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Breaking the Impasse: Public Participation in Budget Disputes

Antonio Lambino's picture

California’s recent budget debacle is not an isolated case.  An opinion piece entitled "Budgets by the People, for the People" by Chris Elmendorf and Ethan J. Leib in The New York Times reports that since 2002, 14 States in the U.S. have experienced delays in budget approval.  They also suggest a solution.  The key to resolving budget deadlocks is citizen participation. 

Here’s what they propose. 

Quote of the Week

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

"Public opinion contains all kinds of falsity and truth, but it takes a great man to find the truth in it. The great man of the age is the one who can put into words the will of his age, tell his age what its will is, and accomplish it. What he does is the heart and the essence of his age, he actualizes his age. The man who lacks sense enough to despise public opinion expressed in gossip will never do anything great."

 

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 1822, in Philosophy of Right

A Gecko Challenging A Crocodile: Anti-Corruption Agency vs. Vested Interests

Fumiko Nagano's picture

The New York Times recently published an article about the experience of Indonesia’s anti-corruption commission, whose existence is being threatened precisely because it is so very good at doing its job of fighting corruption. Sound like a conundrum? Hardly.

Where Are We Driving this Truck?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is one of our valued partners in the work on communication for governance and accountability. Very relevant to our own work on media development, CIMA just published a report on "Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Assistance Projects." Author Andy Mosher, formerly of the Washington Post, interviewed Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) practioners in major US donor and implementation agencies to find out what is being done - and what is being done successfully - to assess the impact of media development projects. Representative of his question is a quote from one of his interviewees: "Where are we driving this truck?" According to what I read in the report and what I heard at its launch this week in Washington, I'm not sure we even know how to start the truck.

Defining Problems for Effective Coalition-Building

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Technical specialists like to name social problems using the language of their disciplines, and of whatever narrow policy community they belong to. What they often forget is that to secure broad support within the relevant political community how you define the problem that you are asking society to focus on and do something about matters. It matters a great deal. In fact, it can be the difference between getting the attention of legislators and broad publics or having your issue ignored.

For a live example consider the current efforts to implement health-care reform in the United States, something that presidents have been trying to do for about 50 years. Let's ask: What's wrong with America's health care system? What needs to be fixed? In other words what is the definition of the problem?

Research Without Borders

Antonio Lambino's picture

A CommGAP colleague and I recently spent a week in Kampala, Uganda, to attend a workshop with communication and media research teams from 14 African and Asian countries.  These country teams make up the BBC World Service Trust’s Research & Learning (R&L) Group, headed by Dr. Gerry Power, who also manages an expert group in their London head office. 


More than 15 development-oriented projects were presented during the workshop, including media productions, capacity building and training efforts, and public information and advocacy campaigns. 

Comment: Keeping the Money Where It Belongs

Johanna Martinsson's picture

A reader's comment to the blog post Keeping the Money Where It Belongs:

I think you are very much on the spot here. Building up trust is key for using existing channels to report bribery. This needs to come with making anti-corruption institutions sufficiently independent and provide them with the necessary power to prosecute cases.

Civil Society offers such as Transparency International's Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres (http://blog.transparency.org/2009/06/03/paid-a-bribe/) can fill the void only in a very limited manner.

Pluralism and Diversity for An Informed Citizenry

Fumiko Nagano's picture

Many of us become more convinced in our views on any given topic by bouncing them off of our sounding boards, whose worldview often mirrors our own. Feeling validated through these interactions, we march on with our perspectives unaltered. Troublingly, if we allow ourselves to interact only with our like-minded peers, these interactions can and do lead to viewpoints that are fixed, sometimes to the dismissal of all other alternative perspectives. This is the topic of Cass Sunstein’s article, “To Become An Extremist, Hang Around With People You Agree With.”

Comment: A Public Good Approach to Media Development

Johanna Martinsson's picture

A reader's comment to the blog post The Culture of Media Development on Both Sides of the Atlantic:

Thank you Ann-Katrin.  It was a pleasure to host the meeting in London to 
discuss the media development toolkit.

I wanted to comment on your analyis that Europeans are more comfortable than 
Americans with the notion of long term subsidy of the media.  I largely 
agree, although I think the dynamics of why this is are changing.

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