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Angry Top-down Politics vs Real Bottom-up Change

The 2016 election year brought to the polls large numbers of first time voters and those who seldom vote.   The overblown hype and distrust that was sown proved to be quite divisive and has wasted energies which could be put to more productive use.   By focusing entirely upon the selection of public office holders, we've been missing the boat hoping meaningful solutions might trickle down.

We must realize that, by its very nature, electoral democracy is really a matter of top-down governance, regardless its level, and that government in its present form is insufficient to address today's challenges.   Though electing good candidates is important and not to be discounted, it's time that we also devote attention to building a new bottom-up approach through which average citizens can work together within the halls of government to better monitor and hold it accountable while they catalyze needed change.

4 pillars of the Open Government concept

“Open data” is currently a popular topic, but that's merely one aspect of transparency.   Furthermore, most people equate transparency with open government, but it's really just one of the four essential pillars -- transparency, timely notification, pro-active public participation, and official accountability -- all of which must exist if we are to have truly open government.   By implementing these first through a comprehensive set of reforms at the municipal level, beginning with one and then a number of communities, we can build a base of open government that can eventually be expanded to other levels of government too.

Pittsburgh Open Government Amendment



ew Article 6 -- The Amendment deletes the present Article 6: Community Advisory Boards which is now irrelevant because City Council abolished all of the City's Community Advisory Boards, effective December 31, 2000.   In its place, the Amendment will substitute a new Article 6: Open Government which expands upon the recent Open Data legislation passed by City Council, providing greater opportunities for public participation in the governance of the city, including an ability for individuals to be notfied about legislative and administrative actions before they occur and assuring that Council and the Mayor give more attention to resident's input.

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