The New York Times reports that The City of Bell, CA, famous for getting swindled out of $5 million by its own public officials is now holding a $4 million budget gap and a new city council, none of whom have experience running a city.
If Gov 2.0 wants a moment of glory, here’s your silver platter.
During manor.govfresh last September, we did a Gov 2.0 Makeover for DeLeon, TX, including an updated website, Google Apps, social media integration and a number of other behind-the-scenes technology upgrades. Several companies graciously donated their technology. More recently, Facebook is leveraging its technology skills and taking initiative to help the community where it’s building its new headquarters.
So, civic developers, barcampers and hackathoners, here’s an opportunity to stand up and show how Gov 2.0 can impact a city right now. Think Code for America on steroids.
Companies like SeeClickFix, Phase One, Spigit and many others targeting the government market with lower-cost, new tech alternatives, here’s a golden opportunity to showcase your goods and gain a huge amount of social capital by offering your products for free (forever).
I’m willing to help any way I can. Speaking from firsthand experience helping DeLeon, it’s not trivial work. The leaders of Bell will have to think ‘startup.gov,’ just as De Leon did, and accept they must execute immediately and step out of the bureaucratic mindset (something tells me they will). Volunteers and sponsor companies will have to let go of egos and upsells and just get it done.
Six months from now Bell could be a ‘beta city,’ and the rest of the world will better understand how technology can revolutionize the way government works.
Who wants to take the lead and contact Bell right now? Leave messages in the comments to offer your support/services or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ideas on how we can just do this.
DeLeon did it. So can Bell.
So can we.