Jan. 10, 2023
Open Forum meetings over the years have often focused on creating lists of people that should be invited to make presentations at future meetings. There was some of that this morning, and big issues – CMS growth plans and the city’s development guidelines, for examples – are being decided in the near future and have not been thoroughly aired in public.
But the discussion ranged more widely:
- What role should hearing from elected officials play?
- How can busy entrepreneurs be given time in the spotlight?
- After 40-plus years of never figuring out how to hold people accountable for doing what they pledged to do, is there something else that can be tried?
- How does the Forum reach residents who lack time or access to follow community affairs and the Forum’s meetings?
- Will social media help reach young people and engage them in community issues?
For the morning’s roundtable discussion, almost all the tables in the Belmont Center conference room were pushed together into, not a round table but a ginormous square. The elephant in the room could have stretched out quite comfortably.
The elephant in the room? Time. Time for meetings at different times during the week that various age groups and people on different work schedules can attend, remotely or in person. Time for Forum participants to compare elected officials’ voting records with their campaign promises. Time to prepare probing questions for presenters. Time to maintain links to other groups. Time to nurture a social media presence and absorb all the information already on those channels.
Facilitator Laura McClettie recommended that facilitators commit to an in-town retreat with a facillitator, to be held over a period of days and many hours, for the purpose of defining the issues to be undertaken, to create a plan for addressing them, and then renewed commitments to “work the plan.”
Below is the video from this morning’s meeting. During the first minutes, Winston Robinson offered an impromptu narrative on how he became hooked on the Forum’s work.