Excellent topic, and excellent timing.
There was an article yesterday about the demands on our new County Council members in terms of e-mails, constituent requests, and public meetings. From the numbers, they are doing a very good job of attending local meetings, but we are not doing a very good job of letting them know of our needs (100 e-mails in a month is not a lot). You are right, then, to challenge the public to get involved. That is the only way to prevent the sort of corruption that we've faced for the last several years. While the prosecutors and journalists claim, and deserve, a lot of credit, the work of turning out the corrupt politicians and others began when people began to speak out.
With The Citizens League, we have formed a vehicle for citizen engagement. We have some great programming. Foremost is our Candidates Program, which interviews and rates candidates for county office. We handled the first race for County Executive in 2010, the first real race for County Prosecutor last year, and the first contest between an incumbent and a challenger for County Council last year as well. Our members are the most educated voters in the County once our process concludes, and we share that information in a number of ways in order to educate all other voters.
We continue to focus on the County (but there are other groups looking at those local races). As such, we will monitor the County Charter Review Commission and its proposals this year. Other programs involve coordinating the efforts of local good government groups and monitoring the County Government and intervening/advocating where needed. We are also launching a concerted membership drive. So, for those who read the post and want to take what they learn on The Civic Commons and elsewhere and put it into action, please feel free to get in touch.
Chair, Executive Committee
The Citizens League of Greater Cleveland