Public service through serving on boards and commissions

March 23, 2022 1:13:02
Kaltura Video

This event will explore how individuals can impact policy by being appointed to advisory boards and commissions specifically focusing on Ann Arbor as an example. March, 2022.


0:00:07.9 Neeraja Aravamudan: Welcome. We're so glad to have all of you join us today, we are... I am the... My name is Neeraja Aravamudan I'm the Director of the Ginsberg Center, and I'm gonna be moderating today's discussion. In a moment, I'll ask our panelists to introduce themselves, but I just wanted to thank the co-sponsors of this event, the Program in Practical Policy Engagement, the Center for Local State and Urban Policy and Democracy and Debate for co-hosting this event with the Ginsberg Center today. Each of our programs is dedicated to public service and encouraging active participation in our communities through service, voting and other activities. I'm gonna have the different speakers introduce themselves so that you can learn a little bit about them before we kick things off. So... Sarah, do you wanna go first? 

0:00:54.8 Sarah Mills: She who unmutes her video first, gets to go first. Hi, I'm Sarah Mills. I am at the university in the Graham Sustainability Institute. I do applied research on renewable energy and I lecture in SEAS, and I'm currently the chair of the Planning Commission in Ann Arbor. I've served on the Planning Commission for about seven years, and this is about 18 months into being chair.

0:01:25.8 NA: Kayla? Actually Amber, do you wanna go next? 

0:01:28.1 Amber McCoy: Hi everyone, my name is Amber McCoy. My pronouns are she/her. I'm a PhD student at the School for Environment and Sustainability, and I've been on the Ann Arbor energy commission for about four years now.

0:01:42.0 NA: And then Molly, would you like...

0:01:44.4 Molly Kleinman: Hi. My name is Molly Kleinman. My pronouns are also she/her. At the university, I'm the Managing Director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program based in the Ford School of Public Policy. And in the city, I serve as the chair of the Ann Arbor transportation commission. I've been chair, I think around two years and on the Commission for three... Maybe I've only been chair for a year, and I also am an elected trustee of the Ann Arbor District Library, so that's another kind of board service.

0:02:13.1 NA: And then Kayla.

0:02:15.3 Kayla Coleman: Hello, I'm Kayla Coleman, my pronouns are she/her, and I'm the City of Ann Arbor's Capital Projects Asset Manager, and I've provided engagement support to city projects for about 12 years now, which has included serving as the staff liaison to the city's transportation commission from 2017-2021. So a lot of background in working with commissions and general public engagement. Happy to be here.

0:02:42.2 NA: Wonderful, so I just wanted to provide a little bit of context for this discussion, so we've got... We're lucky to have such a wide variety of experiences represented on the panel, and because we're in Ann Arbor, we're gonna use Ann Arbor as an example, but I wanna recognize that every city or town works differently, and as we'll learn even within the city, there are different levels of influence, different ways to participate and contribute and influence what's happening locally, so that'll come through as... I think we'll answer these questions. So Kayla, I wanted to start with you, why is it important to the city to have broad representation on these boards and commissions? 

0:03:19.6 KC: Thanks, Neeraja. So I think that that's a great question, and I would say it is really critical to have broad representation because these boards and commissions that are advising City Council and are often having a role in setting policy and implementing policy are impacting policy that affects the community at large. We are all affected by the work of these boards and commissions, and it's important to have voices that broadly represent the community on the boards and commissions, so that different views and perspectives can be heard. It's important to think about our demographic representation, thinking about renters and not just homeowners, thinking about our racial and ethnic minority groups, our LGBTQ+ community, but also having people that have both been involved in local government or boards and commissions previously and those that are new. Broad representation will help ensure that we have more thoughtful discussions, more robust perspectives brought forward and in the end can set policy and implement policy in the most effective and sustainable way to serve the community the best.

0:04:29.4 NA: Thank you. That's really helpful, and it shows the power of different perspectives and what that influence can have, so that's really great. I'd love to have each of the panelists then talk about how you learned of the Advisory Board or Commission for which you were nominated or selected. And a second question, did you have an impression or sense before you were nominated of the importance of boards and commissions and the impact they can have? So did you know about this work before you began doing this work, or how did you learn about it? And anybody can go and we'll just go through the...

0:05:04.7 MK: I'll jump in on this one, I'm gonna focus... For most of the time, I think I'm just gonna focus on my service on the Transportation Commission since that's I think fits more... And the kinds of things we're talking about today, the kind of volunteer service that we all do. I didn't know about the Transportation Commission before a friend suggested to me that I should apply for it, that there was an opening, and she knew I'd been involved in the creation of Common Cycle, which is a bike non-profit here in Ann Arbor. And I was like, "That sounds awesome." I ride around town imagining how I would make the roads, make the streets better for myself and other people who bike, so yes, I sort of said yes before I even understood what it was, and I've done a lot of learning on the commission and maybe that's not ideal but I actually think that so many people have expertise on the city from living here, and that's often valuable, even if you don't have this deep understanding of how the city works before you get there. I wanted to admit that before other people talk about... Their much more informed decisions.

0:06:11.6 SM: Actually I was gonna jump in and say, I also... So I served on the Planning commission. I was finishing my PhD in Urban Planning. Part of our course work was going and watching Planning Commission meetings, so I'd done that. I knew that the Planning Commission existed. I didn't know that there was an opening so much like Molly, it was at a recommendation of a friend who said, "Hey, you should do this." Even so once I got on, I learned how much there was still to learn, I had a background, for heavens sakes I had a PhD in this, right? But there was still... There's still lots to learn, and every new commissioner, I think has similar... Whether they have a background in planning or not, has similar... What your role actually is and how it works. But I think it's also really valuable. Everybody is bringing their expertise as a resident in this city to their commission and a passion, and whatever they're doing in their day job is... It so happens, that my day job does link to what I'm doing, and so I take back what I'm learning on Planning Commission to improve my day job work too.

0:07:30.3 SM: And I think that that's one of the key reasons to get involved in this is that I did it 'cause I thought... I haven't been involved in too much public service since college, and this was my way to continue public service with something that I thought I knew about and realized once I got there, like how much I still needed to learn, but that was okay. I was bringing the expertise of my neighborhood and what I did know.

0:08:01.1 AM: I first interacted with the Energy Commission by giving Public Comment, a group that I was a part of was organizing people to show up to one of the meetings where the commission was considering whether... They were considering to support a resolution asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to stop a natural gas plant from being built, and so I first interacted with them as a citizen, get in Public Comment, which anyone could do, definitely recommend doing that. And that was probably about eight months before I found out they were looking for another person specifically with environmental justice expertise, and so I talked to some people on the commission, and then applied, but even at that time, when I was giving the public comments, I had already lived in Ann Arbor for two years and so before then, before I had found out about that event with this specific resolution, I had no clue the Energy Commission existed, even though I was getting my master's degree in energy-related things at the university. And so, yeah, I wish I would have known sooner, but I didn't really know much about what the Energy Commission did before that time, and even then, I think I've learned a lot since being on it.

0:09:19.3 NA: It's really great to hear the ways that you actually... In some ways, I think it's actually great to hear that you didn't know a lot about it before getting on, 'cause I think it reduces the barrier to entry, to be able to say, "Oh, actually you can be interested in a thing and then learn about it in doing of it." So it's really interesting to see the ways you all got involved. Can you tell me a little bit about if you had a different feeling or sense of the importance of advisory boards and commissions after you served on one? Has it changed your understanding of the role they play in your community? 

0:10:00.1 AM: I think I didn't quite understand the role, the roles of different commissions are slightly different, so in terms of the energy commission, we are an advisory body, and so the City Council, when pretty much anything that's related to energy comes up, usually at first goes through the Energy Commission, and we would vote on a resolution that later is brought up to City Council. One thing that's important to note is that they don't have to listen to us, so if we say that... If the energy commission votes to pass a resolution and supports a policy, the City Council doesn't have to also support it, there's still a nuance there, which isn't the same for some of the roles of every other commission. Yeah, I think I didn't understand that role at all, and so I think I came to know a lot more about how the different policies around energy and environmental-related stuff come through the city and sometimes are shaped by outside people and come to us or shaped within the commission and come through that way, so I think I understood the process a lot better.

0:11:17.2 SM: Again, I knew on paper how planning commission is supposed to work, and actually I think in contrast to many of the other kind of boards and committees in the city is, ours is laid out in the State Legislature, like how... What authority Planning Commission has and when something has to come before Planning Commission, but even within that, I think there's sometimes where we are advisors, we vote yes or no, but City Council has the ultimate decision, sometimes we are the final say, but I think it's not until you get into the seat and have to figure out which of those... Which... What is before us and which of those roles am I playing, I think it was something that... It was being in that seat that really hit home. Similarly like, I don't know, things seemed easy, maybe this is the arm chair policy maker, super simple. Why can't you just change this one thing, and that is... That's what the science would suggest is the right thing to do, and then realizing that actually, sometimes things are connected and it's not as simple as what it might seem. I think I have a greater appreciation for that since joining.

0:12:45.8 MK: So I didn't really know about boards and commissions before I was on one, so in terms of how... How my understanding of them changed, I think I learned about them full stop, but I think I both learned about the importance of boards and commissions, and I didn't understand how the role that they play, but also I've really learned about the limitations of boards and commissions, especially the ones... Like I believe, energy and transportation that are not coming, our power doesn't come from the state, the City Council created these commissions and we advise and recommend, and council can listen to us or not. Being on the Commission can give you a voice in these conversations that you wouldn't have otherwise. I can't remember if we were gonna talk about this later, so I'm just gonna talk about it now, but I was very surprised to discover that in a town the size of Ann Arbor, something you say at a commission meeting can be newsworthy, and so the first time that there was a whole MLive article that was just stuff I had said at a commission meeting, it kind of freaked me out a little bit.

0:14:00.8 MK: I didn't realize, 'cause I was like, "I never watch these commission meetings." I know they are live streamed, but it didn't occur to me, that anyone else was watching them or that it would be news what we were talking about. And so I think that's really valuable because you can use that to push certain conversations forward, but it can be really frustrating when the people who actually do have decision-making power disagree with you, or don't vote the way that your commission thinks they should, so there's some of both for me.

0:14:32.2 NA: I appreciate hearing that example, Molly, how this thing that threw you off actually becomes a tool or a strategy used to be able to say, "This is a lever of influence," which is really interesting too, so I think about all the ways within... I think about within higher ed, but similarly within the city of ways decisions get made and who makes those decisions and how to have influence, that's what you're learning, that you can't know until you start doing these roles. So that's really interesting take. And so we'd love to kind of push further a little bit, can you give an example of how your board of commission informed your impacted policy or made decisions at the local level because of your board's or commission's work? Can you give an example from your own Commission work? 

0:15:15.5 SM: I'll start because we do have... Sometimes we have... Actually, we just recently, Planning Commission just recently changed... Let me be clear, we voted on proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance, that's the laws about what can be built where or about the process, prior to that, which effectively gives Planning Commission for better or for worse, final say on a lot of things more than what we used to have. Before, it was much more advisory and would go on to City Council, now, because actually the way that the law is written, a lot of things are just administerial, there was a perception of more discretion than we had before by passing it on, than what we really have. Some things do stop. Planning Commission determines how close buildings can be built to the sidewalk and how tall buildings can be and whether... What kind of uses can happen in a particular building. Can there be restaurants? We determine how many parking spots need to be provided, and so if there are new buildings that you see in your neighborhood that you don't like, you can blame us. If you... Sometimes we can set the policies, Council votes on the policies, we say does the plan meet those policies, but we can set those policies and sometimes we don't get...

0:16:49.2 SM: It still takes private development, so we don't always get what it is that we were hoping for, but in terms of kind of what you do see built, those are the things that, for better or for worse, often go through planning commission or the rules that got them there, even if they don't have to come before us, the rules that got that grudge in your neighbor's backyard that's too close to your backyard... That's us. But also positive things. We're working on a number of things, oftentimes, and I say this in a negative light, because one of the things that I've learned as a planning commissioner is people show up to tell you what you're doing wrong generally, and we don't often have people show up to cheer us on to say like, "This is good. We want to see this in our neighborhood, we want to see you say that you don't have to have parking. We have enough parking. What people use street parking?" But that's... All of that kind of stuff that happens on private property is within the purview of Planning Commission.

0:18:00.5 NA: Awesome. Molly, would you like to go next or Amber? 

0:18:02.7 MK: Yeah, I have one. So... I have a couple actually. My very first meeting of the Transportation Commission was the same week that the first bird scooters got dropped on the city of Ann Arbor. And the city had been anticipating that this was coming and so it was actually on the agenda to talk about, well, how do we wanna handle this new kind of mobility technology that brought chaos to a lot of cities? People were leaving them everywhere, there weren't clear regulation, some cities just impounded them all, they were impeding sidewalks, which has problems for accessibility. And so what we decided to do was create a committee within the Commission to figure out how we wanted to regulate what we were calling micro-mobility and... So the city... So we decided we were gonna revise the ordinance that governs who can be in a bike lane and who can be in the right-of-way, and who can be on the sidewalk. Like in the car, the car lane, and who can be on the sidewalk. And so city staff sort of came back to us with the first draft of, "Here's what we think should be... " And it did not account for a lot of the kinds of vehicles and the kinds of uses that those of us who have this direct experience knew about.

0:19:20.0 MK: And so I got to help shape the micro-mobility ordinance, which because of the pandemic, only just passed City Council a few months ago, but we were both trying to deal with these scooters and also to look ahead. So instead of just calling it a bike lane, I forget what we're calling it out, but it's more expensive, so you can ride an electric skateboard in the bike lane and you can ride a scooter in the bike lane and whatever kinds of future things come later like little tiny electric golf carts or whatever, we have something that's gonna be flexible enough to deal with that, and so that was a really gratifying experience of having an influence on city policy through the commission.

0:20:04.7 AM: I also can think of a lot... I think one thing that's also important to consider is that the city has a well-resourced Office of Sustainability and innovation, we have paid staff who work on these things, and so I think it's important to acknowledge that exists, and that also really helps us be able to do more in terms of energy and environmental stuff, and we also live in a very wealthy city that also is very environmentally friendly, so I think we're able to do a lot that maybe we wouldn't be able to do elsewhere, so I do feel lucky to even be able to do the things that we're able to do. So I think that's important to consider. But like I said, pretty much anything energy-related that's come up on City Council has first gone through the Energy Commission, so we've recently passed stuff around, electric vehicle parking spaces and requirements, city street lights, building materials that could be more energy efficient. One big thing that we spent a lot of time on in 2021 was around the sustainable energy utility that's being proposed in Ann Arbor, which would allow us to move away from DTE and have a network of solar panels on people's homes and be able to support each other that way to move towards a renewable energy future more quickly, and also submit a study that would consider the cost of a full municipal public power utility.

0:21:35.8 AM: And so we spent a lot of time working on that and having meetings around that, and we passed it through the Energy Commission and then City Council passed that, so now further studies are being done to consider what might be the best option for Ann Arbor, so that was really exciting to see coming through.

0:21:55.8 NA: That's awesome. I just wanted to do a quick reminder, it's in the chat, but if you have questions, feel free to use the Q&A to post your question and then up-vote other people's questions, and we'll be taking some time after the panelists have chatted to take your questions and address them, so we haven't ignored them, we're just waiting till the Q&A portion. Kayla, I'm wondering if you can share an example from the city's perspective of how a board or commission impacted city politics... Or policies and practices.

0:22:22.3 KC: Sure, yeah. And so the commission that I've worked most with is Transportation Commission, which is also what Molly is speaking to, and she gave a great example of how the commission helped with setting policy around those micro-mobility devices. And there are many other examples that I've seen in my time, and one of those was the city's traffic calming program, so the city's traffic calming program, it's written into policy and that it's adopted by City Council, and it is what governs when a neighborhood has an interest in having traffic...

0:23:08.4 NA: I think we might have lost Kayla's signal. Is that right? Okay, so we'll see if she is hopefully able to rejoin. I'm wondering...

0:23:20.4 KC: So if...

0:23:21.4 NA: There we go. Kayla, we lost you for a second there. Are you back? Now we can't hear you at all. No. Alright, so why don't we go ahead? We'll see if Kayla can figure out her tech and... I'm so sorry about that Kayla but...

0:23:39.6 KC: Is it still out? 

0:23:40.4 NA: Now we can hear you. There you go.

0:23:41.6 KC: I think it just was a cut in service here at City Hall, so sorry about that.

0:23:46.8 NA: It's okay. You have to start over 'cause we didn't hear a bit of that... The beginning part.

0:23:51.1 KC: Okay. So I was just gonna give another example of how transportation commission played a role in policy setting, and I was talking about the City's Traffic Calming Program, which is what governs when residents want to have traffic slowed on their street if cars are speeding down the street. And this program was a couple of decades old and really in need of updates, and the Transportation Commission worked with staff to develop recommendations for program improvements, and part of that was adjusting the criteria for whether or not a street could be considered for traffic calming installation. And essentially made it easier for streets who wanted traffic coming to be able to get that, and all of that is set in policy, so those changes can be made, but it was through discussions with the Transportation Commission about what criteria should we be looking at, which ones are really important. Which ones are not? Another related portion of that was that the Transportation Commission made a recommendation to City Council to increase the budget by about three times the amount of what had traditionally been spent on traffic calming in the past, and all of those recommendations were essentially adopted by City Council, accepted, the budget was adjusted in the future, and that's the program that we're working with now, so that was a great example of the transportation commission helping to set policy.

0:25:09.6 KC: And I'll briefly just say I was gonna touch on related to implementing policy too. We have a transportation plan that lays out a framework form, the types of transportation improvements that should be installed on certain streets, so whether it's a bike lane or a cross-walk or different transportation infrastructure, and the Transportation Commission, I believe has played a really effective role and having discussions with staff about individual projects to see if plans brought forward on an individual street resurfacing or street construction project, if that reflects what is set out in the transportation policy, and I've seen many instances where either a bike lane was added or a buffer to a bike lane was added or a new crosswalk or something was changed in the plan documents based on just opening up more conversation. And so in this case, it's not even official recommendations coming from the Transportation Commission, but just that vehicle for opening the discussion with these representative community members who are passionate and well-informed and have an interest in these topics. It can really play a role in shaping what gets implemented in the community. Thank you.

0:26:23.4 NA: I'm glad your tech was working again, so you could share that. I appreciate it. I'm wondering, Kayla, I'm gonna ask you another question, what influences the different roles that boards and commissions have been affecting policies and practices, and even from the examples that Molly, Amber and Sarah shared, each has a slightly different ability to influence policies. So I'm wondering, are there parameters already set up by the city, how would people know which rules will allow for more or less influence? 

0:26:51.2 KC: Right, yeah, that's a great question. And it's been touched on a little bit. Sarah mentioned the Michigan State Legislature really sets out a framework for what a Planning Commission's role and authority would be, similarly, the Zoning Board of approvals has a set statutory role. There are probably just a handful of boards and commissions that really have that level of authority or defined role, most Boards and Commissions get established by local city ordinance, and most of the time there's an ordinance that outlines the role or the purview of the Commission, and there are set of by-laws that accompany that, that sort of say what the commission can do or can't do and what they'll advise... It's typically to advise City Council on something, and so I would encourage that if individuals are interested in certain commissions and would like to know what authority does that group have or what would the role of that group really be, as you start looking into these commissions, looking to see if there's often a web page on that provides more information about an individual commission and that should have links to the ordinance or the by-laws, we are gonna send...

0:28:03.3 KC: I understand Miriam is gonna send out a follow-up email and we'll make sure there's some resources there for how you can find this information on, but there's a boards and commissions, a main page for that that outweighs the many, many different boards and commissions that the city has, and you can start drilling in to look at what those ordinances look like, each ordinance will have what the role of the board or commission is, and that's probably your best way to figure that out and just ask questions. So there's a city staff Boards and Commissions coordinator who's a great resource for that sort of thing. I know it can be a little overwhelming or feel a little daunting to have to dig through the archives and the pages on your own, so please reach out and ask those questions for any community members that may be interested. 'Cause admittedly it is a little disjointed, it's a little hard to figure out who does what in what role and that's all you have, and it does differ across each one, and you've got dozens of boards and commissions, so I can't address them all now, but I hope that that helps.

0:29:04.5 NA: Thanks Kayla. I'm wondering... One kind of last wrap-up question for the panel and then a few more for you, but I have one more question that maybe any of you could answer, but I wonder how does Ann Arbor experience... How does the Ann Arbor experience differ from smaller and larger municipalities? That was something we were chatting about as we were prepping for this, that just there's such variation, even the difference between city and county boards, and can anybody speak to that either through your own experience or through other conversations, so I'm wondering... Who'd like to take that on.

0:29:40.1 SM: I can take this on to some extent, 'cause I sit on the board here, but I deal with planning commissions across the state, and I would say by number... Many of the communities in the state with planning commissions are much smaller, we're talking the rural townships outside, and while the state authority kind of or the state legislation plays out what authority you have, in some ways, in those other communities that don't have professional planning staff that they can rely on, like we have in the city of Ann Arbor, the amount of impact that you can have when it's an all-volunteer board is even greater, maybe a plug to the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy. In the Ford School, there's actually... They have a regular survey of local governments across the state and asked specifically about planning, because this is the kind of board and commission that almost every jurisdiction in Michigan has. How much do you... Is it just what the rules are are based on what your volunteer board says... And there's an awful lot of governments where the policies are entirely set by local volunteers, that there aren't necessarily professional planners involved, so I would say, at least in my experience in rural communities, there's a lot of... I don't know, responsibility, a lot more responsibility perhaps that comes with those roles.

0:31:14.3 SM: I think Molly, to some extent spoke about this is a small town, to her, to me, this is big city, but... [laughter]

0:31:22.8 MK: Feels like our constant tension is coming from a bigger city here versus a smaller town to here, but yeah, so this idea that the commissions are newsworthy in Ann Arbor, I think... I don't know that that would be true in a bigger city, I didn't do this kind of stuff before I came here, so I don't actually know what it's like in the cities that I came from, but I think there's a lot more layers and complexity, I think in a bigger place. And one thing is just about... I was really curious for a while about the difference between a board and a commission, and it turns out that it's kind of like seas and oceans where it actually... There isn't actually a clear definition, so there are boards that are elected, so the Library Board and the Board of Education, those are elected boards, but then the zoning board is not... It's the similar kind of volunteer situation we have as the other commissions, and so the language can be a little bit confusing, and I think other cities probably use... My guess is they use different language in a lot of cases, if it's not governed by state law.

0:32:26.4 KC: And I'll throw it in the next... Molly, there's the council of the comments, which I think falls under boards and commissions, but it's called a Council, so as staff, I can't tell you what the difference between a board, commission or council. I think it's a different... It's just semantics, I wouldn't get hung up on that too much.

0:32:49.5 NA: Did anybody else want to add anything else to the comparisons in terms of scale or complexity? 

0:32:55.7 AM: I think one other thing, which I already mentioned is just the differences of resources that a city has, the fact that Ann Arbor is a wealthy town means we also have the resources to be able to pass a lot of policies that some places that are smaller would not, right. And I think that's really important to recognize too.

0:33:17.2 MK: And for people who live around here, there are also county boards, if Salante also has boards and commissions, and so there are ways to do this kind of engagement in the region outside of Ann Arbor and in some cases, a topic that you care about might actually be handled more at the county level than the city level, so the Housing and Human Services Advisory Board is a county level thing, so if you care a lot about housing, that might be one way to engage where you're not... You're not doing it at the city level at all...

0:33:49.5 SM: There are county parks... There's a board for city parks, there's one for county parks, there's one for the region, so there's lots of... Whatever your thing is, there's probably a board that is advisory in some way, and I would look at what your jurisdiction is and figure out which ones you're eligible for.

0:34:10.6 MK: One last thing, and that 'cause I saw this as a question, but it is possible, at least in Ann Arbor, to serve on Ann Arbor commission, even if you don't live in Ann Arbor. And depending on what commission it is, there's often a desire to have some perspective from someone who lives outside of the city, there's an extra hoop though has to go through there to be... The mayor nominates commissioners, and then the City Council confirms them, and you need more votes, you need more than just a majority if you live outside the city, but in most cases, these pass unanimously and it's not a big hurdle.

0:34:53.5 NA: Interesting, I think you all are raising this way that being able to bring your perspective and also thinking about it from different levels, if... The influence... I guess what I'm thinking about is what motivated each of you is caring about a particular issue and then figuring out both kind of via serendipity, but also by looking into it. The benefit of this session is that people can come in with a little bit more informed about how you might think about where do you want your influence to be. So knowing that there's a city county and region, there's not one that's better than another, they're just different layers of influence, so thinking about where do you want your energy to be spent and where do you wanna have... Where do you wanna see that the impact of your effort show up? So thinking about it in those terms. Kayla I have another question for you. So it's come up a lot in the Q&A already, so I thought, Let's just address it upfront, which is, what do people need to know in terms of how to get involved with the border commission? So thanks, Molly, for addressing the residency question, 'cause that came up several times too, but how do people join in? 

0:36:02.2 KC: Yeah, sure. So there is a Boards and Commissions webpage on And as I said, make sure to get that into a follow-up email, but there is a way to look from that website to see where there are existing vacancies, and you can take a look at where there might be a seat open right now, but I also encourage you to just look at all of the boards and commissions that are available and consider putting your application, and even if there's not a current vacancy, if there's something that you're really interested in, because those applications will get held by the City Clerk's Office and the mayor's office, and when a vacancy becomes available, they'll often look to what applications are already in queue and first see who has expressed an interest there. So looking at the vacancies, if you really wanna get into something right now, but also don't let that be... Don't let that hamstring your interest in a certain topic or area, but filling out an application is the next part of the process, which I kinda mentioned already, but it's an electronic application, just some general information about your interests and your background, but I do wanna emphasize what I think Molly and Amber and some others have said that your passion and interest in this area is really...

0:37:20.1 KC: I would encourage you to think of that as the only prerequisite to participating. You don't have to have done this before, you don't have to... Sarah, that is awesome that you came into this with a PhD in urban planning, but I also don't want anyone to think that that's required of them to get into this work, and as Sarah said... There's learning that happens on the job so to say. You get in and you find out what it's all about and you'll learn together, and there's staff liaisons that support the efforts, and will help you get oriented to what you need to know. There are certain positions on some commissions that are for a designated skill set, they specifically are identified, usually an ordinance that established that commission that will say, "We're looking for a transportation business owner or someone with an urban planning degree," or some other qualification or skill set, but I would say on most, if not all, boards and commissions, the majority of the seats are held by general community members, the public at large, anyone who is interested, and so again, just don't worry too much about your background or your skill set coming into it, these boards are making decisions for the community at large, and they need to be made up of people who represent the community as a whole.

0:38:36.0 MK: I just wanna make a particular plug to you all as students, that there aren't a lot of students on a lot of these boards and commissions, and there are a lot of students who live in Ann Arbor. And I think your perspective is incredibly valuable and often missing from a lot of conversations. And so, yeah, as Kayla said that, your experience as a student who lives in Ann Arbor is relevant to a lot of this stuff.

0:39:02.4 AM: And I think building on that on the Energy Commission, two of the designated positions are actually used positions. I think that's the case in some of other commissions involved. That's a relatively new thing, and so, we have two seats that are only year-long terms as opposed to three. And I think a youth is considered under 26 maybe or something like that, but we've had high schoolers on the Energy Commission. And also, it really helps when people... Like, oftentimes, some of the people that we bring in are people who frequently are attending meetings and coming and giving public comments, so I definitely encourage people to send in their application like Kayla said, 'cause we hold them for several years. But also, there's nothing stopping you from engaging in the work of these commissions right now by attending the meetings, going to public comments. Oftentimes, we have working groups where we let people who are not members of the commission, just regular citizens participate in them. So, you also don't have to be a member of the Commission right now to participate in this process and have your voice heard.

0:40:06.8 KC: Absolutely.

0:40:07.0 SM: And showing up and participating, like, both you can see a little bit more what the body is all about, the kind of things that come before. But it's also a way to show your interest, right? With slightly less commitment too. Like, if you're worried about do I have time to add this in, like, that's a bit of a teaser. And that's one of the things too that considering how... Asking people on the commission, like, "What kind of commitment is this? How much preparation is there for meetings? How many times do you meet? Are there sub-committees that you have to be involved in?" I think is all something that you can weigh and see and you get that a little bit by showing up. And also, we really... All of these bodies, I think that's not me speaking misspeaking, but they all have opportunities for public comment and public engagement in them. And so, I was gonna say, at planning commission meetings, there's at least there's at least two of them, plus special things for every time we're making a decision, there's a public hearing. So, we hope that the people would engage with that.

0:41:12.9 MK: Yeah, and so, for City Council meetings often you have to be speaking... Like, to talk at the beginning of the meeting, you have to be speaking to an agenda item, and that's not the case of a lot of these meetings. So we have a community member who regularly comments to update us on the status of the trains and rail system and the history of the train system. And it's great, and I learned something every time he comes to speak at a meeting. You can also watch these meetings on YouTube, you don't... If you're curious about it, but the specific timing doesn't work for you, all of these things are online and you can speed them up even, so you can watch them faster. [chuckle]

0:41:54.0 AM: And right now our meetings are fully still on Zoom, so you also participate... You could call in and comment virtually, you don't have to actually show up like I had to do years ago when I first was a part of it.

0:42:07.5 SM: And I would say planning commission, when we make decisions is in person for that, but we still do have Zoom participation, so if you prefer to be in person or you prefer to do it through Zoom, pretty much every Tuesday, you can tune in to a planning commission meeting and have your say.

0:42:30.7 NA: Awesome, I appreciate hearing the different ways too, so you all having been sharing such great examples of the ways you've participated in the boards and commissions, and then just some of these other examples of ways to participate that aren't serving sort of regularly on a commission, right? So public comment, coming to meetings, whether it's via Zoom or in person I think those are things I think we sometimes say for granted, 'cause they're not... It doesn't mean that you have to stay involved for three years, you can even come once every so often or on something that you really care about. Sometimes I think the challenge is being up on what's being talked about, if you do wanna comment, right, to feel like you... I think that's been sometimes a challenge for folks, but again, if you care about an issue, I think you'll start listening in, Molly I think, you should do a plug for your Podcast, so... I think you should do that. This is a good time to do it. [chuckle]

0:43:19.0 MK: Yeah. So I co-host a Podcast called Ann Arbor AF that is about local politics and policy in the City of Ann Arbor. Our tagline is "Get informed and get involved, it's your city," and our goal is to make it a little bit more approachable to start keeping up with what's happening in the city. We mostly focus on, we sort of City Council meetings, which we do before the meeting, so we're looking at the agenda, and so we're given you a heads up, what are they talking about this week, here's something you might wanna make a public comment about, and then we also sometimes do deeper dives into specific topics in the city that sometimes we have our own expertise in, sometimes we'll bring in an expert, and I've been doing it for about a year and a half, it's been really fun for us, but the goal is to make it useful so if you do listen, we'd also love to hear from me about what you wanna hear, what helps and what you want more of. So thanks for that opportunity Ann Arbor AF you can find us wherever you get your Podcasts. [chuckle]

0:44:21.2 NA: It's not only informative, it's really entertaining so... And I did wanna close with one last question before we go to the Q&A, although we've adressed some of the questions already, which is, what advice would you give yourself the pre-commission board self as to... Now that you've been on it, what advice would you give yourself or others who might wanna join? 


0:44:56.9 MK: I think for me, that is kind of tough. But I think I just wish I was involved sooner. Like I said, I had lived in Ann Arbor for several years before I started engaging in this. And I feel like now I follow local politics really closely, and the decisions that are happening at a local level affect people so much more than the politics that most of us follow at a federal level, our day to day lives at least, and so I think my thing my piece would just be that I wish I would get involved sooner and also not be afraid to share my thoughts and that I had valuable things to say even if I wasn't necessarily confident that I did.

0:45:44.2 SM: I think similarly, so the friend who was like, "Hey, there's these openings, on planning commission, seems like might be something you wanna do," he had to tell me three times before I looked into it because I was like, "I don't... " I mean, I vote, I'm a regular voter, but even the current mayor... I don't talk to the Mayor. [chuckle] I'm like, "I don't know the people, like who am I?" And I didn't think that... I thought that there was some secret test or something that you had to pass to get into this, and there is an application. And so I was like, "Oh, what are they looking for?" And so the reality though, now sitting on the other side is like, "We need volunteers," there's some seats that sit vacant for a long time, and I think maybe that there's a bit of this impostor syndrome like, "Oh, I can't be me, [chuckle] that's for other people but not me, I don't know enough, or I'm not good enough for that." And I think that that's what I wish I had known is that like, "No, your expertise in knowing this place and caring about this thing, that's what we're looking for," to Kayla's point to.

0:47:00.1 MK: I think for me being on the Commission shrank the City in certain ways, so politicians always sort of seem like these people on TV, there's a lot of distance from them, and I felt similarly about our mayor and our council members before I got on the commission and realized that they all have other jobs. They are... And they're actually, if you call them on the phone, they'll answer and you'll talk to your council member, and they're just people, and it really humanized City Government for me, and it took me a while to figure that piece out. I spent a little... I spent some time being cowed, that maybe if I had known all of that beforehand, I would have been bolder sooner, and that's one of the things I really appreciated about being on the commission.


0:47:55.0 KC: You're still muted.

0:47:55.1 NA: I was gonna say, Kayla, I didn't know if you wanted to add any closing comments or if we can go ahead and move on to the Q&A? 

0:48:08.1 KC: Well, I just was gonna build on a little bit of what was being discussed earlier in terms of how else you can get involved, and I think that all the panelists did a great job of talking about those opportunities for comment. One thing that I do wanna make a plug for... Well, I guess two things, one is that there's also, there's boards and commissions, and there's also community engagement that happens on individual project level, and when projects are implemented, there's often online surveys or public meetings, and these are opportunities for community members for all of you to express your interest, your views, and really play a role in the decision-making that will determine how a project gets implemented, and those opportunities are out there, I know that Miriam put in the chat, the website. So please check that out and see if you see something that interests you...

0:48:57.5 KC: Also, a lot of it is just how do we communicate about those engagement opportunities and getting the word out to people broadly and not just to the same people that we always hear from. So subscribing to stay informed on our communication channels, Facebook, Twitter, there's an email subscription service, and all that's linked from that web page, I really hope that you all will take a look at that and help share it within your network, help us get the word out broadly, so that people know what's going on, if they don't know what's going on, they don't know if they want to engage or if they care, if they wanna be part of the decision.

0:49:34.8 KC: And then the final point and I'll stop here, is just as we've said on multiple instances, the boards and commissions are advisory, and oftentimes and a lot of the decisions are made by City Council, so I'm just gonna make a pitch to make sure you're voting in your local elections, electing your local decision-makers is really critical, who sits at the council table is gonna affect how the decisions get made. And you do have a role in that. So please participate. Thank you.

0:50:01.1 MK: That's super important. And I also wanna add to that, that in Ann Arbor, the decisions happen in August because everyone runs as a Democrat, and so the council, the council positions are really decided in that primary, which is currently in August, which often excludes students, so it will probably take more effort for you, it might mean getting an absentee ballot, which at least Michigan now makes easier, but we're thinking August and not November for these elections, and we have several seats up this year.

0:50:29.2 AM: And if I can just add two more things, another thing is what Molly said earlier is, once the City Council members are in place, I also encourage people to reach out to them. Like she said, for issues totally outside of energy related things, I send emails, talk to my City Council members on the phone pretty frequently when things come up, that I'm interested in, and they listen to you and take your feedback a lot of them have regular coffee hours every Sunday, where they're asking people to come meet with them, and so you're not only voting for the people you want to, but also engaging the people who are in place once they are.

0:51:08.3 AM: And in terms of feedback, I wanted to do a shameless plug, 'cause I'm guessing a lot of people are students here and renters, but one of the things that's really exciting the Energy Commission is looking at right now, that's work from the a Sustainability Office is there's a green rental housing policy that we're considering, and there's currently a feedback survey live on Ann Arbor website, so like Kayla said, this is just something where you're able to review it, fill out a survey, and we're just trying to get as many people to fill it out as possible, so I can put the link in the chat, but there's lots of things like that that come up that you don't even have to go to a meeting for.

0:51:36.8 NA: These are great, great opportunities to influence and to be involved in many different ways, so thank you so much for sharing all those. I wanted to shift to some of the Q&A that was coming up. We did address some of the questions that came up. But one that's come out, Katherine is asking, "Along the lines of what Molly was just saying. Do you ever feel political pressure from City Council, and if so, how do you handle that? I follow city politics on Twitter and it's discouraging to see examples of City Council targeting or moving members of commissions for political disagreements, this likely deters more people from serving, so I'm wondering how you all think about that?"

0:52:21.4 SM: I can chime in with actually some conflicting information because historically, well, there have been planning commissioners who have been removed or their appointment has not been then continued, and it's largely a political thing. Most of the boards, maybe all of the boards have a council liaison, and so that's... On Planning Commission, we have one representative from council that sits as a planning commissioner as well, and that the kind of by laws of each of these committees determine how many there are, but... I don't know, I don't know if I'm hiding under a rock. But I really like maybe, and maybe I'm the most apolitical Planning Commission chair ever, but I really... I don't think I've ever had a one to one conversation with the Mayor, I communicate with Council member Disch because she's our committee liaison, but at least our relation... I don't know, our relationship, we've got something's City Council sends to us and says, "We want your recommendations and feedback," and you can kind of read between the lines about what they're interested in, we've certainly had our sense of making recommendations from Planning Commission that have not been enacted by City Council or changed significantly.

0:53:49.0 SM: Is there grumbling? Of course, we put our time and effort into this, but I don't know, I've avoided a lot of it, and I don't know if it's just because I'm not super active in that way, or I may be the eyeball.

0:54:04.4 MK: You know, I'm pretty active and loud about a lot of this stuff, and I have not received pressure from council members, and it may be slightly different for transportation because we have no power, so if they don't like what we say, they just won't do it, and that has definitely happened, and it's frustrating and sometimes I'm loud about it afterwards too, but I haven't experienced pressure, I was really disturbed by this moment when they were not renewing certain commissioners for reasons that were political, it hasn't happened since the sort of control of council shifted, and I don't... I would be surprised if it did happen with the current composition, so it can be frustrating, but I don't experience anything as pressure or threatening or anything like that, more like sniping [chuckle] and yeah, it's a frustration, and I know it can be... I definitely know it can be a barrier to participation on these commissions, people don't wanna invest their time if they feel like the work they do is gonna be ignored by council, and that I don't have a solution for that, it's gonna depend on the composition of council. I believe that it's still work that's worth doing, and the commissions have this role where they can help move a conversation in a certain direction and influence the kind of news coverage that an issue gets, and that can be useful for the longer game in terms of moving things, like change happens slowly.

0:55:47.9 MK: And so part of it is about recognizing when you're laying the ground work for something, that you might not be on the commission when change finally happens, but that doesn't mean it won't eventually happen.

0:55:56.1 AM: Yeah, I'll add to that I also I'm very vocal and definitely not apolitical, you know both on the commission and on Twitter and things like that and with involved in City Council politics, and I think... And I've disagreed with even the City Council liaisons on our committee, but I think like Molly said earlier, they're also humans that are trying to do their job, and so any time I have disagreed with the people on our Commission or with other people, and the City Councilors on the commission also changed. So they're different now than they have been in the past. Like just having a conversation with them to talk through when we disagree about things has been really helpful to both have them see my perspective and maybe change their mind, which is part of their job is considering the citizens opinions, or vice versa is understanding their perspective of why they voted a certain way that I didn't agree with.

0:56:55.6 AM: And so I think I haven't experienced pressure, I've definitely experienced disagreements, but there are things that I think can be part of the job that you're able to work through and... Yeah, I think if there was ever a time where I was considering being removed, I think it would be worth it, 'cause you're involved in this work because you're passionate about a certain issue, and so I wouldn't want something like that, that again, also happened in the past, in a former City Council, I wouldn't want that to stop people from being involved.

0:57:29.8 NA: Thanks for that. Those perspectives I think it's helpful to see that both there is some relationship between the Commission and the Council, but they're not determinate that there are lots of ways to sort of manage those relationships. There's a question here around, are there any efforts being made to ensure the membership of commissions and boards reflect the diversity of community they represent? Kayla I wonder if that's a question for you.

0:57:52.0 KC: Yeah, thanks. And I believe the way the application form works right now, that demographic information is being collected, however, I am not aware of it being used yet. It's really more a question, I guess, for the mayor's offices who recommends that appointment, puts the appointments forward for council to vote on would need... That's probably one for some more follow-up with the Mayor's Office or city clerk, but this has come up before in the past, and it's been something that I have talked to the clerk's office about having an interest in. The city is also working on hiring a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion director or manager position of some sort, which we do not have currently, and this is something that has been sort of noted as a future opportunity to look at with that individual once hired. So I think it's a great question. I think it's something we should continue to push for is assuring that we are using that demographic data, we're collecting it, using it to ensure that our boards of commissions are represented as much as possible.

0:59:06.0 AM: And I know on the Energy Commission, it is something that is being considered by the current chair and our City Council liaisons, and then they're like, do care a lot about... And so I think it's gonna slow process, but it is something that they're considering to try to have more age diversity, class diversity, race diversity in a couple of different ways to try to get a better representation on the commission, and part of that's also come through outreach is like trying to make sure a wider group of people to know when they are opening available, 'cause also it only goes so far as the application, so part of it is about that as well.

0:59:43.8 KC: Yeah, we do need to get a more diverse applicant pool, thanks Amber for making that point.

0:59:48.5 SM: And I would give a further plug that if you are a renter, please, we could use more renters on planning commission because in that lane, particular planning commission is not representative of the housing stock in Ann Arbor, and so it's one of the tricky things because it is a commitment. It is pretty much every Tuesday. But this is something that I regularly said, I don't... Even as a Chair, I don't see the applicants that as Kayla mentioned is something that goes through the Mayor's Office, but have been vocal whenever it's time, and I'm not sure if we're gonna have openings this year, but renters, get your application in and waiting for an opening because that is something that planning commission at least is... Would love additional diversity on that metric.

1:00:40.5 NA: So they're actually several questions around a little bit further in this thing, but for younger folks, so they are for students. So one is question how young people, middle high school students and undergraduates can get involved? So ways that either they could... Can they serve on commissions, and I know some of you mentioned like, Amber, your commission has two youth positions specifically set aside, but there's also a question here on opportunities in shadow committee members or intern with boards or committees, and so wondering if you can address that...

1:01:16.9 KC: Well, I think, yes, there are some positions that are available for, specifically designated for youth, and even when a Commission does not have a seat designated for youth, all youth are still encouraged to apply. There's nothing that I'm aware, I'm quite sure this is true, that there is no minimum age requirement to serve on a board or commission, I guess it's possible. It could be 18, but I think that Amber said there was a high school student on the Energy Commission, so that may not even be the case. I don't know of any of the things like shadowing in the official program for something like that, but I think that if there is a student at any age or youth at any age that is interested, reach out and express that interest. And I think that the clerk's office, the mayor's office, the chair of an individual commission can help find that opportunity and create that. So yeah, I just encourage to start the conversation where there's interest. And again, great idea and something that maybe the mayor's office and clerk's office could work on developing a more official program for that sort of thing going forward.

1:02:28.1 AM: And I'll just add in terms of the specific question around shadowing, the work of the commission is all volunteer, and what I've done for the commission is what you see in all public meetings, there's not a lot of stuff that happens outside of that besides preparation. So I think part of that is attending meetings, see if you can get involved in working groups, but also people are happy to chat. Last week, someone reached out to me 'cause they saw I was on this panel who's another student, and they asked if they could just talk about what I do one-on-one so that they could see if they're interested in applying. So I would also encourage people to... There's somewhere on the website where you can see everyone's names, who's on the Commission, so I would also encourage to just reach out to the people, and I'm sure most people are happy to chat with anyone who's interested.

1:03:16.2 NA: So along the same vein, there's also a question around what, is it possible for international students to participate in these kinds of activities. And so I'm wondering if you could speak to that or if anybody of examples of ways students have done that.

1:03:27.6 AM: Yeah, I do know sometimes a new renters commission, and I know there are international students on that, it's the same rules as when you live outside of the city because, it's around whether or not you're a voter. So it just requires a higher majority of City Council, [1:03:43.1] ____ So you can be on a commission, and like I said, it almost always is unanimous, so it's generally not an issue, but you can definitely be involved.

1:03:55.5 KC: Again all of the same opportunities for speaking at public comment, contacting your council members, contacting commissioners, all of that is also still available for international students, the same as it would be for any other community member.

1:04:12.5 NA: Awesome, so those are all the questions. There was another one that I think I feel like it's been addressed, but I can see if there's anything else that anybody might wanna add. This person specifically, he wants to participate in policy making as a research scientist, and he wants to carry out a career or they wanna carry out a career in medical research and use their knowledge to help inform better environmental and public health related policies. So I sort of feel like the whole session was about this, but if there's anything else you would add in terms of... I think things that they might wanna keep in mind as they're thinking about establishing, not just sort of... 'Cause a lot of what you're talking about is sort of the volunteer work of sort of kind of on the side versus it being the core of what you do, Sarah, being maybe the exception or even Molly, right? But, alright actually all three of you, I would say that your work is actually very tied to this work that you're doing on these commissions, but any advise or suggestions you might have for this person? 

1:05:06.2 MK: Because we have a lot of students here, I have to make a plug for the science technology and public policy programs, graduate certificate, which... So this is the program with my work hat on that I manage, and it's a RACAM certificate program open to graduate students from every program across campus, where you will learn about policy analysis and policy writing and policy communication, and you'll build those basic policy skills. Many of our students go on to have careers in policy, but many of them go on to have field careers in their field, most of them are STEM doctoral students of some flavor or other, many from the medical school... The PhD programs in the medical school and programs in the college of engineering. And you'll be prepared to engage in policy and influence policy from your role as a research scientist, so thank you, Miriam, for putting in a plug in the chat. And I'm happy to talk to any of you about the certificate program if you're interested in that.

1:06:06.5 AM: And I'll just add, I did that certificate when I got my Master's degree, and I would say it was easily the most valuable part of my degree. And Molly's not paying me to say that. It was super, super valuable. And I think especially for people who are in these spaces where they want to learn how to apply their science degrees to policy making... So it was super, super valuable. And I think in terms of broadly, yeah I think this whole panel is about that. For me, part of the reason I wanted to get involved in the Energy Commission is because I did feel like sometimes you're doing all this research and doing all this work, in my case, I do do policy-related things, but not locally, and so I was like, why am I not applying everything that I'm doing to actually make change on a local level? And so I think trying to be engaged wherever you are and apply those skill sets is both valuable for you personally, but also for the place that you live. So I think just getting involved and being able to apply all this work you're doing as a researcher is really, really valuable.

1:07:13.9 NA: One other group that I thought I might mention for that last question is this engaging science, scientists and policy and advocacy experts to student org, and so they do work around exactly that connection STEM students to policy and... In lots of different ways, so it's not a formal program in terms of a class or for credit, but Ginsberg Center has worked with them and some work that they were trying to do, so that's how we know about them, but that's another potential connection, and I think... Yeah, I just think about the ways that you all have raised some really great examples of lots of really different ways to contribute, and as Amber has been saying, I think I just wanna underscore, I think something you name that we think about a lot. There's so much opportunity to influence on a local level compared to the federal in these ways. These small, these seemingly small policy decisions have immediate impact on how your roads look, how we're using our spaces in the city, what have... Who has access, who doesn't? All of these things that affect our day-to-day lives and that's actually being made. Decisions are being made in these boards and commissions, and as Molly, Sarah and Amber and Kayla have named in five folks who are not always experts, but really care and are willing to do that work.

1:08:30.8 NA: So I hope that this has encouraged you all to think about ways that you can get involved in small and big ways. If there's any additional questions, happy to take them. And if... Or Molly, Sarah and Kayla or Amber want to add anything else, you all have given us so many things to consider, but I wanna leave that open, but if there's any more questions, feel free to throw it into the Q&A.

1:08:52.0 SM: I just think I'd pick up on something that you just said about getting involved and your voice matters at the local level. And I had always heard, call your house representative at the federal level or the state level, like your call matters. And I thought like, "Does it really matter?" When we hear from more than a handful of people about an issue, we really take note. There's not as many people writing to us coming to speak about things as what you might imagine. And so I just wanna underscore that I've heard the same from people at the state level and at the federal level, like a couple of calls, a couple of emails really do get the attention of people on these boards. And so I want to say at the local level the people that you're writing to, we are three of them, we're reading those emails, we know that it takes some extra effort to go out of the way to do that or to call into the Zoom call. And so even if we have not inspired you to go and volunteer your expertise, please, if there's something that you care about, call in and let us know.

1:10:11.1 AM: I'll add to that. It's a little harder to tell now that everything is virtual, but I would say regularly when things are in person, there would only be one or two people in the room watching our meetings. And often times one of those people was the same people. And we often get less than two people calling to give public comments, and so if we get more than that or if we get people emailing us, it's a big deal. And so I think you can very easily have a lot more sway than you probably think, and being a part of these public comments. There's just people who call regularly that it feels like they're almost another commissioner, 'cause they're paying attention closely. And so yeah, I think it's just... The barrier is a lot lower than I think it seems from the outside, and for things like the commissions, you don't have to sign up in advance to call at least for ours, and so it doesn't have to be this process like it is a little bit sometimes for City Council.

1:11:13.5 SM: No sign-ups for planning commission either. Comment early, comment often. Yeah.

1:11:24.0 NA: Awesome. Yeah, it's really... I think when... I just wanna thank all of you, 'cause there's... I don't think there's more questions right now, but I wanted to just appreciate how you all made, I think, demystified the process of participating, of joining and showing there's lots of ways to contribute and not feeling like you have to be the resident expert to be able to contribute to be the... You can gain expertise through this experience, which I think is really powerful to understand, and the ways you can have influence. And I keep saying influence as though it's the only thing, but I think that's part of... I think folks making choices about how you spend or how we spend our time, where is your energy best spent. And here it sounds like with across all of these examples that it can take time, but not as much time as serving on City Council or something, that's much more sort of the core focus of your work, and it can still be very, very impactful. So I just really wanna thank all of you for your work on both with the city and on these commissions, as well as your regular day jobs and for participating on this panel. So thank you to Amber and Sarah and Kayla and Molly, and also to the co-sponsors and thank you to all of you who joined us.

1:12:38.2 NA: This has been really helpful to hear from you all, and then thanks for all the great questions. Miriam's gonna be following up this, I think somebody mentioned earlier, she's gonna send out an email with all the resources that have been talked about, we had some others that we chatted about earlier. I just wanna thank you so much for participating and hope you have a really wonderful day.