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Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

* This first appeared on the blog for the Stanford Social Innovation Review *

Even engaged citizens in Oakland, Calif., didn’t know the city had a Public Ethics Commission, let alone what its purpose was, when I joined its ranks three years ago. And people who did know about it didn’t have many nice things to say: Local blogs sneered at its lack of power and few politicians feared its oversight. Created in 1996 as a watchdog organization responsible for opening up city government, the commission had become just another element of Oakland’s cumbersome, opaque bureaucracy.

It’s easy to see why. Technology and media have dramatically changed our expectations for what defines transparency and accountability. For example, in the past, walking into City Hall, making an official request for a public record, and receiving it in the mail within two weeks meant good, open government. Now, if an Internet search doesn’t instantly turn up an answer to your question about local government, the assumption often is: Government’s hiding something. (more…)

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A member of the Oakland Public Ethics Commission, a year ago, I initiated a subcommittee to review Oakland’s Transparency practices. A final report on our activities was published today and I couldn’t be more proud and excited about it’s depth, breadth and  potential to strengthen Oakland’s culture shift towards more innovation, accountability and transparency.  Last night was my final Public Ethics Commission meeting: I hung up my hat as Vice-Chair and ended my three years of public service.

I encourage you to read the report – Toward Collaborative Transparency.

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My last meeting with my fellow Commissioners:

 

 

 

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I’m really appreciating all the coverage of the Oscar Grant murder and the trial of Johannes Mehserle over on OaklandSeen.com. (more…)

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On November 28, 2009, the New York Times Sunday edition featured an editorial “In Support of Abortion, It’s Personal vs. Political” in the Week in Review. While there were some things I liked about this editorial, there was much to dislike. First and foremost being the fact that Post-Roe women are defined only by what we have NOT experienced, not defined by what we have experienced. Instead of going on and on about what bugged me about this article, I decided instead to re-write it, the way that I believe it should be written. This article reflects elements of my vision for how the changing landscape of the abortion debate should be investigated and reported. This is a work of fiction, which means I have created new lines of dialogue and quotes from actual people listed in the original article – what I wish they would say from a strength and asset-based perspective, instead of the deficit-approach featured.

Enjoy.

“In Support of Wellbeing, Abortion Matters to Women & Families”
By Cheryl Straight Stobilt

In 1999, an airline pilot’s daughter named Aspen Baker was attending college in Northern California when she had a safe and legal abortion at a local hospital. She had been raised a pro-life Christian in Southern California and while she never believed she could make a pregnancy decision for another person, she never believed she would have an abortion herself, until she did. While she was relieved when the procedure was finally over, she found herself with a lot of difficult emotions about the experience and because of the stigma and politics surrounding her decision she was unable to find someone who would listen to her, without judgment or bias.

Today, Aspen Baker is the Founder and Executive Director of Exhale, an organization whose mission is to create a more supportive and respectful social climate around personal experiences with abortion and which runs a national, multilingual post-abortion talkline. At 33-years old, Baker is a member of what many feminist leaders call the “Third Wave,” though Ms. Baker rarely uses the term herself.

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Travel to Oakland!

I have lived in Oakland for more than 10 years and I love it! I plan to stay. It’s home.

Doesn’t mean I can’t laugh at it (with it?) sometimes. This one had me rolling. Enjoy!

Filed under: Oakland Humor

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According to Susan Mernit, co-founder of Pink Garage, a new online community and resource for women entrepreneurs, and a product development, business strategy and social media consultant, she was just awarded a New Voices fellowship to launch Oakland Local.

Oakland Local will be a daily-updated Web site and mobile service with a focus on environment, climate, transportation, housing, local government and community activism in Downtown, Uptown, North Oakland, West Oakland, Fruitvale, Lake Merritt, and the Dimond District.

We will have an editor, a publisher and three paid part-time reporters who will produce content, along with community contributors. We’ll be very mobile-friendly and the site will geotag content to an XML data map, encourage users to interact via cell phones and employ a range of social networking tools to surface, share and make discoverable so much of the amazing organizing and activism in Oakland.

Says Susan:

[Oakland Local] offers an opportunity to provide so many groups working on issues in Oakland an opportunity to have their work and views be heard and seen. And to work with lots of people to invent this.

Yay Susan! Where do we sign up?

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