Why eGov? To thank citizens for jobs well done

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 01/07/2005 - 18:47.

How do cities encourage and empower residents to be great civil servants - to develop an appreciation for social responsibility? Perhaps through appreciation for jobs well done. The mayor of Baltimore used his "Taking Care of Business" eNewsletter to thank local businesses and 1,000s of citizen volunteers for making their schools better, and below is an eNewsletter from Mayor Rybak of the indisputably effective city of Minneapolis thanking "civic leaers" for their contribution to the quality of life of others in that community - from community gardens and a food co-op to developing a social contract for families to have dinner together at least 4 times a week - it seems the least good citizens deserve from their elected officials is an occassional "thanks for the help".

A Message from Minneapolis
Mayor R.T. Rybak

January 7,
2005

____________________________________________________________________

Happy New Year from me and my staff! I hope that 2005 will bring continued health and happiness to you and
your family. At a time when so much of the world is reeling from war and
unbelievable natural disaster, it's important to take time to quietly reflect on
how many blessings we have here in our day to day lives.

 

As your Mayor I get to personally see a lot of the really great things
that happen in this City, but I'm also there to lend a hand when tragic events
happen. Let us all hope that 2005 brings peace and stability to those that need
it - in our community and around the world. Please, if you haven't already done so, consider giving what you can to
the tsunami relief funds of the Red Cross, UNICEF, or the charity of your
choice.

 

One of the many great things about being Mayor is that I
get to go out into neighborhoods day after day (and most nights) and work with
so many of you giving time to build a great city. As I look back over the past year, some of
the most memorable people-powered events were:

 

National Night Out: On August 3rd
about 38,000 people participated in more than 800 events designed to bring
neighbors together to make our streets safer.

 

Faith in the City: Volunteers in the
Phillips neighborhood from seven Lutheran organizations helped 125 families
prepare their tax returns (saving $15,000 and claiming $90,000 in refunds),
created a wellness center, supported the Franklin Library, and raised $1.4
million to help residents build saving accounts to buy homes and start
businesses.

 

MOSAIC: This celebration of the arts
and cultures of Minneapolis included
more than 120 different performances and arts exhibitions. At the kickoff event in June, several
thousand people attended free performances in our historic
Hennepin Avenue theaters by
artists representing over 50 cultures. Keep up to date on 2005's MOSAIC
celebration at www.minneapolismosaic.com

 

Northeast Coop: After four years of
planning and fundraising, shoppers can now buy fresh produce on
Central Avenue at the new
Northeast Coop.

 

Community Gardens: A corner in
Jordan that had
been a focus of crime has been reclaimed as a garden for children. At
Dowling
Gardens, heirloom tomatoes and
vegetables of every kind grow on plots where neighbors have met for many
years.

 

Family Time: Several hundred
Minneapolis families, including
mine, have signed a pledge to have dinner together at least four nights a week,
part of a larger effort to create a community that nurtures strong families.

 

City of Lakes
Loppet
: In just three years a dedicated
group of volunteers has built this event into biggest urban cross-country ski
race in North America, attracting over 2,000 skiers and
raising money to help140 Minneapolis Public Schools students learn to ski. This
year's Loppet will be held on
February 5 and 6, and registration is currently open at www.cityoflakesloppet.com.

 

Longfellow Rocket: The rocket in
Bracket
Park - where I climbed as a kid and
took our kids when they were young - is being saved by a grass-roots effort that
includes selling rocket-shaped ear rings.

 

I want to thank the thousands of people I met at these
events - and all of you reading this that worked hard on community building
events of your own - for all your work. Each of these events is impressive by
itself; together they show the incredible power the people of
Minneapolis have when we work
together.

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