GROWING IN SANTA ROSA
by Nat Bloomer
SANTA ROSA—A new web-site has started up in Santa Rosa and is aptly called The Purple Politico. (www.thepurplepolitico.com.) Although the web-site was first developed in June of 2004 it seems in the last few months it is really catching on—with over 32,000 visitors to date. The Purple Politico web-site is locally maintained and addresses the politics within the city of Santa Rosa.
There are two prominent questions on the front page of The Purple Politico web-site. The first question is: “Do you have an important view about an issue or a political situation here in Santa Rosa?” The second question is: “Do you feel like it is hard for the average person to get involved and make a difference?” These two questions are what every American in every town in the U.S. should ask themselves, especially now with national elections approaching. If you, as a citizen of Santa Rosa can answer yes to one or both of these questions then the Purple Politico web-site is made for you. The purpose of the web-site is best explained by reading the mission statement paraphrased as follows: “To foster communication between the city of Santa Rosa and the citizens in order to make Santa Rosa prosperous for all. To create a common ground where elected officials, candidates for office, and average citizens can voice their visions, plans, opinions, views, and concerns. This web-site will help the citizens of Santa Rosa become actively involved in the shaping of the future of our town.”
The Purple Politico also provides several features such as an Event Calendar, Exit Polls, and a Discussion Board. The Event Calendar is especially useful to inform the public when city meetings are scheduled. Quite often, city meetings are poorly attended simply because the general public is not aware of when the city meetings are to be held. Exit Polls on a political web-site ask a question of the web-site visitor, after they have viewed the content of the web-site. One example of a question on the Purple Politico web-site is: What national political party do you affiliate with most often? The viewer can then click on the Republican, Democratic, or Independent selections. The Discussion Board is a forum where people can express their views anonymously, or with their name included. In a small town it is important for people to express their viewpoint and opinions without the fear of offending city administrators. In other words, the Discussion Board enables individuals in the community to say what they can’t always verbalize to a city official face-to-face, or in a crowded public meeting. The statements made in an on-line forum can provide important feedback to public officials, who can read the comments and realize what other people besides their immediate peers are thinking. Hopefully then, the city official will consider the needs of the general public, not just the interests of fellow businessmen and the people who have the access and ability to express themselves to city officials. It is important to realize though—that in every city, whether large or small, this type of politics is American politics. A few individuals will prosper because they have the access and ability to communicate with the city officials who are making the decisions affecting the future of the community. Americans are notoriously ambivalent about voting and getting involved in politics. Fortunately, with web-sites like The Purple Politico, more citizens will be involved in city affairs, become organized and motivated to start taking charge of the future of their city—any American city, whether they live in Santa Monica, or Santa Rosa. So visit www.thepurplepolitico.com and take charge of your future.