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Laura Kaplan, Editor
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The Edge in Brief
Success Story: Negotiated Rulemaking
to Improve Air Quality in the Los Angeles Basin
In May of 2003, the Governing Board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) reaped the fruits of their first negotiated rule-making effort. In a hearing room full of deeply interested representatives of industry, environmental groups, and community groups, the AQMD Board unanimously adopted new measures to further reduce toxic emissions from the region’s metal plating facilities. And this time, not one of the concerned members of the public or industry present at the hearing lobbied against the new measures. Read about AQMD’s success here.
Toolkit: Searching for the Future:
Cornfield State Park, Los Angeles
This article details how Future Search, a type of planning conference popular in the field of Organizational Development, was applied in order to use public input to envision the development of the newest urban park planned in the United States, located in downtown Los Angeles. What is especially striking about the Future Search method is the way in which it deliberately and productively brings community history, emotion, and creativity into the planning process. Read about the Cornfield State Park Advisory Committee’s journey through Future Search by clicking here.
Challenging Issue: Collaboration
vs. Cooptation (Part II): Devolution of Environmental Management
The April edition of the Edge featured an article on the risks of cooptation of collaborative processes. In this edition, CCP Research Director Bill Leach continues the discussion by reporting results from his recent inquiry into collaborative watershed management, an in-depth study of 76 watershed partnerships in California and Washington. The article focuses on the implications for democratic governance when authority over environmental policymaking is devolved to local public-private partnerships. Link to this edition’s Challenging Issue feature by clicking here.
News and Information
Read about upcoming conferences, training, and funding opportunities of interest to the collaborative policy community across the USA and abroad. You’ll also find a brief update about goings on at the Center including significant project developments and conference presentations on our work. Link to the Edge news by clicking here.
In this new section of the Edge, you’ll find information about publications and websites that may be of use to you in planning and conducting your own collaborative efforts: Case study databases, contacts, tools, tips, models, and more. Link to the Resources section here.
Full Text Articles
In May of 2003, the Governing Board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) reaped the fruits of their first negotiated rule-making effort. In a hearing room full of deeply interested representatives of industry, environmental groups, and community groups, the AQMD Board unanimously adopted new measures to further reduce toxic emissions from the region’s metal plating facilities. And this time, not one of the concerned members of the public or industry present at the hearing lobbied against the new measures. Instead, all were there to support the new measures as the result of an extensive, good faith effort to address the critical interests of each group.
The AQMD Board initiated the negotiated rule-making process in 2002 as a pilot to see what a consensus-based process could accomplish. Over the course of twelve meetings in eighteen months, representatives of state and local regulatory agencies, industry, environmental organizations, and community groups put their heads together to design detailed provisions governing airborne emissions of hexavalent chromium from South Coast region metal plating and anodizing shops. Hexavalent chromium, a known human carcinogen, is used in the creation of hard protective or decorative chrome products. Many of the shops affected by the new rule are small businesses serving the automotive, computer, electronics, defense, and industrial equipment industries.
Working closely with the negotiated rule-making group, AQMD staff was able to design technically sound provisions that minimize burdens on industry while better protecting the health and safety of the public. The new measures (an amendment to existing Rule 1469) affect approximately 130 chrome-plating shops and will reduce hexavalent chromium emissions by 90 percent. Higher standards of emission control are placed upon facilities located near schools and residences. The negotiated rule-making process also resulted in the adoption of a new regulation, Rule 1426, which requires data collection for two years on nickel and other non-chrome plating facilities so that AQMD can evaluate whether additional air pollution controls are needed.
What Made It Work
The facilitator for the negotiated rule-making process, Greg Bourne of the Center for Collaborative Policy, offered the following thoughts about what made this effort successful.
- Forcing Function: Inevitability of a New Rule. AQMD would have developed new measures with or without the negotiated rule-making group. All parties thus had an incentive to be part of developing the rule.
- Support from AQMD. The AQMD Board and staff wanted this effort to succeed, and so provided resources and technical support to the process. Staff members were very receptive to data requests from members of the negotiating group, and were willing to go the extra mile in conducting detailed analyses.
- Broad and Early Participation. The typical process of rule-making at AQMD is characterized by limited involvement from some stakeholders until late in the process of rule development. In contrast, the negotiating process involved all key stakeholders early in the process, allowing for a full understanding of each other’s interests and concerns. This provided the basis for interest-based problem solving. Because a mutually acceptable proposal was developed, individual stakeholders did not attempt to lobby Board members late in the process, which typically is more adversarial and does not provide the opportunity to work through substantive differences in a deliberative manner.
- Willingness to be Respectful and Creative. The stakeholders in the process were willing to listen respectfully to differing points of view and consider various ways to meet the interests expressed. Although differences in views were often sharply expressed, there was an underlying willingness to consider the views of others and find solutions.
- Active Participation by the Facilitator in Developing a Framework for Agreement. As is detailed below, Bourne was able to use his perspective as an outside third party to help the negotiating group see a possible solution to integrate all their needs. While involvement of the facilitator in the substance of solutions can be somewhat controversial in the conflict resolution field, in this case it helped the group overcome what could have been an impasse.
The Turning Point
One of the key breakthroughs in the process was the advancement of a “framework” for addressing the various interests held by stakeholders. At a point in the negotiation process where the facilitator felt some sign of progress was necessary, he presented a framework that attempted to address the myriad interests expressed by stakeholder representatives.
The potential impasse was this: Industry was concerned about the economic implications of the potential new rule. They believed sufficient regulations were in place, and that relatively low-cost solutions existed to reduce emissions further. They felt the solution to better air quality was better enforcement of existing regulations. As negotiations began, they were still trying to make the case to AQMD that no further regulation was needed. Meanwhile, for purposes of ensuring public health and safety, environmental and community representatives wanted industry-wide use of HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air / Arrestance) filters. This would take the guesswork out of complying with emission reductions. They also wanted special protection for residences in close proximity to metal finishing facilities.
With these perspectives seemingly creating a barrier to progress, Bourne presented a general framework attempting to integrate solutions to these various concerns. The development of this framework was similar to the idea of a “single negotiated text,” a common tool used by facilitators that attempts to incorporate all key issues into one integrated document. However, instead of specific text, Bourne’s framework was an outline of how all the key issues could be addressed. Bourne presented the framework to the group members, who took the framework as a starting point and, with their intimate knowledge of the situation, negotiated the critical specific details that made it work.
While the framework went through several revisions, in the end it provided the breakthrough for an agreement. It incorporated a distance-based approach to allowable emissions (tougher standards for facilities closer to residences) and allowed the use of less expensive emission-reduction mechanisms for either: 1) very small facilities close to residences, or 2) facilities further away from residences. Schools, hospitals and day-care centers were eventually added to the framework, as were increased inspections, joint education on regulatory requirements and improved “house-keeping” practices.
The Facilitator’s Role
Within the conflict resolution field, there is some debate as to whether facilitators should take proactive steps to develop the substance of agreements, as Bourne did in developing and presenting the framework discussed above, or simply help guide the participants to their own solution. In this case, the facilitator felt the participants were looking for a foothold for an agreement and that it was necessary for him to play an active role in its development.
While the dynamics of each situation are different, Bourne believes facilitators should not shy away from taking an active role in finding solutions. In many complex public policy cases, the facilitator is in the unique position of being able to see the big picture of the issues and the underlying interests more clearly than the parties, including how issues juxtapose, and then synthesize potential solutions. Bourne believes the facilitator must sense when participants need to develop solutions on their own and when a boost in the process is needed.
In the end, this process benefited from Bourne’s neutral
involvement in the substance of negotiations: Despite their
widely differing perspectives, the stakeholders sensed their
interests might be able to be addressed through the proposed
framework. The framework modeled an interest-based approach
to problem solving, identifying innovative approaches not
previously incorporated in AQMD rulemaking. All the participants,
including AQMD, are to be commended for their willingness
to think and move “outside the box” for solutions.
For more information on this case contact either Greg Bourne, Center for Collaborative Policy (480.419.4386), or Jill Whynot, AQMD Planning and Rules Manager (909.396.3104).
Editor’s note: Collaborative public policy work typically follows a series of predictable stages, such as assessment, organization, education, negotiation, and implementation. (For more detail, see the Center’s Five Stages of Collaborative Decision Making). For those times when this series of stages is inappropriate or infeasible, it is helpful to be familiar with other creative methods by which the public and agencies can craft better public policy together.
This article details the story of how Future Search, a type of planning conference popular in the field of Organizational Development, was applied in order to use public input to envision the development of the newest urban park planned in the United States, located in downtown Los Angeles. What is especially striking about this method is the way in which it deliberately and productively brings community history, emotion, and creativity into the planning process.
Typical stages of a Future Search conference include:
- Focus on the past, such as creating timelines of significant events in the participants’ personal, local, and national history.
- Focus on the present, including trends affecting the issue under consideration, and what participants are proud or sorry about regarding how they have handled the issue to date.
- Focus on the future, including creation of ideal future scenarios, finding common ground (also called the “reality dialog,”) and creating action plans.
For more information on Future Search, visit http://www.futuresearch.net/
Three workshops offered by the Future Search Network are listed in the Events section. Link to them here: Facilitating the Whole System in the Room (September); Managing a Future Search Network (October); Facilitating the Whole System in the Room (December).
Cornfield State Park Advisory Committee—The
A legislatively mandated body, the Cornfield State Park Advisory Committee was formed to set development priorities for the newest large urban park in the United States. The park site, 32 contiguous acres in the heart of Los Angeles, is a former brownfield (an area previously contaminated by toxics) and adjacent to numerous fractured neighborhoods and business interests. By law, the Advisory Committee was required to represent the various stakeholder interests (the whole system) and conflict among the interests was acknowledged. As a legislatively mandated group, all work was conducted under open meeting laws requirements.
The California Department of State Parks asked the California State University Sacramento, Center for Collaborative Policy to facilitate the group. The idea was to use traditional public policy collaborative-mediation techniques. These techniques, designed for identified conflicts or issues, require substantial development of information for an “education phase.” In this case, there was no ready institutional process for obtaining the data needed. Further, the group worked under legislatively mandated deadlines for delivery of work products. Faced with deadlines and difficult choices regarding data development, I (the senior member of the facilitation team), with the concurrence of the client, moved from traditional mediation processes to a Future Search process. Future Search appeared highly suitable for the task - as a “vision” was a primary goal of the process and the whole system was in the room.
Using a pre-set meeting schedule, the future search process occurred over four meetings, each held two weeks apart.
Conference Day 1- The Past
The meeting began like the previous ones--announcements and a few short speeches. Someone in the back murmured, “Get the hook.” I took the stage and explained that from now on the group would be doing something different. The rest of the meetings would be spent building a vision. A handout explained how the group could create a shared understanding of the past, consider the trends and issues, and finally construct some future scenarios. I asked if the group interested in doing this. The reply was quick and simple, “Let’s get started.”
And they did. Using worksheets, then moving into small groups, they collectively described the past, telling stories of their neighborhoods, their city, and the larger world. Members of the public attending the session formed their own small groups and did the same. The room exploded with excitement. The full group presentations created laughter and tear laden memories. Several members said the meeting was just too short.
Something had profoundly changed. Julie Lee, the “junior”
member of our facilitation team, approached me: “You
said we would be doing something different but what is it?”
This was no small question. This was a clear course change.
“Future Search,” I replied.
“Okay, I’d better get the book,” she said. And she did.
Conference Day – 2 Trends, Prouds & Sorries
The Great Wall
Sunlight streamed through a soaring wall of windows, spanning thirty by one hundred feet, at the Japanese American National Museum. This glorious, crisp Los Angeles November morning promised an extraordinary day. Forty stakeholders, representing over sixty-three organizations, as well as elected officials and business interests, would reclaim the forgotten history of Los Angeles, while participating in a Future Search conference in the Central Hall. The Japanese American National Museum was the perfect setting, a living backdrop to the very personal stories of ethnic struggles that started to emerge at the first workshop, 2 ½ weeks previously.
This day would ultimately pave the way for the group to vision a new state park--a world class park, similar to Central Park in New York City--for a 32 acre site, just north of downtown Los Angeles. (Most recently the land had served as an empty rail switching yard between Chinatown and the Los Angeles River.) We experienced the tremendous value of Future Search’s “whole system,” which in this case included local, regional, and state interests, topped by unborn stakeholders, seven generations into the future.
Building Off the First Day
We were set to embark on the second day of the Future Search workshop: Understanding the present--opportunities, trends, and issues. This second day built off the first when small groups used worksheets to build time lines from pre-1850 to the present with stories associated with the site for the park, as well as Los Angeles and the nation. The small groups then presented the themes, common threads, and important elements, as well as the stories that transcended all the time frames, to the entire group. The site’s deep rich history had started to emerge in that first workshop including a thriving Native American village, the first “pueblo” for the City of Los Angeles, the critical role of the Southern Pacific Railroad to Los Angeles, the life force and subsequent flood controls put on the adjacent Los Angeles River, the waves of immigrants passing through and settling in the area, and the devastation as well as the triumph of ethnic and community struggles.
We knew the group would likely need more time to process this rich history, but nothing could have prepared us for how this history would play out in the group. What transpired was part reclaiming the forgotten past, part cathartic healing, and part political rally when the group gathered for the mind-map activity around flip chart paper, taped together to form a big white wall, eight feet high by ten feet long.
The Reflecting Wall
From the start of that day in November, the white wall served as a reflection, a mirror for members to see themselves and others. Slowly, one by one, various members began to name the groups of people throughout history associated with the site, wanting them drawn as “roots,” “people roots” on the wall, emerging from the “land,” the site, that they all recognized had brought them together in the first place. One member even broke into a few stanzas of Woody Guthrie’s song, “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land.”
The list of “people roots” on the wall map grew and grew: Tonga (Native Americans), Gabrielinos (Native Americans), Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Central Americans, South Americans, Mexicans, Spanish, African Americans, Yankees settlers, French, Italian, German, Croatian, Irish, and the Catholic church and missionaries. The map served to memorialize and connect all the groups, also helping to solidify the concept of “connectivity” as an important overarching theme for the group.
We honored the group’s deep and intense need for “people roots” on the wall and we also shared our amazement that no other Future Search group that we had worked with had ever approached a workshop quite this way, from the bottom up so to speak. Our group rejected defining limbs and branches on the wall, as is typically done in mind mapping, until first laying down the “people roots” and the land they connected to. In hindsight, this makes a lot of sense, since several members of the group work in the surrounding communities at a grassroots level. Naming these historical as well as current “people roots” provided a collective identity, a foundation, on which to build the rest of the wall. As we learned later in the day, people felt the need to reclaim history since so many groups had been written out of history through discrimination, exploitation, deportation, massacres, and relocation. It’s no wonder they took time to honor these roots.
The Healing Wall
Once rooted, the tragic stories of struggle began to be told and drawn on the wall as branches or limbs as requested by the members. This storytelling, a kind of cathartic healing in concert with the wall, also served to begin the process of reconciliation with the past. “What we got from the history,” reflected one member of the group, “is what happened; but it’s hard to tell how it happened. But I can imagine when folks lost their houses and went from one use to another, it was a struggle. And we are here now as a result of a struggle and I’m sure in the future it will be there as well and we don’t want to forget that.”
The struggles, like the roots needed ample time to be told as well as space on the wall. Some of the struggles shared included the destruction of old Chinatown in the 1930’s to build the railroad’s Union Station; the eviction of Latinos from nearby Chavez Ravine in the 1950’s by the City of Los Angeles and the Dodgers to build the Dodger Stadium; the violence of the Zoot Suit Wars in nearby streets between Latino Youth and service men during World War II; the internment of local Japanese Americans to camps throughout the west; the massacre of Chinese over 100 years ago in nearby El Pueblo where over 20 people were hung; and the struggle of the nearby local Solano Canyon residents to preserve their community amidst all the changes in the area. Also, of great significance was the recent struggle by a coalition of community groups, the Chinatown Alliance, which succeeded in saving the land from development.
People that day in the Central Hall needed to be seen on the map in a significant and meaningful way. The group was reclaiming their collective history in Los Angles. “This is a very special time for community. We are taking back this area and looking at it as something we can reflect on,” said one member. Another said, “If we’re going to tell the history of this area we need to tell the whole story, not just the development stories, but include the exploitation and deportation of Asians and Latinos and others.”
The Democracy Wall, a Gathering Place for Struggle
Just as the workshop portion devoted to building the wall was ending, a member wanted to be sure that it included mention of open space for gathering, concerts, demonstrations, raising your voice, and screaming “Hell no, we won’t go.” He even added, “Write that down, hell no, we won’t go.” Others in the group started to quietly chant along as he spoke, in a playful spirit of their own on-the-spot political demonstration. After serving earlier in the morning as a reflecting and healing wall, the wall now served another purpose, political in nature: that of a democracy wall, reminiscent of China’s democracy wall in the late 1980’s protesting the slaughter of Chinese students at Tian An Men Square in Beijing. The significance and power of the wall for the group that day was voiced when a member of the group urged that the site for the park contain murals and walls that showed the struggles of groups associated with the site.
Collaborative History Making
When the group reconvened after lunch they prioritized themes from the wall and discussed how to move forward on them in reaching a vision for the site. The wall had prepared them well to let go of bad past practices as well as embrace the good ones to carry forward into the future.
By the end of the day we sensed that not only did the group reclaim history but they built a new framework for future collaborative work. In the two years leading up to the Committee’s work, the Chinatown Alliance, the coalition fighting to save the land from development, relied on more traditional coalition-based, “divide-the-pie” modes of operating. But now the reality of defining all the stakeholder interests to develop a vision required a new collaborative way of working.
And once the vision process using Future Search ended, the group would continue and would take up the actual design for the park. Future Search turned out to be a tool that made collaborative ways of working together almost irresistible. Relationships developed that will be important for future planning. At one point on this day one of the members shared, “I have never been to such a productive meeting in all the 40 years that I have been a community volunteer.”
We started the day bathed in sunlight and we left with a sun drawn on the wall map, at the request of a member, who said in reference to the committee itself, “We are the sun. We’re what makes this thing go. And sometimes we have a little rain, that’s inevitable; but the sun will keep coming back. And the underpinning is the culture; the multicultural that will make this thing go.” We were in awe of the group’s empowerment. We were sure Future Search had a lot to do with letting that power emerge. We were eager for the third and final Future Search workshop to start.
Day – 3 The Future
The day began with small mixed groups constructing skits, placing themselves in the future as if it had already occurred. The audience members also formed a team to construct a skit. Soon it was show time.
One of the first skits introduced the idea of an LA earthquake in 2011 that leveled Dodger stadium. The issue of the stadium had been very significant in previous discussions and represented all the broken promises that had been made to the community over the years. The earthquake allowed the group to move past the broken promise. From that moment every other skit worked in the earthquake.
The audience “future” skit was hilarious and appropriate. Up until this point, the Advisory Committee members had always entertained audience input but consciously maintained their own role as appointed members separate from the general public. The audience skit used the dramatic device of telling the future from the perspective of a flock of geese. They flew onto the stage and gave the "outside" view. During the skit a bird suggested he could drop a load on an elected official he saw walking in the park below. This brought gales of laughter. Their storyline became a great skit and humbled those previously irritated at audience participation.
The group-developed future themes went up quickly. During the reality dialog—a time for the group members to consider how to practically target efforts to achieve elements of their future scenario--one of the members representing a large metropolitan church experienced a transformation, moving from his position in light of the strong needs and interests expressed by other group members. This member had jumped up during the reality dialog and performed a completely new mini one-man skit - a Dickensonian worst case nightmare of what would happen if things didn't change. Homeless people were rounded up and the only playgrounds placed on top of warehouses. The point of the skit was that the group needed to do the things that needed to be done and not get distracted by just picking the "best" thing to be done. I just sat down while he was talking. The group was shocked and dismayed.
We all sat quietly then I noted the member had framed critical
considerations for moving forward and the hazards of being
distracted or not moving forward. I asked the group to keep
working. At that point, a more senior member of the group
stood up. She said she and her friends had been fighting a
long time to get a park and that picking the "best"
thing was the best thing to do. She noted that if the “best”
didn't take care of all the needs, then the group needed to
keep fighting and working to make sure that needs are provided
for – even if that wasn't just in the limits of the
little piece of property they were working with. The man from
the skit, moved to a new place, suggested some new options
to get needs met. Soon they moved into developing group criteria
for selecting the elements of the future visions to recommend
to State Parks for the development of the Cornfields property.
Day 4 and Beyond: Post Conference – Action
At subsequent sessions, using workgroups, the group crafted
vision and action themes. The workgroups, which included audience
members, wrote their own proceedings document. This was then
turned over to an edit sub-committee. Two final rounds with
the full group allowed text details to be worked out. One
group member, a graphic artist, developed the cover using
photos from the sessions. A copy of their report may be found
This particular aspect of the Cornfields State Park Advisory Committee’s work was perhaps the most exciting. The vision is completely framed in the words of the group members. This ability and willingness of the group to take full responsibility for their own output also points out the extraordinary power of Future Search as a public input and collaboration tool.
Editors’ Note: The April edition of the Edge featured an article on the risks of cooptation of collaborative processes. In the following article, the Center’s Research Director Bill Leach continues this discussion by reporting results from his recent inquiry into collaborative watershed management, an in-depth study of 76 watershed partnerships in California and Washington. The article focuses on the implications for democratic governance when authority over environmental policymaking is devolved to local public-private partnerships.
Since the mid-1980’s, federal and state agencies have increasingly turned to local stakeholder partnerships to help guide and implement environmental policy. Observers of the recent trend toward a more collaborative, community–based style of resource management describe it as a form of devolution, meaning a formal or de facto transfer of authority or influence from higher levels of government to lower levels, or from the public sector to the private sector.
Proponents see devolution as a tremendous opportunity to reinvigorate American democracy by engaging ordinary citizens in the stewardship of their local environment, and spurring a more thoughtful, less partisan, policy dialogue. The well-documented successes of local partnerships are said to “vindicate the Jacksonian faith in the capacity of citizens to govern their own affairs” (Sabel, Fung, and Karkkainen 2000). Proponents believe this direct and deliberative form of democracy results in government that is more informed, coordinated, flexible, and responsive to the will of the people.
Critics, however, see devolution as a threat to democracy—a way to shift power from elected representatives (and the public administrators they appoint) to local groups of self-appointed private-sector “stakeholders” pursuing their parochial and often unabashedly selfish interests. Some believe that, through devolution, government violates the public trust as state and federal agencies staffed by professional experts transfer their regulatory authority to eager (but unsophisticated and overextended) “interested citizens” and “volunteer monitors.” Some of the most vocal critics of devolution fear that environmental advocates, who in the main are volunteers and laypeople, might be intimidated or duped in collaborative settings by polished, high-paid representatives of industry or government.
Researchers with the Watershed Partnerships Project at the University of California, Davis recently compiled detailed case studies of 76 watershed partnerships in California and Washington State. Surveys and interviews with over 1600 stakeholders shed light on the debate over how devolution is affecting democracy in watershed management. This article focuses on findings related to some of the major arguments in the debate over cooptation of collaborative groups. By and large, the data paint a reassuringly positive picture, sketched below.
First, the study examined whether state and federal agencies are using watershed partnerships as a way to abdicate their regulatory responsibilities. The study reveals little evidence of a wholesale transfer of federal and state authority to local officials or the private sector. Federal and state officials actually make up one quarter of all participants in the studied watershed partnerships, with local officials constituting another quarter. Moreover, participants tend to view federal and state agencies as being the most powerful members of their partnership, as well as the most trusted sources of information and advice.
Second, the study looked at the question of balance in participation in watershed groups, in particular the charge that watershed groups could come to be dominated by wealthy resource users. The study found that local environmentalists do not appear to be at a competitive disadvantage relative to resource users (e.g. farmers and ranchers). Both environmentalists and resource users participate in roughly equal numbers and face comparable costs of participation (as indicated by commute distances and uncompensated participation), and they appear to have comparable amounts of political and technical savvy (as suggested by levels of formal education).
Third, the study investigated the claim that watershed partnerships represent an alternative form of governance that is more direct and participatory than representative democracy through elected officials. The study confirms that elected officials have a relatively minor presence in watershed partnerships, constituting less than 4% of all participants. On the other hand, the study finds that only 4% of participants are “interested citizens” without any direct financial or professional stake in the outcome of the partnership. The vast majority of participants are individuals who represent a larger class of stakeholders, such as a demographic group, private industry, or government sector. In this light, it seems off the mark to hail watershed partnerships as an example of direct democracy. A more fitting description would be watershed partnerships as an example of stakeholder representative democracy as opposed to electoral representative democracy. That the participating stakeholders are not elected to their posts has caused some critics to question whether the term “stakeholder” isn’t just Orwellian doublespeak for old-fashioned “special interests,” meaning “a class of the public with extraordinary access to public officials” (Durant 2003). However, as long as participation is open to all (as was usually the case in the sample of partnerships studied), watershed partnerships can be seen as a relatively participatory form of governance.
Finally, the study examined the claim that watershed partnerships
lead to resource management that favors parochial economic
interests. Specifically, national environmental groups have
raised the concern that organizations with a national constituency
and perspective would not be able to effectively participate
in the proliferation of small-scale watershed partnerships.
The study confirms that national environmental groups have
largely been unable to keep pace with the hundreds of local
watershed partnerships cropping up in the two states. Of the
76 partnerships in the sample, only two had active participation
by a national environmental group. On the other hand, most
partnerships include other stakeholders who can, to some degree,
serve as proxies for the missing national environmental groups,
at least in terms of the policy goals they are likely to favor.
For example, the study documents that, in some respects, the
ideology of national environmentalists is very similar to
that of other stakeholders who are present in local watershed
collaboratives, including local environmentalists, Native
Americans, and officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency and National Park Service.
In summary, the results of the study should assuage the fears of critics who believe that collaboration equates with cooptation. In California and Washington, federal and state agencies remain the most prominent class of stakeholders in watershed partnerships—both in terms of their sheer number at partnership meetings, and in the influence they wield over watershed issues. With respect to private-sector representation, most partnerships are well balanced, with environmental advocates and commercial resource users participating in comparable numbers and enjoying comparable levels of influence and sophistication. National environmental groups have indeed been marginalized by the increasing prevalence of local partnerships, but other stakeholders with similar views have been able represent environmental interests from both national and local perspectives.
For more information about the study, or to obtain a draft of the full report on devolution, please contact the author, Bill Leach at 916.341.3334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Durant, Mike. 2003. Stakeholders: Special interests in sheep's clothing? Sacramento Bee, January 6.
Sabel, Charles, Archon Fung, and Bradley Karkkainen. 2000. Beyond Backyard Environmentalism. Boston: Beacon.
If you have a news item related to public policy collaboration that you’d like to see published in the Edge, please email the editor.
Events, Funding Opportunities
Click for events taking place in:
Center for Collaborative Policy Update
South San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project. CCP has recently completed an extensive situation assessment regarding the feasibility of developing a collaborative restoration planning process for the South San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project (South Bay). The South Bay project covers over 15,000 acres of salt ponds formerly owned by Cargill. It will be the largest wetlands restoration project in U.S. history and is being led by a Project Management Team from the State Coastal Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. CCP’s final recommendations report will be made public in late September. The Center has also developed a comprehensive collaborative public outreach strategy for this project. More information on the South Bay project can be obtained at www.southbayrestoration.org or by contacting Dave Ceppos at 916-341-3336, email@example.com
Lake Tahoe Basin Pathway 2007 (P7) Collaborative Project. The P7 Group was formed last year by several Tahoe Basin entities in effort to more collaboratively integrate three large-scale planning efforts. Specifically, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is developing their Regional Plan Update which is updated every 20 years; the U.S. Forest Service is updating their Lake Tahoe Basin Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan); and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Air Resources Board, and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection are developing the Lake Tahoe Total Maximum Daily Load planning process. The Center will soon initiate a situation assessment and is providing initial facilitation support and design for collaborative outreach efforts. For more information about this project, contact Dave Ceppos at 916-341-3336 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Course on Community Participation, Dispute Resolution, and Civic Engagement. Mary Selkirk and Jeff Loux of CCP will be offering the next iteration of their course on community participation, dispute resolution, and civic engagement through University of California, Davis Extension on November 6 and 7 in Sacramento, California. The course is geared toward planners, managers, and public officials looking to increase their skills at working with the public. For more information, see the Events section of this newsletter by clicking here.
Conference Presentation on CCP’s work with TMDL’s on Lahonton’s Truckee River. CCP will be teaming with Desert Research Institute (DRI), The Lahontan Regional Water Quality District, and Truckee River Watershed Council to present at the California 2003 Nonpoint Source (NPS) Conference, “Restoring Clean Water: NPS Pollution Prevention and TMDLs,” November 5-7, in Ventura, CA. For information on the conference, visit http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/nps/fall2003.html
Dinner Seminar on Bay Area Regional/Local
Collaboratives. CCP’s David Booher, Austin
McInerny, and Mary Selkirk have been invited to take part
in UC Berkeley’s Dinner Seminar series at the Faculty
Club. They will discuss their work with collaborative planning
in the Bay Area—notably the current restoration effort
of the South Bay Salt Ponds—and lead a discussion of
the role for collaborative planning in addressing regional
planning issues. Link to more
information in the Events section of the Edge.
Report from the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Conference. CCP’s Lisa Beutler gave a presentation entitled “Networked Stakeholder Process for Creation of a California State GIS Council” at the Second Annual Public Participation in GIS Conference at Portland State University in July, 2003. Her presentation focused on lessons learned from California’s attempt to create a statewide council for GIS, which is traditionally housed in multiple technical formats and scattered across agencies with diverse mandates and organizational structures. For more information or to request a copy of Lisa’s presentation paper, contact CCP at 916.445.2079 or contact Lisa directly at email@example.com. To view the full conference proceedings, visit http://www.urisa.org/ppgis.htm
EPA's Public Involvement Policy. EPA's Public Involvement Policy was issued on June 6, 2003, after three years of development, review and comment. The new Policy applies to all EPA environmental programs. It provides clear guidance to EPA staff on effective ways to involve the public in EPA's regulatory and program implementation decisions. The Policy recommends seven basic steps for effective public involvement. The Policy and EPA's response to Comments and the Framework for Implementing the Policy are posted at: http://www.epa.gov/publicinvolvement/whatsnew.htm
New Publication: “Putting the Pieces Together: State Actions to Encourage Smart Growth Practices in California.” Published by the Statewide Coordinating Committee for the Urban Land Institute’s California Smart Growth Initiative, including representatives from business, real estate, civic, environmental, and social justice organizations. The report is the result of 18 months of analysis to find ways to curb sprawling development, and promote development that more closely links housing to jobs and preserves open space. Available at www.smartgrowthcalifornia.uli.org
Website and Case Study Database. The Public Dispute Resolution Program of the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) has a website which may be of interest to Collaborative Edge readers: http://www.iog.unc.edu/programs/dispute/cases.htm The site contains a variety of case study materials illustrating the application of mediation and facilitation to address difficult public issues. Links to other publications, web resources, and dispute resolution information are available from this page.
Website: Adaptive Management Network. www.iatp.org/AEAM/index.html The Adaptive Management Practitioners’ Network (AMPN) is a collaborative among practitioners engaged in resource management and ecosystem restoration. The Adaptive Management Network creates learning opportunities for scientists, managers, and citizens to explore innovative and practical ways to solve complex ecological and institutional problems through collaborative processes linking science, social values, and experiential knowledge. This website contains useful links, resources, and lessons learned.
Website: National Resource for Collaboration and Partnerships. Still under development, this website offers information, case studies, and lessons learned from experience with collaboration, especially for public agencies. A project of the National Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the University of Michigan. www.snre.umich.edu/emi/cases/background.htm
California Digital Conservation Atlas. Legacy.ca.gov/new_atlas.epl This web-based mapping and information tool allows users to easily view, explore and, in some instances, download a variety of California s natural resource, working landscape, and conservation-related data. What was formerly available only to those who had costly, highly technical, geographic information system (GIS) software is now accessible to anyone with a web browser. See news story on the atlas at http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/california/story/6693803p-7645327c.html
Website: Discovering Common Ground:
Missouri Communities Deliberate. www.ssu.missouri.edu/commdev/pubdelib/index.htm New website for a program at the University of Missouri in
Columbia Missouri. Among the resources available to download
from the website are three PowerPoint presentations about
moderating, convening and recording deliberative public forums,
and an 83-page manual titled Deliberation and Your Community:
How to Convene and Moderate Local Public Forums Using Deliberative
New Publication: Field Guide to Community Forums. The Wilder Foundation has recently published the Nonprofit Field Guide, Conducting Community Forums: Engaging Citizens, Mobilizing Communities. The report draws upon the authors’ experience with more than 70 community forums on a wide variety of topics. The models and best practices presented are intended to help readers clarify goals and decide whether a forum is the best way to achieve them; select the best type of forum to meet their goals; develop a timeline, create a budget, and recruit sponsors; engage an audience early; manage the logistics of event planning and execution; etc. Sample documents, worksheets and a comprehensive checklist lead readers through the process. “Forums on a Shoestring” sidebars help get results with little time or money. Go to www.wilder.org/pubs/cmty_forums/index.html for more information on this publication.
Report: Watershed Solutions: Collaborative Problem Solving for States and Communities. In July 2002, The National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) hosted a conference for people involved in watershed collaborations, academics, and experts from government and non-profit organizations. Their goal was to provide governors and other state officials with a collection of lessons learned from successful watershed initiatives and recommendations on ways to enhance the use and effectiveness of watershed partnerships. To view the report online, go to http://www.policyconsensus.org/pubs/npcc_pubs.html
New Charrette Start-Up Kit. The National Charrette Institute just released their first publication - the "NCI Charrette Start Up Kit" CD-ROM, available for purchase at . The National Charrette Institute is a nonprofit educational institution whose mission is to help communities achieve healthy transformation through the NCI Charrette, a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a buildable plan. For more info or to order online, go to www.charretteinstitute.org/programs/cd.html. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
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with the generous support of
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
for the purpose of building the capacity of the state of California
to use collaborative methods
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