Community Council Decision Process (Essential Dialogue for Balancing Public and Private Interests)
Community council meetings are often attended by less than one percent of their residents. That should be acceptable and expected since we have chosen to function as a representative democracy rather than a direct or pure democracy. However, elected neighborhood representatives need to be cognizant of the fact that the few who do attend neighborhood monthly meetings (usually as proponents or opponents of an agenda item) are often representing narrow or special interests rather than the broader public interest. Even so, people who are passionate enough or angry enough to attend the meeting are sometimes erroneously considered more seriously than the public interest simply because they are present and the public interest is not obvious or not presented. The public interest is difficult or impossible to consider if not already identified and adopted through a more inclusive or direct democratic process—as enabled in a master plan process and periodic updates.
Therefore, in evaluating monthly meetings, community councils need to consider a variety of questions related to the public interest. For instance: