My involvement with the Parkway Plan Update Process came through my service as the co-chair of the American River Parkway Committee of the North Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.
It was in that capacity that I served on the Adjacent Neighborhoods Focus Group of the American River Parkway Plan Update Assessment, presenting neighborhood perspectives to the ‘public’ process that would go into the Update Plan.
At the first meeting, representatives from three poor neighborhoods, North Sacramento, Alkali Flats and Dos Rios, asked a pointed question of the consultant from the group facilitating the update process for Sacramento County. “How can we guarantee that there will be ‘integrity of the process’. How can we be assured that all of our work, and the issues important to us, will be heard and not just filtered out by subsequent meetings of other people, when we are not present.”
The answer they received was perhaps what they expected, “that others would make the final decision.”
They did not return to any further meetings.
How do we deal with this?
How do we ensure that the poorest communities are able to have safe access to the Parkway and the issues important to them addressed?
That is now, and will remain, a priority for our organization, and I don’t think it will happen by being part of a process that filters out the concerns of poor neighborhoods the final decision makers don’t want to address.