PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Peduto administration made history Thursday night when it became the first in the country to use a computerized social networking site to answer tax payers’ questions.
It was a 21st century town hall meeting of sorts.
“Your first question is going to be marijuana.”
That was just one of dozens of questions posed to Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration during Thursday night’s Reddit AMA online event. Subjects were all over the board.
“There are more billboards per square mile in our city than any other city in America,” went one statement. “Enough with the litter on stick Mara.”
Reddit is a social networking site and AMA stands for “Ask Me Anything.”
It was the first time anywhere in the country the site was used to have this kind of real-time interaction with the voting public and the mayor was impressed by the questions.
“They are in-depth, they are thorough and they are on-topic,” said Peduto. “They are not trying to find some snarky way to come up with some snide comment, which a lot of people said we would open ourselves up to, but it’s a lot of really good questions.”
Some of the questions were more light-hearted. One person wanted to know the mayor’s favorite colors – navy blue and green, by the way. Someone else wanted to know how far he could punt a football.
But more than anything, staffers were impressed by how many people participated.
“Even with a room full of people answering them, it’s still difficult to keep up with answers to all the questions coming in,” said Peduto.
They mayor promised this won’t be the only one. And considering it was the first time, they dealt with some minor technical issues, but were pleased overall.
“It’s a good first dry run,” Peduto said. “Democracy is an experiment and we’re certainly experimenting tonight.”