Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Day Introspection

I don't have to cook tomorrow so I want to eat a bunch of turkey and pumpkin pie and then go curl up somewhere and think about Clearly Derby.

I want our page to yield results, hopefully good ones.  I think one can turn voter apathy around if one can show people how their participation in local government can make their lives better.

A pretty tall order?  People need to be familiar with their local government and those who run it.  People need to be able to match up what they want and need with what the local government can do for them.  Finally, people need to see where they fit in and what they can do, within their time constraints, to participate.

So Clearly Derby needs to help provide this information in an accurate, understandable way that is also entertaining (i.e. interesting).  This is what I need to think about - how to do this - while curled up after Thanksgiving Dinner.  I can't wait!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


OK, our Clearly Derby FB page is now 2 days old and we have 34 fans.  This is very encouraging because sometimes a person gets an idea and gets so excited about it that they assume everyone is going to be equally excited - but, alas, they aren't.  At least we have some initial signs of interest here.  Granted, I'm not saying that 34 fans is a viral situation but it's almost 1 fan/hour since we started.

One of the fun things, I think, about starting a FB page like Clearly Derby is the chance to experiment.  On the recent Staffieri 4 Mayor 2011 page we couldn't do that too much because we needed to win an election - we had a specific, short-term goal in mind.  But now our goal is less specific and not so time sensitive, so we can afford to try out a few things.  I can only hope that my social media jedi aren't reading this blog because it is going to make them very nervous.  They will say, what is this experimentation you speak of?  Not using our advise you won't be? Less fans you will be getting.  (Sorry, I speak horrible Yoda).

Let's see what happens!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Transparent Truth

There's no transparency!  We need transparency!  Transparency is important!  This is what you hear over and over during ALL elections - not just the recent 2011 one.

It would appear that things are hidden, things are murky at best, and there must be a lot of bad stuff going on all the time.  We have backroom deals, smoke and mirrors, hidden agendas, ...

I think things are pretty transparent (if not 100%).  Meetings are public, there's a public portion, and the meeting minutes are public.  Records are public and City Hall is pretty open and you can talk to almost anyone there, including the Mayor, almost anytime.  There's an active media watching us, more so now with the advent of online journalism and the whole social media scrutiny.  There are auditors and agencies that check all of our financial dealings.

So I was having a problem understanding the public concern with transparency - now and in the past.  Then it occurred to me: it's not that the government is hiding from us - we, the people, can't be bothered to pay attention to what's going on in front of our own noses.  We don't read, we barely glance at the newspaper, we don't go to public meetings, we don't speak up, and we don't question.

People shy away from politics, more so with the passing of time.  We don't understand politics, we aren't taught history or civics well in school these days, we don't have time, we need to keep working hard to pay our bills.  Let's face it, it's extremely hard to find the time to be involved, to be concerned, to be aware of what's going on.

When confronted with our lack of knowledge, do we own up to it?  Not really.  We just mutter and say, politics, it's a dirty game and they are sneaky bastards - no transparency - gosh darn it.

Through our new page, Clearly Derby, we are hoping to bring a little relief to our citizens.  We are hoping to make you more concerned.  We want to involve you.  We intend to bring politics to you, there on your laptop, there at your kitchen table, there on your sofa while you wind down after a hard day at work.  We will attempt to make government a little more understandable, more transparent, more clear.  You are already liking social media - so we want to practice social politics and see how that works for you.