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This month's newsletter features the following sections: Announcements, State of the Organization, Deliberations, and DL (Democratic Lottery) Roundup of articles, papers, and reports of interest. To see the accompanying graphics, be sure your email client or browser is set to display images. 


From the Editor

Welcome to the DWE newsletter. Feedback is appreciated. Please send your responses to content and relevant links to articles, papers, and reports of interest, as well as proposals for "Deliberations" articles and other features to

DWE April Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, April 12, 9:00-10:00 PM Eastern (6:00-7:00 PM Pacific)

Come a few minutes early and meet people informally.

Google Meet Link:
Join by phone
‪(US) +1 518-405-5759‬ PIN: ‪952 988 465‬#
Featuring State of the Organization
Hosted by Owen Shaffer
We recently received another grant- this time $10,000 to support an accredited teacher training course.

We have 93 members and an additional 58 on our email list. We've grown a lot since we began 3 years ago with 11 members and no money! What have we accomplished in 3 years? What else should we do to advance our goals? Find out when Owen Shaffer leads the discussion on the State of our Organization.

April DWE Board Meeting

Thursday, April 7, 7:00-9:00 PM Eastern (4:00 – 6:00 PM Pacific)
Google Meet Link:
‪(US) +1 929-324-9734‬ PIN: ‪351 670 613‬#
  • Assistant Editor for the Newsletter, who will help with content gathering, monitoring article sources for the Round Up section, managing artwork, assembling, editing, proofing, etc. No experience necessary. Become a desktop publishing master! For more info, contact Wayne.(
  • Cyber Security Consultant: advise the Webmaster on website security. If you have this expertise and are willing to make yourself available on occasion, please contact Dave Tarby.(

The northern California city of Petaluma (pop. 60,000) recently budgeted $450,000 for a Citizens’ Assembly chosen by lot to recommend a plan for the future use of its municipal fairground--a contentious issue that had been plaguing the city for several years. The plan passed the city council unanimously. The Petaluma CA is the first municipal citizens' assembly in California.

The panel will be seated from mid-May to mid-July 2022 and in their 90+ hours of deliberation, will be asked to provide a series of policy reports that answer the question, “How might we use the City’s fairgrounds property to create the experiences, activities, resources, and places that our community needs and desires now and for the foreseeable future?”

The fairgrounds comprise a 60 acre tract in the heart of the city. The fair’s operator has occupied the city-owned land since 1973 at a cost of $1 per year. The rental agreement expires in 2023. Petaluma's mayor called the 50-year lease “the worst contract the city has ever entered into.” Heated arguments about whether to renew the contract, and what to do with the land, had stalemated.

All three reports will be developed, written, and edited exclusively by panelists themselves. The reports will be delivered to the Fair Board and City Council, who will be asked to thoroughly consider and publicly respond to them.  

Healthy Democracy, best known for their work on the Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review, has been designated moderator for the CA. Their work involves design and implementation of the CA process, and facilitating deliberation.

Residents have been invited to participate, through a mailing to 10,000 randomly selected residential addresses. At a public Lottery Selection Event on April 13th, 2022, a 36-person Panel will be selected that is representative of the community’s demographics. Demographic categories will include age, gender, race/ethnicity, location, housing status, educational attainment, and experience of a disability. Demographic targets will be based on the K-12 aged population and will oversample some groups who have previously been underrepresented in City processes.

The city manager of Petaluma had attended the presentation on CAs at the California League of Cities Conference in September, 2021, covered in this column in October (Update from California). Dennis Pocekay, a city council member from Petaluma, was on the panel, as was Linn Davis of Healthy Democracy, and myself. The panel had resulted from advocacy work by Public Access Democracy (PAD), a California non-profit whose core membership met at DWE. PAD's stated mission is to promote deliberative democracy in government by investing decision making power in citizen assemblies chosen by lot.

-- Wayne Liebman

More information here:

Healthy Democracy on the Petaluma Assembly

City of Petaluma Fairgrounds Planning Process


Unburden yourself.  Send articles/suggestions to:
Please submit suggested links for next month's roundup HERE.

Bard College: Citizens Assembly Summer School

Bard College has announced a three-day workshop for July that will introduce public servants, local politicians, and civic leaders from across the political spectrum to key elements of citizens assemblies. (Click HERE for more information.)

Do you know or know of a public official who could benefit from attending? Fellowships are available. Email with any questions.

Op Ed: To get people off streets, put together Citizens' Assembly
Joe Mathews of Zócalo Public Square demonstrates how to advocate
Eight ways to institutionalise deliberative democracy
Current thinking from OECD
Could Putin be Failing Because of a Lack of Democracy
The Hartman report on oligarchy vs. crowdsourcing
What are folks talking about on DWE slack?
  • A video from the RSA about a civic deliberation on economics. Is there mileage in linking up with the RSA-US to create deliberations on systems level thinking and design of CAs?
  • Article about how to win an argument.
  • A comment about the advantages in linking up with Braver Angels.
  • A subreddit cross post about Andrew Yang’s use of Civic Juries.
Also: Slack enables private conversations between any two people in the organization! Build those lateral one on one connections!! Are you new to DWE and you have some questions? Slack is the place to get your answers and asking will help others who are new too, as well as stimulating interaction on slack! Join in!

To join our Slack group please click here and sign up to Slack.

How to Connect on DWE Slack
Here's a quick guide for using Slack: QUICK GUIDE.
Here's our Slack workspace invite: JOIN SLACK
Chris Forman leads the Slack Channel and can be reached at

Slack complements our existing Facebook group led by Nick Coccoma. 
Copyright ©2021 Democracy Without Elections, Quotation with attribution permitted.


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