Civic Lab , a new civic engagement project which aims at developing educational programs on local issues and online tools to encourage community involvement, will hold a “design hack”  on Saturday, June 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Read/Write Library, 914 N. California. Pizza lunch will be provided.
Initiated by long-time activist Tom Tresser, Civic Lab aims at operating a storefront “civic hacker space” to hold classes, conduct research projects, and create online tools for civic engagement. It’s needed because while big money floods our elections, citizen anger and alienation is growing, Tresser said.
The first planned project  is a TIF Report, with citizen journalists investigating the use and abuse of tax increment financing and producing ward reports for print and online distribution.
Also envisioned are classes in civics basics – how to read a property tax bill or a city budget, how to write a letter to the editor or run for office – and collaborations with activists and programmers to develop new tools.
One might be a phone app to allow participants at rallies to sign up for updates on particular issues or from particular groups– potentially a big improvement over hastily scrawled and often illegible sign-in sheets, Tresser said.