By CATHY CLARK

Lyndon Zaitz’s editorial last week (Keizertimes, March 30) talked about expanding how we can connect with our local government. I appreciate the chance to share some of the things we have been doing as a city council and neighbors, effectively using technology and person to person conversation to build those connections.

We have come a long way in using technology to talk with each other in the last six years. As a long time advocate of public access TV, I am so excited that we have made it easier than ever to stay up-to-date. Our meetings are not only broadcast on Channel 23, but now are streamed on-line through www.keizertv.com. In our “on-demand” culture, we can all keep tabs on our city government and community, 24/7.

In addition, you can talk to our city through our website and Facebook pages. Once posted, anyone can download and read our budget and the entire council packet on line at any time and it doesn’t cost you anything to get it!  And for e-mail alerts for any committee, all you have to do is ask for them and you will be added to lists. Questions or comments? E-mail and phone numbers for city councilors on the website keep us available to our community.

Even with all the “e-connection,” though, there’s nothing like face to face conversation. I really enjoy attending the West Keizer and Gubser Neighborhood Association meetings. The association agenda often includes time for me to listen to ideas and concerns. We discuss and work out ideas, such as the sound study requested for the Keizer Rapids Park amphitheater management, and then I follow through with action and answers. I also appreciate invitations to attend other civic group gatherings so I can hear from as many people as I possibly can. We have an incredible depth of knowledge, experience and creativity right here in own community.

One of my favorite community connections is collaboration. I love bringing people together to accomplish a goal. Recently, I worked with many wonderful people from Keizer Community Library, Salem Public Library, Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service, and Marion County “Reading for All” to bring library card and literacy events to Keizer. Hundreds of library cards have been issued. Hundreds of books have been given away. And Keizer kids and families are enjoying library services more every day. When I see a child leave the library with a new book to read tucked under his or her arm, I am thankful for all of us that worked together to make it happen.

As a member of the Keizer City Council, I am proud of my efforts and those of my colleagues to connect with our community and engage in constructive conversation about our concerns, views, and visions for our future. I ask that we all, as neighbors in this wonderful city, continue to talk and listen as we plan our journey together.

Cathy Clark is a Keizer city councilor.