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Report a Power Outage
It is critical for us to be able to provide PG&E with an accurate report of outages and their impact on our community. Since August of 2013 the City of Burlingame has taken over the responsibility of collecting data on power outages. If you have experienced an outage, please enter the details in their Power Outage Form. You can also use this form to report tree trimming and customer service problems.
Here's what I learned about civic engagement at a seminar called “Focus on Community Engagement” that was presented by FOCUS (a partnership of four regional agencies in the Bay Area) with Common Sense California and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group pointed out the value of community participation by asking, “Do you feel more ownership if you build it or you buy it?”
Ed Everett, former city manager of Redwood City, now works as a consultant in civic engagement. He worked with Pete Peterson, executive director of Common Sense California on the Threshold 2008 project that studied a public participation process regarding land use and housing issues.
Common Sense California gave out $150,000 last year in small grants, primarily to small cities working on projects that invited community participation, such as hold to make budget cuts.
Working With Government
In order to make a difference, civic engagement needs to be connected to government. Otherwise, it probably won’t change the status quo.
Public engagement enhances government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions
However, government does not have to run every initiative
How Much Participation?
The question is how much public engagement to have. There are some people who want to participate in everything; local government leaders want to hear from more than the “usual suspects.”
Government leaders and city staff members typically worry that citizens don’t have enough information to make informed decisions
Different Levels of Civic Engagement
There are three kinds of civic engagement:
It’s not about selling; if a decision has been predetermined, you are wasting people’s time
It’s not about getting people together and complaining or blaming others
If a city does civic engagement well, City Council meetings will be fairly deserted.
Designing a Civic Engagement Process
To be successful, residents need to be engaged as partners, rather than customers
The City Council and staff can outline some parameters that limit consideration to viable alternatives.
The starting point is talking about the issue, such as traffic safety on our streets
A true partnership between a city and residents provides a better outcome