Podcast: Developing Data-Driven Insights with Nathan Lee, CivicPulse

Posted on October 27, 2020


Nathan Lee - GovLove

Nathan Lee

Nathan Lee
Founder & Managing Director
CivicPulse
Bio | LinkedIn | Twitter


Empowering local governments. Nathan Lee, the Founder and Managing Director of CivicPulse, joined the podcast to talk about their research and data analysis into local governments. He shared how he started CivicPulse and the partnership with ELGL on the Diversity Dashboard measuring the diversity of the local government profession. He also discussed CivicPulse’s research into COVID-19 efforts by local governments on compliance and budget impacts.

Host: Alyssa Dinberg

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Learn More

CivicPulse Website

CivicPulse COVID-19 Information

2020 Diversity Dashboard

2019 Diversity Dashboard Report


Episode Transcript

Message

This is Brian Murphy, ELGL’s Data Manager. The ELGL Diversity Dashboard is the first national data collection on the gender, race and age of local government leadership. We’re excited to launch our third full year of data collection. This year, we’re expanding our collection to include all levels of local government positions, not just Chief Administrative Officers, in an effort to get a better understanding of diversity across a wider variety of local government positions. This year’s survey is looking for responses from local government leaders working in many different positions. We look forward to hearing from department heads, project managers, analysts and others as we hope to get data on the diversity of local government leadership. You can find more information on the survey and a link to respond at elgl.org/diversity-dashboard. We hope you’ll respond and follow the data as we work to make local government more diverse.

Alyssa Dinberg

Coming to you from Denver, Colorado, this is GovLove, a podcast about local government. GovLove is produced by ELGL, the Engaging Local Government Leaders network. We in engage the brightest minds in local government. I’m Alyssa Dinberg. And today I’m talking to Founder and Managing Director of CivicPulse, Nathan Lee. Welcome to the podcast, Nathan.

Nathan Lee

Hi, Alyssa. It’s great to be here.

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah, thanks for taking the time to do this. I’m really excited to learn more about CivicPulse. I, I know the name but I don’t know a lot about what you do.

Nathan Lee

It’ll be my pleasure to tell you about it.

Alyssa Dinberg

All right. So let’s get started with one of our signature lightning rounds. This is just intended for the listeners to get to know you a little bit better in some fun, lighthearted questions before we dig into CivicPulse. So my first question is, what movie traumatized you as a kid?

Nathan Lee

I’m the youngest of three and I had a brother, an older brother who liked to torment me. And I remember we watched Jurassic Park. I was probably about 10 years old. And there’s a particular scene where the kids are up in a tree and are covered in mud. And Jeff Goldblum is with them. And I remember thinking, for whatever reason, I was already quite scared that I wasn’t sure whether it was mud or blood. And I asked my brother and of course he told me yeah, no, that’s they’re covered in blood. And that image of these two kids in a tree really stuck with me for the rest of my life. And I only years later asked my brother and he said he, he knew very well that it was just dirt. So Jurassic Park, while fantastic movie has been a bit traumatizing for me.

Alyssa Dinberg

That’s actually really funny. I think a lot of kids are probably pretty traumatized by Jurassic Park. I think Jurassic Park and Jaws are like the two scary movies of our childhood generation.

Nathan Lee

Yeah, you’re probably equally likely to be killed by a dinosaur too.

Alyssa Dinberg

[Laughter] That’s really funny. Um, okay, so my next question is, and part of this is because I haven’t had breakfast yet, so I’m kind of hungry. Um, build me your ideal pizza.

Nathan Lee

Ah, yeah. And there’s no shame in pizza for breakfast.

Alyssa Dinberg

Definitely not. I’ve been known to have breakfast or pizza for breakfast many times.

Nathan Lee

I I’m a big vegetables fan. So I would have to go with some green pepper, black olive, mushroom, red onion, and then I think if we’re adding a little flair, maybe some feta cheese.

Alyssa Dinberg

Hmm, yeah, I definitely agree with the feta cheese. I don’t know if I agree with you on everything else, but I can get down with the feta cheese.

Nathan Lee

Excellent. [Laughter ]

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah. Umm, so while we are not still on complete lockdown, we all are still supposed to be socially distancing and spending more time at home than we would in normal time. So I’m curious what your best quarantine self care tip is?

Nathan Lee

Um, you know, I am certainly a convert to yoga like, like many. Um, I admit it and, and it’s been really good for me. I started getting into it, probably five years ago. But I was not very good at doing it except when I was in large groups, and so I was worried about not keeping my yoga habit up. And fortunately, I have a long distance girlfriend who also was in a similar position. So we started doing yoga as online yoga Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8am before work, and and it’s been, it’s been awesome. So I have like, it’s a bit of a awkward sort of arrangement of technology. But the idea is to have, I think we do WhatsApp Video on mute from the phone and then and then we try to synchronize the timing of an online yoga class on the computer. It’s never quite synchronous. So we often aren’t quite on the same stretch. But that kind of makes it more fun.

Alyssa Dinberg

That’s really cool.

Nathan Lee

Yeah, it’s been really good. It’s been really good. And honestly, I’ve saved a lot of money, because there’s a lot of free great yoga content. Adriane’s yoga is obviously a favorite.

Alyssa Dinberg

Oh, yeah, I’ve definitely done some of her stuff. I tried to start doing some yoga during quarantine. And I probably should have been a little bit more consistent with it, because it would have been really good for me, but I don’t know, I couldn’t stay focused in my own house. My cat was like, on top of me, and so more power to you for being consistent with it. I’m sure it helps a lot.

Nathan Lee

Yeah, it’s, it’s been, it’s been really helpful.

Alyssa Dinberg

Alright, so my last question, and I ask this on every episode. If you could be a vegetable, what would you be and why?

Nathan Lee

This actually is a very hard question for me because, as I mentioned, in my pizza question, um, I love vegetables. And so having to choose is, I don’t know, a little bit like having to choose your favorite child or something. But I think, when my first thought is, it took me to a memory of childhood and my grandmother had an enormous garden, and she would have me pick baby onions, like scallions from the garden. And I didn’t realize until later that it’s weird to snack on onion, raw onions, by themselves, but baby scallions, I think is the answer. I think they’re highly underrated as a snack.

Alyssa Dinberg

I have to say that no one’s ever said that answer. So that’s really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a baby, a baby scallion.

Nathan Lee

It may seem a little weird to call them baby scallions. Young scallions? So I don’t know. But don’t don’t make the mistake of having an adult scallion because those will I think if you eat them raw, will probably, they are potent.

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah. That’s really funny. Well, that’s a good answer. Thank you. Um, so I that’s all I have for a lightning round section. Let’s switch our attention to the work that you’re doing with CivicPulse. And I was hoping that we could just start off with you giving an overview of what CivicPulse is.

Nathan Lee

Yeah, I’d be happy to. CivicPulse is a initiative to bring data to local government and, and bring national perspective to sharing insights across local governments. So essentially, we have three pillars of that data initiative. One is that we aggregate all information on the top positions of local governments. With the help, we get a lot of our we partner with Power Almanac that does a lot of great work on this. And then we have so we have comprehensive data. And then we actually run using that data, we run surveys of local government officials and try to generate insights for for local governments that they will find beneficial so they can learn from each other. The experiences of different local governments that might be sharing common challenges across the country but may not have access to those insights because as everybody knows, we it’s a very disaggregated system of nearly 40,000 local governments. So by trying to basically bring, generate new data and new insights for local government, but also civil society more generally.

Alyssa Dinberg

That’s really cool. And that’s it’s definitely needed for sure. I mean, I, in my daytime job I work in local government. And so I know that the data, we’re always we’re always looking for better, better data to make our decisions. So why did you decide to found a nonprofit focus on local government while you were in grad school?

Nathan Lee

Yeah, my dissertation advisor asked me that question as well. He was not super pleased that I was spending spending my time outside of my dissertation research. But eventually, they came around, my whole dissertation committee, …. came around to see see the value in it. They were just worried about me being able to finish my schooling. So the story started with me as a research assistant to some very prestigious faculty at Stanford, where I was getting my getting my degree in political science, I was getting my as a PhD student in political science, and I was a research assistant. And they were doing a study on local government, and they were relatively new to that space. They had mostly studied state and federal government. And they just sort of assumed that there would be a, a resource by which you could run a survey of local government officials across the country and compare the answers and no such resource existed. So they asked me if I could develop one. And so I spent the first couple years in graduate school developing, developing that tool. And they used it to field a survey. They were interested in some questions about environmental regulations. And then they did a great paper and published in a great journal, and they were sort of moving on to their other projects, you know, accordant professors at Stanford, they have lots of different research initiatives going on. So they were sort of moving on, and I, and I said, I think, you know, this, even if this didn’t exist before, it seems, I think maybe we’ve stumbled into something that’s really underserved here. And maybe could be useful for all kinds of research questions that political scientists and scholars of Public Administration might be interested in. You know, a lot of political science, tries to ask questions about policymaking, and relies on public opinion data. But the reality is, you know, most folks aren’t making policy. So having the ability to, and you know, in Congress and state legislators, there’s only so many, there’s only so many decision makers, but when you get the local government, you’re talking about, you know, nearly 100,000 decision makers all across the country. So it’s this incredible resource. And it seems like we had kind of stumbled into this realization, at least, that, that this wasn’t being this wasn’t being resourced for, for scholarship. And so that was my first thought, because I was an academic, I still am an academic, like, oh, this could be this could be amazing for research and, and then my second thought was, well, if we aren’t doing this, then maybe local governments aren’t doing this either. This is kind of a collective action problem. And so I thought, if I’m going to go this route, I don’t want to make this just for academics. So I want to try to find a way to generate data and insights that would be useful both for researchers and then also for practitioners. So that was, that was the vision and and so it’s been a three year process, getting from that idea to the reality but I think we’re finally starting to get there.

Alyssa Dinberg

How did you do that? How did you make it a reality?

Nathan Lee

Well, ah, I started by recruiting classmates, and I didn’t have any money to pay them. So what I would, what I would do, would, I’d say, if you help me work on this data initiative, you can ask some of your own questions for whatever pet project you have. So, for example, I have a classmate who’s interested in fundraising and whether or not local government officials have to fundraise and for their elected positions and how that compares the state government. So I said, great, you can feel some questions on that if you help me build out our database and work on the website. And so it’s sort of do these, these in-kind quid pro quos, if you will, until I finally started having enough money to pay people. And, and so it was honestly a very messy process for a couple of years while I was in school, and we, my brother was involved for a while, I had friends involved and classmates involved. And, and only really in the last nine months, I think, and I’m grateful. I mean, I mean, I wouldn’t be it was messy, but also, it couldn’t have happened any other way. Because there’s no way I was going to go, you know, post job positions on idealist or whatever, I didn’t have any of the money to do it. So in the last nine months, I think we have really reached the turning point, and have begun to build out a more institutionalized, established organization. So the answer is, I’m still not sure exactly how it happened. Somehow I got a PhD along the way. But sleep deprivation, sometimes it messes with memory formation. So ….

Alyssa Dinberg

That’s funny. Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s a really, it’s a good way to, to get some help is is, is use your friends that have have some pet projects. I know that in grad school, when I had some assignments that I needed to do, I definitely used some of those techniques. And it benefits everyone. So it’s a good strategy.

Nathan Lee

For sure. And, you know, they, they say that, um, you know, I essentially didn’t ever intend to do a startup. And although this is a nonprofit, it’s a, it is a startup, and, and I always found it funny when you hear people like, well, if you’re gonna found a company, like don’t do it with your family and friends, like, and I was always thinking, well, yeah, of course not. Why would anyone ever go found a company with family and friends? Like, that seems like a recipe for disaster. And that’s exactly what I did. But, but I realized now having done it, why everyone does it, because even when you have a crazy idea that you don’t know whether it’s a good idea or not, the first people who are like, yeah, that’s a cool idea that you know, that that’s really, that’s really clever, Nathan, you know, I think that’s gonna that’s really gonna, you know, change the world you shouldn’t and, and I’d say great, you want to, you want to be my co founder. And, and, sure enough, the people who and sure enough, that’s that’s a, that’s why I guess now I understand why everyone at why there’s this received wisdom that has to be told to people because you now know why you recruit your family and friends. So if there are any family and friends listening who were involved along the way, I I thank you and I also apologize if I wasn’t always the best, the best founder.

Alyssa Dinberg

So can you talk a little bit about some of the initial work you did?

Nathan Lee

Yeah, um, well, you know, I actually, can I tell you a little bit about, I think this is kind of an important topic with ELGL. Maybe I can tell you a little bit about some of our work on the gender gap.

Alyssa Dinberg

Sure. Yeah. That’d be awesome.

Nathan Lee

Okay, well, this was not on my radar. I wasn’t, my dissertation wasn’t focused on, on the gender gap at all. I was looking at stuff more related to the role of subject matter experts in policymaking. But as we were collecting all this data, it occurred to me that there was no comprehensive analysis of the gender gap in local government, because because people hadn’t yet put all this data together. And so I looked around, and sure enough, there was great gender gap analysis of certain parts of the country and certain cities that we had available to us. The ability to estimate the gender gap for really, pretty much comprehensively for all towns, counties, municipalities, any any government entity, general interest government have a with a population of 1000 or more. So, so we we ran the numbers. And I’m curious Alyssa, if you want to guess, compared to just say, your elected officials, so we’re talking like city council or county commission in the United States right now. You think the gender gap is worst, better or the same as Congress in local government?

Alyssa Dinberg

I mean, Congress isn’t great. [Laughter] Um….

Nathan Lee

Give or take, Congress often is around three quarters, men.

Alyssa Dinberg

It’s probably worse than Congress.

Nathan Lee

So I thought it might be a little bit better. Because, you know, maybe less of the less stuff around the, well, I don’t know why I had my reasons. And you thought worse, as it turns out, it’s pretty much the exact same.

Alyssa Dinberg

Really?

Nathan Lee

Yeah, about 75% of city council and county commission, elected officials are men. And, and when you look at the top elected official, it’s actually not dissimilar from Governor’s. It’s about, it’s about 83% men. So it was pretty, it was pretty jaw dropping for me just to to see just how…I mean, I’m sure it’s probably less surprising for you and others who work in local government. But that it was pretty much the exact same as all, you know, we read about this about federal government and, and yeah, if you, it’s no different. It’s throughout all levels of our, our democracy. And, and so we, we started looking across actually other positions as well. So if you look at non-elected positions, the picture gets pretty interesting and complicated, because it’s not the case. You know, you’re obviously a woman serving government. And there’s lots of women serving government, including in top positions. And, and turns out, there’s certain positions that we have in our, in our database, that that are majority women. So just as an example, 68% of heads of finance and budgeting are women, and 65% of heads of purchasing and procurement, and 55% of heads, heads of communication, and 82% of clerks, which, as you probably know, you know, I think the term clerk is very confusing to a lot of people. But these clerk positions are often the key position, making sure the elections are run with integrity. So obviously, that’s been an increasingly visible topic in in today’s in today’s discourse. So 82% of clerks are women, but on the other on the other hand, even worse than elected officials, we have building officials is 87% men, heads of Public Works, okay, you ready for this? It’s about to get…

Alyssa Dinberg

On probably like 97%.

Nathan Lee

It’s 95%.

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me at all.

Nathan Lee

And finally, you know, there’s a lot of talk about police reform, and understandably, most of the focus has been on, on on race. When it comes to diversity, well 96% of police chiefs and sheriffs are men.

Alyssa Dinberg

Again, does not surprise me at all [Laughter].

Nathan Lee

So, so these are the kinds of things that you know, when you are able to pull together the data from all over the country, you know, people in the trenches, so to speak, right, this isn’t surprising, but being able to piece it all together and, and shine a light on it allows you to sort of see some of the forest for the trees. So, so we’re doing, you know, we’re doing some reporting, some reports and analysis on, on on diversity, which is, which is why we ended up connecting with your organization.

Alyssa Dinberg

Can you talk a little bit about that? Like, what, what, um, if everyone doesn’t know, our listeners, the ELGL is, has a diversity dashboard. This is the third year that they’ve done it. And so I was hoping maybe you could talk a little bit about what that partnership looks like.

Nathan Lee

Yeah. Well, maybe you and I should figure out that partnership together, on this, on this podcast. It’s still, it’s still an early, it’s still a very new partnership. We mutually discovered each other just a few months ago, since, you know, CivicPulse is still pretty new on the scene. And, and in talking to your colleagues, we realized it was kind of a match made in heaven, because we are not local government. We’re a team of four, hopefully, five students. So it’s a small, small team, and I have some experience in government. But we’re not, you know, we’re not active or recent employees of local governments. So we’re not, we’re not experts in the experience of local government, we’re experts in data. And in, in, in data analysis, and political science and public policy. But we lack sort of the inside view, and, and we don’t have the network that you all do. And, and on the other hand, what I was being told by your colleagues was that you all could benefit a lot from better access to data. So we, we thought, the great place to start would be on the theme of diversity, because as I just went through some of our findings there, it’s very sort of, from a data standpoint, it’s very low hanging fruit. There’s a lot more obviously to, there are a lot of questions to ask, right? Like, where is the, where is diversity better or worse in the country? How does it vary by population? And, and we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of that. We’ve been working with you all, on thinking that through as well as I think providing some advice about some of your own data collection efforts on on, I believe you all have a survey in the field as well. And we, you know, we have we’re serving different folks. We’re serving exclusively that right now the top, to the top brass of local government. So, yeah, I’m excited for, I’m excited for what we’re gonna do together on the diversity dashboard, as well as hopefully, hopefully it will be the first of many of many projects.

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m really it definitely sounds like a match made in heaven. Your your expertise is collecting the type of data that we’re trying to get with diversity dashboard.

Nathan Lee

Yeah, so stay tuned.

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah, umm really quick for our listeners, I just want to quickly give you some information about the Diversity Dashboard because it is open right now. So it is the first ever ever national data collection on gender, race, age of local government employees. So in 2018, and 2019, the survey really only collected information for the Chief Administrative Officers and Assistant Chief Administrative Officers. But we’re really excited because in 2020, the survey has expanded to include all local government employees. So ELGL distributes the survey to all local governments in the United States and Canada and the government’s do not need to be members of ELGL to complete the survey. And the survey is an electronic which is very easy, and it’s through our partners over at Public Input. So once the data is compiled and shared without names and contact information into an online report, and we will link the 2019 data and report to this episode. I believe that the dashboard closes in December. So if you are listening to this and your organization has not filled it out, please take the time to do it. Most respondents say it only takes about five minutes. So, we’re really trying to make sure that we’re getting as much data as we can to put together a pretty comprehensive list. So that is my plug for the dashboard. Um, yeah.

Nathan Lee

Sounds good. Take that survey.

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah, definitely take it. Um, so I’m just curious. I want to pivot a little bit past the diversity dashboard. Can you talk a little bit about how COVID-19 has affected the work that you do?

Nathan Lee

Yeah. It has, in some ways, revolutionized what we do, and in other ways, had virtually no effect. So I’ll start with the latter. We’re a team of four, as I mentioned. I’m in upstate New York. John Chu, our Director of Operations is near Stanford in California, and our, our other two team members, Michael Hotard and Brytan Mendes, they are in, let’s see here, they move around, everyone seems to be moving around. Oh, yeah, Michaels in Providence, and Brytan is back from Minnesota in the DC area. So we’ve been remote. We just lost Emily Katz, who was really pivotal in our website development, to law school, so she’s in New York now. So we’ve been, we’ve been all over the place. And, and so we, we were doing the remote work thing before it was cool. So in that sense, COVID-19 didn’t mess up our day to day workflow too much. We had, you know, Slack and Zoom, and these kinds of technologies. We had developed habits around that. So that was working for us. And in terms of our, the substance of our work, though, we essentially, one of the great things about being a small organization has been crises like this happen, you can kind of turn pretty quickly to focus on it. So we pretty much might say we dropped everything, but we, we decided this was, you know, we’re gonna fulfill our mission of trying to bring statistically valid, data driven insights on issues of importance for local government, I mean, COVID-19 is, is a major issue for local government. It’s a major issue for everyone. But I think and again, a lot of listeners, this will come as no surprise, but I think most people in United States didn’t realize and probably still don’t realize just how much of the the burden of policy implementation around COVID-19 falls on local governments. And so we we began a series of reports, beginning in March. We we released our first report, just at the beginning of April around local government information, how local governments were collecting information and getting information, how decision makers were getting information on on COVID-19, and how much they were, how happy they were with coordination with state and federal government, and what challenges happy or unhappy and what challenges they were having in terms of information flow because especially at the beginning of a public health crisis, that’s so unprecedented, it’s really important to have good quality information. And so that was the focus of our first report. We then released our second report a month and a half later that was on the role of compliance in in COVID-19 guidelines because, you know, a governor can stand up and say, everyone needs to wear a mask or socially distance. But the local governments often are the ones who actually have to implement those policies and, and try to get their community to comply. And and there were a lot of issues around just being understaffed or not necessarily having the expertise in house to know how to, know how to get those guidelines implemented. And so that was our second report was around compliance, and also just asking local government officials about their perspective of how compliance might change over time if if this went on, and actually it turned out to be, we asked them to sort of predict how compliance would change. And this was in this was in May, and we asked them about the next three months. So June, July, August, and pretty universally, top top officials were very pessimistic about about compliance. And it didn’t matter whether you were in a red or a blue local area. So it was a really important, I think, finding to publish because state’s not only in local government, but these findings needed to be seen by state and federal authorities, because so much of this relies on voluntary compliance in the community. So having local government, one of the ways we see civic polls is, we hope it’s useful for information sharing between local governments, but and we’re dedicated to that. But in addition, we, we think it’s sometimes easy for for, if any individual local government has something to say, to state and federal policymaking, they might get ignored. But if you are able to show this is the common concern across hundreds of local governments, it’s, it’s less likely to be ignored. So we hope that we can be just one part of elevating kind of the voice of local governments in national policymaking too. And I’ll just mention the last report that we released, so the first was on information, the second on compliance, and then the last report was on the impact on on budget and the and how spending and spending would change and how revenues would change. And there’s been some other really great work on that. And we kind of took, hopefully, we went one layer deeper in terms of what specific programs would be getting affected. And we’ve just released that recently on our, on our website. So. So we’re gonna keep that series going. And as long as the pandemic is going, which hopefully won’t be forever.

Alyssa Dinberg

Yeah, seriously. So can you talk a little bit about what you have next? It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, and the work that you’re doing with COVID is really important. But I just was wondering if you have any, any interesting projects you want to talk about in the pipeline?

Nathan Lee

Yeah, um, you know, a couple of things. One is just that we want to, we have all the reports I just mentioned and findings, we have a whole lot of data on now, that isn’t really being used effectively, because, you know, most people aren’t sitting around having time to run their own data analysis. They’re not, they’re not all data geeks. And and so we’re trying to do a better job of making the data more easily accessible. And, and so we’re developing a question library, on our website, so that you can sort of browse any particular question you might want, instead of having to download all of our datasets. If there’s a particular policy question that you’re wondering, I wonder if anyone’s ever asked, you know, elected officials about some specific question of particular policy topic like immigration or or law enforcement, they can, they can pull down and pick that question and then get the specific data they want. So we’re going to we’re going to try to do better in terms of just getting all the data, of the great data we already have our into the world. And, in terms of in terms of reports, one of the themes that we were looking at before the pandemic, which we’re returning to is innovation and, and the role of technology in local government. And we, we, we think that actually, our findings are already sort of suggesting that that’s somewhat of a misconception that people think that governments in general and local governments in particular are sort of, in the dark ages, somehow and, and so we’re, we’re in the process of finishing up a report that we hope will be the beginning in some series on on innovation. And, and what we find, actually, is that a whole lot of, a whole lot of officials are adopting new software’s and a lot of the challenges are not not from a level of interest. Actually, most of them are quite, quite willing. And, you know, obviously, the reality is more complicated when it comes to budgetary challenges. But, but we think that there’s a lot that local governments can learn from each other about how they’re trying to incorporate more innovation into, into governance and making it less of just kind of a tagline and, and more of a reality. So that’s, that’s a couple of the things that are in the earlier stages.

Alyssa Dinberg

That’s awesome. That’s really exciting. You guys are doing some really good work. I’m excited to see what comes out of all of these reports, and in your continued work. So thank you, I really appreciate that.

Nathan Lee

And I just like to say Alyssa, I mentioned this before, but you know, we’re not, we don’t pretend to be insiders in local government. We’re trying to, we’re always learning ourselves and, and, and so we’re very open to feedback, that, you know, this report would have been really more useful if we had cut, cut up the data in a different way, you know, show different show different groups, or, or maybe people think that some of our reporting has been unfairly characterizing or anything like that, or things they like, we would love to hear feedback. Our website is civicpulse.org. And, and we also can be reached at [email protected] So really, anything is anything is welcome.

Alyssa Dinberg

Awesome. All right. Well, I have one last question. If you could be the GovLove DJ for this episode, what song would you pick as our exit music?

Nathan Lee

Well, they haven’t yet written the Ballad to baby onions.

Alyssa Dinberg

[Laughter] Maybe that could be your next side project.

Nathan Lee

So you know, I, 2020 has been a rough year for the world, the country, a lot of people. But I think that when, when a lot of things like this happen, you also it can, it can lead to a lot of, at least for me, it’s been also really an important year and made me appreciate new aspects of, of life and, and living and trying to, in the spirit of trying to put a positive spin on 2020. I was just listening to this song that I just find so sort of, I don’t know, just sort of like a nice kind of soft pillow, if you will. So it’s the Zombies. It’s called This Will Be Our Year. And, and it might, it’s kind of a an attempt to reframe 2020 in a positive way. That’s, that’s, that’s my, that’s my song recommendation.

Alyssa Dinberg

Okay, awesome. I love that. I think we all are trying to find the good in the year because it has been a really challenging year. Trying not to focus on all the bad things that have happened. I know at least I’m trying to do that. So I appreciate that song choice.

Nathan Lee

Cool.

Alyssa Dinberg

All right. Well, thank you so much for coming on and talking to me about all things CivicPulse. I really appreciate it. And I think our listeners are going to find this super interesting. And I really encourage them to reach out to you and figure out a way to get involved with the work that you’re doing, because you’re collecting some really, really interesting data. As a reminder, the Diversity Dashboard is currently open and local governments do not need to be members of ELGL to complete the survey. However, your support means that we can continue important work like this and you can join for only $40 a year. GovLove is produced by a rotating cast of awesome ELGL volunteers. ELGL is the Engaging Local Government Leaders network. Our vision is to amplify the good in local government. And we do this by engaging the brightest minds. For our listeners, you can reach us at elgl.org/govlove or on Twitter at @govlovepodcast. And if you have a story for GovLove, we want to hear it. So send us a message on Twitter or email [email protected] Thank you for listening. This has been GovLove, a podcast about local government.

 


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