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Thread: Responsive Local Governments

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Responsive Local Governments

    I live on Milwaukee's fashionable lower east side (ironically NORTH of downtown. the lake is east!).

    Its an older part of town - my house dates to 1885. The streets are narrow, bars are plentifull, and street parking is at a premium. My house has NO off street parking. The local streets have a 2 hour time limit, 9am - 9pm. In winter, if expected snow fall is 4" in one storm event, parking is prohibited and they tow all cars to the impound in order to clear the streets.

    On some occassions, that kind of snow fall comes unexpectedly with lake effect, or someone didn't see the news, and folks wake up to find their car *gone*.

    Today, the city rolled out a new program, where you can sign up to get text messaging to warn you of pending snow emergencies. I see a great benefit in this. It is cheap for the city to notify residents, which they never used to do.

    On the other hand, if you sign up and later don't see it, and get towed, they have an "I told you so" in traffic court.

    I rent a garage a block from my house, so this doesn't affect me, but I thought it was a brilliant thing the city is doing.

    Do you have any examples of your city / town / the town next door doing something witty?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    Today, the city rolled out a new program, where you can sign up to get text messaging to warn you of pending snow emergencies. I see a great benefit in this. It is cheap for the city to notify residents, which they never used to do.
    In Philadelphia, the parking authority and police would drive ahead of the tow trucks and announce over their loudspeakers that there was a snow emergency and cars would be towed. It worked pretty well, but they only did this on the arterials. In Boston, the snow bans are generally ignored as there is no place to store cars off-street.

  3. #3
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    We can provide a boil-water notice by email.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    As it turns out, this CWAZY first time alert turned out to be just rain. The local mayor looks like an a$$. Everyone in my neighborhood ditched their cars to safe havens, and umm no snow. giggles

  5. #5
    The Boston Public Library sends out a reminder by email two days befor a book is due. I think iys the best thing ever. It cut my overdue book rate to about one every couple of months.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    The Boston Public Library sends out a reminder by email two days befor a book is due. I think iys the best thing ever. It cut my overdue book rate to about one every couple of months.
    I wish my library did that. Maybe they do and they just don't have my email, but I doubt it. I'm sure overdue fines are a major source of revenue and they wouldn't want to reduce that.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    With GIS, we can draw a polygon and call everyone in a specific area about meetings, incidents, warnings, etc. In an era where cell phones, answering machines and busy schedules are the norm, it is HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Our library will 'due' the same and also call if you have ordered or reserved a book and its come in.

    With Wee P in school now, the school calls us with a recorded message that school will be closed or report cards out, et cetera.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by jsk1983 View post
    I wish my library did that. Maybe they do and they just don't have my email, but I doubt it. I'm sure overdue fines are a major source of revenue and they wouldn't want to reduce that.
    Despite the reminder, I was ovverdue last week, two days set me back 20 cents. Thats probably not a major moneymaker.

    On second thought, if everyone pays just 20 cents a month...

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    The City i live in has a reverse 911 so that it can notify you if there is a missing person's or serious crime/event going on in your neighborhood.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Despite the reminder, I was ovverdue last week, two days set me back 20 cents. Thats probably not a major moneymaker.

    On second thought, if everyone pays just 20 cents a month...
    Its not the books that rake up the fines, but DVDs. $2.00 a day can be quite the money maker. Luckily last time it was only one, but the library still got $10 out of it. The average purchase price of DVDs is probably less than books, but I guess the turnover is higher so they feel they can charge more. They mustn't of been in too much of a hurry though since they didn't call, though they have my number for when I request books.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    The City i live in has a reverse 911 so that it can notify you if there is a missing person's or serious crime/event going on in your neighborhood.
    The City of San Diego also has a reverse 911 system. It seemed to work well when the northern 'burbs were burning.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Oh geez, I just worked for a suburban gov't that couldn't get their act together when hurricanes struck if you'd held a gun to their heads. Don't get me started... Oh wait, they were all out of town in air-conditioned hotel rooms because they could afford it and the employees couldn't...

    They issued boil water notices on the web site which, not surprisingly, almost always involved mobile home parks where probably nobody had web access.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    The university has a text message alert system ever since the Virginia Tech tragedy. It works pretty well.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    The university has a text message alert system ever since the Virginia Tech tragedy. It works pretty well.
    Our university just had an incident thatpromped an alert, a system put into place because of the Virginia Tech tragedy. The problem here was that I got 3 emails and three messages to my cell phone, one to my office phone. The problem? I am at a different campus.

    We also get these really really annoying broadcast telephone messages from the head of our hosptial. They are triviial and irrelevant. And we can't skip through them, we have to listen to the entire message before it canbe erased. If you don' erase it, you have to listen to it again. arggggg

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Our County has and Emergency Alert System (EAS) which sends messages via text to cell phones/PDAs and email for any emergencies (weather related, car accidents/road closures, amber alerts, school/gov't closures, etc.). It's a very valuable system and has been helpful to me on numerous occasions.....although I'm still never had the pleasure of receiving a message that says County Government offices are closed!

    We also have the electronic notification from the Public Library.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
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