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Public Engagement Signposts – June 2014

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This regular feature of ILG’s Public Engagement E-News offers useful information and resources about public engagement practices, innovations and ideas from sources in California and elsewhere.

The City of Palo Alto’s Open Data Platform is up and running!

Intended to make Palo Alto’s government more inclusive and transparent, website viewers can see where taxpayers’ money is spent (through an online and interactive Open Budget section), view statistics on many other aspects of City government, and request that the City add new datasets. For more on Palo Alto’s open budget efforts visit the city’s website or read the Institute for Local Government’s case story.

City of Oakland Involves Residents in Redistricting

On December 10, 2013, the Oakland City Council adopted the ordinance creating the 2013-2023 City Council and Oakland Unified School District Governing Board electoral district boundaries. The City of Oakland’s City Charter requires redistricting every 10 years to adjust Council District boundaries to reflect population changes over the last 10 years. The goal is to make the population in each district as equal as possible, following Federal, state and local law. 

Hundreds of Oakland residents participated in the redistricting process by attending one of the public meetings, submitting a map online, sending a letter or email, joining the online conversation at EngageOakland.com or leaving a voice message on the redistricting hotline. As a component of the second round of public meetings, participants were given copies of draft and submitted redistricting plans with spaces for comments by participants about the plan, including the choice options of “recommended,” “acceptable” or “unacceptable.”  

To educate those residents impacted by changes to district boundaries, the City of Oakland is also undertaking an outreach campaign that began in January of this year. In addition to the use of website and social media outlets, the campaign includes a direct mail piece explaining the redistricting process and boundary changes to impacted residents. Printed information is also available in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The mailed brochure is part of an educational campaign that will include print ads, a spot on the city’s cable station – KTOP TV 10, presentations at Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council meetings in affected neighborhoods and other outreach methods.

To view the brochure, Council District map, relevant legislation and additional information on the redistricting process, please visit their website here and the city’s online Council District Locator Tool here.

Davenport Institute Offers Public Engagement Grants

The Davenport Institute is accepting applications for its 2014 Public Engagement Grant Program that provides “service grants” to fund public engagement consulting services to cities, counties, special districts and civic organizations that are looking to “conduct legitimate public processes on issues ranging from budgets to land use to public safety to water policy.” The grant application period opened June 2nd and the deadline is Friday, September 12th. For information, visit their website here or call Ashley Trim at 310-506-6878 with questions.

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