People First Portland (PFP), the coalition that successfully empowered voters to raise the minimum wage, ban facial surveillance, enact a Green New Deal and protect tenants has published a list of priorities, a video and an on-line forum where residents can participate in conversations about how to create a stronger democracy and a more equitable community.
The priorities include eliminating the city manager position and replacing it with a stronger council and mayor, implementing clean elections, electing our city attorney and creating a public advocate office, creating a “safe”/sanctuary city and expanding voting rights, shifting funds from police to public services and establishing a municipality owned broadband and electric utility. The current city manager makes policy, but is not accountable for his policies because he is not elected by Portland voters.
By logging in and creating an account, anyone interested in or impacted by Portland politics can comment on, add to, and create their own proposals. Charter commissioners and those running for the Commission can use this tool to better understand what the people want to see in their Charter.
The People First Charter forum uses an open software platform designed for large groups to civilly deliberate together online and find common ground, even on contentious topics. Any registered participant in the discussion, which will remain open until the charter is approved by voters. People First Portland aims to make the charter commission process more accessible to the public by facilitating increased transparency and communication around the issues.
“A People First Charter” and our online forum provide a pathway for direct democracy, a voice for ordinary people, so our future charter better reflects the values of our city,” said People First Portland volunteer and civic engagement advocate Leo Hilton. “Our policies and principles reflect the voices of many different community groups whose demands have echoed through the streets of Portland. Last November, Portland voters approved a slate of ballot referenda by a commanding margin, making it clear that we, as a community, will step up the task when presented with the opportunity to take democracy in our hands and make concrete changes that will impact our lives. The online forum models the kind of open government we strive for, a government that treats people’s wisdom and direct experience as the building blocks of our politics, not as something to be managed,” said Hilton.
People First Portland also plans to host live web forums and other accessible ways for people to learn more and have their voices heard.
The aim of “A People First Charter” is to ensure our future charter meets all of our needs and the forum is designed to open the charter commission process and build citizen engagement in suppor5t of a more equitable and democratic city.
The goal of both is a redistribution of power to all, not just the powerful few.
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