To the editor:
Many citizens would like to see more transparency in local government. Here are ten example ideas to get the conversation going:
1) Post a record of votes (of city council meetings) online within 24 hours;
2) Provide monthly or quarterly reports posted online from pertinent departments (such as planning, police, fire, CIP, financial, transportation, utilities, and others);
3) Running tabulation (downloadable in spreadsheet format) of votes cast from city council meetings;
4) Post downloadable video of city council (and any others that meet in the City Hall chamber) meetings within 48 hours;
5) Implement a comprehensive ideas program where city employees, elected leaders, and other members of the community can contribute ideas and track their status online;
6) Host online discussion forums where citizens can bring up issues and true dialog takes place (look at “Localocracy” of Amherst, MA, “Colorado Smart Community” and “Front Porch Forum” as examples);
7) Expand online options for conducting business with the city;
8) Provide capability for citizens to know when items have been added, deleted, or modified at the city website;
9) Utilize “Open311” (or other suitable) technologies to report and track non-emergency issues in public spaces;
10) Expand online calendar of events and meetings.
We may see some candidates for mayor and city council talk about their desire to improve transparency. I hope they talk specifics instead of just platitudes!