To expand on my comments below, the City has announced a Neighborhood Leadership Institute, the application deadline is next week. NLI is a good way to meet the people making decisions in this City & to learn how to work within the bureaucracy to make meaningful change. This is the first time the City is offering it, so it is a historic undertaking and you can be part of it. Alas, I have over-committed myself so much I am unable to apply, I really hope others take advantage of this interesting pilot project.
Additionally, I want everyone to apply for Boards and Commission appointments in the jurisdictions they live in, it is a great opportunity to make a difference in your community. The application process for the City is currently closed, but the next cycle will begin soon (June?).
The big name boards are tough to get on, but also require the most amount of time and commitment (think Planning Commission, BAR etc.). The obscure boards are awesome and desperately need creative, enthusiastic folks to participate.
The CDBG Task Force is a great example, the task force distributes relatively little money, but with that money a lot of people are helped, how that money is distributed is essential and the task force generally gets to make the decision. I really want to encourage folks who are in 'target neighborhoods' to apply for the positions that are opening this coming year. Target neighborhoods are Belmont, Rose Hill, Fifeville, 10th & Page, Starr Hill, Ridge Street. The people on the task force are enthusiastic, we are making our own path and hopefully serving those target neighborhoods in ways that generate positive change (without gentrifying, we could really use some voices to help us with that).