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RV 2014: Turning Tough Around- Skills for Managing Critics (all presentations)


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Turning Tough Around: Skills for Managing Critics AICP CM 1.5
Critics. Tough crowds. We've all faced them! Imagine turning those critics into supporters -- or at least respectful, constructive participants in your projects. Learn how to set up your team for success by carefully structuring meetings and messages. Explore ways to manage difficult crowds and sticky situations while still building long-term relationships and agency credibility. Hear stories and strategies from people who've survived -- and even thrive on -- divisive public processes.
Moderator: Allison Brooks, Director, Bay Area Joint Policy Center, Oakland, California
Ken Snyder, CEO/President, PlaceMatters, Denver, Colorado
David A Goldberg, Communications Director, Transportation For America, Washington, DC
Salima (Sam) O'Connell, Public Involvement Manager, Metro Transit, St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Published in: Leadership & Management
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RV 2014: Turning Tough Around- Skills for Managing Critics (all presentations)

  1. 1. Turning Tough Around: Skills for Managing Critics It starts with framing and shared values David Goldberg Rail-Volution 2014
  2. 2. 2 Lessons learned from surveys and focus group research, including… • National surveys of voters conducted by T4America, the Rockefeller Foundation, NRDC and Ford Foundation 2010-2013 • Focus group research by T4America 2010-11 • Millennials poll by Rockefeller and T4America 2014 • State and Regional Surveys conducted in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Ohio, New Jersey and the Atlanta metro area.
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  4. 4. 4 In focus groups, voters across the political spectrum describe the “future of transportation” as one in which public transportation plays a more prominent role. “There will be trains everywhere..terminals where you can get everything.” – Suburban Atlanta Democrat “(I see) sleek, fast, quiet trains covering wide distances, going through the countryside.” – Suburban Detroit swing voter “There will be friendlier neighborhoods where you could walk…not disconnected streets.” - Suburban Denver swing voter “(Public transportation) would be a well oiled machine that would work smoothly and be reliable…you would arrive when you’re supposed to.” – Suburban Atlanta Democrat “If you build it, they will come. (People) will use it.” – Richmond Republican woman
  5. 5. 5 Only one in five Americans backs building new roads as the best solution for traffic. 2012 National Voter Survey for NRDC 42% 47% 49% 21% 25% 26% 20% 20% 21% 17% 8% 4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 2012 2009 2007 2012 2009 2007 2012 2009 2007 2012 2009 2007 Which of the following proposals is the best long-term solution to reducing traffic in your area? Improving public transportation Developing communities where people do not have to drive as much Building new roads All/None/DK/NA
  6. 6. 7 56% 31% 27% 22% 20% 19% 9% 16% 8% 10% 7% 9% 4% Ranked by % Combined Choice Safer streets for our communities and children More transportation options Less money spent out-of-pocket on transportation A faster commute to/from work Less time spent in the car High speed inter-city travel More predictable travel times First Choice – 42% By a significant margin, Americans say safer streets should be the primary objective of increased infrastructure investment.
  7. 7. 8 Demographic Groups Safer Streets More Options Spend Less Money Faster Commute Less Time In Car High Speed Travel Men 46% 32% 27% 22% 23% 22% Women 65% 30% 26% 22% 18% 16% Urban Residents 50% 34% 22% 24% 19% 24% Suburbanites 56% 30% 26% 23% 22% 18% Rural Residents 64% 28% 34% 14% 17% 14% Car Commuters 53% 33% 28% 26% 21% 21% Non-Car Commuters 56% 39% 22% 25% 10% 28% Do NOT Commute 58% 28% 26% 17% 21% 16% And, while there are some percentage differences among demographic groups, safety still ranks at the top of everyone’s list.
  8. 8. 10 Americans believe expanding options is a key to our future. 53% 48% 85% 79% Strongly Agree The United States would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system, such as rail and buses. In order for the United States to remain the world’s top economic superpower we need to modernize our transportation infrastructure and keep it up to date. *Data from a Jan/Feb 2011 Hart Research/Public Opinion Strategies Poll
  9. 9. 11 Americans do not feel they have options now, but would like them. 73% 66% 23% 32% I have no choice but to drive as much as I do. I would like more transportation options, so I have the freedom to choose how to get where I need to go. Agree Disagree Strongly Agree 42% Strongly Agree 56% Strongly Disagree 17% Transportation Statements *Data from a Smart Growth America survey conducted February 27-March 2, 2010
  10. 10. 12 Look at what people told us are the realities of driving now. “Trust me. I hate driving.” “It is affecting my quality of life. We have all knocked our head on the steering wheel…(driving in traffic congestion) is making life really unpleasant.”
  11. 11. 13 But keep in mind, this is an OPTION, not a replacement. Few in our focus groups can even imagine giving up having a car or multiple cars. Having a car is too expensive and too much trouble I want to live where I don’t need one as much. *Data from a Ford Foundation survey conducted by Harris Interactive 4th quarter, 2010.
  12. 12. 1414 Transportation Messages Agree Infrastructure spending on roads, trains, and buses create jobs and help the economy get stronger. 75% The federal government should stop focusing only on car-oriented systems, and start balancing the funding more toward public transportation. 68% We need to rethink the way we develop housing and transportation in this region. The way we have been doing it isn’t working for most people. 66% Bikeways, sidewalks, and trails are as important as any other kinds of transportation routes. 64% I would prefer to live in a lively town center or downtown area if it was safer and more affordable than it is now. 45% Having a car is too expensive and too much trouble. I want to live where I don’t need one as much. 34% © Ford Foundation, 2010. Poll conducted by Harris Interactive 4th Qt 2010
  13. 13. 15 Another formulation of this message tested late last year was the second strongest tested. *Data from a Smart Growth America survey conducted November 16-22, 2010 Investing in transit options can reduce the number of miles driven in a community by as much as 58%. If we reduce the number of miles we drive, we’ll also reduce our dependence on oil.
  14. 14. 17 In national polling the concept of “fix it” tests well. Establishing a “fix-it-first” policy that focuses, as much as possible, on maintaining our existing networks of roads, bridges, and public transportation systems before building new ones. 49% 86% Strongly Agree Total Agree *Data from a Jan/Feb 2011 Hart Research/Public Opinion Strategies Poll
  15. 15. 18 In the focus groups, voters clearly state that “fix it” to them should mean “fixing how people get around” their communities, not just filling pot holes. • “You’ve got to fix the pot holes, sink holes, and crumbling bridges. It’s a danger.” • “But, we need to get bigger and bolder, too. We want to gamble on a huge benefit.” • “We need to extend Marta, so it has more routes, make it accessible, so you could really use the system.” • “We need a just do it attitude.” -Atlanta respondents discussing a ‘fix it” approach to transportation
  16. 16. 19 Voters FAVOR maintaining existing infrastructure and funding public transportation OVER building new roads *Data from a Smart Growth America survey conducted November 16-22, 2010 Which one of these do you feel should be the top priority as your state makes its plans for how best to use its transportation funding in 2011? Which one of these do you feel should be the top priority as your state makes its plans for how best to use its transportation funding in 2011? This table has been ranked by the highest percentage Percent Maintaining and repairing roads, highways, freeways, and bridges 51% Expanding and improving bus, rail, van service, biking, walking, and other transportation choices 33% Expanding and building new roads, highways, freeways, and bridges 16%
  17. 17. 21 In the focus groups, we often run into a roadblock in imagination about how new options could alter their current world experience. • “Realistically, people will use their cars.” • “I would never use it, so I don’t know why I should pay for it.”
  18. 18. 24 “As I read each one, please tell me whether you agree or disagree with that particular statement. Transportation infrastructure funding decisions are based more on politics than on need.” Key Sub-Groups Strongly Agree Men 62% Women 62% Urban Residents 58% Suburbanites 67% Rural Residents 54% Car Commuters 60% Non-Car Commuters 55% Do NOT Commute 65% Total Agree 85% Total Disagree 13% Don't Know 2% 62% Strongly Agree Nearly everyone agrees that transportation funding decisions are politically driven. *Data from a July 2009 Greenberg/Public Opinion Strategies Poll
  19. 19. 25 Here are some statements made by those who oppose any change in Colorado’s system for transportation funding. For each statement, tell me whether it is very convincing, somewhat convincing, or not very convincing argument. Q24: Existing transportation revenues would be sufficient if spent more efficiently and with less waste. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Denver Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson Adams, Broomfield, Boulder Greeley, Ft. Collins Colorado Springs, Pueblo Western slope, plains 77% 77% 78% 79% 76% 78% 21% 22% 18% 18% 21% 19% 1% 1% 4% 2% 2% 3% Convincing Not Convincing Unsure
  20. 20. 26 Accountable Government officials must be held accountable for how our transportation tax dollars are spent. We cannot afford to build more roads, while existing roads are in disrepair. Income Expanding and improving our transportation options will help those of poor or modest incomes or those without cars have a way to get to their jobs, training programs or school. Health A better network of roads and trails that are safe for walking and bicycling would help Americans stay active and healthy. Kids could walk or bike to school, families and workers would have better transportation options, and those who choose to walk or bicycle can be healthier. Progress It has been 50 years since government really looked at our transportation needs. We need our leaders to have their eyes on the future and invest in modern transportation options, including public transportation. We cannot rely on yesterday’s transportation options in our 21st century economy. % Very Convincing 26 % Total Convincing
  21. 21. Americans over-estimate what their state spends on public transportation… If you had to guess, what proportion of every dollar your state spends on transportation would you estimate currently goes to improving and maintaining public transportation – like buses or trains? 35% 14% 8% 3% 3% 1% 1% 1% 0% 0% 36% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 0-10% 11-20% 21-30% 31-40% 41-50% 51-60% 61-70% 71-80% 81-90% 91-100% DK/NA/Ref 16.2% Average amount among those offering an opinion 2012 National Voter Survey for NRDC
  22. 22. …and still would like that proportion nearly doubled. If you were in charge of your state’s transportation budget, what proportion of every dollar would you spend on improving and maintaining public transportation – like buses or trains? 21% 11% 11% 6% 12% 2% 1% 1% 0% 1% 34% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 0-10% 11-20% 21-30% 31-40% 41-50% 51-60% 61-70% 71-80% 81-90% 91-100% DK/NA/Ref 28.1% Average amount among those offering an opinion 2012 National Voter Survey for NRDC
  23. 23. However, even after citizens hear how little their state actually takes in in gas taxes, they remain averse to an increase. How acceptable would you find a proposal to increase gas taxes by $.05 per gallon to fund improvements to roads, highways and public transit in your state? 18% 21% 18% 39% 4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Very acceptable Somewhat acceptable Not too acceptable Not at all acceptable DK/NA Total Not Too/At All Acceptable 57% Total Acceptable 39% 2012 National Voter Survey for NRDC
  24. 24. For focus group participants a gas tax was a clear non-starter.  The immediate and overwhelmingly negative reaction to a gas tax – evident also in recent polling – cannot be over-stated.  One Philadelphia area woman burst out “Oh dear God!” upon being queried about a gas tax, and the immediate reaction was immediate and negative across all the groups. “There’s no alternative to gas at the moment. Once you have this beautiful transportation infrastructure in place and driving is purely optional, then you could put a significant tax on [gas]. But for now there’s no choice.” - Raleigh male  There was a strong sense that the timing for a gas tax increase is wrong -- when the price of gas is already so high and many feel it will go higher.
  25. 25. 32 First of all, Americans are saying that higher gas prices are here to stay. Rising Gasoline Prices “Here are a series of events that have occurred recently. For each one please tell me whether you see this as an isolated event that is happening at this time or part of a larger change that will continue for some time to come?” *Data from an NBC/WSJ survey conducted March 31-April 4, 2011. Isolated/ Happening At This Time Larger Change/ Will Continue
  26. 26.  Voters have far more confidence in local government than state or federal government.  Voters will support public spending that will benefit them in tangible, local ways.  Most voters view transportation infrastructure as an economic investment. So why did 3/4 of transit funding measures pass last November?  Though concerned about the economy, voters are becoming more confident about their personal financial situation.  Concern about tax rates remains relatively low.
  27. 27.  Stress the economic benefits of the measure in terms of job creation – both direct and indirect.  Make low per-household costs clear.  Highlight specific, flagship projects that are locally important. Strategies for Local Revenue Success  Emphasize that funds will be spent locally – not at the state level.  Highlight fiscal accountability provisions – audits, oversight, public disclosure, sunset provisions, etc.
  28. 28. Data Collected by NALEO Latinos, for example. Though their voting rate has lagged their population share, it is growing dramatically.
  29. 29.  49% of voters of color report using transit, biking or carpooling in the past month, compared to 32% of whites.  51% of voters of color support increasing transit as the best solution to traffic, compared to 41% of whites  84% of voters of color support their local government investing more to improve transit – including buses, trains, and light rail – compared to 65% of whites This is good news for transportation, as communities of color evidence stronger support for public transportation. 2012 National Voter Survey for NRDC
  30. 30. MetLife Market Institute Millennials are changing the equation: The largest cohort, and most diverse 25% All others 75% Share of Population White 60% Hispanic 19%African- American 14% Asian/ Pacific Islander 4% Other 3% Racial Distribution Millennial
  31. 31. Millennials are more likely than others to want more transit and less driving, but are less likely to say it is not convenient. 2012 National Voter Survey for NRDC Statement % Agree – All Voters % Agree – Millennials My community would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system, such as rail and buses. 64% 71% I would like to spend less time in my car. 55% 66% I would like to use public transportation more often, but it is not convenient to or available from my home or work. 61% 53%
  32. 32. Millennials changing the equation 4 in 5 want to live where they have a variety of options to get to jobs, school or daily needs; 3 in 4 say it is likely they will live in a place where they don’t need a car Apr 2014 survey Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America • 18-34 year olds • 10 U.S. cities (Chicago, NY, San Francisco, Charlotte, Denver, LA, Minneapolis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Tampa-St. Petersburg • 95% confidence with a ±3.7% margin of error
  33. 33. Millennials changing the equation 66% say that access to high quality public transportation is one of the top three criteria for deciding where to live next. Apr 2014 survey Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America • 18-34 year olds • 10 U.S. cities (Chicago, NY, San Francisco, Charlotte, Denver, LA, Minneapolis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Tampa-St. Petersburg • 95% confidence with a ±3.7% margin of error
  34. 34. Turning Tough Around: Skills for Managing Critics David Goldberg THANK YOU!
  35. 35. 45 Turning Tough Around: Skills for Managing Critics Sam O’Connell, AICP Rail-Volution 2014 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
  36. 36. 46 Transit Projects Are Complex • 5 Cities, 1 County • 17 new stations • 16 miles of track
  37. 37. 47 • Project Elements  Guideway  Stations and station access  Park and ride facilities  Pedestrian/bike facilities  Connecting bus facilities  Roadway facilities  Operation and maintenance facilities  System elements  Public space/art  Landscaping Transit Projects Are Complex
  38. 38. 48 Pre-2013: Feasibility Studies, Alternatives Analysis, Federal and State Environmental Documentation • Project Development2013 • Municipal Consent2014 • Engineering, Supplemental DEIS, Final EIS2015 • Full Funding Grant Agreement2016 • Heavy Construction2016-18 • Passenger Operations2019 Transit Projects Take Time
  39. 39. 49 Transit Projects Engage Many Stakeholders Cargill
  40. 40. 50 Many, Many, Stakeholders
  41. 41. 51 Earning and Keeping Public Trust • Transparent • Responsive • Accountable • Collaborative
  42. 42. 52 Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail • Elements you control  You  Your purpose  Your setting  Your resources
  43. 43. 53 You • Center yourself  Stance  Voice  Gestures  Eye Contact
  44. 44. 54 Your Purpose • Purpose • Goals • Outcomes • Participant’s Goals
  45. 45. 55 Your Setting • Location • Layout • Format • Time
  46. 46. 56 Your Resources • Staff • Research • Materials/Equipment • Lifelines: • Open ended questions • Meeting agenda • Flip charts • Facilitator • Community representative
  47. 47. 57 Tough Crowds: Moving Forward • Way-off topic rants • Audience does not engage • Your facts, their facts • Managing agenda and time • Real threat to safety and security
  48. 48. 58 More Information Online: Email: Twitter:
  49. 49. PlaceMatters is a non-profit think tank for civic engagement and process in planning.
  50. 50. Today’s Topics  What is participation?  Turning Tough Around – Key concerns raised today – Tactics used to disrupt meetings and processes – Tactical and authentic responses – Key ingredients of a low conflict meeting  Communicating with complexity
  51. 51. What is participation?
  52. 52. Public engagement is any process that involves the public in decision-making Includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision
  53. 53. Why bother?  Democratic principles  Mutual learning  Better decisions  Greater buy-in to final decision  Enhanced relationships, social capacity
  54. 54. Core principles  Clearly define roles, responsibilities and expectations (e.g. observers, reviewers, advisors, deciders)  Consider the needs and interests of all participants, including decision-makers  Provide the information needed to participate in a meaningful way  Communicate to how input will be used, and how it affected the final decision
  55. 55. Key considerations  What is the decision to be made?  Who makes the decision?  Who has a stake in the outcome of the decision?
  56. 56. Key considerations  How will decisions be made  Different roles in the process inform consult involve collaborate empower Civic Engagement Spectrum Source: International Association for Public Participation influenc e over dec is ions
  57. 57. Public participation goal impart information seek information or feedback engage as participants work as partners place final decision-making in the hands of the public Inform Consult Involve Collaborate Empower
  58. 58. The participation promise we will keep you informed we will implement what you decide Inform Consult Involve Collaborate Empower
  59. 59. The participation promise we will work with you to ensure your concerns and aspirations are reflected in the alternatives developed Inform Consult Involve Collaborate Empower
  60. 60. The art and science of engagement
  61. 61. Selecting the right level of engagement  How much can the stakeholder influence the decision?  What input from stakeholders will help inform the decision?  What resources are available?  At what stage in the process will input be most helpful?
  62. 62. Selecting the right level of engagement (example) Define problem Gather info Establish criteria Develop options Evaluate Decide Inform X X Consult X X Involve X Collaborate X Empower
  63. 63. Selecting the right set of tools  Level of engagement  Cost/benefit analysis  Tailored to multiple audiences  Layered opportunities to engage  Keeping the participation promise in the face of disruption
  64. 64. Dynamics of Group Decision Making NEW TOPIC DECISION POINT FAMILIAR OPINIONS DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES ✓ DIVERSITYOFIDEAS TIME From: Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making
  65. 65. Turning Tough Around Examples of disruption tied to concern
  66. 66. Discussion points  What tactics are being used to disrupt meetings?  What are some genuine concerns being raised?  For the organizer, what worked and what could have been done differently?  Putting yourself in the shoes of others, what might be some appropriate changes to process to accommodate different opinions?
  67. 67. Lessons learned  A few things to know about Agenda 21  Understanding the history behind concerns  Process & timing can save or kill a meeting  Responding accordingly – Preparations ahead of time – Things to do at the public meeting – What worked and areas for improvement
  68. 68. Be Prepared  Know what is being said on local blogs, local meetings, and in the media  Find out if there have already been meetings with elected officials, public or private, with disruptions or polarized confrontations  If so, what are some of the key concerns?
  69. 69. Building Local Constituencies Recruit people what are respected in the community for having balanced opinions to help with key components of the process
  70. 70. Dealing with Orchestrated Attacks While some participants are genuinely concerned about the consequences of the process on their property rights and local autonomy and are there to learn, others maybe there primarily to disrupt and discredit the process.
  71. 71. Ingredients of a low conflict meeting  Ground rules  Structure of meeting  Transparency techniques  Capacity building
  72. 72. Staying on top of the game Denver Schools Example Source: Denver Post Online
  73. 73. Contingency plans • What to do when one or more individuals try to disrupt the meeting with confrontational questions but remain respectful of the process • What to do when several individuals repeatedly disregard the ground rules and demand a different process • What to do when the meeting is impossible to get back on track (Worse case scenario)
  74. 74. Additional Resources  APA materials  Smart Growth America  Orton Family Foundation  R.B. Hull, a professor at VA Tech  PlaceMatters
  75. 75. Communicating with Complexity Tools and Techniques
  76. 76. Working with Different Stakeholders within Different Contexts
  77. 77. Interactive meetings
  78. 78. Brainstorm ideas online Neighborland visit
  79. 79. Brainstorming with translation
  80. 80. “Go to them” techniques Portable Walk-the-line, Denver
  81. 81. Experimenting with place making Pop up design Tactical urbanism
  82. 82. Ken Snyder 303.964.0903 ken@placematters.o rg www.placematters.o