technology in the service of ypsilanti: the geek coup d’

I think we may be approaching critical mass when it comes to the participation of the tech-savvy in local civic life. There have been initiatives in the past, like when Steve and Hillary Cherry began recording and streaming the radio chatter of the Ypsilanti police, or when gadfly-turned-politician Brian Robb launched his Ypsi Crime criminal activity-tracking map site, but it seems to me that lately more and more people are coming to the table with technology they feel passionate about and offering to implement it in order to make our local government more accessible and transparent. This week alone, I’ve heard of two new initiatives.

First, I heard that Sam Abuelsamid had transferred the contents of the Ypsi school calendar over to Google Calendar, where it could be accessed by way of RSS feed — a huge service to parents with access to the internet. Then, I read on the East Cross site that formal mayoral candidate Steve Pierce had begun recording and posting video of City Council meetings to Google Video… My sense is that we’ll begin seeing more and more of this as tools become more accessible and as people become more aware, thanks mainly to our growing network of local blogs, that such opportunities to positively impact their communities exist. (Sam, I should mention, has also offered to lead seminars for our public school teachers, introducing them to open-source tools that can be used in their classrooms.) I think I speak for almost everyone in Ypsi when I say that things like this are very cool and very much appreciated.

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  1. mark
    Posted September 5, 2006 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I didn

  2. Dr Cherry
    Posted September 5, 2006 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I re-posted that city council speech by Lee Toonson.

    He’s goin’ to lay it on ya.

  3. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted September 5, 2006 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Let’s have the link, Steve.

  4. Dr Cherry
    Posted September 5, 2006 at 11:41 am | Permalink

  5. Dr Cherry
    Posted September 5, 2006 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    “You’re hard-nosed, you’re stiff-necked.”

    “He don’t wear pajamas, Cheryl.”

  6. mark
    Posted September 5, 2006 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    God, that’s good stuff.

    Just seeing you, Tooson and Kircher standing there together made my night, Steve. (I’m going to make that image my new wallpaper.)

  7. Dr Cherry
    Posted September 6, 2006 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Um, mark, I was operating the camera. Did you just confuse me with Dennis Barger?

  8. Dr Cherry
    Posted September 6, 2006 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Oh, and this whole “coup d’

  9. Ted Glass
    Posted September 6, 2006 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Pol Pot is delicious. Much better than the Poo Poo Platter in my opinion.

    And don’t be mad that people in Ypsi don’t remember what you look like anymore. It’s a good thing. It means that you can come back and rob banks.

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