the Vision Council
|The Vision Council
On January 8, 1996 the Vision
Council (based in Kalamazoo, Mi.) was incorporated as a
non-profit organization that is moving toward becoming a
501-C3 organization which can receive contributions and
deal with other 501-C3s in providing services(VC Inc).
"The Vision Council is an all inclusive group of
citizens dedicated to contributing ideas for building a
World Class community"(VC Inc). The Council hopes to
connect participating citizens with governmental
officials and other community decision makers. By using
privately owned, and/or publicly provided computers, the
Council intends to build a local electronic network which
will provide an effective and efficient two way means of
dialogue, discussion and continuous communication(VC
Inc). The end result will serve as a town assembly hall,
if you will. The variety of individual interests, ideas
and concerns will be brought together under one roof,
only this roof is not designed to be supported simply by
the elite pillars of the community, nor will this roof
exclude any willing citizens. The potential electronic
capacity of the Vision Council membership is boundless.
The fundamental goal of the
Vision Council is to empower the community as a whole.
Considering the traditional levels of political apathy in
this country, it is not hard to recognize the problem of
community empowerment as one of the major challenges to
the study and process of political science. The Vision
Council is designed to combat passiveness and
indifference by strengthening the voice of its
membership. The Council will link citizens to the
decision makers before the decisions are made, including
those citizens unable, unwilling, too busy, or perhaps
too shy to come to and speak at a commission meeting, or
otherwise communicate with governmental officials(VC
Inc). Each participating citizen will be assigned a
confidential identification number which will assure all
members equal exposure of their ideas, concerns and
suggestions. Members will have the ability to contribute
their thoughts and ideas about any issue to the entire
membership. The information gained from electronic
communications will be organized into subject areas for
easy access and analysis. Council members must also agree
to answer major questions posed by such groups as the
City Commission, though communication is in no way
limited to these questions. The focused questions will
create a compelling source of information for
governmental decision makers, build a consensus on major
community issues, energize political action and unite the
community(VC Inc). However, the Vision Council is not
designed to become simply a one way source of persuasion.
It is hoped that the Council will also serve as a means
for public officials to explain and defend their
decisions and actions to a broad base of citizens.
The Vision Council is dynamic.
There are no political ramparts to climb, nor rigid
guidelines to cross; no moneyed interests involved, nor
hidden agendas to deal with. The Vision Council has the
power to move and change with the needs of the community.
That alone is its purpose. This project has the potential
to become the Forum for a more pluralistic society with
the ability to reach many levels the community.
Not only is the Council a
champion of political community empowerment, it is the
vehicle that will enable neighborhood groups and other
community organizations to effectively communicate on a
two way basis(VC INC). Groups affiliated with the Vision
Council membership may communicate exclusively with their
perspective members, or with the Vision Council
membership as a whole. Local community organizations
ranging from "The Forum for Kalamazoo County"
to the "PTA" will have an opportunity to access
this innovative communications tool. The Vision Council
is driving toward genuine community empowerment and
pledges to give any and all willing individuals and
community organizations a lift.