FoossaPod: NYC Council Member Carlina Rivera on Civic Engagement
How can local politicians design ways to better engage their constituents? Can processes like participatory budgeting or streamlined digital technologies help increase civic engagement?
In this episode of FoossaPod, David Colby Reed and Lee-Sean Huang have a conversation with New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera to discuss these topics and more.
Council Member Rivera represents New York City District 2, which includes the diverse Manhattan neighborhoods of the Lower East Side, East Village, Gramercy, Rose Hill, Kips Bay, Flatiron, Union Square, and Murray Hill.
Highlights from CM Rivera:
I think that a lot of people are resistant to technology because they feel like it will be biased. And that is just because of the little that we know, because the history of the tech industry itself and how it looks. It is seen as affluent. It is seen as White. It is not seen as something that is fully integrated with communities that look like us.
But I can see instances where technology could improve overall processes for different things…With anything new with technology, you have to be ready for the maintenance for operations.
Coming from the non-profit sector, we were always looking for new tech, but if we had nobody to maintain it or upgrade it, then it becomes pretty stale and pretty useless pretty quickly.
The tech industry is booming here in NYC, it’s the fastest growing sector, and I think we have a lot of opportunity to use it for civic engagement.
Participatory budgeting will allow residents as young as 14 the ability to vote on how money is spent. Your tax dollars are being spent on infrastructure projects, and this will give people a vote in how council member’s pot of money is spent. You can also give people the chance to vote online…It’s nothing too high tech: there are some ideas, you get to vote, and you get to see it come to life.