Friday, February 15, 2008

PELU: rating and validating proposals

One of the topics I have brought up a couple of times is how we will
analyze proposals. I'd like to solicit some suggestions for those
questions we might ask about proposals and their effects. I don't
think more than a handful are necessary. Please remember, I am coming
at this from a pure policy angle, and my only goal is to see that all
proposals are fairly considered and the final report of the task force
is analytically sound. From that standpoint, I have five potential
criteria which, while vague, will address most concerns:

1. Effectiveness: Will the proposal increase public engagement in
the land use planning process?
2. Cost of implementation: What is the potential cost increase and
who bears that burden (note, this is not who should, but who will
under the proposal)?
3. Political feasibility: Just what it sounds like. An ugly
question, but it still must be asked. Will relevant stakeholders
support this?
4. Technical feasibility: Is this even possible? Is it easy? What
are the implementation challenges?
5. Indirect consequences: Where can the proposal go wrong? Are
there any positive indirect consequences?

The goal here is not to judge proposals directly, but to provoke
well-grounded critical thinking within a consistent framework. From
here, a ratings framework ought to be developed. Proposals can be
rated, say, 1-5, on each measure. Or they can be rated relative to
each other.

I realize this is a touch academic, but I am a grad student in public
policy, so I come at this with what I know. A bit more on this is
available at

Any thoughts or suggestions?


James P. Howard, II

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