Envision Brea Needs Public Input.

Next Tuesday, May 5, the City Council agenda includes a Consent Calendar item to approve a Public Service Agreement (contract) with MIG, Inc. for (up to) $185,000 to launch Envision Brea, a long range planning project.

MIG’s original proposal, presented to Council during their Study Session last January 20, fell quite short of meeting Council expectations… most notably in the areas of Council authority/direction and public engagement. Comments made by myself during Matters From The Audience and revoiced by Marick, Hupp and Vargas, helped lead to a request for a citizen steering committee. Council directed staff and MIG to give it another shot.

A couple of weeks ago, at the Study Session on April 21, MIG ran Plan B up the flagpole. Once again Council broke out in spirited debate. It was clear that the revised plan was more to their liking, many questions remained and the PSA was, once again, not approved. Though discussion had been wide ranging and lingering concerns about public engagement persisted, no clear instructions were voiced to staff.

When I saw the Consent Calendar item to approve the contract I went a little ballistic.

Stop abusing the Consent Calendar.

Envision Brea matters.In recent years dozens of citizens have publicly and loudly objected to the sneaking of large expense items through the approval process without public comment by burying them in the Consent Calendar.

A Consent Calendar lumps numerous “uncontroversial” items together to be passed with a single vote.

Supposedly designed to save time, the Consent Calendar should be renamed Without Consent Calendar as it blocks the public’s ability to wade in on important matters.

I’ve lobbied heavily over the last couple of days for Council to pull this item and to openly discuss it during general session. While this pressure, and that from other citizens with the same objections, seems to have had good effect… I’ll believe it when I see it.

Talk first, spend later.

Include Brea's YouthCouncil members have loudly and consistently tooted the horn for transparency and public engagement since reorganizing last December.

Their most vocal concerns about the current MIG proposal center around it’s lack of engagement opportunities focused upon Brea’s younger population. I share their concerns.

Failure to make Envision Brea relevant to our Gen X, Y and Millennial population, to such an extent that they feel their contribution will be meaningful and contribute in real ways to the final product, guarantees failure of Envision Brea.

I and others have also lobbied for Council to hold a special session… as they recently did on the downtown parking structure, to allow the public to help frame the scope of Envision Brea.

If public engagement is so important, how about doing it instead of talking about it.

How you can help.

You don’t usually get involved in this stuff. You certainly don’t get up at public meetings and unload in five minute sound bites. But this is starting to hit close to home. You have some thoughts about how the city should handle your money. You agree that excluding the public, that dismissing your input or reducing it to giving them a stamp of approval, is unacceptable.

Send an email. Email the Mayor and entire Council or focus in on the Council member with whom you feel the greatest compatibility. Add your thoughts and concerns to the growing chorus of public opinion.

Take a stand. Make a difference. Contact A Council Member.

Make Brea Matters your soapbox too.

Consent Calendar hides.Adding your comment to this and future posts on Brea Matters kicks the conversation into fifth gear. You add both third party credibility and often expanded understanding of the issues being discussed. And you encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Make some noise today. Encourage Council to pull the Envision Brea item from the Consent Calendar. Tell them to take their discussion downstairs and into public view. Demand an opportunity to wade in on Envision Brea before committing our money to a PSA contract, not after… when the opportunity for us to help mold the project’s scope and purpose is gone. Ask them to post the MIG proposal on the city’s website so you can dig into the details.

It’s your community. It’s your future. It’s time to assume the leadership and control you deserve.

 

7 thoughts on “Envision Brea Needs Public Input.

  1. Thanks for everyone’s support. Your calls and emails do make a difference and will impact public policy.

    Conversations with Council members this morning suggest that the Envision Brea item will be pulled from the Consent Calendar, that a public discussion will be scheduled (perhaps at their next meeting) as an Administrative Item and that contract approval will not occur until after the public has waded in.

  2. I would be interested to be involved in the process. I work as a Planner and am considered a generation Xer. It might be helpful to provide a link for those that want to participate in the process.

    • Mike… you highlight the very heart of the problem, for all their talk of engagement, there is no link.

      I’m pressing for the city to have MIG publish an executive summary of their proposal and for the city to make it readily available on their website. I’m also lobbying for the Administrative Item to be pushed out at least four weeks and that their communications staff widely broadcast this information.

      The email links in this piece are live. Please use them. Add your voice to ours and let Council know how you feel.

  3. Forgive my ignorance, but the line “Envision Brea, a long range planning project” seems vague to me. Planning what? Parks? New community Facilities? Billboards? New City signage? Business development? I echo your call to have the proposal posted. Because how can I or anyone chime in or give an opinion if we don’t even know what the proposal entails.

    • Phil… hardly ignorance, you sound anything but ignorant. You’re right, when there is no information forthcoming it makes staying informed all but impossible. I’ve restated my case for a lay language summary and time to adequately digest it. I encourage you to add your voice to those emailing Council on this matter.

    • What does Envision Brea include? 185,000 is a lot of money that residents should be able to review.

      • Heather… Go to this link – Council Agendas – and select the agenda for the 05/19 meeting (next Tuesday). Envision Brea is Item 17 and, if you’re willing to scroll for an eternity, you’ll find the RFP, staff report and proposal from the consultant. Warning, it’s a long read, mostly in cityspeak and industry jargon, but some of it might make sense.

        Sadly, this is how some on Council and staff believe a broad range public engagement project aimed at bringing your opinions and those of your friends and neighbors to bear on Brea’s future is best handled. Their methodology contradicts their objective.

        Please, come to Council meeting Tuesday and share your comments where they might do some good. Encourage others to do the same.

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