@10′s first five

Corporate Influence: We need to elect better politicians in the first place. Instant run-off in elections would go a long way to ensuring we aren’t stuck with these either/or trade-offs for officials who cannot get 50 percent of the vote. Further, the practice of recognizing corporations as people is insulting to Americans and should be stopped. We all know who is advocating it and why. Its very enactment is an endorsement of corporate influence. We think people need to increase the drumbeat for accountable politicians – talk about it, blog about it, comment about it. We are all held accountable in our daily lives. Why not politicians, whom we pay?

Media: There are too many voices that could be integrated into one powerful third voice. There are a multitude of organizations and publications dedicated to global warming, workers’ rights, corporate influence, bashing the other party, taxes, equal rights and more. There are think tanks for every issue. There are even media that cover the media! It all bleeds together into an ongoing wave of injustice and frustration without a way out. Consolidating into one voice would enable a movement to be more specific in its agenda and to attract a wider audience — needed to be credible among politicians. Further, consolidation would allow an alternative movement to share whatever revenues and donations it receives and use its costs more effectively and efficiently. Yes, it’s a play from the big media playbook, but you can’t crash the party with millions of disjointed voices.

Environmental Health: Let’s change the conversation about climate change to one about public health. The “one media voice” concept is most important in the movement to mitigate the risks of climate change on air quality, food, and drinking water to name a few. Improving the health of the environment requires millions of local movements to change individual thinking and behavior related to health. We need marketing messages to demonstrate the increasing risk of food poisoning and poor cardiovascular and respiratory health for Americans and their kids is increasing. We need to explain that the benefits outweigh the costs and potential inconvenience of using alternative energy sources and buying foods produced in ways that are less harmful to the environment. Movements must focus locally because the causes of environmental changes are local, e.g. factory emissions may be a problem where fertilizer run-off is not. An active, local population can more quickly influence the behavior of local companies than can a national policy because people can more easily relate to the health effects at a local level.

Education: The goal of public education should be to provide kids with the skills to earn a decent wage WITHOUT a college education. Then give school principals the freedom and authority to fail; improve teacher quality by raising education standards; and make administrative functions more efficient and effective. Who must change to make that happen? People must engage with their school boards. It seems to us that Americans are afraid to talk openly about how they think the public education system should change, maybe because we generally believe in teachers. Don’t blame teachers. We need to do what is right by kids and any good teacher or administrator shouldn’t be afraid of being measured by that standard. This approach could drive down demand for a college education, which would make it more affordable for those who want to go. Regardless, cries to fix the public school system by promoting competition from the private sector will continue. This will only accelerate the rich/poor gap.

Health:   We all share the obligation to help people who are predisposed to chronic illness, work in conditions that helped precipitate a condition, or an illness like cancer surprises them. But there is a debate about how to manage healthcare for the mostly poor people who became sick over a lifetime of unhealthy living and elderly folks at the end of their lives. Focus there.

What @10 advocates

  Justice, freedom, effectiveness and efficiency

@10 advocates individual opportunity and shared responsibility through better-paying jobs, government that does more with less, more effective and responsive private and public services for all Americans, and more trust across socioeconomic classes.

Solutions to our members’ agenda

@10 believes that solutions to the topics below require shared responsibility and that extreme solutions from the right or the left are not suited to address them.

  1. Air Quality/ Pollution
  2. Insurance Coverage
  3. Poverty and Race
  4. Improving Nutrition
  5. Corporate Taxation
  6. College Affordability
  7. Teaching Quality
  8. Misuse and Omission of Facts
  9. Preservation
  10. Food Accessibility

Compassionate business

Business should act in a way that supports the health, freedom, and success of all Americans. The top executives of American corporations owe their success — and the success of their companies – to our democracy and market-based principles. They need to acknowledge that by paying workers enough that they don’t need to go into debt to take care of their health, feed and shelter themselves. and spend a little to boost the economy.

Transparent, accountable government

Government should disclose the conversations among itself, corporations, and public services.

Corporations are allowed to take advantage of laws that decrease the health, financial security, and opportunity of their fellow Americans. They suggest that politicians amend laws and suggest tax breaks that benefit them and bury these changes deep in legislation so regular Americans cannot see them, but for which they typically pay.

Meanwhile, many government organizations are not accountable to the people they serve. The public school system does a poor job of educating all of our children. Organizations designed to protect the public interest like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have deep ties with the corporate interests they are supposed to be regulating.

An external organization that manages citizen-debate

We need a media for the people. The media today misrepresents problems as a series of either/or choices and suffocate real solutions with multi-layered, acrimonious dramas related to mass murder, oppressed workers, and financial mismanagement of taxpayer money.

Corporations, politicians, and the media will not change from within. Only popular support will prompt elected officials implement strategies that benefit Americans.

Local forums an action

Concerned citizens and problem-solvers within local communities should be able to share problems and solutions. Local folks are in the best position to solve problems since most issues like air quality, public safety, jobs, and education have local manifestations.

Strategies, not just laws

Unless we talk about recommendations, we will continue to analyze what is wrong, criticize each other, the way things are done, and the tools and technology that don’t work.  People build on solutions to make them better.

Holding politicians accountable for action

Politicians should implement the most popular strategies. We need to point out when politicians are not supporting popular solutions or are sitting still while others manipulate laws that are not in people’s best interests.

Citizen engagement and participation

We advocate citizen participation and citizen- and expert-developed strategies to solve the most important problems.  Without people’s ideas, @10 has nothing to publicize, so no one will hear how Americans want it to be, and politicians will never be accountable.

If Americans ask for greater wealth, health, and opportunity, then we all have the obligation to demonstrate that we are engaged and do not rely exclusively on the government.

Simplicity

@10 advocates simplicity because the people America needs on its side to “get better” don’t have time to participate. They work – a lot. They have families and friends. They have productive lives, and politics is last on the list of activities, but what is going on today bothers them, and they want to participate.

We make it easy for people to pick the issues they care about, submit strategies to solve them, and compare and vote for the parts of the solutions they like most. This voting process is an online debate, without the personal attacks and editorializing.

If you like what we advocate, share this with your friends. Then go to www.at10us.com and join. Pick the issues, submit a solution, and vote when it is time.

Progressives need a new strategy

To overcome environmental degradation and political, social, and economic inequality, a progressive movement needs to connect and organize mainstream Americans.

The issues are simply too complex to think it can win without them.

For example, improving teaching quality requires separating “good” teachers from “bad” ones in a noble profession operating in a broken system that is deeply affected by societal problems and cultural norms. It also features a pro-Obama voting block.

The mainstream is frustrated with the entire system, so blindly supporting any one stakeholder in the public school system is not going to appeal to them.

Improving air quality requires, among other things, that more people believe that buying an electric car and making their home more energy-efficient will save money, help reduce the risk of lung cancer, and keep their kids healthy

That is difficult when such changes can be expensive to make and have hard-to-feel benefits. Plus the opposition tries to buy legislation.

It is even harder to take on economic issues because different classes of society have different definitions of wealth redistribution. It also strikes a free-enterprise nerve with which many Americans identify.

So how can progressives get mainstream America on their side?

First, adapt a new persona. Many people share progressive goals, but do not identify with the Occupy Movement, Mother Jones readers, the LGBT movement, or Anonymous, to name a few.

Second, make it easy for people to engage and express the issues in terms of what people think about, their kids’ health and future, stagnant wages, and monthly expenses.

Most people focus on shuttling their kids around, picking up groceries, relationships, and working. After that, they want to relax. Political engagement comes last.

Progressive leaders tend to frame their causes in terms of grand showdowns like global energy corporations battling against tar sands activists blocking pipelines.

Even if they are huge ideological wars, suggesting that regular Americans take on global warming or “The 1%” is like asking them to boil the ocean. It is not clear how to do it, if it is even possible.

Let people pick the issues they care about most, and then ask them to engage when there is something for them to do.

Third, suggest viable strategies. EVERY progressive solution involves a law. That is not a strategy, and it is why many people think of progressives as socialists.  A real strategy includes clear trade-offs, risks, a definition of who must change and much more. Lawmakers listen when a strategy is viable and a lot of people support it.

Ask the questions leaders want answered when they make decisions.

Fourth, find a new voice. The mainstream media may neglect stories about fair wages and benefits or the “evils” of energy, cable, and healthcare monopolies. But the progressive media often takes on these issues with sensational language to describe the egregious acts of corporations and Republicans, leaving folks wondering which side is worse.

Last, consolidate. The range of progressive media options inhibits organization. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of groups trying to improve the environment, take on corporations, and address racial and economic inequality. Each seems to have its own magazine or blog. Busy people need one place to go.

To win, the progressive movement needs to build a brand, market to the main stream, develop viable options, and consolidate. Until it does, its promise may go unfulfilled.

Share your comments or go to www.at10us.com to submit a solution the issues you care about most.

Improving Teaching Quality

More @10 voters selected a strategy to improve teaching quality that raises education requirements for teachers than one that suggested a more holistic teacher-evaluation process.

Julie, a former science teacher, developed the winning solution. However, the competing solution, developed by Chris, a consumer law attorney, adds nicely to her teacher-standards idea.

Voters liked Julie’s suggestion that we need better-educated and prepared teachers. She thinks that secondary teachers should hold a degree in the subject they teach.

She said elementary education courses should be more stringent, and that there should be more frequent evaluations on all levels. Julie thinks that institutions must be more diligent in screening for the college-educated applicants who are best qualified and display flexibility in the learning process.

Julie also recommended giving teachers a better starting salary with increases for teaching with excellence.

Voters liked Chris’ idea that students and teachers should be evaluated via 360-degree review processes like those conducted in corporations and by applying theories related to multiple intelligences.

He does not think that teachers should be evaluated based on student math and science scores and standardized test results. In fact, Chris said we should repeal existing laws, like Leave No Child Behind, that focus on ineffective and outdated measures like teaching to standardized tests.  Voters liked that.

In essence, Chris’ and Julie’s concept work together. Hire teachers with better educations and apply a more holistic process to evaluating them.

They think that benefits of better-educated teachers and a holistic evaluation process will be the same: improved self-esteem, a healthy outlook on society, and better job preparedness and opportunity.

To implement these concepts, Julie and Chris agree that teachers, parents and school administrators must change and that children and families should receive the benefits of their solutions.

Julie says that “society” should fund the improvement to teaching quality, and Chris said school districts, corporate grants, and private investors should do it.

While both say that we can carry out their strategies “immediately”, Chris and Julie took different approaches to defining where their solutions will be successful.

Julie suggested making changes first in pre-school staff requirements, then elementary school, and then high school.  Chris said that the 360-degree evaluation process should begin at the local school board level and eventually be rolled out across states and then the entire country.

But Julie and Chris believe there would be resistance to their solutions. Chris said that new quality measures might not be accepted because of a belief in the “objectiveness” of standardized tests and that math/science is a critical need in education.

Julie said that people will expect proof that new education standards for teachers make a difference.  Chris agrees, saying that to overcome resistance to teaching quality improvement strategies will need local success stories and socialization of the idea by word-of-mouth.

That’s where you come in. Regular Americans must demand strategies like these to create the local success stories Julie and Chris are talking about.

@10 can help organize people around strategies like this one, but enough people must participate to prove support for them.

So if you like this solution to improve teaching quality, reply to this post and/or share it with others who might be interested.

If you’d like to submit a strategy to solve related to an issue you care about, visit us at  www.at10us.com.  It’s simple, but we posted instructions on this blog under “About @10” to help if needed.

Media needs to dial down the drama

The media over-dramatizes every significant problem The United States faces, making them seem unreal or insurmountable. This leaves political action to the passionate minority, when we need mainstream America on board.

For example, most media outlets have turned climate change — a complex, global problem in the first place — into a grand drama that features bought politicians and giant corporations facing down fringe rebels and egg-heads.

People shake their heads in disgust with the problem or at the “crazies” on either side of the fight, so real solutions are slow to come. Let’s change the conversation.

For example, let’s talk about air quality (the most popular topic on @10), not climate change. Yes, climate change and air quality are connected, but air quality is easier for more people to identify with and rally around.

The argument to improve air quality could be that bad air produced by local factories increases the risk of lung cancer and sick kids, makes exercise more difficult, and potentially leads to higher health insurance premiums.

Moms and dads can more easily identify with that than they can with the concept that global warming caused Hurricane Sandy and droughts.

The same applies to health insurance coverage, another popular topic among @10 members. The media and politicians debate about “Obamacare”. Let’s figure out a way to provide the coverage people need to live a healthy and productive life without filing for bankruptcy to pay bills if they get sick or injured.

Check out the rest of the list of most popular topics on @10 (the percentage of participants who selected them is to the right).

  1. Air Quality/ Pollution                     34.5%
  2. Insurance Coverage                    28.4%
  3. Poverty and Race                        27.6%
  4. Improving Nutrition                      22.4%
  5. Teaching Quality                          21.6%
  6. College Affordability                     21.6%
  7. Corporate Taxation                      21.6%
  8. Misuse and Omission of Facts    20.7%
  9. Food Accessibility                        19.8%
  10. Preservation                                 19.8%

We need to talk about these issues so that more people – not just the most passionate or harmed — understand the impact in a personal way. Comment here or submit your solution at www.at10us.com.

Improving Air Quality

Corey, a graphic designer in Chicago, thinks that we all must become more aware of how we are polluting, take action to reduce or eliminate pollution, and change how we consume food, water and energy.

Part of the solution requires tougher anti-pollution laws. We also need technological advances that reduce the negative impact of burning fossil fuels and chemicals and which can even clean the air and water.

Kim, from Florida, added that we need to set laws that require that a percentage of new construction projects use renewable energy sources. For example, the new building code would specify that all new commercial buildings would have to derive 40 percent of their energy from wind or solar sources.

Everyone would benefit through better health, which leads to longer lives, and because of that, everyone should help fund the solution, the government, corporations and the public.

To Corey, the best place to start these efforts is in cities.

He thinks the main risk to his plan for improving air quality is that not everyone will agree or believe that pollution causes health risks – or is a big enough problem in general.

To sell the idea of changing their consumption habits to help improve air quality means the media must provide more people with evidence linking air pollution to poor health.

This solution gives us three principles to push for and share.

  1. Talk about the health risks from local pollution, not just in terms of global warming.
  2. Anti-pollution efforts need to demonstrate the impact of pollution on people not already concerned with the issue.
  3. We need regulations to ensure the use of greener energy sources.
  4. The mainstream media should focus on science, not drama.
  5. Reducing pollution requires collaboration among — and funding by — government, the public, and the private sector.

If you agree with this solution, share it with others.

Add to it in the comments section or go to www.at10us.com to submit your own. The more solutions we have, the stronger our case for change will be.

@10 members take responsibility for achieving significant benefits for society

Check out what @10′s members want. We are proud to have these kinds of people as our members. We think that a lot of other Americans share these goals.

They think regular Americans and experts are more able to solve problems than the media, corporations and politicians. Fifty percent registered to submit solutions to prove it.

Sixty-one percent say they want peace of mind from a solution, and 59 percent want a significant benefit for society. Fifty-eight percent are willing to give up simplicity and convenience to get those kinds of solutions.

@10 members understand efficiency and how to get things done. Almost 50 percent think that being easy-to-use and complementary with other activities are critical to the success of any solution. Further, most @10 members (53 percent) think regular Americans need to change.

To help achieve our members’ goals, @10 will compare and describe specific solutions to the issues they care about, manage the voting process for competing solutions, explain how different cities are solving problems, and identify the groups that are trying to solve problems vs. just talking about the problems.

If there is something you’d like us to cover, let us know by selecting it at the site, or using this forum’s content section. With your continued support, we will achieve our goals together. www.at10us.com — Know, Solve, Act

Why @10?

@10 was founded based on deep frustration with how the United States government, economy, and culture operate, so we asked, “How do we want it to be?”

First, we want America to be known as a nation that innovates and features better-paying jobs, government that does more with less, more effective and responsive private and public services, and democracy with less distrust across socioeconomic classes.

Second, we want a simple way to have influence between elections. Voting isn’t enough when representatives fail to solve any significant issue and cater only to the interests of those who fund their campaigns.

It doesn’t stop at politics. We want to talk to a person at companies when the lights or the cable go out, especially when we get double-digit rate increases.

Third, we want a simple way to present solutions to major problems. There are smart people with great ideas, but it is too time-consuming for them to present what they think. We need a common framework in which to fit ideas. Instead, we are left with the rants in online chat forums and on TV talk shows.

Fourth, we want media outlets that compare the costs, benefits and implications of solutions for all Americans. The brief, acrimonious dramas produced by CNN, Fox, or MSNBC that feature extremist politicians, smirking talking heads, victims and their families, and endless analysis are useless.

Fifth, we want to hold politicians accountable for solving problems. Those in power grease the squeaky wheels that pay for their campaigns. That leads to gridlock. They need to pursue the agenda of the majority of Americans, while respecting the rights of the minority, or lose their jobs.

So we created @10. It facilitates the development of local and national strategies to solve major problems and holds representatives accountable for implementing them.

@10 makes it easy to pick the issues you care about, submit strategies to solve them, and compare and vote on the solutions you like most. It compiles your “stories” and broadcasts them around the country, so our voice is heard and acted upon.

If this is how you want it to be, read other posts here, register at www.at10us.com, and share www.at10solutions.com with those who might be interested.

About this blog

This site (www.at10solutions.com) distributes the content produced by @10 (www.at10us.com), which is based on our members’ preferences for which issues to cover, the solutions they submit, and the results of their voting.

We describe strategies to specific problems, how various communities are solving problems, and opportunities to engage based on what other organizations are doing.

We will distribute this information to elected officials, the media, and the general public to influence their behavior, using data that reflects our members’ goals and strategies at a local and national level.

To learn more about @10, help solve problems, and hold representatives accountable, explore this site, visit www.at10us.com, and share www.at10solutions.com with those who might be interested.