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Must-see clips from PBS documentary on What’s Next CA

NCDD member Jim Fishkin, creator of Deliberative Polling, emailed the NCDD list yesterday alerting the network that excerpts of the PBS documentary on the What’s Next California Deliberative Poll® on governance reform are now available for viewing, at http://cdd.stanford.edu/mm/2011/ca-state-of-mind/.

I was just watching the excerpts and forced myself to pause to post about this on the blog. The documentary looks fantastic, and could be a real boon to our field. Give it a watch, and share the link with your networks!

The PBS special is moderated by Judy Woodruff, and includes sections on four topics for citizen deliberation:

  1. Reforming the initiative
  2. Reforming the legislature
  3. Reforming state/local relations
  4. Tax and fiscal issues

Jim noted in his email that “in each case, there were initiative proposals that were strongly endorsed by the deliberating microcosm. Some of these are likely to make it to the ballot next year.” You can view the broadcast schedule for California PBS stations here.

As previously announced, What’s Next California was a state-wide deliberation project conducted in California. A random sample of 412 Californians were brought together for a long weekend in Torrance, CA near LAX for the first statewide Deliberative Poll in California to consider 30 possible initiative propositions to address the state’s many challenges. Their deliberations, which showed dramatic change, provide a route to responsible advocacy for various partner organizations that will consider putting some of them on the ballot.  In one of his previous announcements, Jim said he’s “happy to dialogue about it and its possible implications for bringing a deliberative element to referendum democracy.”

Part of the inspiration for this project was the ancient idea that a deliberating microcosm of the population, randomly selected, could set an agenda for votes by the entire electorate — an ancient Athenian idea, now brought to life in California.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher is the Founding Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, and also serves as a Research Deputy for the Kettering Foundation. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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