Making Democracy Work

Civil Discourse

Our involvement is expanding

Our Connection with the Kettering Foundation

Continued from the Home page

In October 2013, the Kettering Foundation selected The Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement at The San Diego Foundation and a consortium of regional partners to join a learning exchange with the New Centers for Public Life. Along with the San Diego Center for Civic Engagement, the San Diego collaborative includes the League of Women Voters (LWVNCSD); California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM); Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU); Restoring Respect at the University of San Diego (USD) and San Diego Community College District (SDCCD); San Diego City College (SDCC); San Diego State University (SDSU); and the University of California, San Diego Extension (UCSD Extension). The Kettering Foundation's New Centers for Public Life, an invite-only, joint learning exchange among a variety of civic entrepreneurs around the country, seeks to develop a fresh understanding of and to activate the role of citizens as actors in democracy. Our members, Martha Cox and Mary Thompson, have been ably representing us as members of this cohort.

According to BongHwan "BH" Kim, Vice President and Executive Director, The Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement - The San Diego Foundation, the San Diego contingent strives to develop a regional hub model that strengthens civic engagement in the San Diego region and can be replicated across partner organizations.

"We're extremely honored to receive this invitation," said Kim. "Normally the Kettering Foundation only invites one to two individuals per collaborative to join their cohort. Due to their excitement about our goal and partners involved, they are inviting us to send nine representatives to attend. Together, we hope to advance civil civic dialogue with deliberative democracy methods, empowering residents to openly discuss and address critical issues and create stronger communities."

Accepting the invitation is a year and a half commitment with training sessions in February, June, October and February. The San Diego collaborative, having attended training in February and June 2014, will work together to 1) educate students about deliberative democracy practices using a modified version of a Colorado State University curriculum developed by Dr. Martin Carcasson; 2) connect students with real community concerns to practice their learning and see the effects of deliberative democracy practices; 3) build and support the relationships between students-turned-civic facilitators and community groups, so communities view these facilitators as a local resource to help move civic deliberation and decision-making forward; and 4) duplicate this model around the region so multiple communities learn and use deliberative democracy practices to improve and strengthen their communities.

The Kettering Foundation, a research organization, uses cooperative research methods with national and international organizations that try to encourage a more democratic, public life; seek to understand the challenges and opportunities associated with the public engagement of pressing local or national issues; and aim to encourage public deliberation as one means of addressing these challenges. A link to their website is here

The San Diego Center for Civic Engagement is the community involvement arm of The San Diego Foundation established to drive the implementation of the Our Greater San Diego Vision project, mobilize stakeholders to develop solutions to community issues and better align donor support with the needs of the region. For additional information, visit their website.

Our hosts in West Virginia: West Virginia Civic Life

What Kind of Talk Does Democracy Need?

For those of you who attended the talk with Dr. Martin Carcasson on a hot July 8th at the Scripps Ranch Library, thanks for being there. His presentation was illuminating and energizing for the assemblage of academics from local colleges and Leaguers from as far away as Orange County. A huge "shout out" and thanks to Dr. Carcasson who waived his usual fee to be with us. Another "shout out" to our fantastic collaborative partner, Dr. Carl Luna, Political Science Professor at Mesa College and co-founder of Restoring Respect. This is just the beginning of a continuing conversation. You will want to stay tuned.

A reporter from the Independent Voters Network, Jane Susskind, was in the audience and posted this article about the event.

In addition, we were invited to write an Op-Ed piece for the Voice of San Diego. Find it here.

Many of you asked for copies of Dr. Carcasson's slides. Click here for those.

Also, a video of a previous talk by Dr. Carcasson can be found at this link.

Our conversation is far from over. We hope you will be part of it by sharing your thoughts and ideas and joining us in future events.

Do We Have to Take This Much Initiative?

Panel at January 2013 Event

We were pleased with the attendance at our panel discussion on the Initiative and Referendum process focusing on civil discourse. Pictured are our moderator from State League, Trudy Schafer; Glenn Smith, Professor of Law at Cal Western; Robert Stern, former president of the California Center for Governmental Studies; Thad Kousser, Political Science Professor at UCSD; and Joe Mathews, commentator and author of California Crack-up. A stimulating conversation.

If you missed it or want to see it again, click here to see video of this terrific event.

Civil Discourse is our League's issue for education and advocacy. To learn about our Civil Discourse programs follow this link.