How It Works
See how the California Common Sense platform allows you to discover an issue and bring it to the attention of elected officials.
Life Cycle Of An Issue
Visualize Data
The CACS team gathers and analyzes mountains of data from all levels of government finances (local, state, and federal) to create a rapidly growing suite of interactive tools for you to explore.
Explore and Learn
Knowledge is power. Through the data visualizations, Californians can learn about government, policy, special interests, and become empowered to call for government reform.
Post an Issue
Ready to fix government? Create posts based on what you find to be most striking in the visualizations, or that which needs the most immediate attention from our elected officials to resolve.
Vote to FixIt!
Use the CACS Vote to FixIt! button to show your elected representatives what you care most about. It’s a powerful tool for leveraging the collective power of all of our voices, such that elected officials will know what you want heard.
Rally Your Community
Amplify the power of voting to Fixit! by informing your communities - via Facebook, Twitter, etc. - about the posts that you are most passionate about. Through social sharing you can build a movement for reform around the most important issues.
Elected Officials Join the Discussion
California elected officials are poised and ready to LISTEN to what you have to say, and to respond on our forum. Keep voting to FixIt! so they know what you care about most. They will respond to the most popular posts among their constituencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the CACS agenda? Is CACS endorsed by or promoting a specific political party?

CACS is a platform with bi-partisan support and we do not endorse politicians or political parties. We supply data for you to examine and our researchers also post their own analyses in the publications section. We hope you use our tools to learn about government and share ideas about how it could work better so that we all benefit.

Where does the data come from?

Check out the list of sources for each data visualization, but in general this is government provided data.

I found an error in a visualization, or the data is wrong. Who do I tell?

Email, thanks for helping us to do a better job.

What is a post/issue?

A Post highlights an issue found in the data visualizations. It includes a visual "bookmark" for where the data comes from, a description of "what’s at stake," and space to comment and vote to FixIt!.

What is a comment?

Anyone can write a comment about a post. These are not pre-approved by CACS, but we are counting on the community to moderate the comments (please see below). Elected officials also have a featured section to comment on user-generated posts about issues.

What is a visualization?

A visualization is an interactive, visual representation of the data CACS aggregates about government finances and other policy issues.

Does it cost anything to use the CACS civic engagement platform?

Absolutely not!  CACS is providing a free and accessible-to-all platform.

Why do I need to use Facebook?

The CACS engagement platform is designed to be a Facebook app.  Our goal is to create an opportunity for meaningful civic engagement online, in a space where we already come together as a community.

What if I don't have a Facebook account?

It is very, very easy to create a Facebook account and be able to use all of the functionality of the site.  Or, when you click the FixIt! button, you have an opportunity to enter an email address and we will notify you when it is possible to use the forum without Facebook.  

How is the forum moderated?

Here are the Forum Guidelines:

  • CACS will approve all posts before they are made publicly available on the CACS civic engagement platform. The post’s author will receive email notification if and when their post is approved.
  • All comments on posts should remain topical to the nature of the post.
  • All comments should stay "data-centric," and focused on finding nonpartisan solutions. At CACS, we are here to find what we can agree on, so that we can combine all of our voices and work together to press for needed change in government. That means no more finger-pointing at the Ds, Rs, or any other political party.
  • Be civil. Your fellow forum members have the ability to report your comments, and CACS reserves the right to take down any content that is rude.
  • We are a family-friendly environment. Mind your language!
  • Stay topical. It is great if you care passionately about a number of issues, but please restrict your comments on a post to that particular topic. Create a separate post on the other issue!
  • We are counting on our community to maintain our community. If there is a comment that is off topic or overtly confrontational, click on "Report It," and it will be evaluated by CACS staff.
Get Started

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