I certainly understand your frustration, but I’m looking at the activities of the citizen participation groups and how they are not being supported – and being tasked with drafting guidance that should really be done from a centralized voice (the small gov itself; who should know the stakeholders and their needs even better than the few citizens participating). In the case of my mother, they have lucked out with someone who is a librarian and taugh english… but one of the other folks speaks English as a second language, no Spanish at all, and doesn’t do well at writing tasks.
I think the issues of highly knowledgable citezenry who do participate but are not supported by the small government (no copies of documents to be discussed, no online repository of said documents, no transcripts or meeting minutes for months following larger meetings, etc.) are pretty ugly.
Civic education hapens when civic participation is supported. I’ve seen too many people give up because it is “too hard” to work with the slip-shod and ad-hoc processes and procedures in many small governments.