The open town meeting form of municipal government has been in use in parts of New England since pretty much before the United States was a country. The way it works is all registered voters in town who are interested in being involved get together for a few nights in spring to vote on policy, budget and board appointments for the next year. A city manager and various oversight boards take care of the day to day operations and special open meetings can be called throughout the year to address specific issues.
I had wrongly assumed that the state or federal government had policies and procedures, built on good research, to address an airborne pandemic. Terrible air quality and a huge fire on the other side of Springfield, at the time I am writing this, made me consider the logistics of evacuating 170,000 people. My lay opinion is that we as a community are not prepared for that at all. Our local government has failed to address the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent housing crisis let alone the looming one.
Democracy does not work if we are not involved in it. The open town meeting is the most direct form of democracy in our country and the challenges we face in the next decade require a working system of intelligent decision making.
A city wide initiative petition could amend our city charter to the open town meeting form of municipal government. Please email me at EugeneTownMeeting@hotmail.com if you would like to get involved or have any feedback.