What’s Next California is an unprecedented attempt to bring the people into the process in a new way—one that is representative and thoughtful. A scientific random sample of the entire state will be transported to a single place for a weekend of face-to-face discussions, in small groups and in dialogue with competing experts. In California’s first statewide “Deliberative Poll,” the people will be supported by factual information and will consider the critical arguments on both sides of issues, then will articulate their priorities for fixing the state. A number of Deliberative Polls have been conducted at the national and local levels in sixteen countries around the world, including Britain, Australia, Denmark, and the United States. The deliberations will take place in Torrance on the weekend of June 25th. More than 300 citizens representing every region of the state will spend the weekend working in small groups and posing questions to public officials and policy experts. These in-depth discussions will likely range over legislative representation, taxation, whether local governments should have more autonomy and control over public services, and the initiative process.
This is a unique way for citizens who are scientifically selected to join the conversation about issues that might be included in future statewide ballot initiatives. The weekend will be moderated by Judy Woodruff of the PBS Newshour and videotaped for a documentary to be broadcast on PBS stations in California and elsewhere. The What’s Next California project will include digital participation at nextca.org, on Facebook and on Twitter (#NextCA).
This effort is being organized by California Forward, the New America Foundation in California, the Public Policy Institute of California, the Nicolas Berggruen Institute, California Common Cause, the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University and the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University. It is being coordinated by the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions’ By the People Project.
It’s Up to You
Can Deliberative Polling Work?