The Need: Well-informed and broad public participation in Providence’s governing process and civic life is needed now more than ever, as hard economic times force lawmakers to make tough budget decisions, challenging government and citizens alike to hone our priorities for our city.
The Solution: BetterProvidence was formed as a non-partisan, nonprofit grassroots initiative to raise public awareness about important city policy issues and promote greater public participation in our city’s governing process and civic life.
Our Vision:A city with broad civic engagement, where Providence residents have shifted their view of themselves from customers of government to active participants in, and partners with, government, making Providence a standout model of participatory democracy in action.
Three Initiatives for 2011:
- Open the Government: BetterProvidence will work with the Taveras administration and City Council to create a more open and transparent city government, and help residents learn to navigate city agencies and processes. We will create new mechanisms of information sharing through website, blogs, social media, and streaming video coverage of meetings.
- Lively Experiment Campaign: BetterProvidence will bring together government representatives, policy experts and the public for productive conversations and lively debates via public forums and online chats, open meetings, participatory budgeting exercises, and public comment at hearings. Topics include education reform, tax policy, and budget priorities and process.
- City Charter Review Campaign: BetterProvidence will examine the City’s “operations manual” in anticipation of the approaching 2012 Charter Review. Reviews happen only once every ten years and this is an enormous opportunity to enact positive changes in the way we run City government for decades to come.