2022 Petaluma Fairgrounds Advisory Panel

First-of-its-kind in California!

The Context

The Petaluma Fairgrounds is the heart of the city – and its future should be decided through robust and inclusive community engagement. The Petaluma City Council approved a contract with Healthy Democracy to facilitate a Lottery-Selected Panel as a way to bring the community into important discussions about the future of the fairgrounds. A Lottery-Selected Panel will guarantee representation across Petaluma’s many diversities – and will bring many new voices into the conversation around the future of the Fairgrounds. To learn more about these processes, check out our FAQ section.

The Panel

Residents were invited to participate, through a mailing sent to 10,000 randomly selected residential addresses. At a public Lottery Selection Event on April 13th, 2022, a 36-person Panel was selected. Out of 1,000 potential Panels generated by the open source software, Panelot, all of which were random and demographically representative, Panel number 811 was selected.

Demographic categories include age, gender, race/ethnicity, location, housing status, educational attainment, and experience of a disability. Demographic targets are based on the K-12 aged population and will oversample some groups who have previously been underrepresented in City processes.

The Panel Sessions will be held from 9 am to 4:30pm on the following dates:

  • May 13, 14, & 15
  • June 4 (Panel will be on a site tour, then working at the Community Center starting at 10:30AM)
  • June 17, 18, & 19 – (Remote sessions)
  • July 2
  • July 8, 9, 10, & 11

All July Panel sessions will be held at Kenilworth Junior High, 800 Riesling Rd, Petaluma, CA 94954 – Multipurpose Room.

This is your chance to watch the Panelists in action! The Public Observers’ Gallery will be open this Saturday from 9 – 4:30 pm. Attendees must wear a mask at all times and aren’t allowed to interrupt or interfere with Panelist deliberations in any way.

If you are unable to sit in the Observers’ Gallery, check out the livestream. All large group sessions will be available via livestream on our Youtube Channel.

After the Panel makes its recommendations to City Council on July 11th, Panelists will schedule an additional 15 hours with compensation per their availability to deliberate and react to how decision makers handled their recommendations. To learn more about this, go to our FAQ section.

This process will take accessibility in public engagement to a new level. Panelists will be paid a stipend, equivalent to $20 an hour, for their time in deliberation. They’ll be provided with any accommodations they need to participate fully in the process, such as child/elder care, transportation costs, laptops and tech support, and comprehensive language access services (interpretation and translation). While not all community members will be selected to participate on the Panel, this process is part of a larger City process to engage the entire community in the visioning of the Fairgrounds.

The Panel’s reports will be delivered to the Fair Board and City Council, who will be asked to thoroughly consider and publicly respond to them. 

See below for pictures from the June 4th Community Exchange Event:

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Panelist Lottery Selection Event

The Panel Reselection Event, to reselect for any folks who did not confirm their participation, took place on May 4th. We had to re-select for 12 positions. Of the thousand Panels generated to select for those 12 positions, Panel number 521 was selected. If you are on Panel 521, you can expect a call from us within the next few days. You can watch that event here.

Panel Deliverables

The Panel will be seated from mid-May to mid-July 2022 and in their 90+ hours of deliberation, the Panel will be asked to provide a series of policy reports that answer the question, “How might we use the City’s fairgrounds property to create the experiences, activities, resources, and places that our community needs and desires now and for the foreseeable future?” All three reports are developed, written, and edited exclusively by Panelists themselves:

• Principles

– a prioritized list of overarching values, decision-making criteria, key interests, and important activities that any final recommendation should take into consideration.

Click here to see the Principles Report (English / Spanish)

• Pathways

– an outline of the possibilities and visions for the Fairgrounds site, including options considered and rationales based on lived experience and outside evidence.

Click here to see the Pathways Report (English / Spanish)

• Final Report

– the Panel’s final recommendations, including preferred Fairgrounds land use(s) and rationales, dissenting opinions, and supporting details.

Click here to see the Final Report (English / Spanish)

The Panel’s reports will be delivered to the Fair Board and City Council, who will be asked to thoroughly consider and publicly respond to them. 

Be sure to check in regularly for Panel updates.

Informational Advisory Committee (IAC)

These panels differ from traditional advisory boards in that they engage new voices – those who aren’t usually involved in public decision making – and they give Panelists significant time to learn about the topic before forming recommendations. The Informational Advisory Committee is made up of stakeholders who will support the Panel in that information gathering effort. The IAC’s primary role is to curate quality, balanced information for the Panel. The IAC will meet weekly during April and May. Healthy Democracy is currently coordinating with organizations who were nominated for the IAC. See below for more information about the IAC.

The IAC has wrapped up their primary role in the Advisory Panel process. IAC members will meet one final time on July 25th to debrief the full process. Thanks to IAC members’ generous contributions, the Panel has been presented with high quality, balanced information.

Petaluma Fairgrounds Advisory Panel Session Materials
Presenters: Videos and Slides
General Materials
Panelist Binder Materials
Stakeholders: Videos
Presenters: Videos and Slides
Public Meetings
Documents Requested by Panel
Documents Release Mid-Process
Informational Advisory Committee


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