Bev, the blogging Governor

Governor Bev Perdue set out to change the way many things are done in North Carolina and she's changing the way we will communicate with the Governor's office. Bev started a blog.

Most of you here probably received the email from the Governor's office yesterday. If not, here's the juicy part outlining what she did on her first day as Governor:

1. Set up a Governor’s Task Force for the Development of an Endowment for Positive Gubernatorial Campaigns
- Starts the process of changing the way gubernatorial campaigns are run by creating a task force to develop the framework for an endowment that will provide third-party funding and remove special interest money from gubernatorial elections.

2. Signed directive to reform the Department of Transportation
- Will prohibit DOT Board members from voting on individual projects and changes the way DOT does business – putting more of the decision-making in the hands of professionals.

3. Established an Open Book Government for North Carolina
- Increases accountability and transparency by creating a searchable and public website that shows spending on grants and contracts.

4. Announced On-Site and State-Stat Performance Management and Accountability
- Governor Perdue will make regular, unannounced inspections of state facilities and will require departments to conduct statistical performance reviews of government programs.

5. Established the North Carolina Budget Reform and Accountability Commission (BRAC)
- Citizen oversight panel will ensure government programs are using tax dollars in the most effective and efficient way possible.

That wasn't all Governor Perdue did, though. She and her office set out to change the way we communicate with her. Along with the blog mentioned and linked to above, Bev will hold live and online town hall meetings. The etownhall has been used fairly successfully by other politicians, but my understanding is that it is not an inexpensive tool. Of course, that's all relative. The Governor's office may already have all the tools necessary, making the actual cost negligible. On top of all of that are a new suggestion box and a handy place to ask questions about our state government.

Not a bad first day.

Comments

On a personal/BlueNC note

We have been in touch with Chrissy Pearson, Gov. Perdue's scheduler and we are working to find a time for us to do either a live-blog or a Q&A with Governor Perdue. My feeling is that a Q&A (we collect questions here from our readers and submit them to the Governor's office) will work best for her schedule. I can't imagine it is easy for her to find a full hour to set aside for chatting with us. I'll let you know as soon as we have something set up.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

How many folks read this website?

what is it? 6 a day? Me thinks it is a tad bit more. I hope she can find that hour.

Regardless, thanks to mickey, the believability and accessibility from our governors office is not there. Just knowing what side of the fence she stands on with regards to our concerns will be a huge benefit. Mickey gave the perception of being on the fence for most issues.

My favorite is the OLF.

My next favorite is education. I want to be a middle school math or science teacher. The stumbling block for me? I spent 22 years in the Navy. I guess the one regret I have in those 22 years is I did not attend any college classes.

I was a certified Navy instructor for 14 of those years. I have written reports. Counseled people, been responsible for the safety and well being of my division. Mentored people. Evaluated people. Formally and informally trained people. Watched people. Done things many folks will never have the availability to attempt. Seems like a lot of the things a teacher would do.

As an instructor it is extremely rewarding to watch when the students finally "get it". To see the recognition light bulb shine. To know you helped someone learn something new. Both of us get something at that moment. Striving to spread confidence, knowledge and positive believe in oneself is some of the goals of a teacher. Something I have been doing for a long time.

The State of North Carolina will not recognize any of these things. From an educational point of view, I and the youngster out of high school are in the same category. We both need to get a 4 year diploma to teach. We both need to attend the same courses. North Carolina will recognize the fact that I went to boot camp and will give me credit for the two PE classes I need for this 4 year degree. That is it. I went to boot camp Jan/Feb 1980.

I can see some of that. The degree shows that you are dedicated to your trade and will stick with the program. You will not fail or abandon your kids. It shows a desire to better yourself and learn as much about your trade as possible and to transfer that knowledge at an appropriate level to your kids. It shows sticktoittiveness (yea a parmea word).

I am not looking for a free ride into the teaching field. Far from it. What I am looking for is a whole person review and credit for much of what I have done. Because I desire to teach math or science, I fully understand those areas should not get a free ride. Do I need a 4 year degree in math or science to be an effective teacher? I do not think so. Do I need to take the applicable courses to be an effective teacher? Sure, that seems reasonable. My credential of sticktoittiveness has been established. Something the youngster has not achieved.

To say Parmea, you and the individual right out of high school that desires to be a middle school teacher are on the same step because neither of you have college is inappropriate.

We need teachers. I want to be a teacher. I am enrolled to be a teacher. I see I can be a benefit to the kids sooner then the 4+ years it is going to take to get my teaching degree. I am taking the course to become a certified substitute teacher.

North Carolina should come up with a program that helps and works with the whole person especially for "seasoned" people who have a trail of evaluations, rewards and other documents/actions that show the whole person to enable a transition to where there is an identified need in our State. People willing to teach who have proven their abilities. Should it take 4 years? no, should it take less then one year? Heavens no. The probability of someone being able to transfer straight over in less then a year may not be there who has limited to no college. However, college is not the end all to be all for qualifying someone to be a teacher.

The state is driving this 4 year requirement

I am enrolled at college of the Albamarle. I think it is a CC? It is partnered with ECSU. Seems like all the colleges in the state are part of the NC college system in some fashion. I may be looking at them in the wrong light.

I will plod along attempting to get my teaching certification. Just seems silly that I and someone right out of high school have the exact same requirements.

Is it a wonder why we have a shortage of teachers? I am fortunate that I have the time and the money to do a 4 year college degree at this stage of my life. How many others could and want to be a teacher? Not many.

Being a sub will allow me to keep my foot in the door. I will be able to see all the grade levels and refine my desires.

Thank you for the suggestion!

Great idea, Robert.

Listen to him, Parm. He's one smart guy.

OOOO did not think of it that way

Yea adults are easier to deal with! Their wallets make them want to listen and participate.

Hummmm, that is an idea, might swing by the administration building and do some inquiring.

The bio for my instructors so far show masters degree. Got one more to see.

but as a 22 year swabby

I might be qualified to teach custodial engineering!

LOL! Mopping is definitely a skill

And by the way, I'm pretty sure Albemarle is part of the N.C. Community College system. I did some research recently trying to see if the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas had anything to do with poor access to higher learning.

The College of the Albemarle covers a huge geographic area. Even with a few satellite campuses scattered around, the average commute to class has to be substantial. But I have to say, it looks like the state has really tried to bring the community college system to everybody, regardless of where they live. They definitely need more satellite campuses, and/or expand their online curriculum.

Yup

last teacher is an assistant principal.

Kinda neat, talking math with him. One of the few teachers I have ever met who would let me go down the wrong road and able to guide me back. He was able to keep up with me even with my wacked out logic. He let me figure out what I was doing wrong with simple suggestions on procedure that I was oooopsing. He also kept the class from getting lost with my "intelligent" arguement down this road of doom.

Math is FUN!

Kinda cool, eh?

I sent her a suggestion and got an immediate and very nice message back. I know it's an autoresponse, but it wasn't as hokey as some I've seen.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

So far, the e-mails from the Governor

(or her people) seem to be just as frequent as they were pre-election, which is a nice surprise. Bev really does seem to value communication and interaction as more than just a campaign tool, and I have a hunch she will make a habit of using BlueNC as one of her conduits for that.

I think something like a Quarterly Q&A session would be an awesome event if we could pull it off. Collect and vet the questions, then give the Gov a week or so to chew on them before answering. Whatever works best and allows for in-depth answers.

Something like this would be awesome

The vetting process would have to allow for all parties thoughts to be brought into play. The Smitty's would need a shot at her as well. Doubt she will do one for every political party. BlueNC would be the source for this Q&A blog. Providing even more credibility for this site!

I cannot find a republican website

that has this kind of robust dialog. The few I have found are typically one entry. Rarely is their follow up discussions. Granted I have not looked in about a year.

Smitty by chance, do you know where the republicans North Carolina web site that is comparable to BlueNC?

Thanks

Haven't heard of that.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Interesting conversation

I've moved it to forums in order to help keep this thread on topic. (Bev's new web site and new direction) Thanks.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Republicans can't compare on political blogs

parmea...you're insinuation is absolutely correct. Republicans are horribly lacking when comparing them to democrats with regard to blogs. Whatcha think I'm here for ?? The interaction is fabulous on BlueNC and even though I am trashed and questioned and "corrected" at every turn, I know the deal. I still get my point across to y'all. Those of you that haven't been just totally brainwashed beyond recovery sometime even agree with me on some issues.

Republicans have pretty much cornered the market on radio talk shows and hold a significant viewership advantage on TV conservative-talk vs liberal-talk as well. That's their venue...it's what they do.

If you're asking me to trash BlueNC, you'll be sadly disappointed. You guys are smart, articulate and extremely knowledgeable on a great many of the issues affecting NC politics. I don't respond to many of the threads here because they are outside my expertise/knowledge mostly because they're democratic party issues like who is best for this or that chair and so forth.

It's interesting to me. I hope that my input sometimes interests you folks. Yes, most of the time they're not things you want to hear...but maybe they should be, if you get my drift.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Well hell

I hate just working one side of a story. That is boring. It also turns into a "yes man" club with the potential of ideas being so accepted that the forest is lost within the trees.

tis why I am looking for the Republican side of the story. The truth is found somewhere between the two sides. Both sides need to be heard for proper decisions to be made.

Blogs and blogging is becoming the method of information dissemination. Newspapers are losing their grip as the top dog for news stories. Now newspapers are tossing out skeletal stories and the blogs are fleshing the story out.

If you aint blogging, your side of the story aint getting out there. The Dems have figured this out. Folks who are driving this site have taken this to heart. Dems are stronger in NC because of this site!

Well.....possibly

Dems definately are stronger within their own group because of this site and sites similar. I mean, let's face it...this is mostly a "mutual admiration society" here. You are correct...the truth and the correct answer to many of our problems lies "among" us, not just with one side of the equation or the other. You're right...sometimes I get bored on BlueNC because on many threads it's just one person agreeing with the next person and then he/she agreeing with the next person.

Problem is, there really isn't a really good blog that allows both sides to be heard. What eventually happens on those when they start is name calling, childish trashing of the posters and they go by the wayside.

This one is pretty good. But, alas, not enough of "my kind" are here to help me out !!

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Bev's site isn't a blog

Blogs need a few things to distinguish themselves from regular old websites. One of those is the ability to accept comments. Don't see this ability over at eTownhall. Another is publishing a RSS feed. No feed available over there either. I'm not the first person to notice this. I learned about these errors on a blog post called, Governor Bev Perdue starts a blog, and it’s terrible.

Frankly its very misleading to call the new Governor's website a blog. Her site is just a electronic PR release. It is not a conversation. Barack Obama's web presence raised millions and built the trust of the planet through conversations online. Not one way preaching.

For more information on what a blog really is try reading Blogging 101.

Brian. Seriously.

"...if your “blog” doesn’t have a way to notify us of new content, we’re never going to read it, sorry." (from the RDU site, not your comment)

I hate reading sanctimonious (and incorrect) techie stuff like this. RSS feeds are a neat tool and preferred by some people, but right now those some people only represent about 10% of Internet users.

Betsy, how long have we had RSS feed capabilities here? And how much did that boost our readership?

Also, providing for reader comments is not a prerequisite for qualifying as a weblog. Regardless of how trends may "redefine" things, an author commenting about things online (publicly viewable) in a chronological series is pretty much the basic definition.

The real question is....

how long has RSS been broken. I'm not sure it works even if you do see it in the sidebar.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I tried.

I tried using RSS to read comments, and posts, on this and other sites. I didn't like it, and I don't use them anymore. I go to the sites I know I want to read, and generally follow links off of them. RSS just wasn't useful to me.

Josh Marshall

Talking Points Memo. For a long time he didn't take comments and he didn't have the Cafe for other conversations. He considered himself a blogger and so did/do many others.

A blog is an online journal. A blog does not require a comment section to be considered a blog. The only requirement I've ever heard for a blog to be considered a blog and not a static web site are fairly regular entries and since this is a new site I'm going to give her a chance on that one. RSS feed is certainly not a requirement for a blog to be considered a blog.

From your link, Brian we get:

Blogs are frequently updated web pages on which authors post short comments about news items, interesting websites, their thoughts and more.

Nowhere does it say that comments are required for something to be considered a blog. You and others might prefer it, but that doesn't make the Governor's blog any less a blog. There are two ways to communicate with the Governor and her staff on the site. Personally, I think it is wise that the site doesn't have public comments allowed under blog entries.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thornberg's N&O article says it better

UNC School of Journalism professor Ryan Thornburg has a great article in the N&O that explains my concern better than I do. Its called Staying connected to voters. Here's a few good parts:

But while both Obama and Perdue understand that accessibility is the message they convey by using online media, if they don't participate in authentic conversations with their online constituents they will fall short of users' expectations and further alienate the people they are trying to engage.
...

Perdue, for example, appears to have taken her campaign's Facebook page offline. She has a YouTube channel, but it doesn't allow comments. The campaign had a Flickr feed, but it was dominated by shots of the candidate.
The risk to their political capital and the danger to public policy comes if the winners of this year's elections build expectations for engagement -- online or off -- that they either can't manage or don't have any intention of fulfilling.

Thornburg reads like a concern troll

Good heavens. Give the woman a chance to fail before you point to her efforts and call them a failure. While you're at it, give her a chance to succeed.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I have to say,

Zach's posting of (pdf) links to each of the reports that were recently finished is a damned fine way to start. I'll trade bells and whistles for a steady supply of data like that any day of the week.

Thanks

Thanks for all the kind words about Governor Perdue and her new administration. I hope everyone got yesterday’s email, and if not please sign up for our email list here. And we are really excited about the eTownhall. I think it’s a good step towards a more accessible and transparent government.

The website, like most of the administration, is a work in progress. For example, the RSS feed is being worked on right now and it will pickup the blog posts. We will be adding more functionality in the next few weeks.

Also know that Governor Perdue will be holding live eTownhalls that will be hosted on the eTownhall website.

If you have any suggestions about the website and online communication, please let me know.

Thanks!

Define Blogs how you will

The power of a democracy, in my opinion, is two way dialogue. Elected Representatives speak and we listen. We voice our concerns and they listen. Then somewhere along the line with both act.

A website that doesn't facilitate real time conversation online is not in the spirit of modern democracy. Blogs with carefully moderated comments is one way to do this. A website that only has one side of the discussion is PR.

Those folks who you call trolls are young people that are changing the nature of democracy in America and where key in helping Governor Perdue get elected. A constituency you'll have to listen more carefully to and start talking with them online.

Actually...I'm not the one defining blogs

I believe you were the one defining blogs, Brian, when you started listing the bells and whistles required. I simply took the definition back to its original, core meaning.

It doesn't take a comment section on a blog to ensure a two way dialogue. The new governor has set up multiple ways for us to communicate with her on that web site. Phone and fax numbers are provided. There is a link to easily sign up for emails. A snail mail address is provided. There is a suggestion box and there is a section that allows you to post a question for Governor Perdue and her staff to address. The fact that there isn't a public comment section for trolls to spam with complete mess is a bonus in my opinion. Excuse me if I don't condone the hiring of a staff member to moderate the comment section of a blog. Trust me when I tell you it could easily turn out to be a full time job. We(NC) don't have the money in the budget to pay the staff that does exist. I can only imagine the outcry from the public if, during a time of fairly heavy layoffs, Governor Perdue announced she was hiring a blog moderator.

I'm not sure if you decided to define for the rest of us what the "spirit of modern democracy" is, but I don't think requires a public comment section of a blog. I certainly hope not.

Also, I don't appreciate you distorting what I said. I did not call Thornburg a troll and it is a complete falsehood to say that I called "the young people changing the nature of democracy" trolls. I know you have strong enough reading comprehension skills, Brian, so I can only assume your distortion was intentional. What I said, for the record is, "Thornburg READS like a concern troll" and he does. Anyone who starts sending up the red flags before an administration has had a chance to prove itself sounds like a concern troll to me.

I might not be young but I know many people of all ages working to change the face of Democracy. I don't consider any of them trolls and I don't consider one group more important than another in the movement.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Sorry for the misunderstanding

Betsy,
I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. Sorry if that's what happened. Please accept my apologies. I didn't intend to make this personal. I'd really just like to politely debate this topic.

I know all to well the difficulty of open discussion online. I've been in the trenches of it for over six years now. Dealing with local sites like OrangePolitics.org and other even more wild west discussion forums. I'm pretty sick of it but will still fight for their existence.

The quickest growing places for young people to communicate are online forums like Digg, Twitter, SlashDot, and Reddit. That's how many politically active citizens discuss things. We don't find comment sections and RSS feeds extras. They are vital to us. I don't think we're a minority either. Just look at what the web did for 2008 elections.

BlueNC has been a innovator bringing candidates into the web. Now that they're elected, thanks to your help, will they abandon the realtime online discussion?

OK...well...I'll let you off the hook THIS time

(I want to use a smiley, but that danged filter is still on!) I say enough things I later wish I hadn't, so I get a little upset when someone else does the job for me.

Here's the deal, I don't think they will abandon the real time online discussions. We will continue to invite them here and we will continue to let them know publicly when they are ignoring us. I will give them a chance to ignore us first, though.

As far as their blog spaces, if they moderate a comment section then all they are doing is hand-picking what they want us to see....or at least that's the impression. If they don't moderate then it winds up looking like the comment section at The Charlotte Observer...oh MY! I actually had a not-so-polite discussion with a very good friend about this earlier. Go spend some time in the CharO's comments to see just how bad it could get. If that type of comment section is allowed to show up on an offical blog of a candidate or elected official, then that becomes the story.

One way to show interaction is for the staff charged with maintaining the site and fielding questions/comments to suggest blog topics based on questions and comments coming in from the site. If the same question is asked multiple times, then choose to answer that particular question in a blog post. If a particularly good suggestion comes in, then write about it and ask the person who made the suggestion if you can refer to them by name. Another way is to provide an email or suggestion box entry at the end of a blog post asking for suggestions based on that post. Justin is obviously monitoring posts here, so maybe he'll take these suggestions to heart.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

thanks betsy

A lot of the stuff you mention here is the vision we had for the blog and you've given me some new ideas too.

Think about what you're saying here:

"I'm pretty sick of it but will still fight for their existence."

If Bev opened her site up to unfettered and moderation-free commentary, idiots like FFC (from the Dome) would litter the commentary with references to Dumplin', corruption, Democrakkks, etc. The site would become a freakshow pretty quickly, and any substantive discussion would be buried in crap.

There is a place, somewhere between total interaction and no interaction, where information can be shared productively. What I'm seeing so far from the Governor's office is a desire to find that place, and to say that I am pleased is an understatement.

If Bev planned to abandon the online discussion, we wouldn't have heard a peep from her. Her willingness to interact is apparent, and I have no doubt about Justin's feelings about communication and transparency. What this represents, to me, is a great opportunity to break the old paradigm of information being provided to elected officials by a small group of agenda-driven paid lobbyists. How much of an impact we have on decision-making may be hard to determine, but, if we allow cynicism to rule the day, we surely won't have any positive impact at all.

There are ways to moderate effectively

If Governor Perdue allowed comments on her "blog" they wouldn't have to be chaotic. Comment moderation is a skill you can learn.

The first step is having some kind of guidelines. A code of acceptable conduct on the blog. Then you need a very dedicated group of volunteers to enforce those guidelines. (I understand this is tough. Believe me I've watch Ruby do it solo for years.) Here is a good example of a community blog guidelines.

Again I do not enjoy the vitriol and nastiness that newspaper websites like the N&O and CO tolerate. Please understand I am not fighting or defending that. I just don't want to see the end of online discussion on public government websites. The choice doesn't have to be all or nothing.

So I think we're are actually in agreement here... correct?

We are in agreement, Brian

"The choice doesn't have to be all or nothing."

I think what set off this argument in the first place is (what seemed to be) an effort to portray Perdue's website as an effort to fool people somehow. You know, "If she really wanted to communicate with people, she would have included x and y on her website. Because she didn't do these things, it's proof she doesn't really want to communicate."

Which may not be what you intended to say, but it sort of had that flavor. And just as an added observation, the Blogging 101 professor's page you referenced doesn't allow viewable public comments either, it just has an e-mail address for people to share their opinions. That's...almost completely irrelevant, I just thought it was ironic.

My Comments

To be clear my comments here are not politically motivated nor intended to slight our new Governor. I'm jazzed we have a democrat who's a woman as our Governor.

Will be nice to see

how Bev's Blog responds to my input on the OLF. Yea, I hit her with one of my novelettes.

Oh, you crack me up Parmea

You keep spreading your little novelettes around and nobody will be able to say they did not know about the OLF saga.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thats my job!

Edu-ma-cate the masses one novelette at a time.