I've come across another one of your conference agendas recently. After drying my tears of laughter, I shared it with my friends in "Mayberry." They are not impressed. In fact, you could call them downright miffed at your arrogant, condescending and inaccurate attempt to pretend you understand them, their communities, and their lifestyles. How dare you!?!
The cause of the current consternation is your 8th Annual Public Participation for Transmission Siting conference. While this conference has historically been an annual source of amusement to transmission opposition leadership, this time you've gone too far.
Perhaps all that crisp, green sponsorship gets in the way of your better judgement, but should you take a few moments to reflect on the veracity of your conference speakers, as well as the accuracy and effectiveness of their presented material, you might find something amiss.
Keynote speaker Jimmy Glotfelty's presentation is touted as:
Clean Line energy will discuss the public engagement challenges that are inherent when developing and building new large infrastructure projects. How do we overcome these challenges and work to ensure that our stakeholders feel they are informed and part of the process, each step of the way? He will discuss the lessons learned and some of the challenges faced in his career developing transmission projects across multiple states.
Case Studies: Understanding Ins-and-Outs of Utilizing Social Media for Public Engagement.
In a time where social media is one of the most common forms of communication, it is
important to understand when it is appropriate to utilize it to engage the public and stakeholders during the transmission siting process. It is crucial to understand when to use it as a main form of communication or as a supplementary form of communication - and who you can expect to reach, and how. This presentation will use and demonstrate
how social media is currently being used as an integral portion of a public outreach and
- Louisa Kinoshi, Associate, Clean Line Energy
Let's address the elephant in the room now, shall we? It's the real reason for your educational conference and unhealthy fascination with us. It's what makes us rock stars. You are clueless about our formation, hierarchy, motivation and determination. Sun Tzu once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” He'd be a great speaker for your conference, if he wasn't dead and all. Maybe you can buy his book? I hear it's a real page-turner.
So, you want to develop our relationship with attempts to be clever using outdated, supercilious names constructed from your industry's weird obsession with acronyms? I'm truly hurt, EUCI. As if labeling us as members of unacceptable groups would somehow help you develop a better understanding of us, one that will allow you to "handle" us all the way to permit denial?
Going BANANAs with NIMBYs – Best Practices in Dealing with Community Based Opposition Groups.
Increasingly, organizing public participation opportunities means having to handle
disruptive influences from community-based opposition groups - BANANAs (Build
Absolutely Nothing Anywhere near Anything/Anyone) and NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard). This presentation will discuss experiences at Southern California Edison and
how the company has adapted to this new business environment. Southern California
Edison is currently experiencing one of the largest infrastructure capital investment
programs in company history. Driving this are multiple factors, including California’s
ambitious renewable energy goals and the need to replace aging infrastructure that
was constructed during the post-World War II boom. As a result, the opportunity for
community based opposition groups to develop has increased significantly. Recent
advances in technology have made it easier for community-based opposition groups to
organize and, more importantly, to strategize. With the opportunity cost of starting and
participating in such groups constantly decreasing, it is important for public participation practitioners to have a healthy understanding of how such groups are motivated and how to manage them effectively. The discussion will provide the audience with best practices on dealing with community based opposition groups as well as tips on how to prepare internal, technical subject matter experts to effectively handle emotionally charged situations. These best practices are based upon the experiences of Southern California Edison’s local public affairs department.
As I'm sure you've heard, our favorite activity is holding bake sales. If you ever find yourself overrun with overripe bananas, I'd be happy to share my kick-ass recipe for banana bread with you. There's just so many things you can make from the clever and versatile banana! Maybe you could hold your own bake sale, instead of a training conference, to raise cash! Do let us know EUCI. We'd be happy to fly to Houston to buy your cupcakes!
I do wonder though, since this is an educational workshop, what experience your instructor has organizing or strategizing with community-based opposition groups? My guess would be none. Last time I looked, SCE got it's butt kicked in Chino Hills. The power companies are usually the ones on the outside of our groups, desperately trying to see inside. You all have NO IDEA how sophisticated our organization and strategy has become... and that's the way we like it. Expect the unexpected, transmission developers!
And if being called a fruit isn't insulting enough to "the public," you further besmirch us as "Mayberry" in your "Marketing to Mayberry" segment.
Marketing to Mayberry: Communicating with Rural America.
Communications and marketing outreach in small town America requires entirely
different tactics than those used with larger more metropolitan communities. Join this
conversation to learn some of the pitfalls to avoid and the strategies to deploy when
reaching out to small communities. Attendees will learn to prepare for the challenges of
engaging a rural setting, communicate in a conversational tone rather than corporate
tone, identify and engage credible spokespersons in rural communities and understand which communications and marketing tactics to utilize.
You've simply outdone yourself this year, EUCI! Since your conferences are fully accredited for continuing education credits by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training, we'll assume there must be some educational standards your conference content is required to meet. We're concerned that you may be risking your certification and credibility by promoting professional failure as a "successful" best practice! It's because we worry about your reputation that we'd like to help you out, EUCI. We believe we could provide valuable assistance with this conference activity:
Mock Open House
Open houses are commonly used during the public outreach campaign through the
transmission siting process. They are used to communicate with the community, land
owners, stake holders and public officials and allow them to express their concerns
regarding the transmission lines. Effective, clear and concise communications are crucial
for the open house to run smoothly and successful. This mock open house will allow
key subject experts to run an open house and the attendees to participate in the “open
house,” showing effective forms of communication, how to answer questions and walk away with everyone being pleased with the outcome.
In all seriousness, EUCI, we're not sure how you're going to educate transmission developers to succeed when your teachers have failed the subjects they are attempting to teach. You'd do much better with instructors from the community groups you are targeting for attendance. But then again, why would we give away our secrets? They're working so well to alter, delay, and cancel unneeded transmission projects. We have made you our bit*subservient groupie*ch. When we have our annual continuing education get-togethers, you're probably not going to be invited. Sorry.
America's Transmission Opposition
Bigger, Badder, Scarier
and Smarter... oh, so much smarter than you give us credit for...