Is YOUR city actually ASKING for resident input regarding the implementation of their "Smart City" initiative?

Commissioner Gwen Shaffer, from the City Of Long Beach, CA Technology and Innovation Commission, explains how Long Beach is taking input from residents regarding the implementation of its Smart City Initiative. That input includes, Ms. Shaffer explains, focus groups for which Shaffer is soliciting participants and a survey which she has passed out to each attendee. She then plays a short video that gives an overview of what is meant by “Smart City”.

I only happened to be at this Jan 08, 2020 Belmont Heights Community Association meeting to support a friend who is running for school board in the district in which Belmont Heights is located. I had not heard anything about Long Beach collecting input from residents the implementation of Long Beach’s Smart City initiative. Belmont Heights is a majority White, majority high income area. I live in a majority non-white area that is decidedly more mixed income.

I am concerned that POC and people who are working class and poor may be left out of giving their input concerning the implementation of the Smart City initiative. I wondered what outreach was being done to the part of the city where I live. I asked Ms. Shaffer about this. Her answer was rather blunt. She said that there were there were six, or was it seven, commissioners but some of them didn’t bother really doing anything. She promised to send me a link to the survey so that I could share it on social media. I signed up to be part of her focus group. I want to make sure that Black and Brown people are represented in the feedback the City of Long Beach is getting.

It’s important to note that the California Consumer Privacy Act, which just went into effect in 2020, specifically exempts municipalities from the prohibition against selling collected data to third parties AND from the prohibition against having to pre-disclose that collected data is sold to third parties.

Here’s an hour long panel video from The Milken Institute about Smart Cities. On the panel is Long Beach, CA Mayor Robert Garcia: the unique identifier for the video on YT is uQvXv5wY5O0 .


You have a very good point. I think that the root of your problem is based in the system itself. Specifically, that the current political system is accepting of rule (if you will) by the retired, rich, or those with excessive time. Those working full time or with hectic lives are almost barred from participating, as meetings are often held during the day or right around dinner time for a normal family. Input is also limited to those willing to attend meetings, as letters and emails are likely directly addressed far less than they should be.

A prime example that happened in my area is with the local high school and their IT department. With a lot of money being spent to upgrade one of the local high schools, the decision was made to buy all Apple Mac desktops. Now, as an IT guy myself, have no qualms against a general user picking Mac. I do have a problem with the fact that they knew, by purchasing Mac, they could only afford a maximum of 4 desktops per classroom. I also know that they could have doubled that number by purchasing from Dell or HP new and even quadrupled the number of computers with A grade off lease units. While I’m not happy that they made this decision, so many years ago, I do recognize that I did not attend any school board meetings, nor write letters. It is what it is, now.

Back to your point; I do think that we, as citizens, need to push for more open information sharing from our politicians as well as be more proactive in seeking that information and giving our opinions.