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Role of Washington: Public Administration

Washington through interest group activities influences policy creation and implementation in United States. It is largely through the actions of organized groups that the public’s opinion shape policy making and thus help assure that policies are responsive to popular preference (Derthick, 1979). These group activities occur through out the policy process, from setting both the societal and government agendas to influencing policy formulation and implementation. They also contribute to the critical process of policy legitimating by creating and sustaining dialogue that promotes effective problem solving and ensures that policy will reflect the public views (Derthick, 1979). Ultimately, the success of a policy turns on the quality of dialogue and accommodation of pertinent interest groups.

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Individuals and groups use direct lobbying attempt to influence members of official agencies through personal contact. Among the key actions of activity groups that fall into the category of direct lobbying are personal visit with members and staff in a variety of setting and the provision of technical, constituency and political or strategic information (Derthick, 1979). For example, environment group routinely testify at hearings on proposed legislation to document the scope of environmental threats and to urge specific policy action.

Washington based advocacy organizations use various lobbying techniques. These include contacting government directly to present point of view and engaging in informal contacts with officials at conventions, over lunch and in similar settings (Derthick, 1979). They also enter into coalitions with other organizations, attempt to shape policy implementation and also talk with people from the press and media. Other lobbying techniques also used include the agency helping to draft regulations rules or guidelines, filing suit or engaging in litigation and engaging in direct mail fund raising in order to influence policy creation and implementation in United States.

States as Policy Laboratories

Since the late 1970s, policy initiatives in a variety of areas have devolved from the federal government to state-local government (Zinn, 2004). The 50 states and many of their communities are in the process of fashioning with varying degrees of vigor and coherence in policy making (Zinn, 2004).

California considers the natural environment a very important issue. For almost three decades air pollution bills have been approved. The rapid population growth and extensive suburbanization of open space and agricultural land in California forced the state to become involved in growth management before most other states. The Williamson Act of 1965, which is the best known policy from this early growth management era, protects open space through conversation easement (Zinn, 2004). It has enrolled over 16 million acres.

The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 was a watershed event by engendering widespread environmental concern among California residents and creating support for the passage of several environmental and land use related laws (Zinn, 2004). The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), passed in 1970 and modeled after the National Environmental Policy Act, required state and local agencies to consider the environmental effect of their policies and activities to mitigate those effects and to report to the public (Zinn, 2004).

In 1971, AB 1301, a land mark general plan law, required local governments to engage in planning. It imposed procedural and organizational requirements but no policy requirements. A year later California voters approved proposition of the coastal protection initiative. This was considered the boldest effort in state land use regulation. It created six regional coastal commissions under a state commission charged with issuing development permits and carrying out long-term planning and management.

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Reference list

Derthick, M. (1979). Policy making for social security. Chicago. Brookings Institution Press.

Zinn, J. (2004). State policies to manage growth and protect open spaces. Chicago. Nova Publishers.

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StudyCorgi. "Role of Washington: Public Administration." December 11, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Role of Washington: Public Administration." December 11, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Role of Washington: Public Administration'. 11 December.

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