The Footbridge at Fairfax County — Reinventing Democracy

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off
Nov 24

Robert Steele: Reflections on the Next Data Revolution

Robert Steele

Robert Steele

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off
Nov 23

Jean Lievens: Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?

Given the importance of broad, diverse, and sustained participation, it remains to be seen whether movements have been doing themselves a favor or a disservice by allowing themselves to be defined by the site of occupation or by the tactic itself, and not by political and social claims on behalf of  those whom they represent.

Phi Beta Iota: Occupation is a means of demanding a specific change (this is where Occupy failed — it has no specific change to demand). The only specific change needed to restore the integrity of any government is Electoral Reform — all eleven points, not the half-baked “get money out of politics false panacea.

See Also:

CounterPunch: Where is Jesse Ventura When You Need Him?

 

Comments Off
Nov 21

Guradian Sustainable Business: Jeremy Rifkin on Super Internet Solving All Our Problems — Never Mind the True Cost Details

guardian sustainable businessRadical new economic system will emerge from collapse of capitalism

Political adviser and author Jeremy Rifkin believes that the creation of a super internet heralds new economic system that could solve society’s sustainability challenges

EXTRACT

What about the concern that the end of capitalism would lead to chaos? Rifkin believes the gap left by the disappearance of major corporations will be filled by the nonprofit sector.

Robert Steele

Robert Steele

ROBERT STEELE: Rifkin is brilliant at the fad level and we are lucky to have him as a voice that the public can hear. Where he falls flat is in relation to holistic analytics, true cost of production, and open source everything engineering. Anyone who can say that business has succeeded wildly in lowering the costs of production is clearly out of touch with the true cost of production.

See Also:

Analytics @ Phi Beta Iota
Open Source @ Phi Beta Iota
True Cost @ Phi Beta Iota

Comments Off
Nov 21