If you don’t believe local government – from school and water districts to county and city councils, boards and commissions are important to engage with – you’re missing the big picture.
Government starts in our communities yet, oftentimes citizens and civic-stakeholders are either bewildered about the process, don’t have the time and energy to act and advocate, don’t have the money or resources and don’t realize there are many like-minded people who may want to join in and help create change.
We see issue after issue arising in our communities and most people feel they do not make a difference and allow themselves to be governed. We propose government should be collaborative, on a much wider scale. Without that issues like these will continue to roll over communities until it’s politically necessary for government to change:
- Leaded water crisis in Flint, Michigan
- Hundreds of Black and other men of color being shot and killed by police
- Tens of thousands of poor and minority Americans being incarcerated, and re-incarcerated
- School systems where families are not receiving equal education
- The Dakota Access Pipeline project
- Water scarcity issues and corporate America’s interest to profit
- The never-ending flow of drunk drivers swerving through our communities
- An onslaught of home, auto, transportation sharing-services
- Publicly guaranteed projects like stadiums and arenas
- Asset forfeiture laws, practices and oversight
- Homelessness, and the lack of resources to sufficiently shelter our residents
These are all things that all cities and civic-stakeholders are wrangling with, exacerbated by a shifting economy, polarizing political climate, a high-level corporate consolidation pattern and a increasingly fragmented traditional and online media roles.
In most all of these situations, local governments are dealing with these issues independently – resulting in redundant or completely different laws from city to city, administrative and enforcement challenges and a bonanza for attorneys, courts and the political service industry.
Municipal codes, policies, annual goals, funding considerations, outcome metrics, strategic plans, day to day operational issues are all items local elected leaders juggle to satisfy our educational, public safety, health and welfare – and above all, financial stability – needs. Yet, the people most affected by these decisions are rarely included in the conversations.
Our goal is to help organize records to get them in the hands of people, businesses, advocacy organizations, other governments – any civic stakeholder interested in improving our government. How will we answer this call? Should we wait for government itself to organize, create transparency policies and begin normalizing code, laws, policies and practices? Or, should we begin at the source, our local government meeting rooms?