Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A note about position papers

I read the ARCA position paper today, and will just call it a proxy for all the others out there in order to save time. When the state has an unsustainable budget and the legislature has shown itself unable to think or act and you release a paper announcing your opposition to most of the cuts, the intended audience is fellow stakeholders not government.  Kind of like the guy who raises his hand in class because he wants the attention of a classmate. Very thorough, although they seem to have left out their position on cuts to DDS headquarters. Can anyone tell me what else is missing?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that the intended audience is fellow advocates and not state government. I would suggest that a message to the DDS is included in the position paper.

Doug said...

"Drop dead?"

paul said...

I guess we could begin a crusade to vanguish the human desire to “stand well in thy neighbors eye” but personally I think that such a crusade is destined to fail. Some might argue that even controlling these desires is all but impossible. Some may be right. I hope not.

The desire to receive acolates and kudos from our “circle of support” is understandable. We are social creatures (except for perhaps "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." – he is more evolved), and more often than not our benefactors are social creatures as well.

I suppose that when our desire to stand well in our neigbhor’s eye becomes the primary antecedent directing our behavior, or worse – the only force dictating our manta, then we may have a problem. This can be especially true if our job, mission, or purpose is clearly to be directed by other considerations – at least publically.

I think the job of any organizaton that advocates for people has “other consideration” – that of course being those for which they claim to advocate.

I guess we could just chalk this up to business as usual, in this case the politics of populism, and claim that is what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Doug,

Who or What do you think is the intended audience of a Marty Omoto Commentary?

Doug said...

Paul, I think Marty targets a very wide audience of people, to paraphrase Churchill, divided by a common interest.

paul said...

Doug said...

"paul, I think Marty targets a very wide audience of people, to paraphrase Churchill, divided by a common interest."

WHY do you believe this. WHAT supports your belief?

If your reply is going to be chameleon-hued terms of convenience and seductive obscurity then you can save your valuable time...

I know it is not raining.

Doug said...

And I'm not pissing on your shoe, Paul. Maybe a better answer would be to say that he says his intended audience is everyone who has common cause in wanting to see support for people with disabilities. I have trouble taking his statement at face value, but if you do, you should ask him. I haven't read the most recent one.

paul said...

“ Maybe a better answer would be to say that he says his intended audience is everyone who has common cause in wanting to see support for people with disabilities. I have [no] trouble taking his statement at face value…”
-doug-

You have stated that the intended audience of the ARCA position paper, “is fellow stakeholders not government” because it was released, “When the state has an unsustainable budget and the legislature has shown itself unable to think or act” This is, “Kind of like the guy who raises his hand in class because he wants the attention of a classmate.”

I do not disagree – In fact I agree.

I am aware of many debate formats, but I am also unfamiliar with most. So – at the risk of digressing from protocol, and presuming my interpolation above is correct I will call this the cross-examination phase.

Maybe my better questions would be:

Is a stakeholder(s) “everyone who has common cause in wanting to see support for people with disabilities.”, something more, or something less?

You state your belief that Marty’s intended audience is “...everyone who has common cause in wanting to see support for people with disabilities.” Because, “he says his intended audience is everyone who has common cause in wanting to see support for people with disabilities”, and you, “have [no] trouble taking his statement at face value…”

If ARCA prefaced their position paper stating that their intended audience is, “everyone who has common cause in wanting to see support for people with disabilities.” would ARCA no longer be “the guy who raises his hand in class because he wants the attention of a classmate?”

Doug said...

You know something, Paul. I owe you an apology. It had been so long since I wrote this post I forgot what was in it and responded to your question without seeing the connection. I answered your question the first two times as though this were a message board.

Now I understand what you were asking and why. To some extent I would say yes to the last question. If I disagree with anything in the ARCA position paper, it is the omissions not the positions.

But a position paper is written for policy-making and my point was that ARCA's seems written for a different audience than it claims to be. So, the problem I have with a lot of these position papers is the message seems to be "protect these people" and the legislature, the party to be persuaded. The practical reality is that the actual message is "We are protecting you." So, yes, if the "position paper" were "a message to stakeholders" and a list of things ARCA recommends we press our legislators for, I might have a different issue with it than I did.

If you look at Marty's commentary (which I have after answering your last comment) there is a strong consistency between who is addressed and the party to whom the commentary claims to address. He's scolding us, not the Senate or DDS.

One last distinction before a disclaimer, I think it is appropriate to treat individuals differently from organizations. Marty, when he writes his commentary (and I when I write this blog) may be hoping to attract women and disable prey but I'm reluctant to involve myself in human psychology. The deliberative collaboration among board or committee members seems fairer (and less personal) game.

Just on a side note, ARCA is meant here as a proxy for many many stakeholder groups. I read ARCA's because they are more interesting to me than other groups and I didn't have the time or interest to read all of them. This is a post about how our advocacy organizations generally behave, not intended to single out ARCA for abuse that many of us deserve.

paul said...

Doug,

Thank you for the thoughtful reply

paul said...

"I think it is appropriate to treat individuals differently from organizations."

I agree - but what if ONE is both an individual AND the organization?

Doug said...

I think if one is both an individual and an organization they get treated as both, whatever the right answer might be. Anyone who dislikes me will treat DDSR Blogging Inc. as Doug and anyone who dislikes the blog will approach me as it.

paul said...

Is "dislike" the common denominator, the keystone?

Does it not work with "like" as well? [Freudian slip?]

Perhaps I should have asked the question another way.

When the individual and the organization is one in the same is the intention of that individual to be at any one moment the "organization" and at another moment an "individual" [when the medium the message uses is the same [letter with letter head, same blog..etc.] sufficient, without more, to separate the individual from the organization?

Is it that simple?
Have all efforts, protocols and procedures of the various newspapers through time to keep the fidelity of the "editorial" been a waste of time, money, effort?

Is just the power of WILL of INTENTION sufficient?

Doug said...

Great question, Paul, and above my pay grade, but if you can't be arrogant on your blog, where can you be?

I treat this as if it were true: In deciding to give support to a person or organization, it is enough to consider the alternative. There are many good people and agencies (and a passel of scoundrels) but in my opinion, none other than CDCAN/Marty that meets this criteria: By supporting it, him, or her, I am certain that my support helps to broaden the conversation, foster accountability and bring the opinions of people who aren't often in Sacramento to a large enough and round enough table.

I have heard Marty say, and I believe, that none of us should be above questioning or criticizing. But I guess my answer to your question is that the intent isn't particularly important to me and the result is.

paul said...

“…it is enough to consider the alternative.”Doug,

The above statement explains much, but it is not enough to justify applying accountability inequitably, or inequitable reportage in regards to the playing field. (your recent posts about “stakeholders”)

“I have heard Marty say, and I believe, that none of us should be above questioning or criticizing.”I bet - People say things.

“Advocates” for people with disabilities have a great affinity for creating Angels and Demons and merely asking a question of one of these Angels can turn the inquirer into a demon. Merely asking a question of an Angel could get a person accused of “disliking” that Angel when the reality is anything but. I fear to imagine what kind of wrath would be generated with actual criticizism.

If “anonymous” on this blog expresses, or implies, that out system is wundabar, and the only downfall of California’s services to people with disabiliteis is money, would you question? Should you question?

If “anonymous” on this blog expressed, or implied, that we have good alternatives or solutions to almost all our problems, would you question? Should you question? May you question?

If “anonymous”, on this blog, expressed, or implied, that we have the perfect “proverbial mousetrap”, would you question? May you question? Should you question?

We may question not because we necessarily disagree, but perhaps we cannot agree or disagree without more clarification. Should it be any different if the instead of “anonymous” we have one of our “Angels”? If so – is this a problems.

If a person believes that they are beyond question because they are the father, mother, sister, brother of a person with a disability is this a problem?

If a person believes that they are beyond question because they are a consumer, a vendor, work for the regional center, dds, or because they are an “old man” is this a problem?

Developmental Services is very inbreed. Perhaps it is because outsiders do not follow our rules of “don’t question” and are therefore not welcome. Is this a problem.

In addition – I strongly believe that “supporting” a person that advocates for people with disabilities involves much more than being an obsequious sycophant.

I agree that accountabiltiy is a major concern for people with disabilities, but I think we have much to do before we can begin to address accountability. Unless we have to the ability to question EVERYONE, to clarify our misunderstanding, we can never have true accountability.

Unless we have to the ability to apply our accountability fairly and equitably we really wont have true accountability. Acountability for our accountability if you will..

"So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society."“Publius” October 17, 1787

Doug said...

Paul, I think I lack the attention span to reply point-by-point but here are a few thoughts:

I don't know of any way to make positive change without inviting criticism. We can say, question, criticize and disagree with anything, but we shouldn't expect to be loved for it. If we need leaders, the answer to all your questions beginning "can we" or "should we?" ought to be: "who cares?" Question, criticize. If people can't question people with disabilities or their family members without being persecuted for it and don't, then we have no victims and no leaders. The extent to which anyone gets upset by criticism is an extent to which I think that person is limited in how much change they can make. I tend to discount the value of passion, particularly as compared to courage.

As for this blog, question anything you want. I delete spam and obscenity. I have never deleted a comment that was vaguely on topic and made me uncomfortable. I have strenuously disagreed with some.

As for Marty's claim that none of us should be above question, you imply he might not be sincere and I agree in so far as, like many of us, he has at times reacted badly to criticism. So what? If you have something to say, you can say it here or to him. If someone says it's fair to question them, they don't have to always mean it to be held to that. You are right that obsequious sycophancy is not friendship or support.

Last, I do want to say this- this is a blog and a personal one (and a poorly tended one, often enough- I should post something.) I don't consider myself a journalist and there are people I would rather do my questioning of privately not publicly. Marty is one, and there are others. I try to keep the blog open and analytical, but not objective or unbiased.

Now, what is it you would like to say that you're waiting for me to say?

paul said...

Doug,

Thanks for the reply.

Your points are well taken re: “web log” blog, and I apologize for any conscious or unconscious attempts to transmute your blog into something other than what it is intended to be.

“Now, what is it you would like to say that you're waiting for me to say?”-doug-
I am waiting for you, or anyone, to say that I am wrong or misdirected. I want to be wrong – I want to be misdirected.

I might just violate my own rules and take you at your word - No questions asked.

“then we have no victims and no leaders."-doug-
Well – maybe not leaders but plenty of victims of those that claim to “advocates”,

I believe I can be quite understanding about human nature, but when the same old human nature adorns a cloak of magnanimity sewn from the skin of people with disabilities then I get a touch of the vapors. (DOES NOT REFER to M.O.)

“If you have something to say, you can say it here or to him.”-doug-
Thanks – if my primary purpose ever becomes “have something to say” and to have a forum to “say it” this blog will be my first stop.”

But - if that ever becomes the reality I guess I will have become the typical “advocate” and I will try to do a favor to people with disabilities, and …. Keep to myself.

Thanks

Doug said...

Well, Paul,

I understand what you're saying but I do think having and sharing opinions is something other than what the advocates who annoy you do. I would encourage you to continue to share, and hope you'll continue to do so here.

Tell you you're wrong about what?