Reforming the Private Development Act

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Patroklus Murakami
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Reforming the Private Development Act

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

In the past few weeks a light has been shone on an old and never-before-used piece of legislation - the Private Development Act. This dates from 2008 and is being used as the mechanism for adding the ‘Dougga’ sim to the CDS Estate. This forum post is not about ‘Dougga’ though - we can debate the merits of it elsewhere - but about the Private Development Act itself.

A lot has changed in CDS since 2008 and the law has failed to keep up with the changes. This forum post proposes ways in which we can get back to the original intent of the law and keep faith with the concerns raised by RA members at the time about the necessary checks and balances around Private Development.

I’ve gone back to the debate which was held in the RA when the Private Development Act was debated and passed. Full transcript is here. It’s clear from the discussion that RA members were concerned that:
  • 1) The RA should be involved in decision-making. It could not be solely for the Chancellor
    2) All citizens should have a voice and the Chancellor must at least consider their input
The RA members discussing these concerns were Gwyneth Llewelyn, Sonja Strom, Cleopatra Xigalia (known then as ‘ThePrincess Parisi’) and Ceasar Xigalia (known then as ‘MT Lundquist’). Beathan Vale was the developer of the proposal, Moon Adamant was the Leader of the New Guild. Key elements from the transcript are reproduced here:
[2008/05/03 10:42] Sonja Strom: Who would actually approve any given private development?

[2008/05/03 10:42] Beathan Vale: Sonja -- the chancellor

[2008/05/03 10:42] ThePrincess Parisi: we cant support it
[2008/05/03 10:42] ThePrincess Parisi: nay

[2008/05/03 10:43] MT Lundquist: i need clarification before voting

[2008/05/03 10:43] MT Lundquist: is it the ra that approves a build or the chancellor
[2008/05/03 10:43] ThePrincess Parisi: if its just the chancellor .. nucare will NOT support

[2008/05/03 10:44] ThePrincess Parisi: its more than one person can decide
[2008/05/03 10:44] ThePrincess Parisi: it needs the RA and maybe chancellor

[2008/05/03 10:48] Beathan Vale: the RA approves a master plan setting development standards; the Chancellor has the job of inspecting developments to ensure that they comply with those standards and can approve or disapprove only based on those standards and on architectural quality concerns (which are outside the scope of the standards) -- I envision that if the Chancellor approves a build that violates the standards, the SC would be asked to decide the case; a builder can appeal to the SC if the build should have been approved but wasn't -- so it is not all down to the Chancellor -- there is multi-branch invovlement and checks and balances

[2008/05/03 10:49] Gwyneth Llewelyn: (and as usual, the RA always validates the Chancellor's decisions ;) )
[2008/05/03 10:49] MT Lundquist: so is each sim first approved in ra

[2008/05/03 10:49] ThePrincess Parisi: can the guild advise the chancellor
..
[2008/05/03 10:49] Beathan Vale: TP -- no -- the private builder makes those specific design decisions -- but the design must be approved as consistent witht he regional plan

[2008/05/03 10:50] Beathan Vale: aproved by the Chancellor -- the Chancellorreviews and approves both design and build based ont he regional plan
[2008/05/03 10:50] ThePrincess Parisi: ok if we approve then the chancellor, but each build needs to pass RA, chancellor

[2008/05/03 10:52] Sonja Strom: If the Chancellor is acting based on a detailed plan approved beforehand by the RA, is there flexibility for the citizens to object to specific decisions?
[2008/05/03 10:52] Sonja Strom: Or to bring in new ideas, talents, participation?

[2008/05/03 10:54] Beathan Vale: Sonja -- not formally, but that is something that is worth adding -- but I think that it could be brought tot he SC even without more language in the proposal

[2008/05/03 10:54] Sonja Strom: Is there flexibility for the RA to bring in objections or ideas for changes?
[2008/05/03 10:54] ThePrincess Parisi: the citizens all have a voice through the guild, i really think the chancellor should be adivised by the guild on these matters
[2008/05/03 10:54] ThePrincess Parisi: not held to guild

[2008/05/03 10:54] ThePrincess Parisi: but must at least hear them
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: i mean i think the chancellor should have to listen to guild input before making the decision
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: there the citizens have a voice
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: all of them
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: done
[2008/05/03 10:55] Gwyneth Llewelyn: (it's part of the bill indeed)
[2008/05/03 10:55] Beathan Vale: TP -- that is already in the bill --

[2008/05/03 10:55] Sonja Strom: So the Guild would make a report and give that to the Chancellor to give its opinion?

[2008/05/03 10:56] Beathan Vale: yes -- a the BAC in the guild
[2008/05/03 10:56] Moon Adamant: Sonja, first of all, Princess is right - all citizens can bring ideas through the Guild

[2008/05/03 10:56] Moon Adamant: that atm we have TWO ways to do that
[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: BAC, which aids the Chancellor
[2008/05/03 10:57] Beathan Vale: I have reviewed the bill -- and it already provides for citizen appeal rights
[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: and Masterplan WG, which is KEEN to have citizen's input - thus the curveys, etc
[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: surveys*

[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: so, any citizen can join the masterplan WG
In the period since the passage of this Act, The New Guild became defunct and folded despite attempts to revive it. the current ‘Artisan’s Guild’ is an entirely different body. As a consequence the vehicle for input from citizens envisaged by the Act’s authors and the RA members who debated it no longer exists and will need to be recreated.

Proposal: We need to take account of the fact that 'The New Guild' no longer exists and develop new methods for ensuring that “all citizens have a voice” and that the addition of new sims is not down to ‘just the chancellor’.

At the time of the passage of the legislation it was anticipated that the RA and The New Guild would regularly review the ‘General Master Plan’ which acts as the long-term guide to sim development. The GMP provides a framework for expansion so that new regions blend in with the existing ones to form a coherent whole. It is the way in which we retain the high aesthetic building standards which we enjoy in the CDS. Unfortunately, despite attempts to refine it in 2009 the GMP has not had a satisfactory overhaul since 2008. It could use a review to take into account, for example, the fact that we have found the ‘Roman’ theme to be somewhat restrictive and less popular. Locus Amoenus was our second Roman sim but it started to fail after the global financial crash of 2008. One of the issues was that people found the covenant for the sim overly restrictive. LA is doing well now but it has taken several years to settle on the more popular ‘Tuscan’ theme and implement it.

Proposal: The RA should establish a new commission to review and refresh the General Master Plan taking into account all we have learned in the subsequent years since the 2008 plan and previous reviews carried out by the New Guild in 2009.

One further issue we should consider is whether the RA needs to have final approval of any region added to the CDS in this fashion. As currently drafted it would seem that a Private Developer can add a region to the CDS estate, recoup their own investment by setting the initial lot prices and taking all the proceeds, but not have to consider whether the region is sustainable in the long-term. Given that the RA is charged in the Constitution with carrying out long-term planning it would seem sensible that the RA should approve the final proposal in terms of the number of lots, their sizes and the tier to be charged for them and have the final say over whether it can go ahead or not.

Proposal: The PDA should be amended so that the RA has final approval of the decision to deed the sim to CDS through the Estate Owner and that the RA sets the tier rates for each parcel.

Once we have satisfied these conditions and amended the Private Development Act so it fits with the original intent of the author and the people who passed it and respects the RAs Constitutional role in carrying out long-term planning, I think it will be an appropriate means for adding new regions to our Estate.
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Re: Reforming the Private Development Act

Post by michelmanen »

Patroklus Murakami wrote:In the past few weeks a light has been shone on an old and never-before-used piece of legislation - the Private Development Act. This dates from 2008 and is being used as the mechanism for adding the ‘Dougga’ sim to the CDS Estate. This forum post is not about ‘Dougga’ though - we can debate the merits of it elsewhere - but about the Private Development Act itself.

I agree. Dougga was introduced pursuant to the current laws of CDS, and any amendments to such laws can only affect future sims. This does not mean that there should not be an open and inclusive debate on Dougg - as long as it occurs within a framework respectful of laws currently in force that permit the addition of Dougga to the CDS in the manner envisaged by proposed by the Chief Executive. There is no fundamental difference between the introduction of the Monastery sim and of Dougga to CDS, with the exception of the fact that Dougga will be to a much greater extent a "public" sim where citizens old and new will be able to purchase parcels , build their own structures and fully finance its tier. If properly managed and marketed, Dougga has the potential not only to cost CDS no money up-front, but also to make a profit and allow for a sizeable expansion of the CDS population. This is what one could justifiably call a WIN - WIN - WIN situation. Given the level of occupancy in CDS at this time and the interest already manifested in Dougga, the burden of proof is not on those asserting the benefits of Dougga to the CDS, but on those claiming otherwise.


A lot has changed in CDS since 2008 and the law has failed to keep up with the changes. This forum post proposes ways in which we can get back to the original intent of the law and keep faith with the concerns raised by RA members at the time about the necessary checks and balances around Private Development.

This is a very general statement rash in generalisations and short on specifics. What has changed "a lot" since 2008 affecting specifically Private Development? How has the Act "failed to keep up with the changes"? We don't know and are not told. I happen to think that although there clearly have been "changes" in CDS, nothing substantially affecting the interpretation and implementation of the PDA has taken place that might put in question its ongoing validity and current utility to CDS.


I’ve gone back to the debate which was held in the RA when the Private Development Act was debated and passed. Full transcript is here. It’s clear from the discussion that RA members were concerned that:
  • 1) The RA should be involved in decision-making. It could not be solely for the Chancellor
    2) All citizens should have a voice and the Chancellor must at least consider their input
The RA members discussing these concerns were Gwyneth Llewelyn, Sonja Strom, Cleopatra Xigalia (known then as ‘ThePrincess Parisi’) and Ceasar Xigalia (known then as ‘MT Lundquist’). Beathan Vale was the developer of the proposal, Moon Adamant was the Leader of the New Guild. Key elements from the transcript are reproduced here:
[2008/05/03 10:42] Sonja Strom: Who would actually approve any given private development?

[2008/05/03 10:42] Beathan Vale: Sonja -- the chancellor

[2008/05/03 10:42] ThePrincess Parisi: we cant support it
[2008/05/03 10:42] ThePrincess Parisi: nay

[2008/05/03 10:43] MT Lundquist: i need clarification before voting

[2008/05/03 10:43] MT Lundquist: is it the ra that approves a build or the chancellor
[2008/05/03 10:43] ThePrincess Parisi: if its just the chancellor .. nucare will NOT support

[2008/05/03 10:44] ThePrincess Parisi: its more than one person can decide
[2008/05/03 10:44] ThePrincess Parisi: it needs the RA and maybe chancellor

[2008/05/03 10:48] Beathan Vale: the RA approves a master plan setting development standards; the Chancellor has the job of inspecting developments to ensure that they comply with those standards and can approve or disapprove only based on those standards and on architectural quality concerns (which are outside the scope of the standards) -- I envision that if the Chancellor approves a build that violates the standards, the SC would be asked to decide the case; a builder can appeal to the SC if the build should have been approved but wasn't -- so it is not all down to the Chancellor -- there is multi-branch invovlement and checks and balances

[2008/05/03 10:49] Gwyneth Llewelyn: (and as usual, the RA always validates the Chancellor's decisions ;) )
[2008/05/03 10:49] MT Lundquist: so is each sim first approved in ra

[2008/05/03 10:49] ThePrincess Parisi: can the guild advise the chancellor
..
[2008/05/03 10:49] Beathan Vale: TP -- no -- the private builder makes those specific design decisions -- but the design must be approved as consistent witht he regional plan

[2008/05/03 10:50] Beathan Vale: aproved by the Chancellor -- the Chancellorreviews and approves both design and build based ont he regional plan
[2008/05/03 10:50] ThePrincess Parisi: ok if we approve then the chancellor, but each build needs to pass RA, chancellor

[2008/05/03 10:52] Sonja Strom: If the Chancellor is acting based on a detailed plan approved beforehand by the RA, is there flexibility for the citizens to object to specific decisions?
[2008/05/03 10:52] Sonja Strom: Or to bring in new ideas, talents, participation?

[2008/05/03 10:54] Beathan Vale: Sonja -- not formally, but that is something that is worth adding -- but I think that it could be brought tot he SC even without more language in the proposal

[2008/05/03 10:54] Sonja Strom: Is there flexibility for the RA to bring in objections or ideas for changes?
[2008/05/03 10:54] ThePrincess Parisi: the citizens all have a voice through the guild, i really think the chancellor should be adivised by the guild on these matters
[2008/05/03 10:54] ThePrincess Parisi: not held to guild

[2008/05/03 10:54] ThePrincess Parisi: but must at least hear them
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: i mean i think the chancellor should have to listen to guild input before making the decision
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: there the citizens have a voice
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: all of them
[2008/05/03 10:55] ThePrincess Parisi: done
[2008/05/03 10:55] Gwyneth Llewelyn: (it's part of the bill indeed)
[2008/05/03 10:55] Beathan Vale: TP -- that is already in the bill --

[2008/05/03 10:55] Sonja Strom: So the Guild would make a report and give that to the Chancellor to give its opinion?

[2008/05/03 10:56] Beathan Vale: yes -- a the BAC in the guild
[2008/05/03 10:56] Moon Adamant: Sonja, first of all, Princess is right - all citizens can bring ideas through the Guild

[2008/05/03 10:56] Moon Adamant: that atm we have TWO ways to do that
[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: BAC, which aids the Chancellor
[2008/05/03 10:57] Beathan Vale: I have reviewed the bill -- and it already provides for citizen appeal rights
[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: and Masterplan WG, which is KEEN to have citizen's input - thus the curveys, etc
[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: surveys*

[2008/05/03 10:57] Moon Adamant: so, any citizen can join the masterplan WG
In the period since the passage of this Act, The New Guild became defunct and folded despite attempts to revive it. the current ‘Artisan’s Guild’ is an entirely different body. As a consequence the vehicle for input from citizens envisaged by the Act’s authors and the RA members who debated it no longer exists and will need to be recreated.

The New Guild was not composed of all CDS citizens, and even had non-citizen members. Nothing stops the Chancellor to set up a Commission to channel citizens' input in a manner consistent with the intent of the PDA's authors. The British Empire has been dissolved, the Dominions have become sovereign countries, women and non-propertied classes have acquired the right to vote- yet the common law has not been "abolished" in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland etc just because it originated in England. If the Common Law survived the disappearance of the British Empire, surely the PDA can overcome the disappearance of the New Guild..

Proposal: We need to take account of the fact that 'The New Guild' no longer exists and develop new methods for ensuring that “all citizens have a voice” and that the addition of new sims is not down to ‘just the chancellor’.

Agreed. Citizens should have a voice in all public CDS matters. A New Sim Advisory Commission should be set up, where all citizens could voice their opinions and concerns regarding Dougga.

At the time of the passage of the legislation it was anticipated that the RA and The New Guild would regularly review the ‘General Master Plan’ which acts as the long-term guide to sim development. The GMP provides a framework for expansion so that new regions blend in with the existing ones to form a coherent whole. It is the way in which we retain the high aesthetic building standards which we enjoy in the CDS. Unfortunately, despite attempts to refine it in 2009 the GMP has not had a satisfactory overhaul since 2008. It could use a review to take into account, for example, the fact that we have found the ‘Roman’ theme to be somewhat restrictive and less popular. Locus Amoenus was our second Roman sim but it started to fail after the global financial crash of 2008. One of the issues was that people found the covenant for the sim overly restrictive. LA is doing well now but it has taken several years to settle on the more popular ‘Tuscan’ theme and implement it.

Proposal: The RA should establish a new commission to review and refresh the General Master Plan taking into account all we have learned in the subsequent years since the 2008 plan and previous reviews carried out by the New Guild in 2009.

I am not sure there is anything wrong with the old master plan. LA's evolution was entirely normal, as even the best-planned sim takes a life of its own once it is inhabited by citizens who have their own interests and plans. That is an entirely good thing and should be encouraged, and not feared. The master plan sets development guidelines; what happens once a sim takes a life of its own is an entirely different matter. We cannot and should not plan "against" that, but encourage such developments. The purpose of a new sim is not to enshrine in stone a master plan, but allow citizens to pursue their own objectives as part of the CDS community.

One further issue we should consider is whether the RA needs to have final approval of any region added to the CDS in this fashion. As currently drafted it would seem that a Private Developer can add a region to the CDS estate, recoup their own investment by setting the initial lot prices and taking all the proceeds, but not have to consider whether the region is sustainable in the long-term. Given that the RA is charged in the Constitution with carrying out long-term planning it would seem sensible that the RA should approve the final proposal in terms of the number of lots, their sizes and the tier to be charged for them and have the final say over whether it can go ahead or not.

Beathan explained quite well how this already happens: "Beathan Vale: the RA approves a master plan setting development standards; the Chancellor has the job of inspecting developments to ensure that they comply with those standards and can approve or disapprove only based on those standards and on architectural quality concerns (which are outside the scope of the standards) -- I envision that if the Chancellor approves a build that violates the standards, the SC would be asked to decide the case; a builder can appeal to the SC if the build should have been approved but wasn't -- so it is not all down to the Chancellor -- there is multi-branch invovlement and checks and balances".

Proposal: The PDA should be amended so that the RA has final approval of the decision to deed the sim to CDS through the Estate Owner and that the RA sets the tier rates for each parcel.

Absolutely not. The very purpose of the PDA is to ensure that there are OTHER avenues than traditional RA-led expansion available to the CDS. This amendment would, in effect, emasculate the PDA and destroy its very purpose. RA approval is entirely different from citizen participation and input, and one should not be confused with the other.

Once we have satisfied these conditions and amended the Private Development Act so it fits with the original intent of the author and the people who passed it and respects the RAs Constitutional role in carrying out long-term planning, I think it will be an appropriate means for adding new regions to our Estate.

The PDA continues to fully meet its authors' original intent and respects the RA's constitutional role in carrying out long-term planning. The key concern raised here - active citizen participation and input into the development of a new sim - can easily be met by means of a New Sim Advisory Commission. It is wholly within the powers of the Chancellor to set up such a Commission and organise its proceedings. Anything else has nothing to do with ensuring that the PDA is "an appropriate means for adding new regions to our Estate", and everything to do with perpetuating a power struggle between the RA and the Executive - something that should neither be encouraged, nor permitted in CDS.
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Re: Reforming the Private Development Act

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Michel and I seem to be in agreement that citizen input is important and that the PDA needs to be amended so that requirement is met. I think this needs to be outside of the control of the Chancellor though so that the separation of powers is preserved. Having a system where the Chancellor has all the power and chooses the citizens who provide input would not be acceptable and was clearly not what the RA had in mind. Ceasar and Cleopatra were very clear in their statements during the RA meeting which passed the Private Development Act that the RA needed to be involved. Sonja also asked a number of questions to clarify the degree to which citizens would have input.

Michel seems to have neglected to consider the other issues which I raised, and which RA members raised when passing this legislation, about the separation of powers and involvement of all branches of Government in decision-making. Now that the New Guild is defunct and the General Master Plan has not been updated, the RAs involvement has been severely diminished. This really needs to be corrected and preferably by giving the RA a responsibility in relation to new sim development. As the law currently stands, the RA only really has the power to alter the GMP in some way. The RA could act to suspend or abolish the GMP tomorrow and trying to circumvent them and exclude them from decision-making only makes this kind of overreaction more likely. I'd rather see a positive approach which tries to recreate what the original intent of this Bill was.

Consider the amount of power that changes in CDS since 2008 have now given to the Chancellor with relation to this legislation. The last Chancellor election was pretty close! If a few people had voted for me instead of Ceasar, I would be the Chancellor now. Would Michel really want me to have the power that Ceasar currently enjoys in relation to new sim development?

Just think. If someone came to me with a proposal to offload a full region and three homesteads I could approve it, appoint my own people to build it and an 'advisory commission' of my own hand-picked advisors to agree with the proposal. No RA oversight. No one to approve the plan as sustainable in the long term. No one who is truly independent of the Chancellor to advise on the quality of the build. And, at the end of all of that, a set of new assets/liabilities that the CDS has to pay for regardless of whether or not they are occupied. Is that really the kind of power people think is appropriate for the Chancellor to have? There have been concerns expressed about the powers of the Chancellor and a Commission set up to investigate any changes that should be made. Here is yet another example of how changes in the structure of the CDS (lack of revision of the GMP, disappearance of the New Guild) have led to unanticipated increases in the power the Chancellor wields. I find it's helpful when your guy is in power to think "are these really the powers I'd want the other lot to have?" If the answer is 'no', then they're not appropriate for your guy either! :)
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Re: Reforming the Private Development Act

Post by michelmanen »

Pat raises some very important questions, which need to be addressed as part of the debate we are having regarding three interrelated issues:

1. the development of the Dougga sim;
2. the revision of the Private Development Act; and
3. the powers of the Chancellor.

As all three issues merge in the crucible of Dougga, each of the three influence the others and create inevitable feedback loops, of which we at least must be aware, even if we cannot dissociate them one from the other as we attempt to sort out these issues.

Patroklus Murakami wrote:Michel and I seem to be in agreement that citizen input is important and that the PDA needs to be amended so that requirement is met. I think this needs to be outside of the control of the Chancellor though so that the separation of powers is preserved. Having a system where the Chancellor has all the power and chooses the citizens who provide input would not be acceptable and was clearly not what the RA had in mind. Ceasar and Cleopatra were very clear in their statements during the RA meeting which passed the Private Development Act that the RA needed to be involved. Sonja also asked a number of questions to clarify the degree to which citizens would have input.

Based on Pat's comments, it seems I did not express myself clearly enough on the proposed New Sim Advisory Commission. The Chancellor has the power to set it up and appoint its Chair and Rapporteur(s), but the Commission itself should consult all CDS citizens and faithfully report the result of the resulting debates and recommendations. All citizens would have input, not a select few chosen by the Chancellor. Unless we trust that citizens appointed in such positions can and will perform their tasks honestly and fairly, we cannot get past the US vs. THEM phase in which we still seem to be stuck as of now. The RA's involvement has been clearly outlined by Beathan; in addition, the RA itself passed the PDA, and the Act itself is the ultimate proof of the RA's key involvement. Once a law has been passed, however, the RA must not attempt to micromanage it, and allow the CDS administration to implement and manage it. There is nothing wrong or sinister in this; to the contrary, all efficient and effective governments operate in a similar manner.


Michel seems to have neglected to consider the other issues which I raised, and which RA members raised when passing this legislation, about the separation of powers and involvement of all branches of Government in decision-making. Now that the New Guild is defunct and the General Master Plan has not been updated, the RAs involvement has been severely diminished. This really needs to be corrected and preferably by giving the RA a responsibility in relation to new sim development. As the law currently stands, the RA only really has the power to alter the GMP in some way. The RA could act to suspend or abolish the GMP tomorrow and trying to circumvent them and exclude them from decision-making only makes this kind of overreaction more likely. I'd rather see a positive approach which tries to recreate what the original intent of this Bill was.

Actually, I did address the points raised above. It is very clear that the original intent of the RA in passing the PDA was to provide an alternative means of adding to the CDS Estate than the traditional, RA-managed process, and allow private citizens to take the lead in doing so, within the guidelines the RA established and under the supervision of the Chief Executive. It is Pat's proposal to, in effect, rescind this alternative avenue and give back to the RA exclusive control in the actual management of all CDS expansion methods that would violate the principle of separation of powers and unduly concentrate them in the hands of (now and for the foreseeable future) 5 citizens sitting in the RA. I fail to see how such a proposal would assist in promoting wider citizen initiative and participation, or safeguarding any separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. The RA could indeed abolish the GMP, but so could it rescind the PDA - therefore, it clearly retains ultimate control of legislation, and therefore is not only not excluded, but remains the deciding actor in this matter.

Consider the amount of power that changes in CDS since 2008 have now given to the Chancellor with relation to this legislation. The last Chancellor election was pretty close! If a few people had voted for me instead of Ceasar, I would be the Chancellor now. Would Michel really want me to have the power that Ceasar currently enjoys in relation to new sim development?

I have no reason to doubt that, if elected, you would (will!) fulfill your fiduciary obligations towards CDS and its citizens with the outmost diligence and integrity, within the limits of the powers awarded to your office by the Constitution.

Just think. If someone came to me with a proposal to offload a full region and three homesteads I could approve it, appoint my own people to build it and an 'advisory commission' of my own hand-picked advisors to agree with the proposal. No RA oversight. No one to approve the plan as sustainable in the long term. No one who is truly independent of the Chancellor to advise on the quality of the build. And, at the end of all of that, a set of new assets/liabilities that the CDS has to pay for regardless of whether or not they are occupied. Is that really the kind of power people think is appropriate for the Chancellor to have?

That sounds really terrible, I agree. But what is the actual reality? How has CDS expanded in the past? The RA made the decision to expand, undertook little if any preliminary research to find out if the expansion theme would be popular with existing or future citizens (to say the least, thinking back to both CN and LA), and when such research was indeed undertaken and presented, rejected it as being "subversive of the democratic will of the RA" (see intial AA proposal, withdrawn and replaced by Alpine Meadows). The entire planning and development was then given to the New Guild, including both citizens and non-citizens, who received an emolument for their efforts (not very large, I agree, but they still did). The Guild was self-selecting and had little if any on-going RA oversight over matters mentioned by Pat above, such as quality of builds, sim layout, or occupancy levels. So let us not claim that the PDA method is so much worse than what we have done in the past with little if any opposition from Pat, the RA, or anyone else.

To remedy these admittedly real problems, the New Sim Advisory Commission's terms of reference could include not only inclusive consultations with all CDS citizens, but also the duty to report back on chosen theme popularity, and projected occupancy levels. Such due diligence and risk assessment methods would be far superior to anything ever attempted in the past and would fully meet Pat's concerns.

What does trouble me in Pat's comments above is his implicit inference than anyone appointed by the Chancellor to any position with CDS cannot be "truly independent of the Chancellor" and therefore cannot perform his or her tasks with the required amount of competence and impartiality. I would think twice before making such a blank statement casting doubt over the integrity of any and all CDS citizens wishing to serve as part of the Executive Branch. If that is how we truly feel about those willing to give of their time, efforts, and abilities to the CDS, we should not wonder why so few will be willing to do so in the future.



There have been concerns expressed about the powers of the Chancellor and a Commission set up to investigate any changes that should be made. Here is yet another example of how changes in the structure of the CDS (lack of revision of the GMP, disappearance of the New Guild) have led to unanticipated increases in the power the Chancellor wields. I find it's helpful when your guy is in power to think "are these really the powers I'd want the other lot to have?" If the answer is 'no', then they're not appropriate for your guy either! :)
Again, these "unanticipated increases" are neither truly unanticipated, nor actual increases. The original intent and purpose of the PDA was to balance the powers of the legislative and executive by providing for a "fast-track, citizen-led, Chancellor-monitored expansion option", in addition to the traditional, RA-led and New Guild-managed one. The disappearance of the New Guild can be remedied, in this case, by the establishment of a New Sim Advisory Commission, as described above. I fail to see how an expansion supervised by one official elected by all CDS citizens as their Chief Executive would be inherently more dangerous or undemocratic than one supervised by 5 such citizens elected to the RA.

In short, we now have two expansion methods: one is RA-led; the other one is citizen-led - subject to the Chancellor's supervision. Both were validly enacted by the RA and accepted as constitutional by the SC. The problems raised by the disappearance of the New Guild can easily be remedied without rescinding or emasculating either one of these methods, thus maintaining both a separation and a balance of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government.

The fundamental problem I have with Pat's concluding remark about what he would do when "your guy is in power", namely asking "are these really the powers I'd want the other lot to have?" is a profound difference about the nature of politics and political participation in 21-st century democratic systems of governance, which has divided us pretty much from the moment we met. Pat still believes in an adversarial, antagonistic, ideologically-driven politics rooted in 19th century political realities which have long passed their expiration date; whilst I am a firm believer in consensual, deliberative politics capable of transcending narrow US vs. THEM divides and have the honesty and integrity of allowing the best argument to emerge, irrespective of whether it emanates from "my guy" or "your guy" (or gal, for that matter!!!). This, indeed, is the crux of the debate we are having today - and have had for a very, very long time: What does the "D" in CDS stand for? A simple replay of tired, old, RL institutions and principles, or an attempt to improve on them and look forward to better means of governance in the metaverse than we have been able to craft so far in the real world? Pat still seems to be looking back, at the old "US vs.THEM" era of ideological politics; I try my best to look forward to an inclusive age of deliberative democracy empowered by new technologies, new ideas, and the power of the best argument.

Honi soit quy mal y pense :)


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Gwyneth Llewelyn
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Re: Reforming the Private Development Act

Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

I will post my own proposals regarding this issue on a separate subject, but let me re-introduce the big issue here. The problem is not with the Private Development Act. The problem is with the CDSL 13-11 Budget and Accountability Act, which effectively removed the requirement for the Chancellor to propose a budget that includes an increase in tier. D'uh! When I saw this, I couldn't believe it, and months of discussion could have been avoided, because in my mind it was quite obvious that the RA would need to approve an increased tier budget... until someone pointed out to me that CDSL 13-11 removed that need.

Gah. Can I kick the RA members who approved CDSL 13-11? Thank you :)

Anyway, after some revisions proposed by some fellow citizens, who I thank heartfully for their corrections, here is my suggested amendment to CDSL 13-11, so that we don't fall in the same trap again: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5813
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Re: Reforming the Private Development Act

Post by Rosie Gray »

Gwyn, I have to disagree that the only issue with NL 8-4 is to do with the budget and accountability, although I do agree that it is an important piece of the trouble with it.

I think that NL 8-4 should also include a provision that requires a complete survey of the citizens as to what theme and placement would be acceptable to the majority. Otherwise, the CDS is forced to take on a themed sim that most people may not want or support, despite that it may fall within the now quite old GMP which should have been updated.

(posted here as well as under the thread mentioned above: Bill Proposal: Amendment to Budget and Accountability Act)
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Gwyneth Llewelyn
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Re: Reforming the Private Development Act

Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

NL 8-4 was deliberately introduced to speed up the whole process of adding new regions without the possibility of stalling — and that means no surveys, no endless discussions, no injunctions, and whatever else people have come up with lately to counter the effects of this bill.

For 8-2 and 8-4, all discussion is supposed to happen well in advance, before any new region is deployed: and that discussion is done at the GMP level. We can discuss the GMP for a year or even a decade, and invent all sorts of arguments and organisations to constantly review and update it. We can reject current GMPs, fall back to previous ones, refuse to discuss new GMPs (if stalling is desired), create a multitude of commissions or new groups to review the GMP, rethink and replan over and over again, and pretty much entertain ourselves with the long-term growth of the CDS. But that happens at the GMP level. Once it's approved, it stays approved, and then the Executive can start to add regions to it at will. That's the whole point of those two bills, and, I'm sorry, even with those two bills in effect, the CDS had to wait for 6 years to get a region — which won't happen now — in spite of referenda showing that 88% of all citizens want new regions.

Now one thing is the actual process of adding new regions. We might agree or not if this ought to be the purpose of having an Executive, but that's a whole different issue. If anyone bothers to read my own opinions on the abolishment of the Artisanal Guild and the establishment of an Executive, you can see with how much reluctance I accepted that. I was even more reluctant to let the Executive become a separately elected branch, and said so back then. But, alas, in democracy, it's the majority that rules, and I gracefully resumed my duties by accepting that the constitution and the laws have changed, and I'd have to live with a separately elected Executive.

The only thing that is absurdly wrong with 8-4 as it stands right now is that it presumed that the RA would have a saying in the extra expenses coming from any newly added region, because overseeing the budget and making sure that the Executive doesn't push us into financial ruin is one of the RA's most important responsibility. Unfortunately, that power was removed due to CDSL 13-11, effectively disallowing the RA to have any saying on how money is expended in terms of new regions. That is truly irresponsible.

Obviously I want 8-2 and 8-4 to stay, at all costs, just having it reworded to adapt it to current conditions. Leslie's LUC bill will go a long way to help with that. But if we don't have an expedite way to add new regions, we will never grow again. Instead, we will have to tackle the other issue, which is land hoarding, and start being way more strict with that — and that will affect way more people. I prefer to be softer on land hoarding, as long as the CDS can provide a regular and constant supply of new regions with more land. If that gets blocked, well, then we will start to have to seriously limit the amount of land that anyone can hold. I personally don't wish to go that route...
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  -- Philip "Linden" Rosedale, interview to Wired, 2004-05-08

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