The City Hall site, Shores Park, parking management plan, proposed changes to Camino del Mar, Watermark, The Garden Project, monster houses being built next door and a new task force to beef up the DRB regulations. Multiple City Hall site surveys with multiple choices, Shores Survey and a Plan the Park Event, a Satisfaction Survey, and an engagement website. Are we being overwhelmed by projects and engagements? There are so many issues to be involved with we worry the Council and the citizens cannot fully engage and have a reasoned debate about the issues. For many of us our private lives are already very busy. We worry that some residents may simply ignore yet another survey or poll leaving decisions to be made by a minority or even vested interests in a single issue.
During times like this it may be worthwhile to look at the advantages of our decision-making overload. After all we could be living in San Diego where the recent One Paseo decision-making process ignored community input completely and has so angered San Diego advisory boards they are launching a colossally expensive citywide referendum. But it is equally troublesome that a modest percentage of residents make a survey-based decision for the majority of residents who for whatever reason do not respond to a poll or a survey. Where is the balance?
Setting priorities as the Council does is good, but good priority setting requires good sequencing. The community can only digest so many big decisions at a time.
The Sandpiper recommends that the Council limit the number of major City-initiated projects taken up at any one time. In addition to asking citizens to engage in workshops hearings and voting, the Council could hold neighborhood meetings that allow for the exchange of ideas among residents in order to build community consensus. Or perhaps we could have neighborhood advisory groups chaired by residents with a single “overarching” committee that has a citywide perspective.