Raleigh Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs) were originally designed to help neighborhoods like ours to reach and speak to city leaders. For some years they worked wonderfully in that role. That role has diminished with time and the disaffecting input of unconcerned city council leaders. While it is absolutely true that some change is necessary, we need change that brings our voices closer to council. Attend most CAC meetings and you will see meetings are mostly an opportunity to hear and comment instead of discuss and analyze issues. There are a series of simple steps that could be made to quickly improve citizen engagement without adding to budgets and stretching resources.
- 30 minutes prior to the CAC meeting, city staff will be available to help citizens review documents and matters to be discussed one on one.
- Parks and Rec events information will be provided after the formal close of the CAC meeting.
- As happens with zoning changes for private entities, proposed city projects should be presented to the CACs for non-binding votes on necessity, priority, purpose, and financing.
- CAC time should be more dedicated to discussion in breakout sessions between CAC members on upcoming votes.