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connect / 2018

Neighborhood Conversations

Neighborhood Conversations

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Synaccord, LLC

New online deliberative survey app engages disillusioned neighborhoods in civil discourse that brings their most important concerns to their Neighborhood & City councils, and their CA and US reps.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

An app and web site that allow the constituents of LA’s neighborhood councils to get together and constructively deliberate on their most important concerns, and make them visible to their councils, and their state and US reps.

An online, print, PR, and door to door campaign to welcome neighbors to the platform.

A face to face and online program that engages NCs in how this platform helps them efficiently engage with large numbers of constituents and build trust without being overwhelmed.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Voting rates

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Increase participation in political processes

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

In 2016 25,571 Angelinos voted in their neighborhood council elections. That’s less than 1%. Nothing will happen.

People see their government as disconnected from them.

People feel progress is stymied by politics and polarization.

People fear politics on social media is making things worse.

Angelinos - CONNECT in Civil Pursuit of making your world awesome!

It seems impossible, it seems like nothing will happen, BUT with new tools for connecting, your participation, and a big LA2050 campaign to welcome everyone, LA is going to be awesome!

There are new tools for connecting online. They are not like social media, they are based on time tested best practices of face to face deliberative discussion.

“Deliberative discussion” is a structured conversation allowing a group of people to receive and exchange information, to critically examine an issue, and voice their conclusions in a way which will inform decision making.

These new tools are designed to enable deliberative discussion on line, like a professional facilitator would in person. They make it possible for people, who may disagree, to collaborate in investigation of the issues they confront, to understand the many concerns involved, to be heard and counted, and once in a while to find a new idea that no one had thought of before. And online, very large numbers of people can participate.

With everyone CONNECTED and engaging with each other, their neighborhood council, their city council, their state and US representatives, LA is going to be the best place to connect, and it’s going to be awesome!

Now a council (or rep.) can hear from constituents their answers to questions like:

“What are the biggest concerns you have for your neighborhood”


“How can we all make our neighborhood an even better community together?”

And instead of getting overwhelmed with individual comments, they will receive a prioritized list of answers, as rated by the community, with their most important reasons why and why not, again rated by the community. And these aren’t just the top of mind “answers” like from a poll, these are thoughtful answers the community has discussed and reconsidered.

And then the top answers can be turned around into new questions for the community to discuss. Thus the engagement can continue and become a norm.

The community and council will see the numbers, understand the competing viewpoints, and find affinity for those who have them, and ‘politics’ will evolve into working toward solutions that work for the community as a whole. The polarization will reverse.

This form of problem solving is what face to face deliberative discussion is good at - but it has always been constrained by space, cost and time. Now, online, we do not have those constraints!

Our metric is voter turn out, and deliberative engagement has been shown to increase that. And with everyone in LA connecting and working together deliberatively, awesome, impossible things - will happen.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

The people in LA are too busy to participate in council meetings. It’s not just the time it takes to get there, arrange a sitter or get off work, it’s also the time wasted at the council waiting through the stuff that’s not relevant. And all that for 3 minutes to speak!

With less than 1% turn out, it makes the most sense that: to make the biggest impact you focus on the biggest segment of LA - the busy people!

And we will reach them where they are - on line through social media, and in traffic through signs along their commute, and at home. Specifically we will employ Facebook and Instagram, and test other channels. We will use yard signs, post cards, and organize grass roots door knocking.

And we will monitor participant sign ups and their demographics to learn what works best and dynamically adjust our outreach campaigns to seek representative demographics.

And after we get them engaged, we will keep them coming back with more topics, and we will invite them to invite their neighbors.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

Our LA2050 metric is to increase Neighborhood Council turnout at the next election by 100,000 people. So we will look for that in 2019.

And … long before that, Angelinos will be able to engage online, in on going discussions with each other, and with their neighborhood council so that when elections come in 2019 voters will know about the neighborhood councils, know their neighbors, and know the impact they can have through their vote for neighborhood council.

We will count the number of people who sign up in each neighborhood, and their growth rate, and the amount of repeat participation and we will work to keep those numbers growing.

And this platform isn’t just about making things more efficient for constituents, we will also work with neighborhood councils themselves and demonstrate how this helps them and track how many of them are making use of the platform in their council.

And ultimately the success we seek is outcomes. Faster results because more people are engaged up front and support the solution. Better decisions because of broader engagement. We will be watching for these and reporting on them when they happen.

And this isn’t just about NC’s. Angelinos will also be simultaneously connected to the same discussions with their State and US representatives and constituencies and we will follow those metrics as well.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In 5 years we hope to see the majority of Angelinos connecting productively, regularly, with each other, and their neighborhood council, and their city, state and US representatives and making their community and the world awesome!

We also plan to see more communities across California and the US using these tools to engage with each other, and their governments to make our country awesome!