Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Electing a charter commission

Generally, with big planning efforts like a Comprehensive Plan or the Zoning Rewrite, you have an oversight-steering-coordinating committee.  In DC, these committees are appointed by the Mayor and the various Councilmembers.  And let's face it, the Committee members are more oriented to maintaining things than they are to promoting change, especially those people representing the real estate industry.

Sacramento is putting the question of a Charter Revision Commission on the ballot this fall (Sacramento City Council OKs charter commission ballot measures")
from the Sacramento Bee) and interestingly, the members of the Commission would be elected, not appointed.

Of course, I suppose you have to have money to get elected, and that favors monied interests, but still, it's an interesting example of democracy.

Especially in terms of how I argue that after 30+ years of  DC's "Home Rule Charter," it's time for a review in terms of how the Council is set up, how voting works, whether or not the charter commissions (Zoning) work well enough or need to be modified (I think we need a Transportation Commission too and a Planning and Parks Commission as well), an evaluation of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (which would likely figure out that one, without a capacity building infrastructure they don't work very well, and two, that certain administrative functions could and should be provided on a networked basis), etc.

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