San Fran Ripe For Mediation

Patrick Goggin wrote a really good piece about how the budget situation in San Fransisco could benefit from mediation. "Marc", a reader who posted a comment, then wrote an interesting assessment of how mediation would be a a disservice to the people of San Fran because, "Uh, we elect people to bring our politics to the table and sort things out. When the author is suggesting is that an unelected third party be substituted for the will of the electorate as expressed through our representatives."

Many things to comment on here. First I will start with the reader "Marc" and his comments. If you click the link below, you see his post was not just some quick, knee-jerk response. In contrast, he wrote a seven paragraph response. Unfortunately, I do not believe he fully understands what mediation is. As we all know, a mediator does not make any decisions, but rather helps the parties work together to identify issues, explore solutions and then work on an possible agreement that is acceptable to all. A mediator is not a substitute but rather another character to the equation.

Take a look at then at the second paragraph and Marc also believes power has to be substituted or handed over to the mediator. I actually talk about power in my opening statement during civil court mediation. I purposely mentioned power and how it lies entirely in the hands of each of the parties- not the mediator.

Admittedly I do not know the inner political story behind all the budget talks but I don't think it is all that necessary to see that a mediator can help in this, and similar situations.

Patrick Googin adds this towards the end of his article, "While the City’s current budget crisis may not be of Middle East conflict proportions, it certainly is a crisis worthy of special mediation. To get to mediation, however, the parties must enter into the mediation voluntarily – they must want to participate and be willing to strike a compromise to end the stalemate the parties find themselves in. Board President David Chiu, a seasoned attorney and one who recognizes the importance of stakeholder buy-in, should propose employing a special mediator to help solutions rise from the current budgetary deficit abyss."

I am not sure of Mr. Goggin's experience in mediation, but he makes a valid point here so kudos to him.

Read the article [here].

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