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Joseph Thomas

We want Civic Action – a holistic civic notifications platform for residents in San Francisco.

Civic Action™
Empowering Citizens To Be Decision Makers

This application and website will empower marginalized individuals and communities to be informed when public meetings, rallies, and other civic action are being held, and provide a mechanism for immediate feedback and participation. It will push notifications from community organizations, elected officials, and other entities that implement or influence public policies. This application will be multi-lingual, allowing the participation of the immigrant communities. 

Problem 1: Most citizens find it difficult to impossible to participate in civic matters. Despite a plethora of “Sunshine” laws, most people do not have the time to check with the City Clerk each day to see what hearings are open to the public. Notices of public meetings may or may not be mentioned on local television and radio, online, and in local newspapers. Even when it is, it may or may not be seen or heard. 

The Problem 2: Many people have strong feelings about issues affecting their community, like the housing crisis, our rapidly crumbling infrastructure, and police violence. There are several community groups that exist to call attention to the oversights and excesses of our elected and unelected officials, but many of them have a difficult time alerting the public in a timely manner when there is a community action planned.  

Existing Methods of Notifications: Occasionally I get an email from one of the community groups about a planned action. Unfortunately, these are sometimes on the same day as the event. 

I opened my Google Calendar the other day for the first time (!) and was pleasantly surprised to see it populated with notifications of community activity, though I haven’t seen any municipal notices.

IndyBay.org has a much better organized calendar that allows you to filter results by topic and region. They also do not have any municipal notifications.

Other platforms I’m familiar with that are used to notify people of meetings are EventBrite, Meetup, Twitter, and Facebook.  

Features of this website/application:

Multiple Language Capability

Community Calendar - Post news of upcoming meetings by Zip Code or District.  

Town Hall - Send notifications, emails, or text messages from when there is a public meeting or community action.

Webinars - Ability to generate and conduct webinars.

Bulletin Board- Post breaking news affecting local communities by Zip Code or District.

Mapping - Show location of meetings, demonstrations, and projects and provide directions and weather forecast.

Straw Poll - Get instant feedback on issues from other users of the app.

Online Petitions - Ability to generate, sign, and send online petitions.

Kiosk - Post ideas for general distribution.

Links to Elected Officials - Phone numbers,Email addresses, and websites links for local elected officials.

Links to Emergency Services and Service Providers - By zip code.

Receive Notifications From:
Supervisors Offices 
Mayor’s Office
City and County Agencies
NGO’s that influence City policy
NGO’s that represent individuals, neighborhoods, and communities.
State Officials and Agencies
Federal Officials and Agencies
The Tech Community
The Financial Industry
The Real Estate Industry

How can you help?

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Tom K.

Cool idea! Were you aware you can already use Neighborland as is to publish meetings and events?

One thing that would be helpful is simple if all the public meetings reported to the SF Public Library Government Documents area were broadcast/posted online as well.

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Posted Apr 12, 2016
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