Amid the craziness of an election season, negative press all around, people getting political on Facebook, our nation becoming more and more polarized and a never ending stream of government corruption and scandals it’s hard to expect that regular people have any trust or interest in government anymore. But that can and must change. And guess what? You can play a part in this important change! Even in Oakland, a city with quite a mixed history…
CityCamp is in town! We at OpenOakland are proud to announce the first ever CityCamp in Oakland, visit CityCampOak.org to register now, it’s free and it will be inside City Hall on December 1. This is an important event for those of us excite about this thing we call Open Government and for those of us who love this city!
Why should you care, and attend? We all rely on our local governments for so much, from delivering clean water, removing garbage, maintaining streets, parks and libraries and for hosting cultural events. Like it or not you and I rely on government for a lot, and that’s cool. In the USA we are blessed with a democracyfor the people and of the people. This system only works when we are all civically involved. Contrary to popular press there is no “them” and “us”, we are our government, and our government consists of a whole bunch or “us”, that is people who live in our communities. But there is a twist in this system. If we simply treat our cities like service vending machines- taxes in, service out, then we cannot expect innovation, efficiency and openness. That is a closed concept, a limited function system that is dumb and doesn’t adapt.
But government can and should be much more. Many of us dig the idea of governmentas a platform: a platform which supports safe communities, job growth, solid schools, business development and innovation. As a platform we can enable so much in our communities. To most of you this is likely a new concept, but trust me this matters; our governments have a ton of changing to do, and they will not and can not do it without all of us being involved and engaged.
So come to CityCamp Oakland – it’s a whole day of amazing conversations, sharing, learning and ideation with people from inside city hall, local technologists, community members, journalists, advocates, teachers and other awesome people who care about their city and what it can really be. CityCamps are unconferences- we build our agenda on the day. It’s fun. Seriously. You can lead a session on anything you want, it can be a new idea for a government/community partnership, a data issue, a possible technology solution.
CityCamps are a gateway drug to modern civic engagement. We have two big choices in a Democracy- to sit back and be consumers (read- let others do the leading and have no say in how our country is run) or we can be citizens- actively involved in our communities.
We just heard that the City Administrator is taking a lead from Mayor Ed Lee in SF and offering staff a day’s leave if they attend too, which is brilliant leadership- it’s often hard to encourage overworked, isolated city staff to waste a weekend day like this. So thank you Deanna for supporting your team and helping us to build a stronger community through real conversations and collaboration!
See you there December 1st! This is a rare positive event in this political climate, come help us write the future of active, engaged democracy!!