I think you've got the gist of my suggestions, and the implications.
As for community meetings, yes, i've attended a fair few. As for people being idiots, I think you'll find it's a bit more complex than that. The majority of people aren't used to speaking in public, many are uneducated, and a number will have very weird ideas. Collectively though, there will be a consensus which is likely to be conservative, and distrustful of change, and from experience will at the same time be sensible and pragmatic. You have to discard the outliers and seek the consensus which can be difficult, but you'll find it rather rewarding if you try.