Saturday, April 07, 2007

City Hall Isolated?

Joe Wessels has a good column today about a new website started locally that gives citizens an outlet to voice their views on pothole like issues:

The effectiveness of the website here in Cincinnati has to be evaluated with a strange situation:
Council Member David Crowley responded and got city transportation officials to contact Blackshaw. The only problem was city officials could not access the site because of restrictions placed on their computers. So the workers apparently looked at the site on their home computers and realized how concerned residents were.
Over a year ago there was a news story about my blog being blocked from City Hall and several officials had to request special permission to view it from City Hall computers. I understand the city not wanted a clerk to spend their time reading blogs on the job, but when a website is doing the City's job of identifying problems, wouldn't it be nice if City Officials could view the website and get cracking on fixing those problems? If they can't this done, then the City is making itself isolated. Kudos to the transportation department officials who viewed the site on their home PCs on their own time. Communication is a key element of government. When the citizens organize themselves and provide the simplest of ways to grasp a problem, the least the city could do is review what they are saying.

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