Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Open Government


Willits is a small town, and the city council members have regular "day jobs" in addition to their responsibility to govern city functions for a population of just over 5000 people or so. They also do not have office space of any kind provided at City Hall. So our mayor, Holly Madrigal, decided to set up "office hours" to meet with any local citizens with questions or concerns or congratulations. You'll find her at her desk at the weekly farmer's market, providing a model of open government.

20 comments:

Saretta said...

That's so cool! Would that all mayors were so down to earth!

Ming the Merciless said...

What a brilliant idea!

I wish our mayor is so approachable but then, there are over 7 million people living in NYC alone. He will need a BIG desk and a lot of chairs.

Sara N said...

That's good.
Willits remindes me an island which I travelled there 2 years ago.It is named "Biook Ada" and is located in Turkey,near Istanbul.My parents love there so much.Your photos from your small town is similar to that small island.I really love such places!

Hilda said...

Oh wow, I love that! But that'll be impossible in Metro Manila. Quezon City where I live has 2 million people. Then since all the cities and municipalities run into each other, there's a separate agency to oversee the metropolis — and that's 12 million people!

Dido said...

Excellent!! I bet she's a popular politician.

Kate said...

A wonderful grassroots activity. It makes a lot of sense, but pretty impossible in larger cities. Oh, how I wish we were less "sophisticated"!!

Virginia said...

Well good for her. She is setting a good example. Our mayor would probably need several bodyguards! His foolishness has rankled even the folks that were goofy enough to have voted for him in the first place.

Laurie said...

I love your town more and more. This is great.

Petrea said...

Kudos to Ms. Madrigal, and to Willits. What a cool place. So glad you're back, usE.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Our mayor or our council are not that accommodating. They hide when they can.

D.C. Confidential said...

And this is why I LOVE California! It's the only place you'd ever see something like this! Most excellent.

Tash said...

Holly Madrigal is one clever woman! I'd elect her 10x over. Great post, Elaine.

magiceye said...

so good to see a proactive mayor working for the people!

Kym said...

Your photo has such a warm relaxed quality to it, it makes me fall in love with Willits. In fact, your whole blog has.

USelaine said...

I'm so glad you all enjoyed seeing this as much as I did. We do have the advantage of being a very small city, so it's unlikely there will be an unmanageable crush of people trying to get to see the mayor. But she and the other council members are smart and open, and do their best to solve problems even in these hard economic times.

I'm also glad the visitors to this blog are able to see into Willits through my "filter". I've actually started to think about presenting some of the less attractive aspects of town too. I never set out to be the Chamber of Commerce, or a tourism guide. But if life gives you dappled shade, and good food, cowboys, hippies, and photogenic rust, it's hard to remember that.

Having said that, I hope you will slow down and stop in the next time you find yourself on Highway 101 going to or from the mighty redwoods. Many of my photo subjects are visible, on that route, from your car window.

Kym, I suppose I'll be seeing you at Benbow before you make your way down here. Am I right? (Any other area bloggers are welcome too!)

USelaine said...

Oh, before I forget, I heard a quote attributed to Senator Barney Frank today, approximately: "Government is the name we give to the things we choose to do all together."

Marylène said...

What a great idea !!
But I suppose it is only possible in small cities of California (or should I say "small towns", I never manage to figure when to use those 2 word).
In my small village of Seine et Marne, it could be possible, our Mayor acceps meeting with people easily, but we just miss the weather to do it outside of the City Hall !!!!

USElaine, you'd better ask local contractors or hotel owners to increase the number of homes or rooms, because, thank to your blog, many will want to come and settle in your lovely town of Willits.
Such a quality of life !
On my next trip to the US, I'll have to plan a detour via California.

Sharon said...

Now that is innovative!

Knoxville Girl said...

That's really great that she makes herself accessible to the citizens. Our city mayor has "neighborhood walks" where he picks a neighborhood and talks to the neighbors about whatever city issues they wish to discuss.

Hilda said...

"Government is the name we give to the things we choose to do all together."

I like that. Now if I can find a way of telling that to our politicians. =(