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.

1 minute read

November 4, 2010, 10:00 AM PDT

By Tim Halbur


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

Monday, November 1, 2010 in The Planning Report

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wind turbines and solar panels against a backdrop of mountains in the Mojave Desert near Palm Springs, California

California Grid Runs on 100% Renewable Energy for Over 9 Hours

The state’s energy grid was entirely powered by clean energy for some portion of the day on 37 out of the last 45 days.

1 hour ago - Fast Company

Close-up of hand holding up wooden thermometer in front of blurred street

New Forecasting Tool Aims to Reduce Heat-Related Deaths

Two federal agencies launched a new, easy-to-use, color-coded heat warning system that combines meteorological and medical risk factors.

2 hours ago - Associated Press via Portland Press Herald

View of Dallas city skyline with moderately busy freeway in foreground at twilight.

AI Traffic Management Comes to Dallas-Fort Worth

Several Texas cities are using an AI-powered platform called NoTraffic to help manage traffic signals to increase safety and improve traffic flow.

3 hours ago - Dallas Morning News

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.