MA citizens use website to give new guv ideas - lots of them

Wireless connections everywhere, gun control and a "confidence index" are some of the ideas MA voters submitted to the incoming administration.

What do the people of Massachusetts want? That's what incoming governor Deval Patrick wanted to know, so he set up a series of 15 policy working groups to listen to the people. Now the ideas are in and Patrick and his lieutenant governor Timothy Murray have some reading to do. They received some 5,000 ideas, The Boston Globe reports. The ideas are all posted to the new administration's website

They want wireless Internet available in every community within 12 to 18 months. They want a state "gun project coordinator" appointed to lead a crackdown on illegal gun sales. And they want to see an annual "Commonwealth CEO confidence index" created to measure state government's progress on building the economy and adding jobs.

Many of the comments were collected in public meetings, and many more were posted to the governor's website. Further proof that democracy may work better when it's more digital? In any case, what the public is providing is input not marching orders.

"The ideas range from the quick and simple to the strategic and complex, and they cover an amazing range of subjects," John Walsh, Patrick's transition director, and Sydney Asbury, a top policy adviser, wrote in a letter accompanying the release of the reports. "The feedback shows that there's idealism and hope and joy, and there's frustration and impatience and even despair.

"The tremendous success of these working group community meetings and the reports on ideas straight from the people of Massachusetts show that citizens of all ages and backgrounds want to check back in and are ready to take the next step in building an inclusive, grassroots government," Walsh said in a statement.