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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for August, 2008

Aug 06 2008

Councilmember Bruce Harrell Calls for the Development of a
Citizen Engagement Portal

Citizen Website and technology strategy will solicit feedback from public to help shape and enhance public policy.

SEATTLE — Councilmember Bruce Harrell has evaluated the process and method in which the citizens of Seattle communicate their opinions to the Seattle City Council and how citizens receive legislative information regarding key issues. Earlier this year, he announced as part of his work plan a key initiative to improve Citizen Engagement through Technology. After communicating with constituents on major issues through e-mail, community meetings, public hearings and telephone, Councilmember Harrell has concluded that the City has not prioritized a communication strategy or policy that captures and quantifies the majority of citizens who do not historically participate in public process. They are the “silent” majority.

Approximately 83% of Seattle residents use the Internet and have a computer at home and Seattle is one of the most wired cities in the United States. Costly advisory ballots are not the answer and our continued reliance on traditional polling strategies and archaic note taking are outdated and inexact. “Listening and leading are not mutually exclusive. We value public process in order to gain input. Most of the input usually comes from listening to a limited number of committed citizens, community activists, special interest groups and professional lobbyists. Listening is a science and the technology exists that can significantly broaden our city’s outreach capability and quantify the opinions of our citizenry. If we prioritize this policy, it will dramatically change how we serve our public.”

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Citizen Engagement Portal