HOPE - Helping Our Peninsula's Environment
Supervisor Louis Calcagno
July 18, 2003
Re: Opening Up New General Plan Committee
I hope this letter finds you and your family happy and healthy.
First, after yesterday, in spite of the complaints (including ours) I feel stronger that the group can achieve some positive results. I believe that any two people at the meeting could find agreement on some issues, and probably many issues.
Second, please allow me to respectfully make some suggestions, which I believe will help achieve the goals you want.
Include All Interested Groups
To eliminate the numerous complaints about excluded groups - if you would please consider adding all other interested groups and individuals to the committee.
Groups which should be invited include (in no particular order) --
All of these groups have been working on General Plan issues for many years, in some cases, including ours, CNPS and the League -- for far more than a decade.
Further, HOPE has participated in absolutely every one of the dozens of General plan update meetings that have taken place in the Greater Monterey Peninsula area including Big Sur. The only ones we have missed are those in King City, Salinas and Prunedale.
HOPE has also provided extensive detailed, relevant and meaningful comments at every part of this four-year Update process.
Trust Building First
Next, the facilitators seriously miscalculated and severely underestimated the mistrust between the groups. Without pointing any fingers please allow me to suggest that the very first thing that needs to be done is a Trust Building Exercise.
One national forum that I participated in with positive results the groups from opposing sides were intentionally interspersed in their seating. In this case it would go something like -- agricultural interest, environmental group, agriculture group, environmental group and so forth.
At the very least every participant is forced to meet and interact with two people on the opposite side. As you know people who sit together tend to grow empathy for each other and begin to understand each others' points of view.
While you may not wish to employ this particular tactic Save, I feel that some serious trust building exercises must proceed the more serious parts of the discussions.
Allow All Public Comment
Finally, the facilitators wasted at least 30 minutes by preventing the Big Sur group from airing their concerns. When their concerns were finally heard -- they only took ten minutes! Once again showing (how you and I have discussed) that allowing all public comment, as opposed to shutting it off, promotes goodwill ,allows the public to participate - and takes less time.
With all my best wishes,
David Dilworth, Executive Director
Copies sent to --
California Native Plant Society
The League of Women Voters,
Highway 68 Coalition,
Save Our Peninsula Committee,
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom,
Hotel and Restaurant Employees Association,
The Green Party,
Concerned Citizens of Monterey County