Humboldt County has launched Open Humboldt, an exciting online platform designed to engage citizens in a conversation that will harness their input on a variety of topics and important County issues. To take part in the discussion, visit www.co.humboldt.ca.us/openhumboldt.
County staff will read the statements from citizens and incorporate them into the decision-making process. Further, the County aims to empower citizens by providing them information on issues to enrich online comment and to provide more opportunities for citizen interaction and engagement.
"We want the public to be part of the process," said supervisor and board chair Ryan Sundberg. "This is an incredibly cost-effective way to empower residents to participate in county decisions from the privacy and convenience of their own home."
The first topic on Open Humboldt asks: "How would you prioritize the County’s budget in fiscal year 2013-14?" You will have the opportunity to prioritize how you would like to see county core services restored or expanded. The topic looks to expand on the recent community budget meetings in which citizens, county staff and the board of supervisors gathered at five sites around the county and discussed the upcoming fiscal year budget via live video conference. View the topic at the website listed above.
"Many Humboldt County residents live in remote, rural areas. It can take up to two hours for some people to get to Eureka, which makes it difficult for them to have input into important decisions that affect them," said Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace. "Open Humboldt provides an online forum to make it easier for rural residents to stay involved and have their voices heard."
Peak Democracy, a non-partisan company based in the Bay Area, developed the online platform. Their mission is to broaden civic engagement and build public trust in government. About 50 other cities and counties across the country are using their signature service - on which Open Humboldt is based called Open Town Hall - including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz County and San Ramon.