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Public Partnership: Building Democracy & Accountability Into Government Decision-making
The Public Franchise, An Endangered Right
At the end of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government the founders had created. To the question he famously replied: "You have a republic, if you can keep it." Franklinís observation is as true today as it was more than 200 years ago. The roll of the public in government activity and policy making has ebbed and flowed over the years. The rules governing major government decisions require public involvement during the deliberative process. Unfortunately public participation is rarely welcomed. With regard to base cleanup and closures, the Defense Department and most local reuse authorities have adopted a consultative model that invites public involvement but rarely gives community-based grassroots people a seat at the table, even when the outcome has a direct impact on their lives.
Partnership, Not Just Participation
Arc Ecology has a broader concept of public participation. We believe in public partnership; a doctrine that calls for the full integration of the interested and impacted public into the deliberative planning process. It means sitting at the same table with military, regulatory and reuse authority decision-makers when the policies are crafted. Building true partnerships with the public may make sense but it also makes some nervous. Nevertheless, creating true partnerships speeds decision-making, accelerates project implementation, and reduces litigation.
All Arc Ecology projects are multi-disciplinary and address multiple program areas. To learn more about some of our projects that have a strong focus on public partnership and democracy, see:
1331 Evans Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124
ph: 415.643.1190 | fax: 415.643.4779 | info at arcecology.org