4 Inspiring California Resident Engagement Stories


The West Coast state of California is home to one of the largest populations in the country with over 39,995,077 residents. The sheer volume of residents means that the local governments that serve Californias have big shoes to fill when it comes to meeting the publics’ rising communication demands. A powerful step of that process is bridging the gap for residents to engage with their local governments simply and meaningfully. Facilitating the process is not always easy, as city staff regularly have their plates full with other tasks. Granicus has compiled a list of excellent resident engagement stories that derive from California, along with why the stories were successful.

Let’s begin with a powerful story of how a city in California improved transparency through a language-inclusive solution:

1.  Santa Ana, CA Increases Public Meeting Access

The City of Santa Ana, CA much like other municipalities in California, is made up of a large number of Spanish speakers. The city needed a public meeting process that was language-inclusive and remote-friendly as matters shifted during the pandemic. Before, the city’s legacy agenda management system was labor-extensive leading city staff to work well past midnight on tedious “Agenda Publication Days.” The process warranted a new approach, which led the city to implement an agenda management solution with Google Translate integrations. With the implementation, the city meeting agendas are available in over 100 language choices with minimal IT support. The solutions work as such, Spanish translators assist with live interpretations during meetings, and residents can listen to meeting recordings in their choice of English or Spanish. The cloud-based solution allows city staff to access the platform from anywhere, accommodating shifts in hybrid and remote city staff work.

Santa Ana Agenda Management Solution

A similar situation occurred in Ventura County, CA, when the IT manager faced roadblocks with a legacy agenda management platform that was not intuitive.

2. How Ventura County, CA Improved its Agenda Management Process

Much like Santa Ana, Ventura County, CA, faced challenges with its prior agenda management software. The legacy solution was manually extensive and caused issues for unstable video streaming – which was a professional risk for the county.

Ventura County turned to technology for the answer and employed an agenda management solution that offered a single end-to-end cloud-based solution. The county eliminated video streaming headaches with seamless video streaming capabilities. By focusing on key city clerk functions, the solution hit all the checkmarks for an agenda meeting “wishlist”  —  unsurpassed customer service, streamlined processes, and video streaming capabilities.

Next, let’s dive into a different municipal core function that requires powerful engagement solutions, 311 operations.

3. Cupertino, CA Creates Transparency Through 311 Data

The City of Cupertino, CA, needed a solution that increased transparency for service requests (PCI, tree services, and more) and tracked them in aggregate. Additionally, the city needed a platform that integrated seamlessly with its asset management solution, Cityworks.  When selecting an innovative solution to answer city needs, Cupertino involved departmental-wide (public works, parks and recreation, code enforcement, and more) feedback to choose the right solution.

Cupertino Connect CRM app

The feedback led the city to employ a CRM (constituent relationship manager) with mobile app integrations to help streamline 311 processes. Cupertino branded its mobile app integration of the CRM as “Cupertino Connect”, available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

The app allows residents to:

  • Submit 311 requests
  • See existing requests in the area
  • Track progress until completion
  • Receive communication from city staff
  • Resolve requests with end-to-end communication

Even more, the solution’s integrations with APIs allow essential 311 engagement data to flow out of the CRM and into data visualization applications like Microsoft Power BI. These illuminating dashboards share critical data with residents on a public-facing web page, promoting transparency.

The CRM with mobile app integration allows city staff to:

  • Track requests
  • Measure request resolutions
  • Improve service delivery
  • Streamline processes

Moving forward, let’s discuss how the City of Escondido, CA, used the same CRM solution to solve a larger problem in the area.

4. Escondido, CA Eliminates Graffiti With Innovative Technology

The City of Escondido, CA, faced a staggering surge in graffiti between 2018 and 2019. The city wanted to reclaim its beautiful city in the fight against graffiti, and so, turned to a government CRM for the answer. By implementing a customizable mobile app where residents could report graffiti, the city took control of the situation.

The city established the Graffiti Eradication Program using a brandable mobile app with service request management capabilities. Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store branded as “Report It!”, the free and intuitive app allows residents and businesses to report graffiti with a few clicks. The app also can indicate precise locations and even add pictures. After an issue is submitted within the “Report It!” app, a work order is automatically generated within the public works department’s software, Cityworks, which was integrated with Granicus software.

Escondido CA CRM app

The solution led response times to cover graffiti tags from days to hours if not minutes. Escondido’s graffiti eradication effort directly inspired community pride and economic development, while also garnering the city a series of prestigious awards.

Bottom Line: Technology is powerful, and government solutions bridge the gap between communication between residents and city staff.  California is home to a large population of constituents — but big or small — the need for improved resident engagement exists nationwide. Granicus hopes to inspire enhanced resident engagement with these stories where municipalities met challenges and pioneered innovative solutions.

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