County Launches ‘OpenArlington’ Online Forum

by March 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm 3,267 22 Comments

Arlington County has launched a new online forum for citizen feedback dubbed “OpenArlington.”

OpenArlington encourages residents to give their opinions on specific topics introduced by a county moderator. The first question — “What would make it easier for you and others to engage with Arlington County Government?” — has so far drawn five responses from residents.

In addition to suggestions about having an “Arlington County Ombudsman” or finding better ways to engage with those who do not have a computer, there have also been off-topic requests to fix a specific street light, for better traffic light synchronization, and for traffic control at Kenmore Middle School after events like school concerts.

OpenArlington is part of County Board Chair Mary Hynes’ PLACE (Participation, Leadership and Civic Engagement) initiative, which she announced at the beginning of the year. Hynes says the online forum will be monitored by county government and Arlington Public Schools officials, and will help make civic involvement “easier and more effective.”

“Through PLACE, we are trying new ways of reaching out to the community, hoping to hear great ideas from people about how we can work together more effectively,” Hynes said in a press release. “OpenArlington makes it easy for people to join the conversation, share their ideas, and see what others are saying.”

  • T.G.E.0.A….

    Great. Another way to communicate with the county, and another way for them to ignore you.

    • Fed Up

      The County Board and managers are truly UNBELIEVABLE. One more feel good, touchy feely, worthless program. The first thing this Board should do is to STOP its culture of lying to its citizens and taxpayers. Examples are the Michael Brown affair, the Peter Katz affair, the massing of Section 8 housing in the Buckingham neighborhood, budgeting issues, reasons for moving Human Services to Sequoia Plaza, police quotas, lack of personal property tax enforcement, timeliness and consistency of real estate assessments, and backgrounds and honesty of staff in inspections and code enforcement. It’s long past time for an Inspector General function to independently act upon wrongding by County staff and board members.

  • CourthouseChris

    I’m sure [REDACTED] will make significant use of this.

    • Mitt Romney too

      “He who shall not be named” as they say in Harry Potter…

    • Please note that continued deliberate personal attacks and troll behavior will result in you being banned from commenting.

      • Swag

        *shrug* If [REDACTED] is still around, we’ve got nothing to worry about.

      • Josh S

        Are you kidding? Accusing these folks of troll behavior when discussing “He who shall not be named?” Lord Trolldemart himself?

        • Swag

          [REDACTED] generates pageviews and pageviews generate money. Simply put, his trolling is good for business.

        • observer

          I thought it was lighthearted ribbing at worst… but [REDACTED] seems to enjoy special protected status with the censors.

  • yo

    i call being a moderator first!

  • Arlwhenver

    Egads — this is republican government? Elected officials hire professional interlopers to set the agenda and moderate communications with consitituents? I guess it would be a tragedy if Arlington County Board members were directly involved and accountable. What this actually is, is tax dollars wasted on needless staff hired to insulate and serve the interests of political insiders. Frankly, I’ve always found the school board model very effective, where you just showed up at the appointed hour at a table and discuss. It works. It is effective. It is inexpensive. No self-promotion, no fuss and no muss.

    • drax

      Wow, proof that people will find anything to complain about. Now you’re complaining about the county making it easier to complain.

      The moderator is likely there just to prevent nasty hateful comments and off-topic time-wasting, which, judging from the comments often seen here, is a good idea.

      Lots of people don’t have time to show up at meetings, and board members can read alot more than they can listen to at a meeting. Plus a mod could send questions and complaints directly to the right county department if that’s all that is required.

      • nom de guerre

        Plus it would make it easier for someone to complain using their smartphone while jaywalking or while shopping for avocados at Trader Joe’s.

        • OldTimer

          But not until they get WiFi at TJs.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Except that you they would get that for free on ArlNow

  • zzzzz

    This seems like a good thing in concept. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I’m in the process of signing up now, and this statement (listed in the reasons for requiring your name and address) gives me pause, since it limits the discussion:

    “So that no one dominates the forum, each person is allowed only one statement per issue.”

    • Suburban Not Urban

      That’s a typical ACB mindset let them have the illusion of debate but limit them to one comment where I always get the last word.

      • zzzzz

        Well it appears to be more of a brief survey mechanism than a forum, since you can agree with others’ comments but can’t have a back-and-forth discussion. I can kind of see the reason for doing it this way, since it would probably be a nightmare to moderate a true forum.

        I think this can still be useful. It’s certainly easier than attending the board meetings to comment on things.

  • Zelora

    Are they gonna ask us whether we want the Columbia Pike streetcar? Are they are they are they???? I hope? (becuz we DON’T)

    • drax

      Speak for yourself. (And only one statement per issue!)

    • KalashniKEV

      They’re not looking for an answer on that. Or the Bum Mansion. Or Artisphere.

      That would be an obstacle to spending public funds on personal boondoggles.

  • Be sure to vote Tuesday

    If you are not happy with the government around here, then be sure to vote this Tuesday, and NOT for an incumbent.


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