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News from AmericaSpeaks

We just got the latest update on AmericaSpeaks’ (www.americaspeaks.org) many exciting activities. I blogged recently about their collaboration in the process of organizing Community Congress III, and linked to the preliminary report and to media coverage of the event. Now, they are reporting on some of the strong messages coming out of Community Congress III, including:

* citizens emphasized the importance of category 5 flood protection as a top priority
* concern that poor governance and lack of accountability will harm the recovery
* desire to know how the UNOP plan will be financed “Where will the money come from?”
* concern about equity in redevelopment as well as rising cost of living in the city
* support for offering incentives to cluster neighborhoods and to manage blight
* desire to overhaul the Road Home program

At the end of the day 91% of participants agreed that the UNOP plan should go forward. In a vote reflective of the significant level of citizen participation in creating the plan, 92% of participants indicated that they had a “very high” or “high” level of commitment to remaining engaged with the effort to rebuild New Orleans.

Also in the news: AmericaSpeaks is collaborating with the City of Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia, on another interesting project — the April 28 Community Summit. A suburb of Melbourne, Port Phillip grow to its current size when in 1997 the state of Victoria consolidated its 249 municipalities into 79. Port Phillip developed their first 10-year plan after consolidation and is now looking towards 2017 by developing a new vision and priorities. Port Phillip developed their first 10-year plan after consolidation and is now looking towards 2017 by developing a new vision and priorities. Port Philip is a pilot project for holding 21st Century Town Meetings in other municipalities in Victoria, which could lead to similar processes occurring across Victoria.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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