Peter Koht of the City of Santa Cruz, CA, describes the city’s online method for gathering public ideas about how to handle a severe budget crisis. The platform is uservoice. Similar to the IdeaScale system used in the White House Open Government Initiative, it allows users to write in ideas that other participants can comment and vote on.
As Hoht mentions in his narration, the customary face-to-face public meetings tend to be dominated by those with the most extreme positions. To prevent that problem, the City requires a minimum of 60 votes for a proposal to be accepted for consideration by the administration. The forum page for entering ideas is here. The City also provides background information on the budget crisis, comments by the Mayor and other officials and regular updates on the latest developments.