This weekend an organization called Threshold 2008 is hosting an invitation only meeting at Canada College to talk about San Mateo County’s housing crisis. Four hundred county residents have been selected at random to participate in a Countywide Assembly on Housing Choices. This is similar to something that was done several years ago and led to the formation of HEART, a San Mateo County funding source for families making normal wages but unable to afford to live here.
I will be there to listen to these citizens and will write about it over the weekend. The Saturday session will begin with a poll on what people believe about the housing issues in the county. After that, they’ll break into sessions with discussions about issues and come to consensus about Alternative Housing Futures. Then all groups will get together and share their responses and have open discussion.
This will repeat on Sunday with discussion around Who Should Decide housing issues and conclude with discussion on Policies and Funding Choices. By the end of Sunday afternoon’s session, a new poll will take place. If this poll is anything like the last one done several years ago, there will be enormous changes in
attitudes and opinions by the participants. Listening to all of this will be the movers and shakers in San Mateo County, those who are able to make policy and impact change.
What sets this weekend apart from anything else done like this is the way it will be done. This is an Assembly of people and Professor James Fishkin, of Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy will provide tools for citizen democracy, with citizen’s coming up with solutions to major issues affecting us all. Professor Fishkin has introduced his program around the world with great success.
This weekend will only set the stage for continued disucssion and dialog throughout San Mateo County talking about housing shortages that are critical to our core as a community. Threshold 2008 will be continuing with online discussions in April and more local discussions, down to neighborhoods, in May. Want to participate? It’s easy. Here’s the information.
I’ll be blogging about the weekend as it progesses.