Aug 19, 2008

Olympia City Council adopts my "door prize democracy" scheme

The Olympia City Council has embraced the value of randomness. Here's what I recommended here and on Olyblog, a little while back:
A random draw would level every individual's probability of being chosen first, and would also lead to a representative sample of the various opinions represented, especially if at least 60 people were chosen (3 minutes each = 3 hours). The council could post the first 60 names drawn, and those picked would have the option of passing their turn to a friend, if they thought s/he would do a better job or otherwise needed to go earlier. The council could even set a rule saying that they would not be allowed to adjourn until at least 60 people had spoken.

The only element lost would be the "back-and-forth," but since such situations are usually far removed from the rigor of a formal debate, there's no need to go Pro-Con-Pro-Con in lockstep.
Here's what the Council approved:
In the method approved Monday, people who want to speak would sign a form upon entering The Washington Center, which would open at 5 p.m. that day. Of the forms received from 5 to 6 p.m., a city official would randomly draw 40 names.

Those people would be notified by their names being put up on a screen, and they would be asked to relocate to the lower section, where three rows would be reserved for them.

A second drawing would take place for the next 40 speakers at 7 p.m. They would speak after the initial 40.

Those who do not get to speak, but sign up by 7 p.m. that day, would be able to speak at another hearing, at a date to be scheduled.
Freaky / awesome.

I promise not to abuse my powers of persuasion.

1 comment:

Emmett said...

I wouldn't be so sarcastic about your powers. We know that city government folk read olyblog. They totally used your mind for their own ends.