TND Exclusive: By Eric Dubin, Chair, Citizens For Transparent Government |
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There is a system of consensus policy “governance” spreading its tentacles across the United States. Few people are aware of how vast this infrastructure has become, and how it is impacting our lives.
Citizens For Transparent Government sat down with Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum and political researcher “Mr. X” to shine a light on the problems associated with the consensus “governance” model. Click the triangle “play” button above to stream audio, or the down pointing arrow if you’d like to download an mp3 file.
Coming to a consensus and considering the input of “stake holders” sounds like a good idea, right? The problem is that this system lends itself to abuse by special interests. This consensus “governance” model often facilitates the translating of special interest based agendas into public policy, circumventing representative government, where citizens at least have the potential ability to hold elected officials accountable. Flawed as traditional representative government is, this “consensus octopus” system virtually guarantees less transparency, accountability, and opportunity for locally impacted people to have an influence on public policy decisions impacting their lives.
The Policy Consensus Initiative (PCI) plays a key role as an intellectual godfather of this system. It seeks to build and support networks that provide state and local governments with “leadership and capacity to achieve more collaborative governance.” This strategic objective is funneled through state university systems via the University Network for Collaborative Governance.
Last August, Dennis Linthicum pointed out in an op-ed that PCI freely admits to the circumvention of representative government. In the “abbreviated version” of “A Practical Guide To Consensus,” PCI notes:
Cautionary Note: Participation is the Key to Legitimacy
Government-sponsored consensus processes are not the traditional forums in which policies are made, administered, or adjudicated in a democracy. In traditional forums, the mechanisms for determining who participates directly in the writing and administration of law are spelled out in constitutions, charters, statutes, and rules. Consensus-seeking processes are adjuncts to traditional democratic processes; they can shift the locus of public decision making.
See the problem? Quite often, these organizations are set-up by design to be the handmaidens of special interests.
To illustrate, consider the example of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). Over two dozen “stake holders” have signed an agreement with certain predefined goals “on the table.” Debate over details around the edges of a predefined policy objective are permitted through this newly created “collaborative governance” organization. But the mission and many of the policy outcomes of KBRA was largely defined in advance, with “stake holders” agreeing to the mission as the entrance ticket to the discussion.
KBRA will influence the plan to destroy four Klamath River dams, greatly impact water usage rights critical to the local ranching and agricultural economy, and even have an impact on Jackson County’s water supply via the Talent Irrigation District (TID). But the KBRA only has 3 stakeholders representing agricultural/ranching interests. TID doesn’t have a seat at the table, nor utility rate paying citizens currently being charged for dam destruction. Meanwhile, an over-sized number of the remaining “stake holders” include a veritable list of who’s who among regional environmental organizations pushing an agenda informed by junk science. We are told that we must restore coho salmon habitat in the Klamath River, but the fish is not a native species and it’s in no way threatened. You can go to grocery stores throughout Oregon and buy coho to your heart’s content.
Presentation In Southern Oregon
Citizens For Transparent Government co-hosted a public meeting with the Medford, Oregon chapter of Americans For Prosperity. We are making the slide presentation developed for that event public. Right click here and “save as” or equivalent for your internet browser to download the PDF. There are more slides in this file than those used during last month’s presentation, but we are leaving the file “as is” for those that would like to dive deep into the subject.
Please click here to visit the Citizens For Transparent Government Facebook page and “like” the main page to help us grow. Click here for AFP Jackson County’s Facebook page and consider doing the same.
The video below was recorded by a local activist named Kevin and is hosted at his YouTube channel. We recommend exploring his other videos: click here. He attends and records many meetings for the education and benefit of the local community — a true citizen journalist and activist. America would be a greater nation if people like Kevin sprung up in cities across the country.
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