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On September 11 2012, I attended a meeting of good governance in Sacramento. The meeting was a public hearing involving the use of the Memorial Park to accommodate the proposed “Organized Sports League Use Policy for the Memorial Park”. The Park’s Commission agreed that it was respectful to consider the input from the public on the proposed “Organized Sports League Use Policy for the Memorial Park”.
This reflected ideals of good governance in the City of West Sacramento. Good governance is participatory, responsive, accountable, inclusive, consensus-based, and always abides by the rules. It also considers views of the public, minority and other stakeholders during decision-making processes. Good governance must also show concerns for both present and future needs of its people.
The Memorial Park belongs to the neighborhood. However, it is the City of West Sacramento that manages it. The Park has specialized facilities. As a result, West Sacramento Little League (WSLL) has been using it since 1953. The Park’s board values the role WSLL has been playing in modeling youths. WSLL has a long tenure of using the Park. Consequently, it has acquired some privileges such as securing the place, and maintaining the Park at its costs.
However, conflicts have increased between the WSLL and the local community over the years due to inconvenience, such as noise from amplified sound, parking on the street, littering by spectators, and lack of access by the public during WSLL use.
The Park’s management has controlled these conflicts through creating understanding between the local community and the WSLL with minimal results. However, conflicts have significantly increased this season.
The final solution to these conflicts involves relocating the WSLL to another location. Meanwhile, the Park’s Commission feels that there should be a policy, which defines reasonable use of the Park by taking into account both interests of the local community and WSLL.
In my opinion, both the local community and WSLL have expressed matters of real concerns, which are valid given their needs. However, their needs may also be unrealistic based on the usage of the Park. The Park’s management team believes that it can propose a workable proposal for both the community and WSLL.
This process has adopted the concept of good governance. The process has concentrated on all concerns of the community and WSLL. The process was consultative, and the Commission informed representatives of both parties appropriately. This also involved informing all residents near the Park. The Commission also informed the general public that they were free to attend and provide their opinions on the draft policy. The Commission shall base its decisions on the public comment and make appropriate recommendations.
How the event applied to me
I am a part of the local community and a beneficiary of the Park. I acknowledge the contribution of the Park to the youth, the community concerns, and the Strategic Plan Integration of the City Council, which focuses on needs of the youth. However, as a concerned resident, the City also understands that we need peaceful environment and access to the Park as a public place of recreation.
Therefore, the policy regarding usage, neighborhood notification, security, amplified sound, special events, banner and signage, insurance, fees, and other general provisions shall help in reducing the tension between the community and WSLL. Thus, the proposed “Organized Sports League Use Policy for the Memorial Park” shall guide the use of the Park and reduce conflicts.
My evaluation of the meeting (good governance)
The City of West Sacramento meeting on the use of the Memorial Park demonstrates elements of good governance. First, the process is participatory. The Commission invited every member of the society. It also encouraged inputs from the public. However, this does not imply that the Commission shall favor a single party and disregard the other during decision-making.
The process was also responsive to the needs of all stakeholders. However, the City Council did not resolve these conflicts amicably within reasonable period.
The City of West Sacramento applies equity and inclusiveness during decision-making. It feels that everyone is important. Thus, the Commission includes inputs from all members. As a result, the local communities have a chance to enhance their lives or sustain their well-being.
The City of West Sacramento strives to be effective and efficient as it aims to meet the needs of its members using the available Park. The Commission quests for a sustainable use of the Park for both WSLL and the neighborhood.
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The approach is also consensus-based that aims at including all views of members of the community. The aim of good governance is to mediate diverse interests of society to reach workable solutions for all. This is why the Commission proposed “Organized Sports League Use Policy for the Memorial Park”. This is a short-term proposal to resolve conflicts as the Commission looks for a long-term solution of relocating the WSLL. However, it must understand the long connection between the community and the Park as well as WSLL and the Park.
However, I noted that good governance remains an ideal that the City of Sacramento will find hard to acquire in totality. The Commission has to work hard to achieve good governance with the use of the Park.