The congressional approval rating recently hit a rock-bottom 12%. The Tea Party movement was founded on the public’s dissatisfaction with elected leaders and the growth of government–particularly its inefficiencies. This discontent signifies a deep-rooted disconnect. Voters feel more than ever that their voices aren’t heard in the halls of power. They think their votes don’t matter. And they think that no matter what they do, their leaders won’t listen to their concerns. The contentious townhall meetings last summer and simmering public rage that boiled over are just one example of this growing sentiment.
It’s this disconnect between the public and its government that led Orange County entrepreneur Tim Yale to found a new social network called TellDC.com (I am excited to be doing some professional work with Tim.) The site allows members to join for free and then post either written or video questions on their representatives’ profile pages. To get an answer, the question must meet a certain threshold of votes by fellow TellDC members. To ask a congressman a question, it’s 50 votes; a governor or senator, 100 votes; and the executive branch is 250 votes.
In a way, like their representatives, TellDC members have to campaign to get enough votes for their questions. I recently came on board with the web site and have been very impressed by its vision and how it’s giving people a voice in Washington, DC. The site is non-partisan, so regardless of one’s political persuasion, all can participate.
Two California representatives have answered TellDC member questions already: Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and Congressman John Garamendi. California resident and “Chuck” star Zachary Levi just posed his own question about California’s credit rating and the impact it could have on the rest of the nation in light of the U.S. government’s recent credit downgrade.
Now, a state representative has joined the site to ask his own elected leaders a rather poignant question. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly posted a video question for Governor Jerry Brown, questioning his decision to impose the “illegal” rural fire tax. Donnelly queried the governor why he would impose increased taxes on Californians in a state that’s driving away jobs. It’s a compelling video, complete with some fiery prestidigitation.
Donnelly is about halfway to the 100 votes his video needs to launch the TellDC’s video crew. If you agree or disagree with his video, you can vote here. I’m certain his video will reach its 100 vote threshold. The question then will be whether Governor Brown is willing to respond to a question asked by at least 100 of his constituents. If he’s the man of the people he claims to be, he should answer the people’s questions.