The mayor of San Diego is seeking public input on new policies for the city, beginning with budget suggestions on how the city can address the current economic crises. The Mayor’s website states that “each of your suggestions will be reviewed carefully by my staff. They may also be forwarded to department directors and members of our financial management team.”
In addition to just soliciting policy recommendations, some of the suggestions will be posted online for “the goal of sharing ideas and elevating our civic dialogue.” While posting the submissions online is certainly a step in the right direction for transparency, will the mayor’s efforts produce results?
So far, policy suggestions include ending car allowances for elected officials, reducing the number of firefighters per truck, and legalizing marijuana. Another suggestion calls for the city to “stop enforcing the booze ban”:
Stop enforcing the booze ban
I have lived in Mission Beach for two years, and since the ban on alcohol went into effect last year, I have watched numerous policemen heckle beach-goers about what liquids are in their cups. It seems as if the amount of police patrol has actually increased since the ban began, which makes me wonder, “Why are you wasting so many tax payer dollars patrolling a beach, and hassling its patrons?” The policemen are on ATV’s, on bicycles, and standing on the boardwalk… there are so many, that you cannot turn a corner without seeing one. It is a blatant waste of money which the city claims to be necessary for the “good” of the people, I see it as superfluous and outright ridiculous. Send them to areas of San Diego which have real crime issues- not just a bunch of drunks in bikinis- or spend your money elsewhere.
While seeking policy suggestions from the city’s residents is laudable, the question remains whether the submissions will have any real influence on the city’s policy. We will have to wait and see.
Why should Congressman tap lobbyists and consultants when they can tap the power of the crowd?
Particularly in State legislatures, there are so many issues and specialty areas, how can state legislators possibly be educated enough on very specific bills to make informed decisions? The answer is they are not. So, they rely on lobbyists, hire consultants, or talk with special interests to inform them and tell them about the issues. Then the legislators form a stance and make their decisions. But what if this could be done…at least in part, by tapping the wisdom of the crowd? What if your state legislator could engage his or her constituents in a two-way dialogue? Once the elected official opens the door for real public input, knowledgeable citizens can have a real chance of influencing policy. Instead of hiring an insider lobbyist like Nancy Pelosi, Congressmen would take into account the collective opinion of their constituents.
Want to influence policy in your town or state? Get started.
January 2009 was an exciting month for Policypitch.com!
New pitched ideas:
January Web Stats:
- 1,063 unique visitors.
- 2,261 visits.
- Over 19,000 page views.
Other important info:
- Two new team members joined Policypitch: William Kelleher and Preston Emory.
- 10 new blog posts.
- Titter account launched! Check us out @policypitch.com
- Site re-design underway! New features include legislative tracking, real time statutory editing, collaborative tools, constituent management system, and more! Please give us feeback on what you want!
While Obama’s followers now have the opportunity to influence policy using new, citizen-driven agendas at sites that aim to crowdsource policy and increase citizen participation in governance, conservatives now have the same opportunity with the launch of Rebuildtheparty.com. Rebuildtheparty applies the crowdsourcing approach to government 2.0, allowing people to pitch and suggest ideas for the Republican party. The top two leading voter ideas are “Enacting the Fair Tax Plan” and “Reach out to Ron Paul and the Campaign for Freedom.” The site is a network of grassroots activists for the Republic party, and it already has 6 Republican party officials who have endorsed their 10 point action plan to strengthen the republican party (including: Saul Anuzis, Michigan GOP Chairman; Ken Blackwell,Former Ohio Secretary of State; Mike Duncan,Current RNC Chairman;Chip Saltsman, Former TN GOP Chairman; and Michael Steele, GOPAC Chairman).
Check it out at: http://www.Rebuildtheparty.com.
Image courtesy of cforjustice.org