It sounded like deja vu all over again: more bad news for beach-hoarding magnates who may employ gates, landscaping, fake garages and fake trespassing signs restricting access to public lands. A California court in late September ruled against Vinod Khosla, Sun Microsystems co-founder and clean energy investor, saying he couldn’t keep a locked gate to Martin’s Beach, reached along his Half Moon Bay property. Then Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill turning the screws on Khosla further. Still, the much-publicized case is but a speck of sand on the beach. There are 1,150 access points along the state’s 1,270-mile Pacific coastline, and many are tricky to find or use. The good news: fairly soon there’ll be a new way around that.
Collaboration in Civic Spheres
Archive for the ‘Community Building’ Category
by Matt Rosenberg October 15th, 2014
by Administrator May 30th, 2013
The Seattle Science Festival running June 6 to June 16 will include a special panel discussion June 12 with Q&A, on your right to know what publicly-funded scientists are discovering, and how “open science” can be advanced. The free event is Tuesday June 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the West Seattle Branch of the Seattle Public Library, 2306 42nd Ave. SW, just north of Metropolitan Market. More below from panel host Michael Bradbury.
So much science is freely available online if you know where to look. There’s a treasure trove of open science available for journalists, bloggers and the public. Learn about open access journals and other online sources that don’t require subscriptions. Hear about how public data helps tell important regional health and science stories. Join us on June 12 as we listen to some of the stories that local science writers and science social media experts have covered and written in this general discussion of open science.
Sally James brings her years as a science and health writer to bear on open science. She will discuss how she uses social media to access open science papers. She will also talk about how citizen science projects and open science projects have become a staple and how they fit into science writer’s toolbox. She recently started her own blog, SeattleScienceWriter and is former president of the Northwest Science Writers Association. Recently she appeared on KUOW-FM’s Weekday, talking about current science news.
Matt Rosenberg will add to the panel discussion his perspectives covering the Open Science beat for his site Public Data Ferret, a project of the 501c3 he founded and directs, Public Eye Northwest. Matt will share lessons learned mining open access journals online for news of general interest, including that which ties directly into local, regional and state public policy issues.
Michael Bradbury will host the discussion. He is a journalist and the founder of REALscience, a Seattle-based online science news site. He is a longtime proponent of open science who believes that the public should have full access to all research that tax dollars make possible. He would also like to see a proliferation of citizen science projects that engage and encourage the public to help scientists gather and analyze data, further breaking down the barriers between the public and the scientific community.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org as space is limited. The session is suitable for teens and adults.
by Matt Rosenberg September 19th, 2012
A proposed City of Seattle bill being championed by Councilmember Bruce Harrell would restrict the right of Seattle employers to factor in to their hiring decisions a job applicant’s past arrests, convictions or pending criminal criminal charges. Under Council Bill 117583, which is scheduled for discussion today in the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee meeting chaired by Harrell, employers would be required to:
According to a city staff fiscal note which summarizes the bill and answers several questions about its implications, Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights would implement the legislation. This would include public education directed to employers and job applicants, and could also involve investigating and trying to settle complaints brought by job applicants against Seattle employers. The fiscal note says it’s not clear whether the bill would require additional hiring at OCR; that the agency “will need to assess their ability to continue to absorb this body of work with existing staff and resources.”
by Matt Rosenberg September 4th, 2012
Below: the Washington state winners and champions in public meeting transparency online. They not only put meeting agendas online; they use software platforms which put into those online agendas, individual links to individual business items. This is far more user-friendly than the next-best practice, which is to bundle all the agenda packet documents into one .pdf file dozens or hundreds of pages long. This way constituents, reporters and other information seekers can see exactly what elected officials are considering – on an item-by-item basis – and can link to the specific documents in their online communications at web sites, blogs and in social media, boosting accuracy and accountability for online news and commentary. That’s something badly needed in these times. The Winners List follows. It is made up of direct links to the most user-friendly, document-rich agenda pages of local and regional governments in Washington state, grouped by county.
by Matt Rosenberg September 4th, 2012
Open meetings laws and public records laws are a bulwark of our democracy, to be widely promoted and firmly upheld. Yet the bar is rising still higher for government transparency as many elected bodies go beyond mere compliance with these legal requirements — by voluntarily providing better public access to their business, online. A key indicator for local and regional elected bodies is ease of online access to meeting agenda packet individual items, prior to meeting times. Following and grouped by county, are links to meeting agenda pages, or where none are available, meeting minutes pages or board roster pages for city and town councils in Washington state, plus school boards, county boards, public hospital boards, public utility districts and local/regional transit boards. Here we cover areas outside Central Puget Sound (King, Snohomish and Pierce counties), which have already been indexed in guides linked to at the end of this post.
This directory’s purpose is to promote wider access to the business of government, and particularly to agenda-specific original source documents posted online. Reporters, bloggers and other information providers can use these government source materials in their own online published work to enhance their own accuracy and accountability, and to better advance rational and richer discourse about current public policy matters.
We assign the following code for each government body included below:
(Continued…..agenda page and document links for local, regional govts. in all WA counties)
by Matt Rosenberg June 21st, 2012
Public Data Ferret’s parent 501c3 Public Eye Northwest is pursuing plenty of other fundraising strategies, as we must. But we can never overlook the Knight News Challenge. The theme for Round Two 2012 is….Data. Please review our proposal and consider adding a supportive comment and a “Like”.
Knight will divide up to $5 million between winners, typically five or six per round. In the current grant competition, they’re looking for projects which demonstrate:
“new ways of collecting, understanding, visualizing and helping the public use the large amounts of information generated each day.”
An excerpt from our application:
How will your project make data more useful?
Public Data Ferret curates and translates unstructured government data – recent, high-news value documents hidden on the Deep Web – into Plain English, originally reported articles archived by jurisdiction and topic. The data mountain is curated, simplified and distributed. Through outreach, internships and visualizations we mainstream the primacy of data and objectivity.
How is your project different from what already exists?
The originally reported content is government sourced, always with direct links, bias- and jargon-free, and in topic and place archives so users can connect the dots.
Why will it work?
It will work because as the online information exa-flood grows, the need for authentic, reliable, curated knowledge intensifies. Users of search and participants in online social and face-to-face networks increasingly hunger for objective data about public affairs and public policy, rather than more opinion and snark, and know that data lives not only in data sets but in public documents as well. Liberating, processing and daylighting that unstructured data matters immensely. As legacy media decline, new actors must revitalize news and information ecosystems, often as trained volunteers.
How would you use News Challenge funds?
To fund for three years the work of three bureau chiefs/chief evangelists – one in Washington State, one in Oregon, and one in Idaho. They would each build and expand an infrastructure like the one we’ve begun in WA, working with colleges and a wide range of community stakeholders.
How would you sustain the project after the funding expires?
We would leverage more funds and volunteers through teaching and programmatic partnerships with public university and community college sponsors in each state, as well as legacy media, business interests and major community-based foundations. Fee-for-service revenue strategies will also be developed.
by Matt Rosenberg March 22nd, 2012
It’s brief, and we hope you’ll take a look at our Public Data Ferret project’s entry in the Knight News Challenge funding competition, for innovative news start-ups. Add a supportive comment if you like – very soon please – finalists will be announced April 2 – and share the link and a brief introduction with your networks on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. The theme this round is use of existing “networks” and platforms, which includes what we do: building on online government information sources; and building awareness and working partnerships around our work in the community. We’re humbled by the supportive response so far, that you’ll see in the 40-plus comments from hyper-local bloggers, news professionals, technologists, educators, students, readers and others. Here are several comments among the many posted that really capture the value propositions we’re trying to embody.