City government has changed quite a bit in the last decade or so.
During that time I’ve seen cities rally to their own cause, adapt to a changing political environment and chart their own course by taking their fate into their own hands. Somewhere along the way, city governments have re-created themselves from a sleepy political doormat to an organized, united and effective powerhouse.
Finally, after a long painful slumber, cities embraced change. In so doing, city halls began to determine their own future and rebuild the quality of life in California.
Well, times are changing again. The way we interact with our residents is a far cry from what it was just a few years ago. The way we govern is different. The way we campaign for office is not what it once was. Everything we do in public life has become more open and deliberative. Our residents are looking for greater opportunities for engagement. More avenues for involvement in the direction of their cities. They want answers - and they want them in real time.
It seems like not a day goes by when I’m not asked by city officials (usually a council member or mayor, but more and more city managers) about how to handle this new internet medium, the ‘blogosphere’, that is changing the way we interact with our constituents. From council critics to campaign tactics, we’ve entered a brave new world.
Blogging – for better or worse – is a way of life in virtually every city in California. And if it hasn’t come to your city yet, trust me, it ’s on its way(In fact, check our "city blogs" section to see whats being talked about in your community).
This blog, Californiacitynews.org, is my attempt to both engage this new communications medium and provide a focus for the energies of city elected officials, city staff, lawmakers, opinion leaders, community activists, private industry, non-profits and anyone else interested in what makes cities tick.
Our aim is “to provide relevant news and information on the politics, policy and best practices of city government in California”. In the process my hope is to again play a small part in helping to determine the direction of cities by sharing ideas, starting discussion and comparing notes.
And so, I’m going to need your help.
This is an interactive medium and that means it’s your sounding board as well. I need your ideas, your topics, your feedback, your “heads up” on what’s newsworthy and what’s not. Tell me if I’m on the right track. Tell me when I’m wrong. Tell me what I’m missing. Tell me when you want to write a guest editorial on a topic I’ve neglected.
As for my part, I will be working to make sure that Californiacitynews.org brings you insight from developments in Sacramento - as well as innovations from cities around the state.
We'll be breaking news that effects cities and we'll be giving you the "story behind the story" on what's happening on the political scene.
You can expect that I'll be bringing you the insights from experts on the latest trends and polling data on crime and gangs and what cities are doing to fight them. You can expect to get campaign tips on your sales tax measure. Expect to read articles from lawmakers in Sacramento trying to persuade you on their bills – and discussion from the opposition telling them why they’re wrong.
You can even expect ideas on how to improve your shopping cart ordinance. We’re going to talk about land use, pension reform, city finance, greenbuilding, local and state politics and even the best way to handle that ‘gadfly’…because every city has one.
Just now, it's likely that they've started their own blog.
Thanks for reading...