This conversation part of the Special Series: On Running for Public Office is with Steve Schnall. Steve ran for a seat on South Orange’s governing body (a council seat) in 2013, and just finished serving eight years in that position. Much of his work in the position focused on developing and supporting a number of cultural, arts, downtown, and public engagement programs that ran the gamut of creating new events and programs with the South Orange Performing Arts Center, to helping begin the revitalization of the Irvington Ave/Seton Village business district. In this discussion, we reflect on what dynamics shape whether any government is able to be effective or not – we discuss political power dynamics, civic discourse, internet and social media, partisanship in local government, journalism, public engagement, and a variety of other issues as we reflect on why we were able to get so much done in South Orange’s unique civic space, and what lessons we might be able to draw from that for improving governance elsewhere.
You can check out the full Special Series on Running for Public Office on my website at rethinkingwithalextorpey.com or on YouTube. Don’t forget to subscribe, like, or share with a friend if you like what you hear, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me on social or by email at: Alex (at) rethinkingwithalextorpey.com.
Some Additional Information:
- A summary and detailed list of the initiatives we undertook in my four year term: alextorpey.com/southorange
- Referenced East Orange Water Commission Issues:
- South Orange Play Day:
- Daniel Pink:
- Southnext Conference:
- South Orange Performing Arts Center:
- Referenced branding efforts on Irvington Ave/Seton Village