We need a government that truly represents the People.
With the many lawsuits and complaints filed against city practices, it is obvious that the People’s feedback is not coming first. Taxes are taken away from Portlanders who are earning a living, and given to politicians and their advisers to decide on how the budget is best spent.
Transparency is important in all levels of government. We need to increase the citizens ability to have oversight of their public officials. There needs to be guidelines that allow Portlanders to feel secure about who is in office after the elections are over. We need to empower the People to determine their own future.
Campaigning has turned into a money race, where politicians flaunt how many campaign dollars they raise, but financial records are hard to track. Even in Portland, running for public office is more about raising money than promoting popular ideas. We need to explore campaign reform laws that make public offices more accessible to all People, because society is made up of more than just people with privileged networks.
We need to break this cycle where people are forced to vote for who they think will win, instead of who they believe best represents the People. We need to discuss how we can make our electoral system reflect an open understanding of Portland’s basic needs.
We need to make sure good policies signed in by former leaders are not abandoned due to a shift in leadership roles. That means holding elected officials accountable to finishing projects and not just starting new ones that reflect their personal agenda.
City Hall can do much more in terms of outreach and visibility. An outdated website doesn’t serve Portlanders who don’t use the technological tools, especially when the city has abandoned its wi-fi accessibility project. City Council meetings aren’t accessible to those who work, lack transportation, or for other reasons can’t make specific times/location. City Hall needs to be brought to the People, in the East, North, Southwest, and beyond.
People should be educated on what it means to run a city. We can only practice good government when we practice a more social and participatory democracy, based off of building meaningful relationships that creates new roles for citizens in their community.
Civil engagement is possible when we let the People have a voice, and start giving them power over their lives.