Submitted by OpenPgh on Fri, 07/07/2017 - 09:08
In 2016, Keystone Crossroads, the statewide NPR affiliate, did a story on the Open Government Amendment as part of a statewide review of government openness. Their reporter, Margaret Kraus, found nothing in or outside Pennsylvania that did as much. Her conclusion: “It puts citizens in the middle of government.” This year the Amendment is even better, and petitioning is currently underway.
Submitted by OpenPgh on Wed, 03/16/2016 - 19:52
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.
When most people hear the phrase "open government." they think of "transparency," but, while it is essential, that's only one part of what it takes. There are actually four essential pillars -- transparency, notification, public participation, and accountability -- all of which are necessary to have truly open government. By implementing these first through a comprehensive set of reforms at the municipal level, beginning first with one (hopefully Pittsburgh) 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.