Category Archives: News and Opinion

News and opinion regarding events and factors affecting how best to build networks and coalitions.

Call me Bill

In the midst of myriad emails in which I was explaining the minutiae of passing legislation (and how support or opposition is built and expressed), a colleague complained:   “I don’t remember it being that complicated when the School House Rock video explained it.”  We can only wish.


Super stakeholders versus the usual suspects

Uber-coalitionist Jennifer Wilding remarked on a recent post in which I referenced “super stakeholders” by noting how most engagement specialists fear the appearance of “the usual suspects” – the people who show up at public meeting after public meeting, sometimes carrying an ideological ax to grind in each hand.

But just as often, some of these folks represent nothing more than a very informal dedication to public service defined as going and participating rather than by seeking public office, volunteering for AmeriCorps or the like.

Are we missing out on an under-utilized resource by preferencing getting new faces into a process? Those new voices are important, but how might we benefit if we created mutually sustainable opportunities for “the usual suspects” to become “para professionals” about an area or issue – and to be recognized for acquiring a mastery of a related skill or expertise?

Is it me or is it too d*#! noisy in here?

Stakeholder engagement and coalition building increasingly rely on social media to help those affected by large, complex policies and programs learn, understand and act in a thoughtful way. But when the “hits” keep coming – and increasing – will we be able to think amidst all the noise?

What if they know enough to not want to see you?

Face to face still #1 in neighborhood communication

Coalitionists looking to get the word out about their endeavors abandon or minimize face-to-face community communication at their peril, according to a Pew Internet poll.

Although electronic communication continues to grow in importance, personal contact (face-to-face and phone) is three times more frequently used than Internet tools, at least in terms of neighborhood issues..

100 days of rain rots the brain

While I’m looking up the definition of a cubit and doing an endless “Fooba” rerun of Bill Cosby’s Noah’s Ark routine, I thought I’d bring us all together – not with some pithy insight about coalition building – but with the ten greatest rainy day/night songs ever.

It’s the best I can do until I see some sunshine, and I can empty out my brain pan.

11.  (Bonus track)  Rain, Woods, Songs of Shame

10. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

9,  I Wish It Would Rain, The Temptations, The Temptations Wish It Would Rain

8.  Who’ll Stop the Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival, More Creedence Gold

7.  Storm In a Teacup, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium

6.  Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Willie Nelson, Red-Headed Stranger

5.  Cloudy (Live), Average White Band, The Best Of Average White Band

4.  Lightnin’ Hopkins, R.E.M, Document

3.  Rainy Day, Dream Away/Still Raining, Still Dreaming, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland

2. Thunderball, Tom Jones, The Best Of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection

1. One Rainy Wish, Jimi Hendrix, Axis: Bold As Love

Five for five at the Bronze Quills

Forgive a moment or two of bragging, but I’m really pleased about the showing my team and I made at the May 7 International Association of Business Communicators Bronze Quill Awards Ceremony held by the IABC Kansas City chapter.

Kansas City’s largest communicators’ professional organization honored our Public Involvement Group at HNTB with three Bronze Quills (tops in category) awards for our issues management work on the:

We also took away two Awards of Merit for communications management (Safe & Sound Customer Service Handbook) and graphic design (Missouri Passenger Rail Coalition).

Many thanks to our clients for the opportunity to work on these projects and much appreciation to Robyn Arthur, Betty Burry, Kristan Daily, Jan Ruemker, Katie Summy, Jeff Wine and Sturges Word Communications for their respective roles on these award-winning efforts.