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From the CommunityFrom the Community

New Book by Harry Boyt to be Published in September

Harry Boyte recently sent me some info about his forthcoming book, “Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life.” A pioneer in our field, Boyte is founder and co-director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the University of Minnesota (www.publicwork.org). In Everyday Politics, Boyte transcends partisan politics to offer an alternative. He demonstrates how community-rooted activities reconnect citizens to engaged, responsible public life, not just on election day but throughout the year. Boyte demonstrates that this type of activism has a rich history and strong philosophical foundations. It rests on the stubborn faith that the talents and insights of ordinary citizens—from nursery school to nursing home—are crucial elements in public life and everyday politics. Click below for the full announcement.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

New Book on "Civic Revolutionaries"

I received an email this morning from Senator Les Ihara, Hawaii State Senator, NCDD member and Board member of the National Issues Forums Institute. He attached an interesting article entitled “The Rise of the New Civic
Revolutionaries: Answering the Call to Stewardship in Our Times,” which was published recently in the National Civic Review. This article, by Douglas Menton, John Melville and Kim Walesh, is adapted from their recently-published book, Civic Revolutionaries: Igniting the Passion for Change in America’s Communities.

Here’s a compelling quote from the article: “A new grassroots movement is underway in the regions of the United States today. Once again, a movement is beginning in communities across the nation, urged ahead by leaders who see the need for fundamental change in how their regions define and solve problems and ultimately how they are governed. They represent a new kind of regional civic leadership attuned to the economic and social realities of our times. Traditional top-down leadership styles and stovepipe government models simply do not work in the fast-paced, global economy and diverse societies of today.” Email me (sandy@thataway.org) if you’d like a copy of the article.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Public Agenda Offers Discussion Guide on Same-Sex Marriage

A choicework guide about same-sex marriage, titled Gay Rights: Which Way to the Altar? is available on the Public Agenda First Choice 2004 website. The guide presents three approaches: 1. Extend equal rights to all our citizens, including gay people; 2. Let states and communities choose their own solutions; 3. Protect traditional institutions and values. Each approach is accompanied by arguments for and against the approach. The guide also includes a section titled Status Report: Where are we Now? and a listing of additional resources.

In addition to the downloadable issue guide, there is a link to “create your own choicework” that allows users to modify a framework of the issue by selecting from a list of actions under three broad approaches, or adding other actions. Other issue guides in Public Agenda’s First Choice 2004 program include: Terrorism, Health Care, Race and Affirmative Action, Paying for College, The Environment, Jobs and the Economy, Taxes and the Deficit, and Immigration.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

This Year's Presidential Election Campaign May Include Public Deliberation

I just read an exciting segment in May 14th’s Friday Letter from the Kettering Foundation. The segment started off with this eye-popping (for us, at least) statement: “There’s a chance public deliberation will become a part of this year’s presidential election campaign.” Click below to read about what transcribed when the Director of Voter Education for the Commission on Presidential Debates (the folks who have organized the presidential debates since 1988) visited Kettering on May 11.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Update from Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform

I received an email today from Paul Harris of British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. The Assembly is an independent, representative, non-partisan group of 160 randomly-selected British Columbians. They must decide by December 15 whether to propose a change to B.C.’s electoral system. If they recommend a change, it will be the subject of a referendum for all voters in the May 2005 provincial election. Click below for an overview of this week’s public hearings.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Use of E-government Increases 50% from 2002 to 2003

The Pew Internet & American Life Project issued a press release recently with the title “Use of E-government Increases 50% from 2002 to 2003, But Citizens Want Multiple Channels Available to contact government.” According to the release, internet users are increasingly turning to e-government sites to carry out their business with government. But Internet users and non-users alike value having more than one way to get in touch with government. Read the full report at
http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/toc.asp?Report=127 or click below to read the press release.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

New e-participation Pilot Launch Looking at the Use of Gaming Techniques

Chris Quigley, the Director of DELIB, sent an interesting message to the DO-WIRE discussion list today. Working with their partners at the New Economics Foundation, DELIB has put together an interactive pilot of e-DEMOCS for use by Napier University’s Teledemocracy unit. This pilot looks at how gaming technology like e-DEMOCS can be used to engage young people in difficult policy issues – in this case RadioActive Waste Management. Focus groups will be taking place in Scotland over the next couple of weeks, and results of the pilot will be published in June. Chris also mentioned a paper they’ve produced on using gaming techniques in citizen engagement. Chris, who is based in London, can be reached at chris@rubberductions.com.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Collaborative "Calling the Question" Project to Launch this Summer

The Mainstream Media Project and the Harvard Global Negotiation Project, in cooperation with MoveOn.org, are launching a joint initiative this summer called the Calling the Question project. The Calling the Question initiative is a multi-year initiative to shift the national conversation from partisanship to problem-solving by engaging a broad spectrum of the public in calling in to talk radio, querying candidates in media and live appearances, and reframing policy debates by asking open, breakthrough, “third side” questions that blame no one but encourage us to think in practical terms about what we can do together to resolve the challenges that confront us all. The aim of this initiative is to reach across the divide between thoughtful progressives and thoughtful conservatives to catalyze “convergence conversations” that could contribute to a broader de-polarization of an increasingly divided electorate and society. Click below for more details and contact info.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Peter Levine's Blog Entry on the September Project

I’ve posted about the September Project already, but Peter Levine’s blog May 10 blog entry about the project is more detailed that mine… so here it is.
Peter starts by saying “The September Project is a great idea for promoting public deliberation. Libraries across the country will hold public discussions on the third anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The library systems that have already signed up are shown on this map.” Click below to read his full blog entry, or go to www.peterlevine.ws/mt/ to check out Peter’s blog.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Canadian Citizens' Assembly Breaking New Ground

In case you haven’t heard about the British Columbia Parliament’s innovative experiment in deliberative democracy called “Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform,” I thought I’d post an update. Formed last year by that province’s government to get meanngful citizen input into reforming its entire electoral system, the Citizens Assembly has been holding hearings for months now. As it says on the Citizens’ Assembly website, “nowhere else in the world has such power been handed to randomly selected citizens. Click below to read more, or go to www.citizensassembly.bc.ca/public for more details or to sign up for the e-newsletter.
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