Citizen engagement, no questions

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Sacramento, <i>not</i> fictional sociopath Patrick Bateman.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Sacramento, not fictional sociopath Patrick Bateman.

photo by Josh Thompson

Lt. Gov. Patrick Bateman, er, Gavin Newsom, set aside his lunch hour Monday to tout his Citizenville book and regale fans with stories of meeting mustachioed New York Times columnists. (In 2005, “Twitter was a sound,” “4G was a parking place” and “LinkedIn was a prison,” according to Tom Friedman.)

The downtown Sacramento event, a panel on the promise of communication technologies for government engagement, was titled “What's Possible: A Conversation with Gavin Newsom.” It did include a few other tech-savvy wonks, however, such as Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen, Santa Monica Mayor Pam O'Connor and an articulate Abhi Nemani, who is chief of staff for the geeky nonprofit Code for America.

Hansen dropped a news bomb on the people of Sacramento in announcing that it had been added to the ranks of U.S. cities participating in Newsom and Nemani's Citizenville Challenge.

No idea what that means? Good. We didn't know either.

It turns out that Code for America will be stepping in with Sacramento city officials to help make local government more transparent, inclusive and interactive, using existing tools of 2.0 engagement.

Ironically, the politicos rattled on for so long about public discourse and constituency engagement that they ran clear over the time allotted for audience questions. Inspired by the day's theme of 2.0 discourse, SN&R circumvented the lack of floor time by asking the panelists questions on Twitter.

Hansen and Newsom have yet to respond.