Comment 74006

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 14:47:27 in reply to Comment 73994

To play devil's advocate for a moment - have you gone to a public consultation meeting? The things are practically designed to breed disdain for the public. The officials who manage those things have the patience of saints.

You have to see it from their perspective - any public consultation is going to have the signal-to-noise ratio of your average XBox Live voicechat, albeit with somewhat cleaner language. Fringe viewpoints get just as much airtime as mainstream ones, and there are a lot of fringes out there, and they're usually the loudest people in the room.

I'm not saying public consultation is wrong and that ignoring the public is the right way to go about it... just that any public consultation process subjects the officials to a screaming din of pure nonsense.

Public consultation is hard to do well. Very hard. I'm not saying they shouldn't do it. Absolutely, the government works for the public and should consult with the public. Just that you shouldn't assume malice. I'm sure everyone who comes into government has every intent of being a strong representative of the public... and then quickly finds out that they can't really consult with John Q public. They can consult with the self-appointed champions of John Q public. The actual public just wants you to go away and stop phoning during dinner, and doesn't really follow the issues closely enough to have a good understanding of the situation anyways.

The vocal urbanists like us? We don't sound too different from the NIMBYs, the conservatives, and the outright crazy people they have to deal with.

So yeah, I'm not surprised in the least that their public consultation process has been a joke. Making it work is hard, while making it a glorified press conference where they present their solution and then absorb the rotten tomatoes is easy.

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