Training people how to make City Hall work for them and their community

We know that the decisions made by local city and county governments have a big impact on our daily lives, but we also know that participation in local government in the US is dismal (I would argue that this is by design and not the fault of residents) and that local governments are easily co-opted by big business interests like real estate (property taxes) and good ol' boys clubs.

So how can we tip the balance of power here? I propose we design a training and education program for local community members across the country to give them the tools to exercise influence over their local governments in support of policies that would create concrete, positive change in community members' lives.

The program would involve a crash course in local democracy via trainings on how local governments work - everything from how you look up city council meeting agendas on their websites to how you engage and build relationships with your local city/county representative. It would also talk about how you can get your friends and neighbors involved, too. Finally, the program would also involve basic policy information on key issues - housing, food insecurity, climate, etc - and how to further research them.

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Cameron McCormick

I agree with the intent and your optimism, but I don't don't think it would be successful because of the rule of least effort. By adopting this model we're asking the general public to put forth a lot of mental effort to learn a complicated system that is also veiled in political opacity.

I have a similar idea that I'm working on, but I believe that in order for it to work, it needs to be much easier for the general public.

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