Santa Cruz Vice-Mayor Hilary Bryant got an idea at the TEDx talks held at Cabrillo Saturday, but it wasn't from a speaker.
She met up with Watsonville Mayor Eduardo Montesino and saw the teens he had accompanying him. They were elected from Watsonville schools to serve on a student city council that paralleled the city council. They would shadow city council members and learn about city government and take their findings back to their schools.
"I've been trying to do something like this for two years," said Bryant, who got caught up in the red tape and bureaucratise of starting anything in city government.
How did Montesino get it going?
"I didn't ask anyone. I just did it."
He called schools, got them to choose representatives, and there it was: The city's first student city council. Bryant said she wants to follow his lead and get the same thing done in Santa Cruz.
That was the kind of cross-pollination that makes this day of talks worth the $75 admission—a huge bargain considering that the first TED talks cost $6,000 a ticket. Not only did it include adventurous food from a host of gourmet food trucks, but spicy conversation all over the lawn.
The meeting and greeting was a perfect complement to this year's theme of openness.
Some of the talks included journalist Martha Mendoza describing her fights to make governments reveal their public records, which should be open, but too often are hidden from the public that pays for them.
In contrast, police spokesman Zach Friend and campaign consultant Donnie Fowler talked about the government information that is out there and how people can find it.
Santa Cruz skater, surfer and entrepreneur Danny Keith talked about how he has opened his store as a nonprofit to raise funds for Grind Out Hunger.
Musician Luc Reyaud talked about going to New Orleans and writing a song with a 10-year-old girl and having it picked up and sent around the world by the likes of pop musician Jason Mraz.
Museum superstar Nina Simon talked about how she got the public in Santa Cruz to help turn the Museum of Art & History from a closet stuffed with information to a vibrant place opening new doors every week.
If you missed it, fear not. The videos will appear on the TEDx video channel on YouTube, although it takes some time for them to be posted.You can see last year's here, where the theme was Engage!
And in a bit of shameless self promotion so low in this story that no one will probably ever see it and because no one who knows me would ever believe I was onstage at a TED conference you can see me at the Berkeley TEDx a year ago here.