Saturday, November 3, 2012
#307 / Engaging The Public In Government
I am definitely in favor of governmentally-sponsored efforts to "engage the public in government." Recently, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) distributed an article by their Executive Director, Bob O'Neill, outlining some case studies. I was happy to find that my old home town, Palo Alto, California, is helping to increase public engagement by making databases available, online, so that anyone who wants to see them can do that easily, with no need for a member of the public to come down to City Hall, or to put in an official California Public Records Act request.
In the end, however, while I support governmental efforts to "engage the public," it is my definite opinion that "public engagement" initiatives should actually be coming mostly from the public, not from the existing officialdom.
If we want to have a system of "self-government" in this country, then we need to to get involved ourselves. We need to organize ourselves outside the government, to demand that the government respond to us and to do what we think it ought to be doing.