Suburban Civics in the Age of Facebook

The recently retired Don Waldie, an impassioned observer and critic of metropolitan Los Angeles, spent his career finding ways for residents to participate to the civic process.

The article features in depth Q&A with Don Waldie, the recently retired public information officer of the city of Lakewood, California:

"I'm not convinced that social media creates the relationships that generate true citizenship. At this stage, social media invites little of the depth that leads to the give-and-take of true politics."

"Realistically, we all know that there are small cities on the "great flat" of the Los Angeles plain that have serious ethical problems. Their stories are well known; they trouble those of us in the profession of city management. Bell has gone wrong to a heartbreaking degree."

"In Lakewood 33 years ago, city council members collectively chose to tell a coherent story about Lakewood and what it was doing. If you have five council members thinking that way, a public information officer like me has a clear mission. But if local politics is only about each individual councilperson's career-his or her piece of the political pie-then a public information officer really can't do much for you. There has to be that political coherence before there can be communications coherence and relationship building."

Thanks to James Brasuell

Full Story: Don Waldie, Bard of Lakewood, Retires After 30-Plus Years of Public Service

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