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Three weeks ago the Fairfax County Park Authority destroyed a perfectly good footbridge built by the Miller Heights Neighborhood Association over a decade ago, one of three that enabled hundreds of people and their dogs to walk the full length of the stream trail, with views of running water and birds, including our neighborhood heron, that are priceless.
Today that bridge is being rebuilt by the Park Authority and we have temporarily brought to a half the destruction of all footbridges across the County. The old policy still in force considers footbridges built by citizens (peasants with no standing under the old mind-set) to be encroachments as well as potential safety and legal liabilities.
Below, with photographs, I tell the story of how nineteen citizens, aided by interest from the Boy Scouts of America, were able to get their footbridge back and stop — at least for a time — a very destructive policy. This is a story about re-inventing democracy. How the story ends for the County at large is not yet clear but right this minute, the Chairman (Sharon Bulova), the Park Authority, the Scouts, and our engaged citizens all look good — if this goes as I hope, we will create a new national standard in hybrid governance for stream trails, anchored in a new Scout Trailkeepers Program and perhaps even a new Eagle Scout merit badge, while taking Homeowner Associations (HOA) on a political test drive, focused on substance and divorced from the two-party duopoly that could care less about citizen grass roots rights and concerns.
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Stephan A. Schwartz
The more research I do on GMOs, the less the immediate problem seems to be the seeds, and the more it seems to center on the toxins used to protect the seeds, and the costs associated with this industrial chemical model of agriculture. Here is the latest.
Study Shows Dramatic Correlation Between GMOs And 22 Diseases
As crops that use the herbicide glyphosate rise, so do a wide range of diseases.
The deep corruption of government is putting the health of the American people at serious risk.
The research highlighted below, “Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America,” was published in The Journal of Organic Systems this September and links GMOs to 22 diseases with very high correlation.
I was glad to respond to an invitation to write “Beyond Data Monitoring,” a Background Paper for the UN International Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on the Data Revolution, co-chaired by Robin Li of Baidu, which is good, with Open Source represented by Tim “algorithms rule” O’Reilly, which is bad. Although the paper gained no traction with the intended recipients, it was sent by other means to the special assistant to the Secretary-General, and has taken on a life of its own elsewhere. Building on the earlier Earth Intelligence Network concepts, and together with my forthcoming article on Applied Collective Intelligence (Spanda Journal, December 2014), this paper is the summary of my old thinking.
Today I begin new thinking, with a tip of the hat to Daniel Mezick among others — I feel blessed to have connected with so many brilliant information technologists over the years, including hackers around the world and with Stephen E. Arnold, CEO of Arnold IT, always in the forefront as my most trusted observer of the hollowness of industrial-era IT. Below is my emergent vision challenge for the future of public free open information sharing and sense-making. I am seeking contributing thoughts that will be acknowledged here as this develops.
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