Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government

Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government

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by Gavin Newsom
     
 

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“A fascinating case for a more engaged government, transformed to meet the challenges and possibilities of the twenty-first century.” —President William J. Clinton

A rallying cry for revolutionizing democracy in the digital age, Citizenville reveals how ordinary Americans can reshape their government for the better. Gavin Newsom,

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Overview

“A fascinating case for a more engaged government, transformed to meet the challenges and possibilities of the twenty-first century.” —President William J. Clinton

A rallying cry for revolutionizing democracy in the digital age, Citizenville reveals how ordinary Americans can reshape their government for the better. Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California, argues that today’s government is stuck in the last century while—in both the private sector and our personal lives—absolutely everything else has changed. Drawing on wide-ranging interviews with thinkers and politicians, Newsom shows how Americans can transform their government, taking matters into their own hands to dissolve political gridlock even as they produce tangible changes in the real world. Citizenville is a timely road map for restoring American prosperity and for reinventing citizenship in today’s networked age.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Newsom is essentially calling for a complete redesign of the system that dictates how government handles information, and he has specific ideas on how to achieve such a transformation… A passionate and well-reasoned argument for a new style of government that would treat the citizenry not just as spectators but as collaborators.”
—Booklist (starred)

"The book remains fresh and lively with Newsom emerging as a persuasive, if fast-talking, progressive proponent focused on how best to 'radically rethink the relationship between citizens and government'... Empowering, motivating."
—Kirkus

“Gavin Newsom is a clear-eyed public servant who has never been satisfied with the status quo. Citizenville makes a fascinating case for a more engaged government, transformed to meet the challenges and possibilities of the 21st century,and where technology brings the critical tools of our democracy closer to its citizens than ever before.”
—President William J. Clinton

“Gavin Newsom is helping to lead a new generation of government leaders who think like entrepreneurs - and who understand that technology can transform the way citizens interact with government, just as it is transforming the way we live and work. Citizenville offers a guide for how people can take charge of their government and their futures.”
—Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City; founder of Bloomberg LP

“Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom offers a real discussion of how we communicate and engage with the people and institutions around us – and how government can catch up, or risk getting left behind.”
—Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark

"Newsom's ideas are powerful: Why can't government enjoy the same disruptions that happen in the technology industry every day? Citizenville's prescriptions form the basis of a much-needed software upgrade for our democracy."
—Jeremy Stoppelman, Co-Founder and CEO, Yelp.com

“As a serious business guy, Gavin Newsom figured out smart new ways to run his wine businesses. As mayor and lieutenant governor, he led the way in rethinking how to govern. Now, as an author, he puts that knowledge and creativity onto the page, showing us what we citizens must do to greatly improve the way our government runs. Citizenville is a serious and realistic look at how to change the nature of government forever.
—Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.com

“Citizenville is nothing short of a call for revolution. Gavin Newsom, one of the most tech-savvy politicians in the United States, shows how our government has dropped the ball on using exciting new technologies – and he reveals how we can fix the situation and bring governing power to the people. In the midst of the social-media revolution, Newsom serves as a guide for how to people can take charge of their government and their futures.”
—Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation; Exec. Chairman, Singularity University

“Gavin Newsom is one of the most tech-savvy elected officials in the United States. With Citizenville, he provides a blueprint for a government that can tap into the creativity, innovation and transparency that define digital and social media, and makes the case for using all the tools at our disposal to improve our government — and our lives.”
 —Arianna Huffington, founder and editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post

“Citizenville deftly combines Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom's keen understanding of technology and his insight from years in public service. The result is a book that offers ideas for bridging the gap between a plugged-in citizenry and an out-of-date government.”  
 —Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, SalesForce.com

"Thanks to new technology and new ideas, today's policy makers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine how government serves citizens. Gavin Newsom provides a practical and engaging look at how to make our government more efficient, agile, and responsive." —Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

“The Web is a virtual city already.  Web-based services, adroitly deployed, can massively improve physical cities and the dynamics of governance, as Newsom shows.  His experience as an innovative and popular mayor of San Francisco gives his book particular substance.”
 —Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog

Publishers Weekly
Souped-up information technology will set us free, declares this breathless, shallow manifesto. Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California and ex-mayor of San Francisco, heralds the new regime of cloud computing, which makes all public information instantly accessible and, he argues, utterly transforms how governments do business. The specifics he mentions feel small-bore and superficial: city IT departments, he notes, could be outsourced; government databases from Veterans Administration health records to city crime stats can be made downloadable; a New York City phone app guides users to the nearest location where they can get free condoms; and why not have citizens post Yelp-style online reviews of government services? Citing gabby cyberutopian visionaries from Bill Clinton to Mark Zuckerberg, Newsom styles all this as the overthrow of the “top-down, bureaucratic, hierarchical government that’s choking our democracy,” one that empowers citizens to “‘solve their own problems and meet their own needs’” in the manner of open-source programmers and righteous hacktivists. Unfortunately, as with his proposal for a “Citizenville” online game in which people win points for spending their own money on municipal repair projects, his rhetoric amounts to a glitzy but dispiriting brief for the abdication of government responsibilities in an era of budget austerity. Agent: Elyse Cheney, Elyse Cheney Literary Associates. (Feb. 11)
Kirkus Reviews
A former mayor of San Francisco introduces methodology to improve citizens' interaction with their government through the Internet. Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California, reflects fondly on his mayoral terms and his efforts to accelerate the learning curve for an often bogged-down city government operating "on the cutting edge--of 1973." As founder of an impressive array of small Bay Area businesses, the author understands the power and influence technology can wield--but how to harness and channel it to engage smart, forward-thinking consumers with their respective bureaucracies? Overcoming governmental "technophobia" is key to bridging that gap, but disinterest, privacy concerns and procurement costs are also roadblocks. Newsom cites many affirmative initiatives on data sharing, governmental transparency and numerous interactive applications like QR codes or his "Citizenville" gaming concept. While conducting research, the author came into contact with a host of technologically savvy professionals, from software pioneers and hyperproductive tech executives to fellow entrepreneurs and even George Clooney, who laments the death of individual privacy. Newsom's pitch for a compulsory donation system to co-fund government projects or the concept of incentivizing to gain more rapid solutions is certainly progressive. An idea to offer $1 billion to the innovator of a cure for a constantly morphing disease like AIDS, however, comes off like a lofty campaign promise. Still, the book remains fresh and lively with Newsom emerging as a persuasive, if fast-talking, progressive proponent focused on how best to "radically rethink the relationship between citizens and government." Empowering, motivating and just a tad self-indulgent.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143124474
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/2014
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
423,390
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Gavin Newsom is the forty-ninth lieutenant governor of California, following two terms as mayor of San Francisco. He lives in the Bay Area.

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