Love from West Valley City, Utah

Mayor Mike Minder's State of the City challenges the city to increase its co-creators by one tenth of 1%.

Here is the excerpt from Mayor Minder's State of the City speech on Feb 5, 2013:

“W” is for “We the people”. It was Theodore Roosevelt who said, “We are the government, you and I!” Any great American city has a special class of residents who have realized this vision and who have felt empowered by City Hall to seize the great opportunities of being community leaders, neighborhood builders, and in the words of Peter Kageyama, founder of the Creative Cities Summit, city “co-creators.”

We realize that not everyone in a city has the time, interest, or energy in giving back to their community as a co-creator, but we do realize that West Valley City would be incredibly enhanced if we had more neighborhood association leaders like Doris Wall and Renee Layton. We would be so much richer as a community if we had more people like Jeff and Pat Deelstra on city volunteer boards and committees. And we would have an even more in-touch municipal government if we had more amazing city employees like Kevin Conde, Nancy Day and Cindy Hobbs who actually lived in the city they worked for. We realize in a metro area like ours it is unrealistic to have every city employee live inside the city, and frankly, we want the best and brightest regardless of where they live to be on city staff, helping us reach our potential. But as elected officials we also feel that the city employee that lives in the city gains unmatched community knowledge and develops a special passion for this place that can only be acquired by experiencing in real time the stores, schools, and services that our residents do.

So how many of these “co-creators” does our city need to have to be that leaven to help us rise, to provide that salt that gives our city its savor? Kageyama in his book For the Love of Cities suggests that “a medium sized city could significantly increase its energy, enthusiasm, and creativity by adding only a hundred or so passionate co- creators.” He proposes one-tenth of 1%. Looking at this and our city population of 132,000, the City Council and I came up with the next big goal: Have 132 residents involved in city employment, city boards or neighborhood associations by the end of the year.