The city staff has proposed a Strategic Plan for Berkeley. The Plan occurs in the midst of severe crises besetting Berkeley, distracting from their resolution. It promotes the interests of the staff as a seemingly autonomous "organization" within city government, rather than an instrument of local democracy. Reducing the people to political consumers, and limiting them to non-participant “input,” it enlarges the structural chasm between the people and the government that is one of the sources of the present crises.
On January 31, 2017, the city manager presented a report to City Council on a Strategic Plan for Berkeley that staff is developing. The motivation for this Plan (as the city manager puts it) is a need to “have an idea of what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how we’re going to accomplish it.” In other words, it is a plan to make city government more effective and more efficient. Its purpose is to “articulate the long-term goals” of the city and “short-term projects designed to advance those goals.”
The odd thing about it is its appearance right in the middle of a number of crises besetting the city. These crises (concerning homelessness and affordable housing) have been the context for a change in City Council itself, and would seem to call for very focused administrative attention, rather than a diversion to a number of other “long-term” goals. It is as if (by analogy), while the Oroville Dam was coming apart under torrential rains, California engineers spent their time proposing different engineering principles for building dams. In the midst of crisis, that might be beside the point. -more-