Land use decisions do make a difference, and our democratic process only works if there are informed and engaged participants on all sides of the questions presented. Individual participation is great, but effective work in the public policy (or “political”) arena demands that those with similar views “get organized.” That’s step one, and that means, as a practical matter, either creating or joining a group of like-minded persons, working for the same public policy goal.
In Monterey County, the debate about the future of land use on the former Fort Ord is heating up. New groups like Keep Fort Ord Wild are engaged, as are older groups like LandWatch Monterey County, the League of Women Voters, and others.
If step one is: “get organized.” Step two is: “get the facts!”
Knowledge is power, and democratic decision-making is all about power. It’s about building power and using it to achieve public policy goals. If you care about an issue, then you and your friends need to start understanding everything there is to understand about that issue, from the legalities to the science. And you need to know the facts relied upon by the other side, too!