Online and mobile

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Attending a meeting at city hall means blocking out a large chunk of time in your schedule, finding child care, looking for parking, sitting in a room full of people you don't know, and then waiting for the ONE issue you're interested in to be brought up. For greater participation, the City of Alexandria should to encourage people to take part when they have the time. By allowing people to provide input and actually vote on issues online and via mobile (in addition to current methods), you have a better chance of increasing community involvement. Which could mean a few minutes instead of an hour or more committment.

Comments

Online Input

Finally, we are coming into the 21st Century by engaging ALL the residents with easy access to city and county participation though mobile and online platforms.  While I would love to be able to attend and participate in person at the meetings, my schedule makes it almost impossible to do so.  This is a great idea to engage more residents.  Kudos to you!  This idea has my vote, for sure!

No Votes

Interesting that those of us just finding out about this initiative have no vote. Seems contradictory regarding input. 

Voting

Anyone can assign 3 votes to ideas in this forum. However, to vote, you must be logged into ACTion Alexandria. Please contact me if you are still having difficulty at tracy.viselli@actionalexandria.org

Thanks! Tracy Viselli

Community Manager

Civic Neighborhood Groups

Maybe the Meetings could be Neighborhood Centered Hot Spots and a Webinar could be presented in an online "classroom" format.  A residential community like Park Center for example could hold a Neighborhood City Hall Meeting Webinar while the City Hall meeting is in session.  Each neighborhood could elect grass roots organizers for Neighborhood gatherings in a home or business that allowed for a conference into City Hall.  This way, each neighborhood could represent its interests and diversity in City Hall while affording the individuality of the Neighborhood itself. 

But we have to listen to each other

I totally agree with the concept that many forms of imput have to explored in order to get more opinions in the mix - spending all day at a City Council or Planning Commission meeting cannot be the only way.  But voting online or via mobile can't be the only additional input either. Because these one second, get your opinion out there, methods don't allow you to hear what others are saying. We're all (understandably) upset because concensus is not being built. But that can only happen if we are listening to each other! And to the whole story.  I don't know exactly what the avenue is for our doing that. But listening is what has to happen. Just as one example, everyone on City Council seems to agree (and strongly) that density and mixed use property is the way to go, especially around subways. And I know they've come to that conclusion after much study, listening to experts, watching what has happened in Arlington, etc. Okay. But!  For as long as I've lived here (and that's a long time), we've had increasing density and much of the retail use property is sitting empty.  AND the buildings being approved are boxes with a couple hedges at the edges. If we are going to copy Arlington in terms of density/mixed use, we have to figure out a way to get the green space, the architecture, the vibrant businesses in that retail space that Arlington has been able to get. That's a longer conversation than a tweet or a vote by mobile.  It's not about voting as to whether I want more density in Rosemont and Parker Gray, or more development in Arlandria (all that is  already happening).  It's about how to accomplish the growth, development and redevelopment in a way that preserves our neighborhoods.

Don't forget preserving our businesses

We do have to listen to each other, and spending all day at a Council meeting, or all night at a Planning Commision meeting waiting to make some necessarily superficial comments for three minutes is just something that most people don't have time, patience or will to do.Let's not forget as part of this discussion, how to preserve and build our businesses. The neighborhoods would not be so great to live in without their local businesses, and yet there's very little consideration for given to business development and retention. Let's work on a new zoning and permitting process that wil establish clear parameters for where and how businesses can locate rather than trying to do it one by one in a way that imposes great financial burden on businesses. If we want to get the vibrant retail mentioned above, we need to make some decisions in advance about location, type, and size of permitted business in commercial buildings as part of the small area plans, and then not revisit each an every application even though it fits within established parameters. Clurrently, Special Use Permit is a misnomer since an SUP is needed for just about any new business.Let's get some consensus around a plan or blueprint for each area of the City, establish the rules that allow the City to issue a permit, and bring up for public discussion only those cases that really don't fit the blueprint.

Online and Mobile Meetings and Public Forums

Yes, new generations need new ways that fit them best to be informed and stay involved.

engage all of Alexandria

There are many younger people in Alexandria.  There are also new residents in Alexandria.  We know there are people interested in government by the turnout for the National elections.  How do we get these people involved in the City?  They pay taxes - they should have a vote.  I am voting for this idea as a possible way to get people involved.

Diversity in experience and people will enhance results

Diversity in experience and people is extremely important. We love the "regular" faces, but the meetings need new faces with diverse experience.

We need new mechanisms for public involvement

I am generally engaged in civic matters myself, but believe other approaches to involve my 20- to 40-something peers who are family- and career-oriented are important if we are to succeed in representing all Alexandrians.  Too often, public participation at city meetings is dominated by the same faces.  Finding ways to draw out new voices, especially younger and middle aged Alexandrians, would improve the process. Suggestions include webinars, online forums, and web-based surveys. 

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