When Ben first pitched me the idea of SeeClickFix, I was excited by its potential to change the public space. Until then, I would say I had been moderately engaged in the civic life of New Haven. I voted dutifully in each election and participated in a community garden. I was a member of New Haven's first "Democracy School" classes. I half-heartedly volunteered for campaigns and haphazardly donated to them.
As we grew SeeClickFix from an idea, to a project, and finally to a business, we realized we needed to draw some clear lines. Since we were selling software to government entities, we decided that one of our most important boundaries would be to remain politically neutral.
That meant not volunteering on campaigns, not supporting individual candidates, and not donating to candidates. During New Haven's past election season, candidates vied for an open mayoral seat. This was the first time in nearly twenty years that New Haven residents would elect a new mayor, which led to active campaigning across the city. SeeClickFix, however, remained committed to our pledge and did not participate in any campaign activities.
The election is now over and it comes time to govern. The Mayor-Elect Toni Harp Transition Team has asked me to be a part of its Economic Development Committee. I accepted the position and wanted to elaborate on the thought process behind my decision.
I believe that it meets our politically neutral position for the following reasons:
-The campaign is over and this is about serving when called.
-This is an advisory role not a decision making role.
-Participation is not about a particular party or candidate, but instead about making New Haven a better place.
I would love to hear any suggestions I can give to the transition team. I would also appreciate opinions on whether or not you believe my decision errs on the side of political neutrality.
You can reach me in the comments below, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by cell phone (412-414-7537).
'Tis the Season for Potholes
With pothole season upon us SeeClickFix HQ is buzzing with excitement. Every Spring we see a considerable spike in citizen engagement platform wide. Our CEO Ben Berkowitz is famous for saying “potholes are the gateway to citizen engagement” and as the data shows he is spot on. We are all looking forward to see what municipalities have in store for their … Continued
SeeClickFix Helps Save Tax Dollars
SeeClickFix is not just a great way for citizens to get their concerns addressed by City Hall. In an era of budgetary pressure, it’s also a great way for cash-strapped municipalities to save money. This reality was highlighted very clearly in this insightful article in Government Technology. The basic problem the article outlines is that … Continued
“Accountability and transparency will only improve our city”
James Cappleman is running for Alderman in the 46th Ward in Chicago. He also is receiving publicly documented concerns from his constituents via SeeClickFix. On February 3rd Cappleman announced that he would like to see SeeClickFix integrated into the City of Chicago's business process. While the city can pay for SeeClickFix's pro tools we encourage … Continued
Omidyar Network and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures Bring Neighborhoods and City Hall Closer Together with Investment in SeeClickFix
January 11, 2011, REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Omidyar Network and O'Reilly AlphaTechVentures (OATV) today announced an equity investment in SeeClickFix, the developerof technologies that enable citizens to report and monitor non-emergency issues in theirlocal community. The investment reflects both organizationsâ belief that technology canscale programs that foster meaningful engagement among citizens, their local governmentand others … Continued