Subject: Civic Engagement, Community Building, Neighborhood Organizing
Presented in: 2011
While other communities in the Bay Area are cutting jobs and closing libraries, San Francisco’s $6.83-billion budget calls for the city to renovate some libraries and open new ones, Mayor Edward Lee told the opening session of the Craigslist Foundation’s 8th Annual Boot Camp June 2.
“The safest place a kid can be today is in a library,“ he said. The San Francisco administration protected libraries and other city infrastructure by working with the entire community, looking for ways to sustain the services that people and neighborhoods need.
“It’s interesting to find out that there are governments around our Bay Area that still don’t talk to their communities or labor organizations, that preach what they want to do and hope it happens,” he said. “I’ve found it pretty easy to engage our communities, bring them into how we do our budget, and make sure everything is transparent.”
As a result, “we’re kind of on a roll, because we’ve opened up our doors and made sure we’re listening to people.”
Lee said the city’s ability to balance the budget and protect services was “ bound directly with non-profits talking with us about how their capacity over a five-year financial planning program could be built.” Those organizations “can help us deliver a better health care system, provide nutrients to seniors, make sure we have shelters for our homeless and supportive services around those shelters, make sure we have all kinds of effective programs that are community-based.”
By the same token, he acknowledged that non-profits “are extremely challenged coming out of these very hard economic times.” Governments can play a crucial role by supporting community partners and helping them build capacity.
Craigslist Foundation is grateful to The Conference Publishers for this Boot Camp report. The Conference Publishers is a world leader in capturing and repackaging conference content. The firm has worked with local writers in more than 200 communities across North America and beyond, helping organizations get better results from the conferences they host and the knowledge participants share onsite.