Website Created to Address Local Problems

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The boat launch near I-496 has collapsed, a street light is burned out, there's graffiti on the River Trail, all issues the city may never have known about if not for the Website:

"You sign up as a municipality, then different departments get the emailed problems that pertain to them," Council member Carol Wood said.

The site was created in 2008 in the Northeast and has spread nationally. The way it works: you click into your area, then post your problem.

City council member Wood said the city is well aware of the site, she monitors most of the complaints.

"An email comes in to us, we see what the problem is, we forward it along, if no one responds to it, I make sure it is forwarded to the right person," she said.

It's the whole reason the broken windows of an abandoned building on Verlinden were addressed. The problem was forwarded along to the right department, the case was closed within weeks.

"The co-founder of tells me he started it in Connecticut because his complaints of graffiti were falling on deaf ears. It came to Lansing when a local cyclist said he encountered a lot of problems on the road.

"Being a regular road user, I just see a lot of things that I want to tell others about," Tim Potter said.

Potter signed up before anyone else locally and started reporting issues, mainly potholes. Then others did the same for a whole host of reasons. It turns out people in charge were listening.

"If you make a normal complaint you never know where it goes," Potter said. "It may never get noticed. This way, it makes it transparent, plus other people know about the complaint also."

Some say it makes government accountable because it's right there in black and white when the problem was posted, and when it was taken care of.

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