What's a "Community Conversation" you ask? Well, the Council is still working that out, but as it stands now, the idea is to have facilitated meetings on each of the ferry-served islands, lasting perhaps as long as three hours each. The Elway Group in Seattle has been recommended as the consultant facilitator. The estimated cost for all the meetings is $20,500. These conversations will take place between early February and late April.
The topics are still to be determined (content discussion next week), but Bob Jean threw out an example topic of "sustainability," and he explained that a meeting could be set up to hear and recognize opposing views and eventually end up with a consensus at the end. Jamie Stephens floated the idea that the County might want to specifically invite certain groups, such as the Land Bank, fire districts, and school boards.
Many things about this idea make us go ... hmmm. The Trojan Heron will follow the idea as it develops, but already we have several questions.
- Why are these conversations taking place during the campaign season?
- Could these conversations be used to set up certain issues that favor one candidate more than another?
- Could invitations be used to create an audience more favorable to some views than others?
- Is it really the responsibility of the Council to drive community consensus around any issue?