Monday, October 17, 2005

Public Meetings Should be a Two-Way Street

There was an excellent editorial in the Bee Saturday regarding city leaders initiating a public discussion about flood preparedness.

We are also pleased to see public leadership taking a proactive role in discussing Sacramento’s obvious vulnerability to the kind of flooding that sunk New Orleans. We also heartily agree with the editorial’s conclusion that, “These meetings should be a two-way street for learning.”

Public leadership too often has a tendency to so severely restrict public dialogue that the informed public wishing to participate drops-out of the process, which has largely happened in the American River Parkway Plan Update format, also restrictive of public comment.

Serious public issues call for a process encouraging public participation, not restricting it.

Editorial: Some humility, please
Big Easy mess couldn't occur here. Oh, yeah?
Published 2:15 am PDT Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sacramento officials are now holding meetings across the city, assuring residents that the "fiasco" of the New Orleans flood disaster could never happen here.

There are many things to like about these meetings. Mayor Heather Fargo and city and county leaders are spending real face-time in neighborhoods, informing people about the need for flood insurance and updating them on levee repairs and Folsom Dam work.

But the tone and structure of these gatherings raise questions. Is the intent to seriously engage residents in preparedness? Or are these meetings largely a self-serving effort by leaders to deflect claims the city is not as flood-prepared as it could or should be?

A meeting Monday in Natomas suggested the latter.

For the rest of the editorial: