Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Speaking of the Community Forum: A listener’s perspective

Yesterday, I recapped the logistics of the Lake County Community Forum that I attended. Today’s theme is “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

A few weeks ago, I recapped the Transportation section of the county’s 2008 Strategic Plan. Transportation is one of four strategic initiatives on which the county plans to focus; the others include water quality, criminal justice and economic development. I wrote the recap hoping to learn more about the Strategic Plan during the Forums.

Instead, the Strategic Plan was barely discussed during the PowerPoint presentation made at the beginning of the Forum. A handout gave an overview of the plan.

The only way for me to learn more about the Transportation plan would have been to directly talk to one of the County officials present at the forum.

Frankly, I didn’t feel comfortable approaching a County official out of the blue and rattling off my short list of questions. My modus operandi involves listening before speaking, usually. I’d hoped to learn more about the Plan first via a presentation, which could then inspire new questions and spur a community conversation.

I see this as a development opportunity for myself, not as the forum presenters’ fault. In all fairness, the Forum wasn’t billed as an event to discuss details of the Strategic Plan, although the Plan was published alongside the Forum notice on the County’s website.

Still, I seek first to understand so that I know what to ask and how to ask it.

This community involvement thing can be interesting. Hopefully as I attend more such meetings I’ll gain a feel for what to expect and how to react, and approaching the officials won’t feel as overwhelming and new.


Filed under: Urban Planning,

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