EPA Module E-Participation

What are some ways to participate in government? Other than voting, I would say the easiest way to participate in local government is to attend City Council meetings. For the City of Tempe, the schedule for City Council meetings are online, as are the minutes from previous meetings. The availability of City Council minutes online leads to Johnston’s quote: “A smart governance infrastructure provides transparency of public efforts, promotes cultural flourishing and can increase accountability” (p. 5). Having City Council meetings open is a form of transparency and one that anyone can participate in at any time. The City Council meetings are also broadcasted live on Channel 11, for those who cannot make the meetings.

A way I think they could improve this is to live-stream the City Council meetings and include a live chat for those who cannot attend due to work, taking care of children or some other conflict. On this chat, people can express their views about what is being discussed in the meetings while watching the meeting live. It creates a concurrent e-Participation that can “take the problems to the individuals rather than moving the individuals to the problem” (TED Video 1). Similar to a social media site, they would be able to contribute as little or as much as they would like but would have easier access to do so.

The City of Tempe also has something similar to “FixMyStreet.com”. If you go to their website www.tempe.gov and click on the “How Do I” button, you will be directed to a page with links to ways to file complaints. This helps make your community a better place. In my opinion, I would make the button say something less obscure than “How Can I”, like “Help Keep Tempe Beautiful”. This indicates several things: 1. you can help, 2. Tempe is Beautiful and 3. it’s pretty obvious what you’re going to be led to.

Reading/Viewing Response
Hands down my favorite part of the lesson was Jane McGonigal’s TED Video:

Her ideas were so innovative but not too crazy. If, as Gladwell stated in his book Outliers, we do become masters after 10,000 hours then we need to utilize whatever skill we have mastered to better the community. I think the 10,000 hours has a lot to do with the fact the government is become more online friendly, because likely many of us have contributed 10,000 hours of our time to the internet.

For my work at the ASU athletic department, I enjoyed the first video as well. What I took most from it, was when he was discussing the 80-20 ratio. I kept thinking, how can we take our 60,000+ fans on Facebook and get them to buy a ticket or donate to the Sun Devil Club? I also appreciated his final statement, “If it’s really a revolution it takes us from point a to chaos. It’s going to be a massive readjustment, we might as well get good at it.”

Bring it on.


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