What opportunities do Californians have to engage with public issues and influence decisions that affect their lives? What are ways to strengthen relations between communities and their local governments?
The study was conducted by Public Agenda in partnership with the Institute for Local Government and Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University, and was funded by The James Irvine Foundation. Traditional models for including the public in local decision making, these civic and community leaders say, fail to meet the needs of both residents and local officials. Most see significant value and potential in more inclusive and deliberative forms of engagement, and many agree local officials are making increasing efforts to include residents more meaningfully.
Overall, this research suggests civic and community-based organizations are looking for newer and more effective ways to engage the public and may be ready for stronger collaborations with local government. Highlights of this report, including recommendations and the perspectives of local officials, are available in a highly visual, printable infographic.