In 2015, the California State Assembly adopted Bill 530, establishing a Working Group (WG) to develop the Lower Los Angeles (LA) River Revitalization Plan. The plan aims to revitalize 19 miles of the river to provide recreational opportunities, restore natural areas, and address any potential health, safety, financial, and other issues. As part of the drafting process, the WG utilized CiviComment to receive public opinion, particularly targeting area residents who will be affected by the revitalization. In this way, the WG looks to ensure public participation and the effectiveness of the project in the long-term.
- Using CiviComment, the WG set up a public commenting process, providing the opportunity to easily access each chapter as a separate document and comment directly online, in a unified location.
- Participants needed to set up a username and password to enter the documents and view comments, making it easy for the WG to review and respond to comments.
- Users leave their comments directly on top of the text it relates to, cutting down on the time it takes the WG to track and process comments.
- One person was responsible for receiving all comments through the CiviComment app, reducing the stress and time of searching through forwarded e-mails with comments and ensuring that each comment can be easily attended to.
- Commenting closed automatically on January 11, 2018, avoiding any past-due comments or having to reject comments that came in late.
- The WG used the CiviComment CSV export feature, making organizing, formatting and tracking comments easy and fast.
- The project included both English and Spanish versions of the Plan to ensure inclusive participation opportunities.
CiviComment helped streamline the commenting process and analysis, while also reducing the challenges related to collecting, copying, and formatting public comments.,The WG team estimates having saved 40-60 hours by using the app, whilst receiving upwards of two hundred comments from the public.
Since only one person received all of the comments and had a downloadable document, there was better quality control of comments received and incorporated.
“CiviComment was a great way to track and receive comments from the public. This form of public comment submission should be the new status quo, providing clarity and transparency to all of the parties involved.” - Gina M Palino, Junior Water Resources Engineer at Tetra Tech.
Author: Chris Haller