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Healthy Sustainable Communities

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LiveWell Wheat Ridge Healthy Sustainable Environments

LiveWell Wheat Ridge Healthy Sustainable Environments

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  • Molly and Elizabeth Good morning! I’m Molly Hanson, LiveWell Wheat Ridge Coordinator with Jefferson County Public Health. Elizabeth and I look forward to sharing some lessons learned about how to engage partners when working for healthy community. I thought I would take just a moment and share a bit of my background….Currently, I coordinate a LiveWell community. As many of you know, LiveWell affiliates are funded to implement environmental changes, programs and policies to support healthy eating and active living to combat adult and childhood obesity. I am going to share with you some lessons learned in my prior life (as a public health practitioner passing clean indoor air ordinances) AND as a coordinator of a LiveWell program. In both roles, I have found engaging communities, constituents and stakeholders along the entire process has showed impact. And I’m Elizabeth Kay Marchetti, Senior Planner with Douglas County Community Planning and Sustainable Development. We’re going to be taking turns through this presentation as we provide you with a comparison/contrast look at how to engage and mobilize your local community members in an advocacy effort. In an effort to keep to our schedule, we ask that you hold your questions until the end of the presentation .
  • Elizabeth Molly and I will explain some specific tools and techniques you might use depending on your local political reality and why engaging your community members can be so beneficial. We’ve also identified three significant learning objectives for this presentation.
  • Molly What: In the public health policy world, we often describe policies as living in two domains – Big “P” and Little “P” Little P policies are organizational policies implemented at worksites, in health care systems, in schools, etc. to positively impact the health of a defined community. (For example, a hospital implements a food procurement policy or a tobacco free campus) Big P are policies passed by elected or appointed officials at the jurisidiction, regional, school district, state or national level. (For example, a school district passes a SRTS policy or a jurisdiction passes a MUZD ordinance). For the purposes of this presentation, I am going to focus on the Big P policies in this presentation. Hold up handout that has list of resources Who: So, who can initiate local policy initiatives? Community residents, elected officials, city staff, community-base coalitions, health departments, state-wide coalitions, advocacy networks, businesses, etc. For example, often clean indoor air ordinance work is initiated by a community coalition or a health department. In Wheat Ridge, the city has done stellar job initiating a Mixed Use Zoning District Ordinance and engaging the community in this process. However, the advocacy process and steps that you choose may be heavily impacted by who is initiating the policy or planning process. So, keep that in mind as we move through this presentation and outline some tools for your new toolbox.
  • Molly and Elizabeth Molly: Borrowing heavily from the tools and resources that I used when I was working in clean indoor air ordinance work (specifically the Colorado Committee for Smoke-Free Air toolkit), I have outlined four general stages of advocacy…or ways to engage your community when you are promoting a policy initiative. We will walk through each of these stages and fill them in. Please consider these suggestions as tools for your toolbox; these are merely suggestions of techniques assembled into a framework for you to pick and choose from given your communities’ needs, character, readiness, etc. and the initiative you are working on. Elizabeth: The examples I’ll be sharing with you are from direct experience with the most recent update to the Douglas County Comprehensive Master Plan in 2008 (which is one big set of policies), and the process I’m in the midst of right now, which is the start of the Douglas County Sustainability Initiative.
  • Molly Elizabeth and I agreed that there are very important, positive social impacts that are the result of meaningful public involvement in the policy development process. Here are some examples, however, Elizabeth and I both agreed that two of the most important impacts is that it can increase the buy-in among your elected officials to your policy initiative and you can arrive at a better end product or outcome.
  • Elizabeth Elizabeth: This diagram was developed by the Project for Public Spaces in New York City. All those interesting decisions to create a bike lane down 9 th Avenue and permanently block off portions of Times Square and Herald Square came from this group. Although we’re not doing much planning for discreet places the way that they are at PPS, we’ve adopted their philosophy of engaging the public from the very beginning of any kind of policy or plan development process. This diagram explains what the old way of planning looks like over time when the public is engaged somewhere after the so-called experts have defined the problem, identified their constraints and created a draft design or new policy. The public finally is allowed to take a look at the design and more often than not sees all sorts of problems that the experts didn’t anticipate. The public usually feels slighted, ignored, and bad feelings are created. Suddenly the experts have a serious public image problem and are probably quickly losing credibility in the community. Meanwhile, they’re realizing that they have to go back to the drawing boards which extends their schedule beyond what they originally anticipated which means that they’re forced to go over budget. The final product may be fought hard by the public and assuming the political will hasn’t entirely wilted, they may have to start over from the beginning.
  • Elizabeth Whereas in the new way, you’ve got your stakeholders involved from the very beginning as evaluators, your true local experts, and troubleshooters. This way ensures that communities have an opportunity to articulate their aspirations, needs, and prioroties and for the policy or design professionals to get a much finer-grained understanding of the place or problem. Typically, the draft policy or product includes lots of elements that were suggested by the stakeholders (and missteps were avoided because of good counsel by the stakeholders) and when the elected officials see that there is little to no public resistance because the public has been collaborating on the process, you’re likely to have a better outcome. It’s more likely that the elected officials will support the policy or plan and that you won’t have to go back and start over, extend your schedule or go over budget.
  • Molly No matter how or who initiates the policy initiative, coalescing partners around a desired outcome is key. You want to think about what kind of network will work best to help you get your desired outcome. It might be a coalition, task force, ad hoc committee, virtual network, etc. Recently, we just kicked off a Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and will kick off our Active Community Environments Task Forces. Both committees will: Spend some time identifying policy priorities (ACE – bike ped plan/next steps and support out MUZD initiative) Develop a leadership or steering group that will serve for a defined set of time Develop a very informal description of desired outcomes for the first year It’s important to think about the various constituents you want on your coalitions. AFFV has representation from the City (parks and rec, planning), JCD, school district and individual schools in WR, churches, older adults, health care system, city council member, etc. You also want to recruit those partners who you might not necessarily have considered. For example, we are thrilled to have a developer who is committed to Smart Growth principles on our committee. Remember, you want a mix of grass tops (opinion leaders) and grass roots (community residents.) One tool I use over and over and over again is a database. Why? beyond the obvious reasons? Besides tracking peoples’ contact info, you can make vital notes on how they want to be involved. Some people don’t want to come to meetings but they can be reached via an email alert to please contact your City Council member. Fine – add that to the database. If people fall off, they can always be reactivated. Also, you may not need to start a whole new coalition or task force. You may be able to tap existing groups of coalesced individuals: neighborhood associations, business associations, faith communities, rotaries and business associations, health care systems, coordinating health and human service councils or networks.
  • Molly Great! You have your coalition or coalesced folks who are committed to change. They have decided they want to support a policy change. A vital step is assessing the communities’ readiness for this policy initiative. It is key to assess the communities’ readiness through informal network and channels. (We are often doing this without even realizing it.) However, consider conducting a more formal assessment, for example a poll, survey, key informant interviews, etc. Once you do your assessment, you may find a sector of your community may need additional education before initiating your policy campaign. Why is developing key messages on the front end of a campaign important? It has to do with creating a cohesive message that runs through your entire community engagement process. Key messages in clean indoor air policy work that seemed to resonate in many communities across the country is the importance of creating tobacco free workplaces . In healthy eating and active living, messages that seem to resonate with constituents are the messages that are emerging today – communities that are designed for health are sustainable and support economic growth . Whatever your messages are, you want to define them early on, build your science behind that will support your key messages, and TEST YOUR MESSAGES. It never hurts to develop a campaign or plan . This can be as informal as a timeline or a more formal campaign plan with stages. This type of document can help you stay focused, can help with volunteers come and go, and it can help focus and prioritize efforts. I have samples of campaign plans; email me if you want samples.
  • Elizabeth For local government planners the organizing phase usually entails creation of a framework for your efforts. We’re big fans of scopes of work as a way to lay out the framework because they succinctly explain to managers and elected officials what the purpose, background and timeline is, and who the key individuals are involved in a planning effort. And because they’re succinct, they can be revised and updated quickly to reflect changes in tactics or schedule (which happens more often then most people want to admit). We also typically draw up a more detailed plan, either within the scope of work or as a separate document, for how to engage the community and specific stakeholder groups that includes targeted media campaigns. Ideally we do this in cooperation with our Public Affairs team. Concurrent with developing a scope of work, we do a thorough review of the current policy or plan with our entire team. This helps to ensure that we’ve got a thorough understanding of what is today, and so we can develop a message, for use with fellow co-workers, with the public, and elected officials of why we’re moving forward with a planning effort. There is nothing quite like misinformation to inadvertently screw up your schedule and budget.
  • Molly Community Education Campaigns This step is so often over-looked and it is the most important step. Why? It creates readiness in your community. This step may take a year! Educational campaigns should be multi-pronged or use multiple strategies. Examples include: Booths at community events Presentations to business organizations Activities – plan a walking audit with Silver Sneakers from your Rec Center to raise awareness on building an infrastructure that supports using non-motorized modes of transportation. Invite your elected officials and invite your local media outlet. And guess what – you can recruit people for your coalition at these events. Implement study sessions These can be key opportunities for elected officials, commissions, coalitions and city staff to come together to exam a subject in depth, explore the science and best practices behind a subject, and most importantly – increase readiness of an elected group to take action on a policy. Pass resolutions A good idea is to attach these to national events (release of a health report, national public health week, etc.) There are lots of sample resolutions out there; don’t need to reinvent the wheel And then, of course, constantly beat the drum by gathering stakeholder buy-in through informal networking. For example, if you have a council member who needs to be brought along, ask yourself the question – who has most sway with this individual? Maybe you want the head of your hospital or health care system, or a prominent business owner, that you have already recruited to message this city council member.
  • Molly Develop a cohesive and coordinated set of messages via fact sheets, collateral material, etc. Review your science and think how you will frame and present often complex data and best practices. Time is well spent on the front end developing these tools because they can be used to help with education, they can go into commissioner or editorial board packets, etc. Websites – websites can be key to recruit for your coalition, get your key messages out, increase the dialogue, etc. Your earned media aspect of your campaign is key. Why? You want to use your media outlets to shape the conversation and increase the readiness of your community to take action on a policy. Examples of earned media I have used in the past are: Approach your local media outlet and ask them to write a story on active community environments and the positive health impacts on a nationally-recognized health day, week or month. Ask your local principal, respected business owner or hospital CEO to write a op-ed, letter to the editor or op-ed For your high-profile policy initiatives, consider pro-actively reaching out to your editorial boards of your larger media outlets again to frame the discussion and insert science and best practices into the dialogue around the issue. You don’t want to initiate your earned media campaign after a negative article or editorial comes out. Responding to an article puts you in a reactive role that is often focused on trying to defend, correct miss-information, etc. Another key piece of the building and educating phase is getting issue-oriented articles in newsletters with your schools, faith communities, health care systems, HOA’s, nonprofits, cities, etc.
  • Elizabeth The building and educating stage is really focused on engaging community members through a variety of different means. Ad hoc committees with specific tasks that are expected to be completed in a certain time period and that host several community input meetings can be very helpful for a variety of reasons. -Turn willing residents, who may not necessarily be the most well-informed people, into local experts and community leader. -Ensure buy-in from elected officials because they’re reassured that the findings or recommendations from the committee is grounded in the values of the community and not dictated on high from a bunch of experts, particularly is the committee hosts public meetings where other residents can provide their input on an issue. -During the update to the County’s master plan we also held meetings -in people’s homes where us staff people are just there for technical assistance and the host is running the meeting. -that are more like a charette where we’re asking for people to help us identify the problem and design the solution, whether it was a policy question or something like the boundaries of a large planning area. But an ad hoc committee is only one component of a larger public outreach campaign. The Douglas County Sustainability Initiative Advisory Committee right now -has its own page on the County’s website -has a blog that includes a separate youth zone and we’ve left it the blog very wide open in terms of the topics that people could write about. We’ve step up three separate blogging spaces for discussions related to economic, environmental, and social sustainability. -The County’s television production team is video taping six to eight high schoolers who will give their thoughts on several sustainability related topics and then we’re going to post those short videos to the County’s website and blog. -Other young people have offered to be bloggers who will post links to the videos and the blogs to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s very rare for a public outreach effort to engage young people and we felt very strongly that the young people of the county would have unique perspectives on the future of their community and we wanted to be sure their voices were included in the discussions. We’re also using the usual outreach methods of announcing the upcoming public meetings including -Press releases to all county homeowner associations and all local print media -The County’s email blast list of about 4,000 email addresses that have officially subscribed to the County’s website of the upcoming public meetings,
  • Molly Key things to think about when drafting ordinance language Know it is an iterative process . Look at model policies from around the country. For example, the National Policy and Legal Analysis to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), a program under PHLP, has draft model policies online and technical assistance available. However, all model policies must be tailored to your communities readiness and needs. Over all my years of doing policy work, it has become very evident that making policy is a fluid and reflective process that allows the community to have a dialogue about its priorities, values, paradigms, world views, and vision of the future for the community . And often, as we all know, there is not consensus among all parties on these things. However, engaging the community brings more voices to these vital dialogues and can help you arrive at a better policy or outcome. The other thing to remember is that when you invite diverse stakeholders to the table as you are making policy suggestions, there may be diverse opinions on what the policy should contain or entail. This is where the hard work is. I think the key is having frank discussions on the front end that there may be differing of opinions and that you should set up norms, processes and a leadership structure to manage these conversations. Recruit and groom your spokespersons What will they do? They may respond to media, speak at community meetings, speak at hearings, etc. When lining up public testimony, think about these things: Community residents need to tell their narrative Health and business community should be represented As always, weave in science and best practices through out the public process.
  • Molly Endorsements: Formalizing support from your business or health care community can be critical. You may want to do that via endorsements, petitions, letters, etc. And, what is exciting, is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Often, these already exist. Don’t forget to engage youth in your campaign! Why? Youth often have more sway with elected officials then anyone! Is there any elected officials in the room? Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Program and University of Colorado Cancer Center (the Get R!eal program) are great examples of organizations that organize youth around a policy priority, help the youth present their message that can tell the “story” of how youth are impacted by the current situation and can benefit from a policy change. Get R!eal is has been instrumental in helping local communities pass “clean up” clean indoor air ordinances in local communities (to close loop holes in the state law) and youth access policies. It has been exciting to watch GR take their model and transfer a lot of their lessons-learned to HEAL.
  • Elizabeth Collect as much input in writing from your community members Then synthesize it: turn raw comments into policy language Use the input to create a draft plan Send the plan out On Referral – this is a required step in creating new a new or revised master plan; it’s critical to follow any required processes; the easiest way for a disgruntled resident to overturn a decision or an approval made by an elected official is to prove that we didn’t follow our own processes as codified. The referral process is extremely helpful; this is the opportunity to gather input from all other relevant and required health/safety/welfare agencies that will provide their take on the policy and point out mistakes or an oversight. This gives us the chance to make revisions before bringing the policy or plan to a public hearing before the planning commission. The last place that you want to want to have an argument about a mistake or unresolved issue is during a public hearing infront of your elected officials and the media. It can be a huge time waster and an embarrassment for your team, community members and even the elected officials. Public Hearings offer yet another opportunity for the public to get in on the conversation and for us planners to collect recommendations and suggestions for improvements or changes. It’s not uncommon for planning commissioners to require further changes be made to a policy based on community feedback during hearings. Public hearings are challenging: we had two back to back meetings with over 400 people in the hearing room, channel 7 and 9 showed up, and nearly half the room was dressed in identical salmon colored t-shirts to show solidarity in opposition to a proposed change to the County’s land-use map. They can go on for hours and can be very emotional but can not and should not be skipped.
  • Molly Great! Your policy has just passed third reading. You are finally recuperating from long nights at study sessions, hearings and readings. The next step can be to help assist the city with the successful implementation. This is just as important as the campaign! For example, what are the tools and resources need to make the implementation successful? Will the new policy require additional funding, signage, staffing for enforcement, updated materials, etc? Maybe. Your elected officials and your city staff may be VERY appreciative if you stick around and help with implementation. Example – Bike Ped Plan in WR. I suggest you keep a core group of people assembled to help with the implementation of the new policy. And, obviously, you want to publically acknowledge and thank active members, supports and ultimately the city council for supporting and passing the ordinance.
  • Molly Depending on the policy, you may want monitor compliance or impact of the new policy. Think about how you will exam how successful the implementation of the policy is going and the impacts to the community on the front end and be prepared for this stage. Also, think about sharing lessons-learned with your colleagues. So often, we have battle wounds, valuable lessons-learned and great new tools that we can share with our peers so they don’t have to make the same mistakes, reinvent the same wheel, etc. Also, I know lots of researchers who are passionate about studying the processes that we are outlining today when they are carried out in a community context . So, consider partnering with a social psychologist, a health and behavior researcher, a sociologist, an anthropologist to measure the process, monitor the impact on those involved in the advocacy and/or monitor the outcome of the campaign.
  • Elizabeth A master plan should express the long-term vision of a community and will frequently double as in implementation document by detailing specific action steps related to goals, objectives, and policies. However, according to CO State Statutes, a local governments’ adopted master plan is advisory only. It is at the discretion of the decision-making body to determine if zoning decisions shall be in accordance with their master plans. So, implementation of policy can occurs by upholding that community’s zoning and subdivision codes or regulations assuming that the approval criteria as set forth in the zoning or subdivision regulations for a land use proposal requires compliance (or some other terms) with the master plan. Otherwise all that lovely, visionary stuff about healthy communities, complete streets, connectivity, and energy efficiency can be left on the shelf to collect dust and ignored by a communities’ elected officials. In DC, the vast majority of the its policies are in the Comp Plan. What’s somewhat unique about DC is that nearly every land-use process requires compliance with our Comp Plan. Every rezoning, subdivision, and site improvement plan. That’s how a community turns a visionary document into something with teeth. It puts the burden on developers to prove that their proposed development is in keeping with the community’s long-term vision for itself. After our sustainability committee completes its public outreach effort and creates a vision statement and a series of supportive objectives, the Sustainabiltiy Working Group will start meeting regularly. This will be a volunteer committee including residents, business owners, county staff, and staff from other local municipalities. It’ll be responsible for researching and recommending potential sustainability programs, collaborative efforts, and maybe even policy. We’re also going to be convening issue-specific task forces that will be responsible for implementing, monitoring, and reporting on the progress of each sustainabilty program. We expect to use the Balanced Scorecard approach for developing our community indicators report. I won’t go into detail on the Balanced Scorecard because we could devote an entire day to the concept but I will say that it’s a method typically used by businesses to develop meaningful measures that align with the organizations vision and strategies. Douglas County Governmetn is currently in the process of developnig an organization-wide scorecard that each department will use as the basis for their department’s scorecard. This concludes our presentation. We’d be happy to take your questions.
  • Elizabeth

Transcript

  • 1. Sustainable and Healthy Communities Conference Longmont, Colorado May 13, 2010 Molly Hanson, Coordinator, LiveWell Wheat Ridge Elizabeth Kay Marchetti, Senior Planner, Douglas County
  • 2. Presentation Learning Objectives
    • After the presentation, attendees will be able to:
      • Identify the four stages of a community mobilization and advocacy campaign.
      • Describe engagement techniques and planning processes for mobilizing the community to support and identify policies.
      • Articulate the positive social impacts resulting from community engagement during planning processes and policy development.
  • 3. Setting the Stage
    • What are the different kinds of policies and planning processes that impact health?
    • Who can initiate these processes and efforts?
  • 4. The Four Stages of Advocacy
    • Organizing
    • Building and Educating
    • Mobilizing
    • Implementing, Enforcing and Evaluating Impact
  • 5. The Positive Social Impacts of Engaging Community Stakeholders
    • Ensures community perspectives and voices are being considered.
    • Empowers new partners and segments of the community.
    • Creates new community leaders.
    • Identify new and emerging neighborhoods.
    • Creates buy-in; community residents have sway with elected officials.
    • Arrive at a better end product, policy or outcome.
  • 6. Planning process: old way vs. new way
  • 7. Planning process: old way vs. new way
  • 8. Getting Started…..
  • 9. 1. Organizing – Public Health
    • Identify policy change
    • Coalition or a task force
      • Choose a format that will serve your needs
      • Develop leadership committee
      • Develop strategic plan and charter
      • Membership – grass roots and tops
      • Database
      • Tap existing networks
  • 10. 1. Organizing – Public Health (cont’d)
    • Assess the readiness of the community through informal and formal processes
      • Survey, key informant interviews, etc.
    • Develop key messages
    • Develop a campaign plan
  • 11. 1. Organizing – Local Planning Scope of Work Outreach Plan Media Plan Review What Is Consistent Message
  • 12. 2. Building and Educating
    • Conduct a community educational campaign
      • Creates readiness
      • Examples
      • Recruit for your coalition at these events
    • Implement study sessions, pass resolutions, etc.
    • Build stakeholder buy-in via informal processes
  • 13. 2. Building and Educating (cont’d)
    • Develop fact sheets, websites, etc.
      • Based on science, best practices and data from your local community
    • Earned media creates a “buzz” in your community
      • Guest editorials, letters to the editor, etc.
      • Proactive approach
  • 14. 2. Building and Educating – Local Planning
    • Form ad-hoc committees.
      • Host Community meetings
    • Launch public outreach campaign.
      • Email blasts
      • Websites
      • Blogs
      • Videos
    Photo: National Charette Institute
  • 15. 3. Mobilizing
    • Draft model ordinance language
      • Iterative process
      • Look at model policies
      • Design processes to manage a diverse stakeholder group
    • Recruit and groom your spokespeople
      • Who?
      • What do you want them to do?
  • 16. 3. Mobilizing (cont’d)
    • Build stakeholder buy-in via formal processes
      • Endorsements
      • Petitions
      • Letters or emails
    • Engage youth
  • 17. 3. Mobilizing – Local Planning
    • Collect verbatim
      • Synthesize!
    • Draft plan or policy
      • Revisions
    • Referral Process
    • Public Hearings
      • Big crowds
      • Media presence
      • Contentious
    Photo: timesleader.com Photo: rssmemphis.com/tag/shelby-county
  • 18. 4. Implementing, Enforcing and Evaluating Impact
    • Tools and resources needed to make the implementation successful
    • Identify additional policies, standards, guidelines and processes that need to be adapted to support implementation of new policy
    • Acknowledge and thank active members and supports
  • 19. 4. Implementing, Enforcing and Evaluating Impact (cont’d)
    • Monitor compliance
    • Evaluate impact
    • Develop white papers, share lessons-learned, etc.
  • 20. 4. Implementing, Enforcing and Evaluating Impact – Public Planning
    • Comprehensive Master Plan
      • Zoning Resolution
      • Subdivision Resolution
    • Sustainability Working Group
    • Community Indicators Report
      • Balance Scorecard
  • 21. Lessons-Learned
    • Ensure you build in enough time and resources to engage the community.
    • Ensure you are accessing all segments of your community; disparately affected communities are key and may need additional resources when partnering with these communities.
      • Use new and emerging technology and media outlets.
    • Identify clear roles; establish charters and advocacy protocols.
    • Identify processes to manage differing opinions.
      • Follow all required rules and regulations.
  • 22. Questions and Answers
  • 23. Contact Information
    • Molly Hanson, LiveWell Wheat Ridge Coordinator
    • Email: [email_address]
    • Phone: 720-345-8547
    • www.livewellcolorado.org
    • Elizabeth Kay Marchetti, Douglas County Community Planning & Sustainable Development Department
    • Email: [email_address]
    • Phone: 303-660-7460
    • www.douglas.co.us/planning/SIAC