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Here’s how the controversial new Petaluma fairgrounds planning process will work

AMELIA PARREIRA ARGUS-COURIER STAFF March 2, 2022, 12:15PM To form the panel of 30 to 40 residents, potential candidates would be invited to participate through a mailed letter sent to 10,000 randomly selected residences. The letter would ask those residents to respond by filling out a questionnaire which would ask for demographic information such as …

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Let the People of California Solve the State’s Homelessness Crisis

A Citizens Assembly Could Unify People Around a Thorny Problem and Succeed Where Politicians Have Failed by JOE MATHEWS | FEBRUARY 22, 2022 The tool is called the citizens assembly.While getting elected to the legislature without a permanent address is nearly impossible, one democratic virtue of the citizens assembly is that it could specifically include a significant plurality of people who …

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Community Matters: Finally, a novel approach to resolving the Petaluma Fairgrounds quandary

TYLER SILVY ARGUS-COURIER EDITOR February 9, 2022 Eager to find a solution to the quandary, Petaluma City Manager Peggy Flynn recently unveiled an entirely new approach that would utilize a novel “democratic lottery process,” the exact opposite of “politics as usual.” Healthy Democracy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit consulting firm with a solid track record of helping …

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Democracy Rising 8: Deliberative Democracy — Power

By Susan Clark, originally published by Resilience.org Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) gives an old system a much-needed update. The initiative and referendum system, used in two dozen American states and many cities, allows voters to create public policy through ballot measures. In Oregon, leaders were concerned that this direct democracy process, while allowing voters substantial power, was missing …

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Opinion: Citizen Initiative Review Commissions Provide Deeper Involvement in Democracy

Guest opinion article written by Sue Malek for the Missoulian: Should we enact Citizen Initiative Review Commissions (CIRCs)* in Montana? A bipartisan bill in the Oregon Legislature established CIRCs in 2008. Twenty-four citizens, randomly selected to serve, are paid salaries and expenses for participation in groups that study initiative issues and publish a statement describing …

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Podcast // Facilitating Public Deliberation: Episode 32, Citizens’ Initiative Reviews with Linn Davis

From Facilitating Public Deliberation: Linn Davis leads Healthy Democracy’s program development and process design. He coordinates Healthy Democracy’s complex public processes, trains its facilitation teams, and consults on deliberative projects in the U.S. and abroad. In this episode, recorded prior to the pandemic’s impact, Linn explains the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) and the skills needed for excellent facilitation …

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Podcast // Democracy In Crisis Part 2: Mini-publics, Citizens’ Assemblies and Juries

Democracy in Crisis is a special online series of global roundtable discussions about the use of randomly-selected citizen assemblies to further democracy. Democracy in Crisis is produced by Ahmed Teleb, Brian Standing, the 8 O’Clock Buzz and WORT-FM. Welcome to the second episode of “Democracy in Crisis” an in-depth series right here on WORT. In …

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First Statewide Online Assembly Will Look at Coronavirus Recovery

From Portland Tribune: Forty Oregonians, just under half the size of the Legislature, will meet online during the next six weeks to help chart a course for the state’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Chosen at random and reflective of the population, they will take part in a statewide assembly that mirrors Oregon’s decade-long citizen review …

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Oregonians to weigh in on COVID-19 recovery issues in ‘virtual citizen assembly’

From KTVZ News Channel 21: PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregonians from all walks of life will participate in the state’s first virtual Citizen Assembly to weigh in on what could be some of the state’s most important policy considerations in a generation. The virtual Citizen Assembly, a pilot project of nonpartisan, nonprofit Healthy Democracy and Oregon’s Kitchen Table, will …

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Citizens’ Initiative Review: Helping Citizens Make Better Informed Voting Choices

From medium.com/participo: Linn Davis is a program manager at Healthy Democracy, a US-based nonpartisan non-profit that designs and coordinates deliberative democracy programs. He manages the Citizens’ Initiative Review program, as well as design and outreach for emerging local government and high school programs. The Citizens’ Initiative Review is a unique deliberative process. In the OECD’s forthcoming …

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Podcast // Democracy Nerd: Exploring Oregon-Style Democracy

From Democracy Nerd: In this episode, Jefferson Smith talks with Linn Davis, Healthy Democracy Program Manager. Linn oversees the Citizens Initiative Review, in which Oregon voters deliberate a ballot initiative and provide a statement for the voters’ pamphlet. The use of citizens’ juries to weigh in on public policy has been exported to other states …

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From ancient Athens to the town hall: Can a new wave of deliberative democracy save the world?

From Salon: . . . What’s a good regional example? At the regional/state level, it is worth highlighting the impact of the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) model, which has been institutionalized in Oregon — and is now required before a ballot measure — and has been piloted in numerous other states, as well as in Finland and …

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Milwaukie jury: Pay elected officials more

From Clackamas Review: Milwaukie city officials this month received a ruling from a Citizens Jury on Council Compensation calling for increased salaries for elected officials. Milwaukie city councilors currently get a monthly stipend of $250, with the mayor receiving $300 a month. Milwaukie councilors each get a Microsoft Surface laptop, and the entire council has an …

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Swiss town tests citizen panel to help voters analyse information

From swissinfo.ch: The municipality of Sion in southwestern Switzerland is planning a participative democracy experiment, first tried out in the US state of Oregon, that places randomly selected locals on a citizen panel in the lead up to national referendums. Various inhabitants of the canton Valais municipality will be asked to form a citizen panel that …

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New report: Doing Democracy Better

From The Constitution Unit at University College London: The report, Doing Democracy Better: How Can Information and Discourse in Election and Referendum Campaigns in the UK Be Improved?, is a response to widespread dissatisfaction with the quality of political discourse and the information available to voters during recent election and referendum campaigns. The authors, Alan Renwick …

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Op-Ed: Direct democracy in California has been a dangerously mixed bag. It doesn’t have to be

From The Los Angeles Times: . . . By contrast, the review process for citizen ballot measures is woefully inadequate and sometimes leads to the passage of initiatives that don’t stand up to legal scrutiny. That’s what happened with Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage, and Proposition 187, which limited public services to immigrants who …

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Citizens’ Juries – providing a neutral recommendation on voting issues

From swissinfo.ch: In Switzerland, issues up for vote are typically complex and the interests of different parties are often difficult to decipher. One solution could be the use of a citizens’ jury whereby a few citizens are selected at random to provide a balanced assessment of voting issues for the many. The random selection of …

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Lawmakers Consider Including ‘Citizens’ Statements’ In The State’s Voter Guide

From WGBH News:  Across the state, in mailboxes, libraries and lobbies, there are stacks of Massachusetts voter guides. The red booklet from the Secretary of State’s office summarizes Massachusetts’ three ballot questions, with blurbs from the pro and con campaigns. Next election, there may be something new included in those packets. Lawmakers are considering legislation that …

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Smart Initiative Reform Took Place in Sacramento. So Where Was the Media?

From Fox & Hounds: Where was the media? The Citizens Initiative Review – the best proven way we have to evaluate ballot initiatives around the world – held a California pilot in Sacramento at the end of last month. And the state political media wasn’t there. What gives? Media folks like to point out the flaws …

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Massachusetts: State lawmakers working to make ballot questions more clear to voters

From WWLP 22 News: BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers are working to make voting easier on election day. Ballot questions can be confusing, sometimes making it unclear what your ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote actually means. State lawmakers have a proposal that could change where your information comes from. More than 50 state lawmakers support a bill …

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A Manageable Improvement to the State Initiative Process?

From Fox & Hounds: Californians have a love-hate relationship with the Initiative process. Recent surveys by PPIC show that two-thirds of voters are satisfied with the initiative process even though a majority think that special interests have too much control and an even larger majority think the wording of initiatives is “often too complicated and …

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Citizens’ statement on Massachusetts marijuana ballot question was effective, but little known

From MassLive: Massachusetts voters who read an independently produced statement about the marijuana legalization ballot question felt better informed about the issue and more confident in their knowledge. But it is likely that few residents were even aware of the so-called “Citizens’ Statement.” Organizers of the Citizens Initiative Review pilot project, which produced the statement, …

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