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Letters

Let the Facts/Their Own Words Speak for Themselves
By Syndi Holmes
Feb 16, 2004 - 9:00:00 AM

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Dear Editor:

In response to the news article regarding :Town Council Meeting Delves into AMCi and Agenda 21 by Michelle Anderson ...

I implore all of the citizens in the Millinocket area to go to the website for the Centre for Consensual Democracy http://www.consensualdemocracy.org/ and read the claims of Larry Lemmel and Lloyd Wells, as they wrote in their book Recreating Democracy. Below is their synopsis of their book and parts of their website that showcase their work in Maine communities and the visioning plans for those communities as well as their rates for their work. I ask you to judge for yourselves Mr. Kelley's claims that he invented the process, as Mr. Lemmel and Mr. Wells claim otherwise. I ask you you to compare the agenda that is being developed in your community with those in the other 4 communities that had previously worked with the Centre; and note the cost variations as listed by the Centre. Also note that the Centre uses the AMCi e-mail address.

From the page, entitled Recreating Democracy: Breathing New Life into American Communities:

"Recreating Democracy is two books in one: a practical guide to the process of reviving local communities and a source book of methods that help local citizens work together openly, cooperatively and democratically. Based on fifty years of practical experience, Recreating Democracy defines Consensual Democracy’s grassroots approach to building community based on the visions, values and goals of local citizens."

Mr. Wells writes the following description of himself in the column About the Author on the website :

"The development and implementation of this experiment has been the principal activity of my life. It has involved literally hundreds of people. It has produced techniques for organizing a community's civic sector, which now offer democratic communities everywhere a viable alternative to traditional governmental and city-planning procedures. It has demonstrated that problems afflicting communities nationwide can be alleviated locally by ordinary people, organized and committed to improving the quality of their communities."

Larry Lemmel writes of himself in the same column:

"My approach reflects what I have learned about civic renewal from Lloyd Wells and from my own, very different, journey. These days I work with Maine citizens, supporting them in their struggles to bring local communities back from the brink of economic and social chaos. I rely increasingly on a set of wonderful community-building tools, the "how-to's" that transform Consensual Democracy from well-meaning advice into a method for achieving measurable results. Like Lloyd, I have long been preoccupied with the principles of self-governance as they apply to individuals and institutions as well as to communities."

On the Consensual Democracy page entitled, What is a Consensual Democracy Community, Lemmel and Wells suggest that the Limestone project was their's, not AMCi's, as Michael Kelly has frequently claimed:

What is a Consensual Democracy Community?

We refer to any neighborhood, village, town or city that uses Consensual Democracy Principles as guidelines for civic renewal as a Consensual Democracy Community. Click on any of the following to learn about their visions, action plans and contact information:

Limestone Maine
Waterville/Mid-Maine Region
Aroostook County, Maine
Aroostook Band of Mi’Gmaq/Micmac

Referring to the above "visions, do these have a familiar ring, but at different price scales:

From the page entitled, Bringing People Together, we read:

1. ARE WE READY FOR A NEW APPROACH?

Q&A about this program
Purpose: Acquaint a community with the Consensual Democracy approach
Time Commitment: Two hours
Number of Participants: Unlimited
How to Choose Participants: Public invitation
Cost: Travel expenses

2. CIVIC VALUES WORKSHOP

Q&A about this program
Purpose: Help a community decide the values and behaviors that are essential for its civic renewal.
Time Commitment: One day.
Number of Participants: 30 – 70
How to Choose Participants: Create a Civic Assembly
Cost: $600 plus travel expenses

3. COMMUNITY CATALYST

Q&A about this program
Purpose: Create a new vision of their community and a plan to achieve the vision.
Time Commitment: Three days
Number of Participants: 30-70
How to Choose Participants: Create a Civic Assembly
Cost: $2,500-$4,000, plus expenses, depending on size of group

4. CIVIC BYLAWS WORKSHOP

Q&A about this program
Purpose: Create the agreements, definitions and commitments needed to organize a civic association in your community
Time Commitment: One day
Number of Participants: 30-70
How to Choose Participants: Create a Civic Assembly
Cost: $600 plus travel expenses

5. PUBLISHING COMMUNITY NEWS

Q&A about this program
Purpose: Design a newsletter for the free exchange of information and Opinion
Time Commitment: One day
Number of Participants: 30-70
How to Choose Participants: Create a Civic Assembly
Cost: $600 plus travel expenses

NOW LOOK AT THEIR E-MAIL ADDRESS and see the link between AMCi and the Centre for Consensual Democracy.

www.ConsensualDemocracy.org

P.O. Box 61
Brunswick, Maine 04011-0061
E-Mail: democracy@amcinc.com
Questions? Feel free to call us at 207-729-4024

Editor's Note:

Syndi, thank you for your letter. I have also been trying to reconcile Michael Kelly's claim that he invented the process "one morning in 1982" with Larry Lemmel and Lloyd Well's claim to ownership, found on their web site.

A phrase that comes to mind begins with, "What a tangled web we weave ..."

-- ken


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