Invitation to Community Meeting

An invitation from SPU:

“Dear Ballard Raingarden Neighbor:

“We feel it’s time to give you a status report on the Ballard Roadside Raingardens Pilot Project and to discuss with you what we have learned so far, what challenges and successes we’re seeing and how this pilot project is expected to progress from here.

“We invite all interested Ballard residents to a community meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2nd in the Fellowship Hall of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, located at 2400 NW 85th Street. There is a large parking lot on the west side of the church.

“We look forward to working with you on this very important project!”

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Invitation to Community Meeting

  1. Kathy Frushour

    All of us as concerned neighbors look forward to hearing SPU’s current evaluation, and to presenting our evaluations of this project and our expectations regarding how and whether the project should be continued in our neighborhood.

  2. (Sorry, corrected and edited version of previous comment. The meeting is Wednesday Feb 2nd, not Tuesday.)

    Though the SPU staff who will be giving a presentation at the upcoming Feb 2nd 2011 meeting are likely not directly responsible for the dysfunctional state of our Ballard RainGardens they are probably tasked with public relations damage control.

    With this in mind are there any other blog participants besides myself who would like to improve the dialogue with SPU by insisting that citizens have a voice in the meeting agenda and procedures? At other City department run public meetings I’ve attended there can be considerable pressure to maximize City department information flow outward and down (from their vantage point) while restricting embarrassing questions and information flow from citizens into the department and the public record.

    Since SPU organized the meeting they will work hard to control the entire agenda during the evening, questions will likely be restricted until after their presentation. When questions are allowed they will be time limited, while SPU answers will not. SPU may take a lot of time answering questions they are comfortable with and which reinforce the positive message. Difficult questions are likely to elicit shorter, possibly non-answer answers without the questioner being allowed to ask a followup question or respond to the answer given by pointing out that the answer did not provide information to the questioner’s satisfaction (obviously this is subjective, but at least the questioner should have the ability to respond briefly).

    We want to give SPU staff time to present their viewpoint and any useful information they might have, however in an important public forum I think it is counter-productive for SPU to have total control of the process. Citizens who can establish (by way of a brief statement) that they have useful information should have the opportunity (by majority vote?) to make shorter presentations to those attending. Immediately following SPU answers, questioners should be given a brief opportunity to comment. Feedback is important. It might also be useful after some answers to poll the audience about the answer by a quick show of hands. These are the basic components of townhall style public meetings. SPU and meeting attendees are spending their valuable evening to discuss an important community issue. Courtesy and respect should be shown to both parties.

    Any thoughts are welcome.

    • We were given approval by SPU to present at the beginning of the meeting a deck a few of us created – it will be approximately 20 minutes long. We’re striving to cover all the residents’ issues and suggested remedies, even where there was disagreement amongst us. Thoughts? (Thanks for this discussion.)

      • A citizen presentation is great news and certainly a lot of work. Thanks to everyone who worked on creating it. People have different life experiences so we all know disagreements are to be expected. I think it is good to work as an honest broker presenting many sides of the issue, a strong plus.

        I’ve taken the opportunity to justify an earlier investment in some mid-level HD video gear (camera, shotgun mic, Final Cut Pro Suite editing software) and have shot some stock video footage of the RainGardens. My goal is to photograph each swale(?) in the project and make the footage and stills available to anyone putting together community information about the issue. This is a learning experience for me so please don’t expect the quality to be much beyond amateur level, but I am having fun using this stuff.

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