I work for a large public transportation agency which is serious about public outreach during the planning and decision making process. You can't address this situation in a vacuum without realizing that many of the decisions during a time financial crisis are going to result in reduced services and fare increases at a time when many in public are having a very difficult time.
The decision has to rest on providing as much information as possible and reaching as many people as possible and that means using social media and answering questions. I listen to our board meetings which are open to the public and yes they are raucous to the extreme. That being said, public comments are limited to one minute per speaker and those speakers went through allot to attend the meetings. Use of social media to exchange information throughout would be educational for both the government and the public.