Collaboration in Civic Spheres

John Spady's Profile

jspady (at) mac (dot) com
John grew up in Seattle and on the Eastside in Bellevue. He is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University and the University of Oregon. John is an enthusiastic member of both the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and the International Association for Public Participation. John's father, who is the namesake of Dick's Drive-In Restaurants in Seattle, exemplifies John's regional values of community responsibility and civic engagement.


John Spady's Recent Posts

Take Our “Blueprint For Reform” Opinionnaire Survey

March 9th, 2010


On March 8, 2010, in his “Blueprint For Reform” speech to the King County Council and amid a packed house of department heads and a curious public, King County Executive Dow Constantine laid out “a host of immediate and long-term challenges.”

He challenged the Council and the public to:

investin a 21st century transportation infrastructure,
protectour health and the most vulnerable in our communities,
maintainexcellence in public safety and justice for all,
and partnerwith our cities and regional governments, [and] business and labor leaders, to focus on creating jobs and opportunity.

Next, referring to his draft of the first-ever King County Strategic Plan, he cited four elements of his reform:

Service excellence, a quality workforce, wise financial stewardship, and a robust public engagement

Three local news sources that mentioned the Executive’s address online: The Seattle Times, the, and the Seattle Weekly.

I want to focus on the “robust public engagement” aspects of the speech. Executive Constantine mentioned engaging “elected officials and folks on the street” in Snoqualmie Valley about better ways to promote tourism and “bring thousands of visitors to regional attractions.” He discussed working with regional task forces, cities, community organizations, and representatives from the different Unincorporated Area Councils to work on the important topics of transportation, jail planning, animal services, and the needs of rural residents. It’s OK as far as it goes.

But for me there was an opportunity lost to broaden our language “” and our expectations “” for a more “robust public engagement” beyond what was outlined during the speech. We have the foundations already in place right now with the Countywide Community Forums of King County that was created by Initiative 24 in 2007 and is run out of the County Auditor’s office.

Instead of focusing on the (admittedly worthy) opinions of elected officials, members of task forces, and administrators of community organizations “” in general those people who have a platform from which to articulate their points-of-view “” I want to see an acknowledgment of the opinions of even more of the day-to-day “folks on the street”; those people who don’t typically have the time or opportunity to easily voice their opinions in a measurable and meaningful way. How do we hear from all people who want to really let us know what they are thinking?

So I want to try an experiment with my first posting on this Social Capital Review blog… at the end of this article is a link to a quick Opinionnaire® survey that I created about the 2010 Blueprint For Reform address by the County Executive. Normally, I would encourage everyone who wants to participate to meet up face-to-face in small groups, read or listen to the speech, talk among themselves about what they heard, and then answer an Opinionnaire® survey. But we can only do the last part for now here online.

Here’s my promise, if 100 or more people click on the link below and take a few minutes to read the Executive’s speech and then, complete the survey by honestly judging the 20 direct quotations I’ve chosen from the speech, I will prepare a report for the Executive and summarize your opinions of his remarks. Then I’ll highlight that same report on this blog, and, if the Executive has any response to that report, I will report back what he says as well. I will update the comments of this posting from time-to-time with the number of responses received so far. Bookmark the “permalink” below so you can check back and toss in a few comments as well.

Ready? The key link below (also replicated atop this blog post) will connect you to the 2010 Blueprint For Reform Opinionnaire® survey. And thanks for your opinions “” it’s all about strengthening our community social capital!