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Harry Pozycki, chairman of The Citizens Campaign, and Alysia Welch-Chester, citizen leader and Mercer County Chair, explain how The Citizens Campaign provides non-elected New Jersey residents the tools to participate in government.
Fran - we haven't yet gotten to NY, still perfecting NJ. But hold tight! We're coming soon. While much of what you can find on www.thecitizenscampaign.com related to appointed boards or political parties is specific to NJ laws, you can take the foundation of each and just research the specifics for your community. They are both run fairly similarly as to NJ boards & parties. And of course, the Citizen Legislator & Citizen Journalist pieces transcend state lines!
Jake - while we don't have those best practices specific to those issues you raised, we suggest you do some research to find best practices in nearby towns or comparable sized cities to yours. You can then take those models that are already working & present them to your SB or Council. It's hard to argue a model that already is proving successful! Our Citizen Legislator class has lots of info for you regarding this research. www.thecitizenscampaign.com. After you take it, if you still have questions call Renee at 732.548.9798 x9.
station44025 - that is a good question. Building a coalition of community stakeholders is always a good starting point. Bring in the non-usual suspects, like businesses that might be negatively affected, nonprofits, faith based groups as well as residents. Start your own blogs/online newspapers (blogspot.com or wordpress.com) and report what's happening & "organize" online. Keep it constructive, use it as a resource people can go to to find info, not hear someone complain. You want to give them a reason to keep coming back to your site - and the momentum will build from there. Run for political party committee seats in your neighborhoods and take over the party from the inside. Make sure you attend all meetings of the governing bodies involved, consistently and voice your concerns. This is where building a coalition of folks to help out with appearances helps! We have classes on all of this which are free online (www.thecitizenscampaign.com).
superf88 - thank you for the kind words! Yes, NJ Spotlight is a great resource. So are the many online hyperlocal newspapers for local coverage. You can find out if one exists near you at www.njhna.org.
Is there a Citizens Campaign classes in New York also?
for issues that are universal, and universally controversial -- school lunch reform and zoning enforcement for example -- do you have on hand any "best practices", which can be easily entered into a dialogue between citizens and towns as a tool to create change?
How can people best contend with situations like the PPW bike lane, where the community process was short circuited by entrenched powers like the Schumers, Markowitz, etc. who used their connections in the media and city government, and the legal community to try to stop a project they didn't like?
Excellent Group! Helped us and some towns in PA...
2 other sweet resources:
celdf.org (focus on environment -- also includes a Democracy School)
realized that gannett gutted itself in the late 80s and early 90s and wish there was still such a thing as a reporter in NJ? check out this shockingly good journalistic resource: NJSpotlight.com
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