Community Organizing and Policing
"Community Development refers to efforts to mobilize people, who are directly affected by a community condition, into groups and organizations which enables them to take action on the social problems and issues that concerns them." (http://www.abacon.com/books/ab_020526834x.html) There are many reasons why residents in a community form teams; the desire to create and act upon a shared vision, develop community cohesion, and solve or reduce the impact of problems and issues. "As crime and violence increase in the communities, community organizing and community policing plan strategies to combat these problems." (http://www.communitypolicing.org/pubs.html)
"The city of Long Beach’s Department of Community Development and Police Department provide services and programs to residents and community organizations to maintain and promote quality neighborhoods and a strong economic base for the city and all its people." (http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/cd/index.htm) Community organizing within a diverse community like Long Beach, is a significant problem public management and employees constantly face daily. Public management will face positive and negative issues of cultural diversity within their context.
"There was nobody we could talk to. If we had an idea or even a question, it was met with deaf ears. When you’re up against the power, how can you get them to listen if they don’t see you as equals." (Rivera, 1) These are feelings from Waldo Rodriquez, a Latino man from Watsonville, who felt that the Latino community was being discriminated against. The U.S Supreme Court ruled that the city of Watsonville at-large election discriminated against Latinos by diluting their voting power. "The reasons for this deficiency are multiple, complex, and interwoven. Racism-political, economic, and social-is at the core of the problem." (Rivera, 1)
Local government officials in many jurisdictions have directed increased attention recently to identifying viable forms of citizen participation. They have acknowledged problems associated with widespread public disengagement and the need to allocate limited resources more effectively. The need for citizen participation poses a major challenge for public managers. How do I get the citizens to participate in improving their community? With a diverse community, how do we promote greater understanding between residents of different ethnic backgrounds? Public managers and employees must understand the importance of community organizing.
The different racial and cultural characteristics within a community propose various issues. Culture is a collection of behaviors and beliefs that becomes a way of life.
"We are defining culture as a collection of behaviors and beliefs that constitute "standards for deciding what is, standards for deciding what can be, standards for deciding how one feels about it, standards for what to do...