How should urban zones structure local democracy to ensure fewer turf wars, broad participation and greater engagement of its human talent and genius?
After a first, admittedly relatively cursory pass at this, I think I sense an inherent contradiction, overall. What's being stressed is "identify politics, while diverting attention to matters supposedly of binary "partisanship". So, in effect, the same 'multiplicity' that's being blamed for causing complexities of "representation" instead more installs those complexities as procedural features, moving the complexity further into a more elaborate political process, but 'formalizing' it.
After all, right now there are all kinds of citizen groups, coalitions, lobbying bodies, etc. all of which proactively appeal to other citizens and to elected officials. But arguably more in a context of objective "issues" which are validly shared among all rather than presumptions of group identity premises. How is that really so different from the proposed 'people's assembly"? You say those are to be "randomly selected" persons serving in such capacity, but does that, then, mean mandatory service? Otherwise, there *will* be self-selective criteria taking place which skews 'randomness'. So, too, possibly whomever those "professionals" directing that process might be.
A good example of the pitfalls this may actually further inflict can be seen in what's taken place In Berkeley in recent times. A matter as fundamental and important as "Public Safety" was suddenly, one might also say 'spuriously' and hastily introduced by council. At first it was posed as an exploratory collection of "fair and impartial data" and then to conduct an objective examination, looking for possible improvements accordingly.
Yet, consulting "professionals" were hired to then proceed with that claimed process. The first fly in that ointment was that the folks hired to do so were already specialists in advocating for and actively involved in implementing a distinct combo of outcomes, which became especially predictive of which specific outcomes were going to arise from the pursuit, even as the very "program" was 'amended' further, over time, and retroactively to increasingly redefine the entire enterprise as a missioning to outright achieve those outcomes.
At the same time, while exercising various activities appearing to amount to participation by 'the public' and 'community based groups;, it was actually a stated criteria that in order for any individuals to 'qualify' for becoming involved, they had to *already* have personal *commitments* to just certain outcomes, as well. That's nothing other than simply stacking the deck.
Further, newly formed 'community groups' showed up to be involved, but with members who had actually been involved with devising this entire performative show from before it became visible to the public, if in other capacities and aegis, individually. In fact, while this whole enterprise was positioned to the public as having been somehow caused by the G. Floyd incident, there's been evidence that planning and preparations had begun months before that.
It was such a blatantly UNdemocratic initiative that one of the hired research firms was moved, ethically, to report that the processes and methods they found used were distinctly "biased" in design and practice. And so those were. What's more the very "data" included or not was, likewise, skewed selected, removed, ignored, and manipulated to serve to fit the pre-existing intended 'outcomes', which never were actually substantiated in any meaningful sense, Just pitched.
While affecting so much in Berkeley and in such significant ways, council simply kicked it into motion on their own say so, although a general election was looming on the immediate horizon and would have been the proper way to allow the people to vote on whether and how such a thing might be pursued or not. After that election, more retroactive amendments were effected and the faux public/community 'representations' were installed. A total stacked deck and sleight of procedures, all actually routing and preventing genuine democratic process, truer 'proportional representation' and not just 'amplifying' but exalting only certain special interests, while being conducted BY them. A mere simulation of anything else, at best. AND very costly and dragged out still. Some folks must've made a pretty penny and force-feeding all that.
So it's the very basis of adding quite more complexity, while building in certain biased aspects (e.g. 'identity politics') creating more special convening groups and recursive decision making that can actually be red flags for a rather similar dynamic in actual practice, all having been promoted with euphemised, fair-sounding rhetoric designed to eventually allow proceedings to commence relatively unfettered by truly self-assigned citizen participations, and the inherent, existing "representation equality" of One Person, One Vote, not catering in design and form to instead serve supposed "group identities", as a merely presumed equivalent political body, especially any that haven't been realistically defined as either requiring special status or platform, as "different" from any others also so defined.
Another fairly stark example: Proposition 16 and the clear majority of voters on the matter in the last General Election, decisively rejecting any further 'affirmative action' or racial discrimination, especially by government and in education, yet almost immediately followed by so-called "centering racial equity" continuing and substantially increasing just that which have been injected everywhere by sitting elected officials and unelected bureaucratic functionaries even in only quasi 'jurisdictions' (regional authorities) everywhere since then, in blunt defiance of the voters.
Otherwise, here... pick a card, any card.