Launch of Question and Answer Page

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It’s Important to Know the Facts
See The City’s New Webpage: Question & Answer Page at 
http://www.pvestates.org/government/open-government-portal/question-answer

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When there are problems or issues in a city, they are well known; they generate discussion in the media and within the particular community through word-of-mouth, newspapers, public comment, and meetings.  On the other hand, good things about city actions and activities are generally not a topic of widespread discussion.  The difference in how positive and negative information is shared makes sense; the public expects services to be delivered at an acceptable or exceptional level and it is the unexpected and negative situations that draw attention.

One reason city functions and services performed well don’t generate public discussion may be because cities are not effective at communicating its success stories and accomplishments or disseminating short and easy-to-understand explanations about how and why decisions are made.  Cities are in the business of, and focused on, public services, not marketing and communications.  The time, resources and expertise for messaging is not routinely a priority and, in some cases, it is a luxury in relation to service delivery.  Moreover, a City using its resources to push-out positive information may not only be perceived as self-serving, the accurate and detailed explanations about city actions is not particularly engaging.

Just a few years ago, when a city would communicate in writing, the method was slow.  Cities would share information through newsletters, letters and reference materials, and these tools provided city officials the time to develop complete, accurate messages and content.  This changed dramatically with email, “the cloud,” and social media.  The expectation for communication has now become instant; the time for preparing a response and content evaporated with an expectation of immediate information.  While there are many positives with technology for communications, “the cloud” and social media also have created variety of consequences.  Two impacts are:

  1. A City cannot monitor the infinite number of on-line news sites and individual postings on social media to address comments, and  
  2. Facts, fake news, opinions, statements, blogs, articles, etc. that are posted remains on-line and can take on prominence while cities don’t have the time, expertise and resources to address them. 

In short, a City’s good or positive news is not shared, and negative or inaccurate information is undisputed and becomes viral. 

To address information posted on social media about the City of Palos Verdes Estates, the Question and Answerpage serves as a “fact check” of statements about the City.  In other words, the Question and Answer Page will provide a simple and direct means for the City to provide the public with a validation of information posted on-line about the City.  In recognition that time, expertise and resources are not available to actively communicate everything, the Question and Answer Page will selectively reflect statements made about City affairs.  We won’t be able to fact-check every statement, but we address the most prominent matters and will be updated regularly.  We hope you will find it helpful. 

The page can be viewed at http://www.pvestates.org/government/open-government-portal/question-answer