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Definition of Local Issues

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One of the difficult ideas to covey to Issues Forum participants, are the criteria which make a particular issue local and relevant to a forum, and which issues are not local and off-topic.

Here is some text that might prove helpful:

Something from Rick Mons - 5/12/08

  • Local issues are issues that are either unique to St Paul or have a substantial and direct effect on our community.
  • If the issue is not unique to St Paul but has a substantial and direct effect on our community, it is appropriate to discuss the _effect_ but it is not appropriate to discuss the underlying rationales or justifications for the issue itself. For example, if members want to discuss the effect of the Iraqi war on St Paul, that discussion would be on-topic. However, a discussion of the legitimacy or need for the Iraqi war would not.
  • Moreover, while it is appropriate to talk about the effect of a national or regional issue/policy on our community, members need to make the local connection specific rather than assume the readers will make the connection. It is the responsibility of the poster (and anyone who responds) to make the local connection explicit in their post.

Something from David Brauer

The standard is that an issue must be uniquely local or have disproportionate Minneapolis effects [but I reserve the authority to engage in prior restraint]. The cross-wind runway obviously affects south Minneapolis disproportionately (noise), compared to all but a few suburbs. An issue can extend beyond our borders, but must have a significant local (Minneapolis) effect compared to other cities, states, or nations [except if I say so. Even if it has everything to do with Minneapolis, I will exclude it from posting, dependent on who wants to post it, the political subject, possibly the politics of the list member, and whether they adhere to my politically based rules and decisions].

Something from Tim Erickson

This forum is specifically designed to address "local issues." Local issues are issues that are either uniquely local or have disproportionate effect on our community. If an issue affects citizens in other communities as much (or more) than it affects us, then it is does not meet our criteria.

For an issue to be considered local, it is not sufficient that it "be important" or that it "effect" people in our community. There must be something in particular about the issue that is specific to our community OR the effect of the issue must be disproportionate within our community, as compared to other communities.

Sometimes it is appropriate to talk about the effect of a national or regional issue/policy on our community, in our local Issues Forum, but only if we are very explicit about what that local effect is or what the local connection is.

When using the forum to address a general or national issue, it is the responsibility of the poster (and anyone who responds) to make the local connection very explicit in their message. Do not assume, that just because there is a uniquely local aspect to an issue, that other participants will recognize it.

Something from Steve Kranz

Local issues are ones that:

  1. Relate to an event that is physically occurring primarily in the Winona region. -- and/or --
  2. a local or regional elected body (or other local organization) has substantial jurisdiction over. -- and/or --
  3. is currently being debated primarily at local level (as opposed to the national/international level).
 

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