Archive for the ‘Moore: Stay engaged’ Category

The national presidential race likely will become more frenzied in the days before the election. Despite that, however, now is the time to underscore the value of numerous people’s political involvement locally before they slip away.

“All politics is local,” said Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, the Speaker of the House from 1977 until 1987. This means to me individuals can work on familiar, local issues better than unfamiliar ones far away. They can also see the benefits more easily.

All local communities make it easy for people to be involved. I had the opportunity to talk this week with Andrew Moore, the mayor of Erie, and asked him what he would tell the newly politically involved. He said he’d urge them to “stay engaged.” He added, whether with the school board, the municipalities or county government, “the change you see and feel the most on a day-to-day basis is at the local level.”

Moore said he and Erie’s Board of Trustees work to achieve transparency and openness. One town goal is to “develop and promote proactive fluid communication between government and the citizens of Erie.” Such a goal can only help people be involved.

Erie’s efforts include the town’s Web site, which caught my attention first several months ago. I was most impressed. The Web site is easy to navigate with information grouped by theme such as “Living in Erie,” “Doing Business,” “Government” and “Community Center.”

I found the On Demand Video quite exciting. One side of the screen is the agenda coupled with clickable links to the On Demand Video on the other side. All I needed to do to watch a particular item was click on it on the agenda.

Erie’s live and archived town meetings are available from anywhere in the world at any time. The same is true for some other local communities. This convenient feature is tremendous in informing and engaging people politically.

When I saw On Demand Video for the first time on Erie’s Web site, I immediately thought what an improvement it would be for viewing the Boulder Valley School Board meetings. Then, people wouldn’t be limited to just a few hours a week or every other week when only people with cable can view them.

Like other communities under various names, Erie’s e-news updates go out at least once a week. “It’s pushing information,” Moore said while describing the Web site as a destination. “We’re saying what we’re doing and we’re doing what we’re saying.”

Then, to help those where online information and resources don’t work, a one-page update on a timely topic called the Erie Edition goes out with the water bill. It seems like Erie has thought of everything but certainly isn’t the only community reaching out to its residents. All any of us need to do is go to our own community’s Web site and look around. I’ve gone to Boulder’s, Broomfield’s, Superior’s, Lafayette’s and Louisville’s Web sites and found helpful information.

Two things I have not found elsewhere, however, are done only by Erie’s mayor. Both are aimed at communication and building trust. He set up his own Web site and sends out a personal e-mail to anyone interested in adding their name to his list. If someone has a question, all they need do is reply to his letter. He welcomes everyone’s input and questions.

Moore explained the rationale behind his efforts, which could go a long way to improving the federal government’s woes. “The more accessible we are as elected officials, the more trust we build,” Moore said. “You fix the transparency problem and you build trust.”

Moore is right about transparency and openness and right about staying involved. Now, let’s do our part.

Source: Daily Camera Nov. 2, 2008, under “Act locally”

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