E-alert 10: Public Weigh-In  

Louisiana Speaks Administration

Kristian Sonnier
[email protected]

Public Poll Will Enable Citizens to Weigh In on Key Planning Decisions for South Louisiana

Between January 22 and February 10, 2007, the citizens of Louisiana will have the opportunity to weigh in on variety of options that will set the direction for South Louisiana's recovery and future prosperity. The Louisiana Speaks long-range regional planning initiative will implement a public polling process to get citizens' voices on South Louisiana's plans for coastal restoration and protection, community growth and transportation, safety and economic development.

This long-range regional planning initiative is historic in its scale and its level of citizen engagement. The options − possible futures − that will be offered to the public in January are the result of stakeholder workshops and local input and the collaboration of top local and national planners.

The preferred regional vision that emerges from this citizen selection process will guide future investments and help prioritize renovation and restoration projects. This vision will serve as a catalyst to effect real change in our neighborhoods, parishes, and the region. And it can even help us address economic, social, and historical inequalities. But if we are to achieve all of these goals, we need input from all our citizens.

On January 24th (7:00 pm), 26th (7:00 pm) and 28th (4:00 pm), Louisiana's citizens will be able to view a special Louisiana Speaks program, which will air on Louisiana Public Broadcast (LPB) stations across the state, to learn about the Louisiana Speaks options. The program will also feature a soon to be announced toll free number and a website address www.LouisianaSpeaks.org/planning for citizens to either call in their choices or visit the website to weigh in online.

On January 24, 2007, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Baton Rouge Advocate, Houma Courier, Thibodaux Daily Comet, Lafayette Daily Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World and Lake Charles American Press will include a special educational Louisiana Speaks insert about the regional options for Louisiana residents to weigh in with their preferences. The inserts will provide hard data about the trade-offs associated with different decisions and options, and it will answer the questions "How we got where we are?" "Why we should care?" and "What should we do now?" Each category will include proposed solutions to the challenges we face, and you can choose which you think is best by completing and mailing in the polling form included in the insert, or by taking the poll online or by phone.

For those who would like to participate online, the Louisiana Speaks website, www.LouisianaSpeaks.org/planning , will host an interactive version of the information in the insert and on the LPB show, and the option to choose their preferences online, in real time.

If you do not have access to a computer or a newspaper, Louisiana public libraries across South Louisiana will serve as polling sites where citizens can review the scenarios at computer terminals and make their choices from January 22 to February 10, 2007.

Because of the importance of getting the maximum input from Louisiana's citizens, Louisiana Speaks wants to take measures to enable everyone to be heard. Louisiana Speaks is offering several different ways for citizens to weigh in and help determine the future of Louisiana. The timeframe to speak up is between January 22 and February 10, 2007. Here are the ways to make your choice:

1. Call the toll free number (soon to be announced)
2. Visit www.LouisianaSpeaks.org/planning
3. Visit your local public library
4. Read and complete the insert that will be distributed in the January 24, 2007 issues of The Times-Picayune, Baton Rouge Advocate, Houma Courier, Thibodaux Daily Comet, Lafayette Daily Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World and Lake Charles American Press

Here's what you can do to help spread the news and build awareness about the important work that's being done to rebuild South Louisiana safer, smarter and stronger:

1. Tell your friends about what you've read here or forward this e-newsletter to people who you think would like to learn more about Louisiana Speaks and the weigh in process
2. Send us your feedback on the Louisiana Speaks long-range regional planning initiative by clicking [email protected]
3. If you want to spread the word, host a meeting, or give a presentation on the Louisiana Speaks long-range regional planning initiative in your community, call us at (225) 267-6300.

Through our collective intelligence, and with citizen input, we can create a vision for South Louisiana that improves the lives of our families, neighbors and fellow citizens.

Louisiana Speaks is the long-term planning initiative of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. With support from the LRA Support Foundation, Louisiana Speaks has engaged a team of top local and national planning experts to gather public input and support the development of a regional vision for South Louisiana that will guide long-term recovery and future growth. This work combines the efforts of many experts, stakeholders and citizens into a comprehensive approach that will be used to guide investments and secure additional resources for Louisiana.

Subscription Options: You can specify the types of messages that you wish to receive. To change your profile on Louisiana Speaks, click here -- http://www.louisianaspeaks.org/register.html

Louisiana Speaks is a multifaceted planning process, endorsed by the Louisiana Recovery Authority, to develop a sustainable, long-term vision for South Louisiana in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
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