I ran into one of the candidates for city council today who happens to work in the same building I do. We took a few minutes to talk (politics naturally) and as we talked we realized that both of us have a similar desire to accomplish two things here in Lehi – we want to discourage apathy among citizens and increase transparency in our local government (all levels of government really, but let’s not bite off more than we can chew right now). We have agreed to get together soon after the elections are over next week and discuss some ideas for getting more people interested in what’s happening in our local government and for making information about what’s happening with our local government more readily available.
Our hope is that by doing this we might be prepared to hold candidates accountable in future elections for what they say, and how they respond to citizens. If we can get more citizens interested in the issues that the city is facing that might encourage our elected officials to be more proactive about communicating, or at the very least they might realize that there are many people who are interested in the challenges that the city is facing.
As I sat down to write tonight I realized that I know many people who are very interested in politics (local politics in many cases, but few who are local to Lehi) who might be able to come up with some ideas on how to accomplish these aims. I decided to invite the thoughts of my fellow bloggers on how we might go about encouraging participation and transparency. Are there technologies that you would recommend for these aims? Do you have any ideas about how to encourage people to be more active? Do you know any tricks to building a politically oriented organization that could accomplish these goals?