Anyone who is obsessive about following Toronto City Council and its doings on Twitter will be familiar with “The Scoobies“–a bunch of obsessively tweeting smart people who watch municipal government closely and crack wise and think hard about it. Some of them, Neville Park, Sol Chrom, Corey Caplan and sometimes-Grid contributor David Hains have launched a group blog that allows them to do what they do in a format longer than 140 characters. I give you Toronto Citizens:
This site is a group blog devoted to Toronto’s City Hall and the communities it impacts. We want to have a space where people can learn about stories that have fallen through the cracks, how and why political decisions get made, and where people can explore new ideas to make Toronto better. It’s a really exciting time at City Hall right now and for Toronto in general. We hope you’ll join us in tracking that and participating in the conversation of what makes Toronto the Good.
While the site appears to be still under construction (the link to Councillor Pallacio’s profile page, perhaps appropriately, just says “Placeholder!” right now), they’re already liveblogging council meetings and adding other content—like a meditation on the meaning of taxation by Caplan, a Storify on Ossington development by Chrom, and a whole load of stuff by Hains, including this great quick hit on an approach to government that would create the “efficiencies” Ford is always talking about:
Richard Thaler, one of the world’s leading behavioral economists, writes in the New York Timesabout his consulting work with the British government on finding better practices. He reduces what he has learned to two simple rules:
- If you want to encourage some activity, make it easy.
- You can’t make evidence-based policy decisions without evidence.
[...] But this is a different model of government: it is creative, willing to experiment, works with data and research and uses it in non-ideological terms.
That last sentence sums up some of the qualities I’m excited to see in the blog as it develops.