Step 2: The Scheduler — The Gatekeeper or data entry ?

Continuing on my quest to get a simple meeting with my reps, I encounter the scheduler. A scheduler is in fact someone who schedules my representatives time. I know, a weird concept. Most of us use Google Calendar to do this work for us — time slot open, people can schedule time to meet with you. Each and every one I emailed from Fed to County, I got the same response. Your Rep is to busy, they can’t meet you, BUT you can meet with their staff. By far, my favorite response came from the Scheduler of Alameda County Board of Supervisors Nate Miley — District 4, Anne Gee.

Our protocol is that constituents meet with policy staff as a first point of contact. If after your meeting with staff, your questions and concerns are not answered, you may contact me then.” -Anna Gee — Executive Assistant to Supervisor Nate Miley

Well what if I want to meet my legislator and talk with him. I did vote him into office seems like a strange process but i will follow it” — me

I can set up a meeting, but it won’t be until July. That is where he is booking to. Policy meetings are handled by staff as they are the most knowledgeable about the subject. Supervisor Miley himself does say “ If you are meeting with my staff, you are meeting with me. “

I don’t want you to think that the Supervisor does not want to meet with you. There is a high demand for meetings with him so if staff can handle the meeting, that is what he prefers, it is an attempt to save you and him time. But since you are so insistence, will July 20th at 3:30pm at our downtown Oakland office work on your schedule?” -Anna Gee — Executive Assistant to Supervisor Nate Miley

Instead of feeling welcome, it made me feel frustrated. Nate’s own website said…

Your involvement is an important component in making the vision a success. Please feel free to contact my office if you are interested in being involved, have any questions, concerns, and/or issues. It is a pleasure working with and for you.

It got me thinking, why does no one want to meet with me? Are the staffers blocking it from happening? The reps say “they want to meet us” but do they really? Are we just a number to them? I wanted to understand what my voice represented in California to a rep so I did some quick calculation.

According to Google there are approx. 40 Million people in California and 1.6 million in Alameda County. What % does my voice represent?

2 US Senators each represent 40 million people each. Me = 1/40,000,000 or 0.0000025% voice in California

53 US Representative’s represent 755K people each. Me = 1/720,000 or 0r 0.000138% voice in California

40 CA Senators represent approx 1 million people each. Me = 1/1,000,000 or 0.0001% voice in California

80 CA AssemblyMembers present approx 500K people each. Me = 1/500,000 or 0.0002% voice in California

4 Alameda County Board of Supervisors represent 400K people each. Me =1/400,000 or 0.00025% voice in California

I, by myself, represented a very small voice:( ..But, I could not believe 100% of people in California requesting meeting. How “ busy” were these people?

Then, I remember my conversation with the receptionist. Each one ask me the same questions, my name or organization, issue, and size of my party? My path was determined by the data the receptionist collected. The scheduler had one path for me -> Staffer. Since I represented such a small number of overall voice, staffer’s got my request. The scheduler then logged my results into their database and onward I go.

The realization that I was a number, I represented a % of voice overall made me think….How do reps know what issues matter to the people in their community? If they only listen to groups what about those of us who do not belong to a group? What about those who don’t call, email or write and log our concerns? Who/How do you get one-on-one face time with representatives? Is there another way to the rep?

STRIKE 2 — FRUSTRATION LEVEL building! I was determined to meet with my rep. in a one-on-one setting, but 1st off to the Staffers….