For people who aren’t scared of dull.
It’s one thing to craft good policy, it’s another to get it all the way through the approval process. Which means getting it past, in succession, department heads, city managers and city council members. Which means making it possible for them to not only understand it, but also explain and justify it to members of the public who often have competing interests and deep attachments to their own ideas and priorities.
The primary vehicle for running that obstacle course is the humble staff report. It’s a document that lays out the facts and challenges in neutral, unbiased terms, explores alternatives, make recommendations and then assesses those recommendations in light of other city prioritpies, such as budget, economic development and social equity.
The policy bank on this website has a lot of good templates for broadband ordinances, staff directives and planning documents. But it also includes some examples of background documents that have been effective in getting those initiatives approved, such as staff reports for…
- City of Berkeley’s infrastructure report
- City of Berkeley’s telecom ordinance
- City of Brentwood’s conduit ordinance
- City of Brentwood’s FTTH deal with Sonic.net
- City of Oakland’s wireless intiative
- City of San Leandro’s agreement with Lit San Leandro
- City and County of San Francisco’s conduit requirements for excavation projects
- City of Santa Cruz Broadband master plan
And more. There are few things as totally geeky as writing city council staff reports as part of your job, except maybe reading them for fun. But seeing how other people do it and maybe
copying a few lines being inspired to greater creativity and efficiency can be a lifesaver. Most of the reports are in both PDF and Word format.
By the way, I’m always looking for more good examples and, yes, I do read them for fun.