• Philmore

    Sorry, but the dreams of an “uprising of the electorate” if ONLY we would (outreach more, educate, give away free Lotto tickets,… etc. ) are wishful thinking. HOW will we get better officeholders from the ignorant (probably random) vote of apathetic slugs who just showed up for a prize drawing? (and will RETURN only for the next DRAWING ! – Cheese at the end of the maze?) Expecting thoughtful, intelligent choices from the large slice of the ‘public’ (usually the ones I’m stuck in line BEHIND) challenged by fast-food menu selection ? (and rank voting with equal or LESS importance) Absurd. How many of the mob that screams over “doorstep issues” (problems show up on THEIR doorstep!) are at budget (or zoning or project) hearings where THEY are not the beneficiaries ? Parreto’s 80 / 20 rule is more like 95 /5 here, IF THAT. It should be proof enough, that immediately AFTER the “controversial” issue is decided, the proceedings are paused or (gaveled for quiet !) for 3 minutes, to allow the chambers to EMPTY! That would not happen with an “interested” public, which their BEHAVIOR shows they are NOT, beyond SELF-interested. It is futile to deny them the consequences (forfeiting their government) that they (did everything but) worked so hard to EARN. Europe and other areas of the world are often politically and socially changed by street demonstrations, but Americans stay welded to their TV / e-media couches (and are further kept there by subtle reminders of a militarized, trigger-happy, unaccountable, police force). See, you don’t need bananas to have a banana republic ! “What’s on tonight, is there a game ?”

  • Cynthia Ward

    You want to get citizens engaged in the process? Inform them of what is really going on at their local City Hall! When people become aware of how bad it is. they get fired up and involved. We see it in Anaheim, where a few folks showed up to ask for help with STRs in their neighborhood, saw the raw arrogance of their elected leaders, and stuck around for other battles. Our greatest challenge to voter engagement is not more government involvement, (God help us) our greatest challenge is REACHING PEOPLE in an area with NO specific news coverage on a network broadcast for a major metropolitan area, our only print newspaper is completely in the bag for the corporate interests and the politicians that dance to their tune, and while Voice of OC does an amazing job of exposing the hijinks, there isn’t a CNN level budget to cover Orange County like there should be. If we could get all of the neighbors we know are interested in how things are run to simply check out Voice of OC and SUBSCRIBE so we can afford more reporters for more coverage, we could get people alerted to the misdeeds of OC leaders, and that awareness would trigger record numbers of voters. Let’s get to work on this, people! More news! More Voice of OC! It’s ON US!

  • LFOldTimer

    I like that word ‘wonk’, except I use a different vowel. Why doesn’t someone tell the county to move off-agenda public comments to the start of their BoS meetings so good citizens don’t have to wait through 6 hours of meeting to discuss something not on the agenda? I’ll tell you why….because they do what they can to thwart civic engagement. That’s why!

    • Kathleen Tahilramani

      Excellent point. This was done along with other limitations to get several people to stand down and go away. The BOS can’t tolerate anyone who does not bow down and kiss the ring.
      Just look at Nelson’s body language when a speaker irritates him…

      • LFOldTimer

        Most city councils allow their citizens to speak on off-agenda items at the beginning of their meetings, out of courtesy to those who have a general comment on city affairs so they don’t have to sit through a bunch of gibberish for 3-4 hours that they have no interest in. But the county shoves public comments on non-agendized issues all the way to the back of their meeting making it as terribly inconvenient as possible for the average person to speak since no one knows how long the meeting will last. The meetings often last as long as 6-7 hours. Yet the BoS constantly tells us that they promote public discourse and civic participation in the government process. And they say it with straight faces. ha. Total horsepuckey. If Bartlett was a real leader she would make that simple change out of respect for the people who pay her salary and benefits. But she’s not a real leader….so she won’t!