen participation and conflict prevention
Raises critical concerns during the early stages of a project or policy Provides mutual understanding of community needs and goals Citizen participation and conflict management Redirects focus to interests rather than positions Corrects misunderstandings in policy and process Generates creative solutions to public policy problems

33 Thank you! Public Policy Group

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