To the editor,
A note to the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and city regarding the upcoming stressing planning update.
Not to put too fine a point on it: Where are the postings of the current alternatives?
I think they should also be posted up at the time you announce your meeting, so:
1) the served public can evaluate the work of its public servants;
2) more (and presumably deeper) conversations can occur around kitchen counters and front porches in the affected areas of the city among the folks you're claiming to want input from;
3) bigger, better word of mouth advertising will result, and you'll get a more engaged, more invested and more meaningful input to your meeting.
Having been at many of these meetings where the plans are thus revealed, it has never appeared that there was much intent or interest in getting input, but rather a fairly weak attempt on the part of the city to justify some decisions that appeared to have been made without a great deal of meaningful data.
We have the tools to do better, but important in this is the idea that city/MPO needs to lay their cards on the table at the time they call a meeting. Otherwise only the MPO and its representatives really know what the meeting is about, and thus aren't really collecting input; they're covering their butts.
The worst (i.e., most embarrassing) thing that could happen is one of the local neighborhood groups comes up with a profoundly better idea in the two weeks leading up to the meeting. But wait: In such a situation, everybody would actually win.