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DPZ Proposes Groundbreaking New Public Comment System: A Charade or a Charette?

The latest charette, or should I say charade, hosted by consulting firm DPZ, has left many scratching their heads in confusion.


While the event purported to gather valuable public input for the Plan 2040 initiative, it seemed more like a theatrical performance than a genuine exercise in democratic participation.


DPZ managed to attract a sizable crowd of articulate individuals with plenty of ideas and opinions about the future of Walton County.


However, what was glaringly absent from the room were the decision-makers themselves. Not a single elected official was present to hear the impassioned pleas and innovative proposals put forth by the attendees.


Despite the lack of real influence, participants enthusiastically shared their thoughts, akin to the first day at summer camp where everyone shares their favorite colors and hobbies.


While the ideas expressed were commendable, one can't help but wonder what the purpose of the exercise truly was.


Could it be that DPZ was testing out a new public comment system—one where the decision-makers are conveniently absent, and the voices of the people echo into the void?


If so, it's a bold experiment in governance, though one that leaves much to be desired in terms of efficacy.


Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the charade, er, charette, was the palpable nervousness exhibited by some participants.


Why the apprehension when speaking to a room devoid of decision-makers?


It's as if they were performing for an invisible audience—an exercise in futility masquerading as civic engagement.


In the end, the event served as a reminder of the shortcomings of representative democracy, with the true power brokers conspicuously absent from the conversation.


And while DPZ may have orchestrated an impressive spectacle, it's unclear whether any meaningful change will result from this elaborate charade.


As attendees prepare for the next meeting, one thing is certain: the show must go on.


But whether it's a charade or a charette remains to be seen. After all, in the land of public engagement, sometimes the line between the two is all too thin.

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