Panel1 – How Open starts
Tara Ney, Ian Graeme, Janis la Couvee, David Hume, Chris Moore
Janis – has been involved in community since mid 90s promoting citizen gov interaction. Has discovered social media. Originally disregarded twitter – but found that twitter promotes face to face meetings. “People really do want to know what I ate for breakfast”. Little things resonate with people. Now connects with thousands of people. Learn as you go and collaborate.
Chris – (City of Edmonton) Realized in 1990 – The way we were doing IT was not sustainable. Started having town hall meetings – needed to engage city staff differently. Now focusing on a cultural change in IT – changing attitudes and behaviors. IT has to become open and transparent within themselves and then the rest of the organization. People expect gov to be open. A lot of work needs to be done for the public to see openness. In gov people are afraid – but you must take risks – show people the possibilities. Engage the public.
Ian – at Environment – started with Living Water Strategy – we can all play a part in determining BC’s water future. Many interests around water, sustainability and water stewardship. Policy team is small (10) and doesn’t have all the answers. Can connect to the community and get feedback and answers to help. Drawing back the curtains and opening doors is what it is all about.
Tara – City Councilor in Oak Bay. Feels like she is the fall guy here – In Oak Bay, very low tech and folksy, no email, etc. Possibilities and challenges of Open Gov. Experience is academic and research – her political job lets her see gov in action with respect to her constituents. Attempting to open up gov to the community. (Tells history of 23 year old dispute about school parking problem – convert grassy boulevard area to proper parking or not – city put in rocks (aka Dragon’s Teeth) which didn’t help. Got emails, telephone calls, populace very upset about the parking problem. Council must made decision? No, lets take the decision to the people). The community decision took a while and it is still not finished. These are messy, time-consuming processes – but still worth doing!