Hello voiceofsandiego.org readers! I’m pleased to (virtually) swing by Café San Diego to share some thoughts on a couple important issues facing our community and engage you in a give-and-take discussion on how we can address those issues.

Some of you may already be familiar with my work and that of my organization The Performance Institute – to serve as a local government watchdog. For those that are not familiar, here’s the scoop.

I founded the Performance Institute in 2000 to identify and promote ways to make government more transparent and accountable. Since then, the Institute has grown into the largest “good government” group in the nation – with 80 employees and offices in Washington, D.C. and San Diego. About 10,000 officials from the federal, state and local levels of government attend our educational seminars annually.

Our purpose is to shine a light on government, asking “how much does government cost and what results does it deliver?” By making the costs and performance of government programs more transparent, we can identify what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve government.

While the Institute focus is on expanding government transparency and accountability on all levels, we have several projects that address California and San Diego issues in particular. In 2002 we launched the California Citizens’ Budget Project and in 2003 the San Diego Citizens’ Budget Project got underway. Each successfully shone a light on the true state of the state and city’s finances, engaged the public in a “reform dialogue,” and offered tangible solutions to the exposed financial crisis at hand. Of course, we still have a lot of work left to do before we can declare success in reforming California state government or the city of San Diego.

Which brings us to the issues – and your comments. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

CARL DeMAIO

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