As John Dewey said "There is more than a verbal tie to common, community and communication". We all know the power of communication. It can make or break a relationship. The delicate balance between government and public relies heavily on communication. It used to be that if the government got the word out (notification), the bases are covered. It was also the case that the people who responded to these notification where primarily viewed with skepticism because they probably responded and commented on everything that was published. They are the ones that simply oppose anything and everything proposed because TRUST was lost. Somewhere between the two we know that there are a whole lot of people who have good comments and ideas but we couldn't hear from them.
Rob's idea of the blog as a tool for community engagement was an instant hit. We knew that it was worth attempting to reach out to those people that we would not normally hear from at a public meeting or hearing. It provided many things that could not be provided in a meeting or hearing. It provided a comfortable environment (home), a convenience of presence (anytime) and the necessary time to research and layout informed comments and questions. This was witnessed on a blog site created for the City of Oak Harbor's Comprehensive Plan Amendment. (http://www.cohcomplan08.blogspot.com/)
The communication on the amendments shows clear evidence that people are researching the City Code, asking informed questions and focusing on issues related to the decision that is pending.