{ metropolis devoured }
a tribute to my san francisco

3/4 oz scotch whiskey
3/4 oz local politics
1/4 oz public policy
1/4 oz disaster preparedness
1/2 oz alamo square

Shake over neighborhood dives & venues, strain into a chilled cocktail dress, garnish with a sprig of gov 2.0, and serve.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The price of vanity...

Two years ago, when I first spread my wings and took off from the old college nest atop Lone Mountain a brand new honors graduate, I was advised to apply for some kind of a management position with the city's 311 call center to get my foot in the door, so to say, in the world of city governance. I thought about it but decided I'd spend the majority of my time being utterly annoyed by people who are too lazy to Google their own damn answers (any means that reduce the necessity for plain folk to think for themselves are a bad move for a government in my book, and if I wanted to get all conspiratorial here, are the first step towards brainwashing), so I declined.

Now, I find myself curiously surprised that this service is not only used at all, but is actually popular enough for the Mayor's office to expand its budget. It's a service easily replaceable by two things that at least 85% of its users have: five seconds of their time and a computer. Operators at 311 don't have any magic tools; they have the same Internet that lives in your computer. Their "special training" doesn't go any further than learning how to navigate the city's ridiculously designed and poorly coded website, which any citizen could use with swiftness if the city chose to implement a more efficient search function. Even without that, poke around links for 20 minutes and you'll find the same exact answer they'll give you, without leaning on city resources. What, you don't have an extra 20 minutes to find the number for the Department of Public Works to fix a tipped-over newsrack, Dean? Or, I don't know, how about lifting it back up yourself, if you can?

Chances are, Dean could very well fix the problem himself. But with the veritable Mayor chirping "Oh, don't you worry your pretty little face, the city's got it handled!" at every news camera to increase his popularity and media presence, Dean sees an alternate solution: don't take any responsibility for fixing your environment, because you don't have to. Cheers, Mister Mayor. You really do make this city so much better.


Fucking prick.



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