Strategies for Change: How to Make the American Political Dream Work

By Dick Simpson; George Beam | Go to book overview
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Creating a 44th Ward Assembly

Purpose: To Be A New Instrument of Government

The primary reason for the Ward Assembly and its basic purpose is to determine those policies and priorities that are in the best interests of all the citizens of the Ward. It is to allow for this determination that the Assembly is to be partly representative, partly participatory: that full deliberation will be encouraged within a fixed agenda; and that all voices will be heard in this public gathering. The policies and priorities that result will be both advisory and binding upon the alderman. Most of all, the Assembly is the place where these decisions can be made by the community and in which every citizen can participate effectively in the process of governmental decision-making.

The 44th Ward Assembly and groups like it create a new instrument of local government. Combining the principles of representative and direct democracy, the Ward Assembly is an institution which embodies the hope of men of good will that democratic government is still a possibility in our century. It is meant to foster the development of citizens with important responsibilities and privileges once again. For these reasons the creation of the Ward Assembly and the outcome of its deliberations is an event of high seriousness. If it is successful, there is much reason for hope. If it fails, we shall have to settle for much less from our government and from ourselves.


Membership:

Since the purpose of the Assembly is to serve partly as an advisory and partly as a governing council for the entire ward, it is necessary to mirror the composition of the ward to allow for the expression of quite diverse opinions, and to foster widespread and long-term participation. To reflect the diversity of the ward

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