Today during the CDCAN town hall teleconference, DDS Director Terri Delgadillo mentioned the working groups she has convened to look at structural reform. Such working groups are typically composed primarily of association representatives and an aberration or two. Recognizing that these work groups are a step toward transparency and community input, a few questions ought to be asked.
How representative are the work groups?
How transparent are the meetings?
Do the work groups advance a reform agenda?
The first question is easy. The work groups are not representative in any important way. They do tend to be diverse ideologically in the sense that whatever CRA is calling itself now always defends congregate facilities and whatever Protection and Advocacy is calling itself now, had its staff been trained in the practical arts rather than law, would likely chloroform and kidnap every client that entered such a place. But there's a problem of selection bias in calling the work groups ideologically diverse. As long as CRA' and PAI' are at the table, congregation v integration seems like a more important issue than it does almost anywhere else. So, what passes for diversity tends be a divergence of limited viewpoints rather a collective voice. The work groups seem not to be meaningfully integrated into or representative of the greater community of people interested in the development or reform of our system.
I suspect if you could inebriate the architects of the work groups (and you generally can,) they would tell you that the real selection is based on getting buy-in rather than input. The first composition probably begins with the list of groups with the means to scuttle or inconvenience legislation, continues with the natural opponents of the first group, and ends with Connie L. This is politically smart, and as long as the goal is pacific politics, the process makes sense. But if the time for reform has come at last, workgroups made up of well known "stakeholders" with rigid "positions" will get in the way.