Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - By Julie Ramaccia - No comments
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - By Isabel Santos-Gonzalez - No comments
Today, New Bedford, MA officially launches NB Connect! The city joined our community nearly a year ago by way of Commonwealth Connect, a program made possible by the Community Innovation Challenge Grant.
The City of New Bedford's launch is focusing specifically on graffiti prevention and removal through its "Graffiti Free NB" campaign. City officials are encouraging all residents to document instances of defaced property with a detailed report that includes photos (if possible). New Bedford will use EcoQuip, a machine that removes graffiti from metal, concrete, brick, wood, and marble surfaces using water, an air compressor, and fine abrasive grit to restore vandalized property. However, in certain situations, the city will simply use a tried and true technique and cover markings with a coat of paint.
New Bedford is also implementing two new graffiti related initiatives: a graffiti reward program and a program that aims to increase artistic creation. The graffiti reward program offers a city issued 500 dollar reward to individuals who can provide evidence that will help the city apprehend and convict anyone who has vandalized private and/or public property. The mural creation program hopes to combat graffiti with art through a partnership between the Office of the Mayor, 3rd Eye Unlimited, the UGLY Gallery, and NB Beautiful. The program will sponsor murals across New Bedford that will showcase the work of local artists.
Residents can report issues through the NB Connect app, the city's website, or the city's SeeClickFix homepage.
Welcome, New Bedford!
To read more about yesterday's launch event you can go here, here, or here. To see EcoQuip in action, check out this video!
- By Kam Lasater - No comments
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 (email@example.com), or by cell phone (412-414-7537).
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Over the past few months we have participated in an annual awards event sponsored by FT and Citi. Last night, we were fortunate to share dinner with social entrepreneurs and others who were also nominated for one of the 5 regional awards for their work to improve cities around the world.
FT and Citi put together great showcase videos for each project and played them before the announcement for each category. I was caught off guard when they announced SeeClickFix as the regional winner for North America.
My fellow nominees were so inspirational, and I was particularly taken with the work that has come from The Competitiveness Company in Jamaica. I met Beverly Morgan, head of TCC, in San Francisco last month. Her solution to urban violence floored me. In short, Beverly has created over 100 small business owners out of gang members who have turned their backyard hobby of reselling tropical fish into a career. Last night in my acceptance speech, I reflected on my kinship to Beverly and TCC. SeeClickFix is a place where communities can find their weak spots and seek to repair them. TCC is a testament to discovering your strongest muscle and strengthening it. Since learning of the initiative, I've been wondering what New Haven can designate as its 'tropical fish.' No answers yet, but I'm curious to know what other's think. Maybe it's food?
The global winner out of Nairobi, Sanergy "provides sustainable, hygienic sanitation inNairobi’s slums through an innovative toilet franchise system that generates additional income by recycling human waste to create electricity as well as organic fertiliser for farmers."
Also runners up for the North America Award were the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and Baltimore Housing. I'll be joining folks from the National Portrait gallery on a Satellite media tour out of New York this morning.
We would like to thank FT and Citi who have helped give an even larger megaphone to SeeClickFix. From this morning's press opportunity and the most recent highlight in today's FT Magazine to the video below, we are confident that this will take SeeClickFix to the next level globally.
Monday, December 9, 2013 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Last week I had the pleasure of joining two brilliant women, Christina Gagnier and Marcy Harris, in Sacramento at the California Innovates conference. Marcy is the founder of PopVox.com, a platform similar to SeeClickFix for putting "your message in the language of Congress". Christina is the founder of Trail as well as one of California's leading privacy attorneys and host at Techwire.net. I've been lucky to know both Marcy and Christina since about 2010 but this was the first time I was able to join them on stage. Christina did a great job with the Interview and it was refreshing to hear Marci share a similar motivation and experience in popvox with SeeClickFix.
Some key takeaways from our conversation:
1) A communications problem can only be solved well by addressing the speaking and the listening tools.
2) Tools that attempt to work with the government for the citizens make the most successful public engagement platforms.
Here's the video of our Conversation
I also greatly enjoyed listening to LT Governor Gavin Newsom discuss the perils of government IT in California. The gloves came off as the LT Governor discussed Healthcare.gov and how it should have been no surprise to those in Government. He made a strong call for procurement reform and a call for the State of California to be working with SeeClickFix. Listen to the plug for #Opendata and SeeClickFix here: http://youtu.be/ZrxeCOus31U?t=49m32s
Friday, December 6, 2013 - By Julie Ramaccia - No comments
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