Mastodon East Canyon 22X Neighborhood Council: Introducing: Kaleidoscope

Introducing: Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope. A continually changing pattern of shapes and colors.  

That’s what societal change looks like. There is no singular fix for any social problem, and solutions are never realized in the timeframe demanded by constituents with raised fists. How do we track a Kaleidoscope? We need to pay close attention to all of the moving parts. That’s what our new feature, Kaleidoscope, is about.

Our first Kaleidoscope piece will be looking at what our government institutions are doing to address Oakland’s increasing crime rates. No one source of information is going to give us a clear picture of what’s being done. The relevant information is hiding in many documents spread out in many information repositories.

As an example,  Eli Wolf of the Oaklandside recently pored through nine months worth of meeting minutes from city council meetings and committee meetings to determine which council members have the best voting records, which have the worst, and which have the best excuses for missing votes. LINK TO ARTICLE The information is publicly available (although Eli supplemented the information from meeting minutes with personal interviews), but by itself, the information is mostly meaningless unless and until someone filters and analyzes it and makes it available to a large, engaged audience. That just doesn't happen very often.

We want to bring more information out of the shadows to help us all make sense of it so we can better decide for ourselves whether our local electeds are working on the problems that we want them to solve and whether we like their problem-solving strategies!

So what do we, the folks who inhabit the East Canyon 22X neighborhoods, want our electeds to be working on? Here's what I've been hearing:

  • Dramatically decreasing violent crime in Oakland.
  • Getting all Oaklanders into safe housing.
  • Getting quality services to our neighbors who are suffering from mental health crises.
  • Improving service delivery from all Oakland departments, but especially 911 emergency services.
  • Dramatically decreasing property crimes, including bipping (breaking car windows to steal valuables), auto thefts, and small business robberies (and vandalism)!
  • Improving traffic safety for pedestrians and people riding wheels of all kinds, with or without the security of steel passenger compartments and airbags (thinking bicycles, wheel chairs, skate boards, motorcycles…).

What kind of information can we provide to help us make sense of how well (or badly) our local government is doing?

Let's look at property crime as an example:

  • Which public commissions are working on these problems and what roadblocks are they facing?
  • What legislation is being considered in city council Committees?
  • What are county and state bodies doing to help?
  • What funding sources might be available to Oakland outside of what was allocated in the already-done-deal two-year budget?
  • Which news sources are doing excellent work bringing us relevant news? Let's see the articles!
  • Are there upcoming elections that might play a role?
  • More than anything, across the board, where are the roadblocks and how to we advocate for their removal?

We begin our Kaleidoscope feature this week with information about efforts to make Oakland streets safer. READ Kaleidoscope: Oaklanders Want Safer Streets!