You are to attend a city council meeting (or a community organization meeting) and at this meeting take notes on what is being discussed. By the due date, you will turn in these notes, a city council agenda, and a 4 page report discussing:
1) What meeting you attended, where and when it was located?
2) General information about the council. This should include the council member’s names, their term lengths, and who they represent (are there district elections or at large elections).
3) What happened at this meeting? Specifically, what issues (policy proposals) were discussed? You should discuss at least 2 issues (policy proposals).
As a word of advise, I would focus on writing about policies discussed under the “consent calendar” or “new agenda items” portion of the meeting. I would advise against writing about issues discussed during “public comments” given sometimes the public brings up topics that have little to nothing to do with policymaking and there is no obligation for the council to discuss these publicly raised issues at that meeting under state law.
4) Do you think the decisions reached on these issues (policy proposals) were acceptable or unacceptable and why? Note, if they did not make any decisions on the issue, explain how you think they should decide and why.
5) What you took away from this experience?
6) Finally, throughout the paper you are expected to integrate at least 2 political science concepts into the discussion. You should be able to define the concept, and explain how/where you see this concept occurring within the meeting. Concepts can include, but are not limited to: politics, collective action problem, federalism, popular sovereignty, etc.).
Structure of Paper
What meeting you attended, where, and when it was located.
General information about the council.
Provide a general outline explaining what your paper will be doing.
Each body paragraph should focus on one issue (policy proposal) at a time and at some point tie in political science concepts learned in the course.
Each body paragraph should include:
1. A topic addressed at the council meeting.
2. What did the city council members and/or attendees say about this issue/policy proposal.
3. What were the decisions reached on this issue/policy proposal?
4. Do you agree or disagree with the decision reached. Why or why not? Note, if no decision was reached then explain how the council should vote and why they should vote that way.
What did you take away from the experience?
Please staple your notes and a copy of the meeting agenda to the back of the report.
Look at city council calendars as soon as possible so you can properly schedule a meeting to attend. They usually occur only twice a month. Here are some examples.
Example – City of Fullerton
Meeting information directly on page.
Example – City of Westminster
Click on “Elected Officials”
Click on “City Council Calendar”
Example – City of Costa Mesa
Click on “Meeting information”
Example – City of Glendale
Holds meetings every Tuesday at 6:00pm
Example – City of Irvine
Holds meetings every second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
If you absolutely cannot find a city council time that fits in your schedule, then you may watch a city council meeting online; however, this must be approved by the instructor.
Paper Specs (for both)
At least 4 full pages. There is a 10% point deduction for every omitted page.
12 point, Times New Roman only.
Double spaced, 1 inch margins.
Points will be deducted for poor grammar and spelling.
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