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The Government We Need
29 minutes | 3 months ago
How government can design a human-centered social safety net
For those in need of social services – unemployment, housing, healthcare, food – the safety net isn’t easy to navigate or access. And the COVID crisis has exacerbated this reality. There has been a dramatic spike in benefits claims, especially in communities of color and those that were already teetering on the edge. This pandemic has spotlighted the extreme inequities of the haves and have-nots, and the very broken social safety net meant to provide benefits and assistance to people in need, particularly when disaster strikes. In this episode, we talk with Code for America Executive Director Amanda Renteria. Code for America’s mission is to build “a 21st century government that effectively and equitably serves all Americans.” As part of its Social Safety Net Portfolio, CfA has produced a ‘Blueprint for a Human-Centered Safety Net’ aimed at “transforming the delivery of public benefits in the digital age.” It also manages digital social service tools like GetCalFresh, ClearMyRecord, ClientComm and GetYourRefund. As Code for America says of its Integrated Benefits Initiative, “In the United States, the social safety net is composed of more than 80 services that together aim to lift almost 50 million Americans above the poverty line each year. Today, tens of millions of those people are still falling through the cracks.” Amanda talks with The Government We Need about how government can build a more responsive and dignified social safety net to support those who need it most.
42 minutes | 9 months ago
How government can make public budgeting more participatory
Participatory budgeting is a process that empowers community members to help decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB started in Brazil in 1989, and has since spread to more than 7,000 cities around the world. It has been used to decide budgets from states, counties, cities, housing authorities, schools, and other institutions. The New York Times calls PB “revolutionary civics in action.” In this episode, we talk with Participatory Budgeting Project Executive Director Shari Davis. PBP is a nonprofit organization advancing participatory budgeting across the United States and Canada. It has helped more than 400,000 people directly decide how to spend $300 million in public funds in 29 cities. Shari joined PBP after nearly 15 years of service and leadership in local government, including serving as Director of Youth Engagement and Employment for the City of Boston, where she launched Youth Lead the Change, the first youth PB process in the United States, which won the United States Conference of Mayors City Livability Award. Shari talks with of The Government We Need about how government can make public budgeting more participatory and, as PBP says, give people real power over real money.
57 minutes | 9 months ago
How government can support climate action
Sustainability is a top priority for environmentally-conscious global leaders, and it’s an issue that we’re all faced with on a daily basis, but what role should local government play in mitigating the climate crisis? In this episode, we talk with environmentalist and local government leader Rick Cole. Rick served as city manager of Santa Monica from 2015 to 2020, where he spearheaded ambitious initiatives on climate, homelessness, mobility, and the wellbeing of all residents. Prior to Santa Monica, Rick served as deputy mayor for Budget and Innovation for the City of Los Angeles, where he was responsible for a budget of $8.6 billion and oversaw five city departments. Rick also spent 15 years as city manager of two Southern California cities: Ventura and Azusa. He has been recognized as one of “America's Public Officials of the Year” by Governing Magazine and one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" by Government Technology Magazine. Rick talks with the Government We Need about creating a climate-conscious city -- from policy to business and organizational collaboration -- and how local governments can foster a more sustainable planet.
51 minutes | 2 years ago
How government can find its purpose
By identifying the right problems to work on — and solving these with a performance and purpose-based mindset — government can better serve its true mission. “Peak Performance” author Brian Elms thinks government should be constantly asking itself questions like, “Should we be doing this at all? Are we the ones that should be doing it? If not, can we stop doing it? Can we figure out a way to get better at all these things?” Brian talks with The Government We Need about how government can ask the right questions and, by doing so, find its true public service purpose.
45 minutes | 2 years ago
How we can code a better government
Government has historically been challenged in effectively leveraging technology to best serve the people. A decade ago, a movement of civic hackers -- technologists working for good -- inside and outside government began to eschew the trappings of Silicon Valley technology culture, instead putting their talents to use to code a better civil society. Code for America founder and executive director Jen Pahlka talks with The Government We Need about how we all can code a better government.
29 minutes | 2 years ago
How we can bring more diversity into elected office
In this episode, we talk with Sarah Horvitz, National Political Director of Run for Something, an organization that supports young and diverse political candidates by helping them with seed money, organization building, and access to the training needed to be successful. Prior to joining Run for Something, Sarah supported a number of political campaigns, including serving as Deputy Organizing Director for Hillary Clinton’s Virginia team. She was even elected to her local school board while she was still in high school. In this episode (of The Government We Need), Luke and Jessica talk with Sarah about how we can bring more diversity into elected office.
36 minutes | 2 years ago
How government can secure us in the internet+ era
The internet was not originally designed with security in mind. In the early days, this was OK, but today the landscape is more complicated because, in the internet+ era, nearly everything is connected to the internet. A spreadsheet crashes, and you lose your data. A heart device crashes, and you lose your life. Both are computers, maybe connected to the same CPU or operating system. The only difference is that the computers are attached to different things. In this episode, we interview Bruce Schneier, an American cryptographer, computer security professional, privacy specialist and writer. Bruce is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and a lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. His influential newsletter "Crypto-Gram" and his blog "Schneier on Security" are read by over 250,000 people. He is the author of over one dozen books -- including his latest, Click Here to Kill Everybody. Government has a duty of care that private companies do not. The free market doesn’t reward safety and security, so the government must step in. The government regulates stuff that kills people, and now the internet is one of those things, so the question is what does the government need to do to effectively regulate the internet+ world and keep us safe?
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