Help Me Brainstorm

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?

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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4 Responses to Help Me Brainstorm

  1. Jesse Harris says:

    Certainly using a CMS with a commenting system to post proposed laws and zoning changes would be a good first step, especially if elected and appointed officials actively participate in the discussion. It would also be good to incorporate a weekly newsletter of updates and changes into such a site to encourage participation. I think such a thing would work best if it was setup and maintained by the city, though a dedicated resident (or several of them) could likely accomplish the same thing.

  2. David says:

    Any ideas on how we can help to develop many more “dedicated residents?”

  3. Jesse Harris says:

    My involvement has shown that most people don’t participate because of the cynical notion that it wouldn’t do anything anyway. If you give them a direct channel to elected officials and they see their input affecting a change, that gets rid of the defeatist attitude and brings them back into the process. Or, build it and they will come.

  4. David says:

    Thank you. That gives me hope.

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