06/03/2013 10:41 am ET Updated Aug 02, 2013

Here's Why #HackForLA Will Work

Yesterday I joined 300 developers, government agencies, businesses, and engaged citizens for the kickoff of #HackForLA - part of a National Day of Civic Hacking taking place all over America. Some big sponsors like AT&T Developer Program , Google, NASA, Nationbuilder, Chase Bank, Scopley and more were on hand for the festivities. Another high profile sponsor is's Foundation. Here's his welcome video.

The event was held in East LA at the Boyle Heights Youth Technology Center, with Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti making a surprise appearance to kick things off. What's cool about holding the event in Boyle Heights is that both Garcetti and have roots in the Boyle Heights.

East LA is known for alot of things - but my favorite quote from yesterday is that now East LA will be known for "Gangster Geeks".

All this is part White House Office of Digital Strategy and the President's focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Enginering, and Math) education.

The bigger picture is the push for open data and real-time government. What's also happening is that citizens want to be engaged with government at all levels and the pervasive use of mobile technology has made that easier then ever.

Meaningful change takes time and hard work and is an evolutionary process. But it starts with events like this weekend's #HackForLA. Kudos to Hilary White, of Hilary White Consulting, who's doing a fantastic job as social coordinator for the event. The buzz is definitely building.

The winners will be announced today. Citizens and businesses and civic leaders are engaging. The process has begun. You can follow Gangster Geeks and the event at #HackForLA.