Dear Mayor Rogero,
Thank you very much for the opportunity to work with your Office of Neighborhoods to see if
CMC could help Parkridge residents talk together about issues facing their neighborhood. We
know you extended the invitation for mediation in the community, and we really appreciate your
intention to bring peace to the table.
CMC staff and volunteers spoke to 25 Parkridge residents at the O’Connor Center on July 30 to
introduce CMC. We proposed a process for the neighborhood to begin to talk together to find
points of agreement. The process was a two-part design. First, the participants would break into
small groups of 6-10, and with the help of CMC volunteers, discuss neighborhood values and
interests, ranking them by priority and fleshing out what those values meant to each person.
Then, each small group would choose someone to participate in a roundtable discussion which
would be guided by CMC facilitators. This “fishbowl” conversation would be observed by the
larger group of residents. Participants could feel safe and respected while speaking, and the
CMC facilitators would work to create a dialogue between those at the table. The end result,
while not guaranteed, would likely be a new open-minded understanding of each other’s
positions, and even a move toward finding common ground.
After thinking through the questions and comments we received at the July 30 meeting, and
reflecting on what we could accomplish using CMC staff and mediators, I don’t believe a
facilitated dialogue process would be effective at this time. The various positions expressed on
zoning and historic preservation seem to be so firmly held that people find it difficult to listen, to
try to find mutual solutions, and to respect each other’s differences. Going forward, we would be
able offer mediation for any person who wants to try to “mend fences” and heal relationships
between themselves and their neighbor. We also welcome any request from a neighborhood
organization to set up facilitated and creative public policy discussions in the future.
Jacqueline O. Kittrell, Esquire