A civic-minded citizen seeking the singularity

An entry

Vacaville City Council - Public Comment

Series: Civics
Date: 2023-05-12
Status: release
Tags: public comment vacaville
This Entry is part of the Series Civics.

Friday, May 12, 2023 - Vacaville City Council - Special Session on Strategic Plan review, at Harbison Center

Hello Councilmembers, city staff, and citizens in the room.

Thank you public servants for your service and for providing updates on progress made. Thank you citizens for taking time to take part and participate in this civil, civic endeavor.

My name is Ryan Wold. I grew up in Vacaville, and I graduated from Vaca High with a couple of the current councilmembers.

I'm experienced in public sector operations at the local, state, and federal levels; and specifically public strategic planning and performance management, and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share a few things today, and hopefully learn a lot more about how to contribute effectively to Vacaville's prosperity and evolution.

Related to the goals and initiatives, agenda today, I'd like to share some concepts I would like this council, staff, and citizens to consider, regarding Innovation, Modernization, and Community Development and engagement.

Use data as a strategic asset

People have said that "data is the new oil" - well, maybe. But, ultimately, it is a byproduct of natural processes and needs substantial processing to be made into a valuable, consumable product.

I commend the city's staff directory, service directory, GIS assets, and generally encourage the record retention work to be thoughtful about this fact, and specifically, consider a transparent approach many that other cities have embraced. Basically publish as many data assets in granular form as possible, with minimum exceptions. This data could and would be used to good effect and can unlock economic opportunities.

Also, a note that the city's "Open Budget" budget portal still has a message about real-time data in June of 2022. Please update this.


In my work, innovation is a word that gets overloaded too often. We're innovating, we want to be innovative. Sure. The reality is, innovation is a byproduct of either remarkably unique insights and, a series of many small improvements that result in a larger, observable change.

To enhance public dialogue, communicate with people as people. People don't want to be "engaged" and few people would be able to meaningfully identify themselves in a capital-C Community.

People have their families, friends, and interests, and people gather and organize around share interests. Just like in a personal conversation, Listen.

Listen to individuals needs, and where possible, address each customer with attentiveness and service. The byproduct will be a richer, more vibrant, and engaged Community. Be responsive to individuals needs.

Open-source development

Open-source is about making the source materials openly available, for the purposes of transparency, but more so, open source is about collaboration, and inclusive participation by those willing. This approach can balance top-down "community management" with bottom-up freedom to innovate; resulting in more resilient and adaptable systems.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency

Blockchain isn't a fad. Blockchain was in use for at least 20 years before the bitcoin whitepaper was released in 2008. And that was 15 years ago. The point of bitcoin is not speculation, but it is primarily an economic innovation. Much like double-entry accounting (developed in the 13th century) formed the basis for business, still used today, bitcoin is a PUBLIC ledger, and can reduce transaction fees by 100-1000x times.

A common criticism is about energy consumption. An alternative perspective is a book called Softwar, which is the academic thesis of a United States Space Force Defense Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This is real innovation. Consider how to position the city for the future by learning today.

Thank you for listening