Comparative Policy Memo

PA 310 (Management of Urban Governments)

Comparative Policy Memo

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Due by: Friday by Sunday, September 26




In our week five lecture and textbook assignment, we discuss public policy – a legislative body’s choice of actions. This is an important role of members of city councils and board of supervisors as it is an activity that influences people’s ideologies about local government. Most policy decisions regulate the behavior of individuals or businesses. Often, these regulations have supporters and opponents and are generally controversial (because, let’s face it, we really don’t like to be told what to do by anyone, but especially government, right?). Just turn on the news or review social media to see the different points of view on regulations related to COVID-19.


Assignment Instructions:

For this assignment you’re going to research and present how three *cities or counties addressed the same policy to regulate some type of activity during the past two years. Examples can be regulating the location and operations of cannabis dispensaries, sale of vaping devices, ability for homeowners to rent out rooms on their homes for short-term rentals (i.e. via various apps like Airbnb), expanding opportunities for ‘urban agriculture’ in residential areas or allowing businesses to use public right-of-way (sidewalks and parking areas) for dining or displaying merchandise (starting during the Governor’s public health orders and expanded temporarily). To complete this assignment, you will research news articles and also conduct research on the various local government’s website if more detail is needed (either explanations provided to the public or researching the source documents from the council/board meetings when the policy was deliberated).


**Assignment Format:

To discuss the findings of your research, of a typical essay, you’re going to prepare a memo from you to me. A memo is a professional document used to communicate information in the professional work place. It is not like an essay or research paper. Instead, it is a brief distillation of information that allows a decision maker to understand the key points quickly.  It also is devoid of opinions. It is just a neutral and objective presentation of the facts. Executives and policy makers are busy people, so documents need to be focused and concise as possible so that minimum time is required to glean the information from them. Your memo should be no more than one and one-half single-spaced pages. Please see the next page for a template for completing this assignment and the writing sample attached with this assignment.


*Note: A common mistake is to address COVID restrictions – these are state laws enforced by the County’s Public Health Officer. Cities have not been able to affect changes to stay-at-home orders or restrictions for business activities.


DATE:             _________________(Insert date you’re preparing this document)

TO:                  Patricia Frosio, Lecturer, SDSU

FROM:            __________(Your name), Student


COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF CITIES (or counties if that’s the focus of your assignment) ADDRESSING (insert your topic)


In our PA 310 course, you asked that I research how three cities (or counties if that is the focus of your assignment) have enacted a particular policy to (describe the policy/regulation). Below, you will find a summary of policies passed by the cities of ___, ____ and ____ (or counties of __, __ and ____ to address ___ (insert your topic).


City #1 (Insert Name of City/County)

{Present one paragraph describing the City/County policy}


City #2 (Insert Name of City/County)

{Present one paragraph describing City/County policy. Compare to City/County’s #1}


City #3 (Insert Name of City/County)

{Present one paragraph describing City/County policy. Compare to City/County #1 and #2).


Please let me know if I can answer any additional questions concerning my research.


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