the Vision Council
|Questions and Answers about
The Vision Council Inc.
Q: WHAT IS THE VISION COUNCIL Inc.?
A: It is a non-profit corporation registered in Michigan
which is developing networks of citizens in our
communities, "Vision council Community Forums"
connected electronically through their own or publicly
available computers, and, in the future, by telephone
with voice recognition equipment. Some input will also be
possible through written letters which volunteers will
type into the master computer file.
Q: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE ?
A: Using net works such as those being proposed and
developed by TeleCITY in the Kalamazoo area, gather ideas
and opinions from our citizens as they react to questions
and issues that are presented by Government and Community
Organizations and create an organized, very extensive
source of information from our citizens about topics of
current interest and importance for vision council
members to hear and know about.
Q: WHY SHOULD I BE A MEMBER ?
- To make your
thoughts, ideas and needs known.
- To contribute
your ideas about issues facing the community.
- To receive
information on important issues affecting your
life in this community.
- To help build a
better "World Class" community for all.
Q: HOW WOULD I JOIN ?
- If you have your
own computer or access to a computer, or go to a
public place such as a library that has a
computer, you would be able to join
"on-line" by answering a few questions
similar to some of those on the census.
- If you have no
access to a computer, you will be able to pick up
an application at a library, school, or public
office throughout the county, complete it, and
mail it in or drop it off.
- If you wish, you
will be able to register by phone, answering a
series of questions which will be recorded on a
recorder. After you have joined as a member of
the Vision Council Inc. you would create a
password which would be your private
identification, and an e-mail address, and a code
which indicates general characteristics about
yourself and which you may or may not wish to
share with others when discussing issues. You can
use this code without having to share your name,
but it does give information of a general nature
about you to the person with whom you are
communicating. The code would indicate such
characteristics as are determined by the
University researchers as important factors
affecting a person's attitude and ideas about
public policy and programs. No information which
could not otherwise be available about a person
will be used or required.
Q: IF I DO NOT HAVE A
COMPUTER WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO JOIN ?
A: Yes. It is our plan to have numerous computers
available throughout the community for our citizens to
use. With the use of voice recognition equipment we also
should be able, eventually, to take your answers to major
questions as well as your comments, and have them a part
of the Data Base. In order for you to get the questions,
we would plan on the cooperation of the libraries, the
schools and, of course, the newspapers for disseminating
the questions that were being posed. These would be very
major questions, not insignificant questions. For full
access to the data base developed for discussing any one
major question, it would be necessary for you to call in
for a verbal report from the computer guided selection
equipment, which should be able to read to you selections
of your choice. It is also planned that the libraries,
schools, governmental offices, universities and,
possibly, newspapers would make hard copies of such
information on certain selected topics available upon
Q: HOW DOES THE PROGRAM WORK ?
A: There are essentially two parts to the "Vision
Council" program. One is the member's agreement to
answer major questions posed by such groups as the
various City, County, Township commissions councils, and
non profit organizations. Questions would be offered to
the members and if 70% agreed to consider a question, the
question would be placed on the list for consideration.
After having at least one month to consider the issues,
the members would be asked to answer the question posed
and offer their ideas about it. The second is the
willingness of all participants to contribute their
thoughts for consideration by the whole group about any
issue at any time they wish to comment. These comments
would then be organized into subject areas, all of which
would be available to all members of the council on any
basis, organized any way they want it.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE FORUM FOR KALAMAZOO COUNTY, HEALTHY
FUTURES, THE COALITION FOR THE PREVENTION OF YOUTH
VIOLENCE AND SIMILAR COMMUNITY GROUPS? HOW WOULD THEY
BENEFIT FROM THE VISION COUNCIL Inc.?
A: Certainly the Forum, Healthy Futures, the Coalition
for Prevention of Youth Violence and other major
community organization members should become some of the
very first members of the Vision Council Inc. It would
facilitate their communication about their programs with
all their members and with governmental officials and
other decision makers in the community. This can be a
private communication with their members only, or it can
be open for all the community to comment on. It would be
a wonderful communications tool for them to use. Also,
they would be encouraged to contribute the ideas of their
respective organizations to the Vision Council program.
Q: WHAT IS THE COST TO JOIN ?
A: Initially the members should not have any direct
costs. However, it will be necessary for the community to
support with major dollars the efforts of groups such as
the TeleCITY organization, which is a 501C-3 corporation
that can receive contributions. The TeleCITY program is
dedicated to providing the network and providing the
central computer to make their systems work throughout
the community. In the Kalamazoo area, the Vision Council
Inc. would hope to work in concert with and benefit from
the efforts of the TeleCITY organization. The Vision
Council also is becoming a 501C-3 corporation able to
receive contributions for its program.
Q: WHEN COULD THE "VISION COUNCIL" BE AVAILABLE
A: On a very limited basis it could be starting to form
immediately. Initial access would be extremely limited
and would fail to meet one of the most important
criteria, that of being community-wide in its scope and
participation. However, we could begin to develop, test
out and improve the system so that we could be in place
within a year. In the meantime, the concept of the Vision
Council can be discussed, debated and improved so that
when the hardware equipment is in place, we will be ready
with the software programs and the promotions for using
it. However, much of this is yet to be delineated, and so
no date could really be set at this time.
Q: WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO GET THE SYSTEM GOING ?
A: Your interest and your help. Please let us know who
you are and we will put you on the electronic mailing
list, on our phone contact list, as well as providing
such information through the libraries, schools,
universities, newspapers and other public institutions.
With your help we can get the "Vision Council"
off and running. Temporarily the phone number at Synco
Inc., 385-4095, will be used to register interest in the
Q: WHAT USE IS THE VISION COUNCIL Inc. IN DETERMINING
WHAT THE COMMUNITY WANTS ?
A: If, as an example, we have 2,000 or more members from
Kalamazoo County, it should be such a significant
cross-section of our community that we will be able to
extrapolate from the data received from the 2,000 members
the general feelings and orientation of the entire
community. Receiving the suggestions and comments from
such a group would also be very helpful in utilizing the
tremendous talents of our citizens in solving problems
and defining what kind of future we want for our
community. We would, of course, continuously push for
more members to join. We want as broad a cross-section of
the people as possible. If we discover from census data,
that we are missing certain elements of our community, we
will seek out those people and urge them to join the
"Vision Council". Knowing who our members are
and knowing, in general, what is the make up of the whole
community (based on census tracts and data), we will be
able to project what the whole communities opinions and
interests and willingness to support a proposed course of
action are, thereby enabling our governmental policies
and our programs and our organizations to be much more
informed, sensitive and responsive to the real needs,
desires, and hopes of the entire community. It could make
our community outstanding in the nation in its ability to
utilize the contributions of its citizens while being
most responsive to their needs.