Activism 201: Achieve Your Goals – Getting the Right Publicity

A friend of mine had been sending around emails of this research he’d done on some potential corruption. It seemed like good work that wasn’t getting its due. I asked him last summer asking how he’d feel if I posted his research on the web.

I put up and customized a $15 a year WordPress site, wrote an About page, forwarded the research emails to it, and cleaned up the formatting on the posts. That was 3 hours. I cleared it with the friend, mentioned it a few times to associates, wrote a few teaser posts, and eventually started tweeting when there was a new post. 3 months in, I designed and printed a few fliers and bought them to a meeting where I knew I could ask some journalists questions about the issue in the site. Continue reading “Activism 201: Achieve Your Goals – Getting the Right Publicity”

Disposable Websites

I’ve managed WordPress website projects that take a whole year to launch with re-design, multiple custom themes, data transformation, data presentation, and (you probably guessed) complicated internal politics. But I do love a website that goes from idea to launched in  few hours. This last one went like this, “You’ve done all this great research over the past year. You’ve emailed it around, but it’s not getting covered in the press. People ought to be able to link to your work on Twitter and in news sites. Can I just post all the email content on a web site?” Boom. 3 hours later, I’ve bought a name, put up 11 posts, added users, gotten approval, and launched a site. The domain and hosting is $17 per year at And it not even ugly!

One could say the DC government is bought and paid for by developers.

This started as a post in the DupontForum.

You should be worried about the cost effective use of your money. In 2002 we asked for a fence, a double gate, and some pea gravel. Parks and Rec brought in some fancy landscape architect and milked that idea for 7 years. When I was on the ANC, we approved a far simpler dog park than what we got. As fancy as it is and with 7 years to get it right, there are too many problems. This to me points to this government’s huge inclination towards contractors. One could say the DC government is bought and paid for by developers.

 Notice that when Mayor Fenty is asked about the progress of the city, he cites that they are building schools, libraries, and parks. Continue reading “One could say the DC government is bought and paid for by developers.”

CM Michael Brown

Councilman Michael Brown graciously called this morning (after seeing my quote here: DC Considers Parking Exemption) to explain that he is working on all sorts of things that I may find important. We talked about foster care and DC statehood. He sent me his full press release on what else he is proposing. I thank him for his call and am sorry to have assumed the parking proposal was the most important thing he proposed.

My constant theme when talking about the DC government is how people who work for the DC government (elected, appointed, and hired) too often act as if the status quo is acceptable. So I continue to repeat (and did to Mike Neibauer at the Examiner) that everyone needs to concentrate on the big picture problems rather than the multitude of small problems.

“US Gov Digital Dark Ages Are Over”

This weekend’s TransparencyCamp unconference was a blast…lots of famous geeks and uber-geeks (with surprisingly few Asperger’s Syndrome cases) almost all toting Macs or netbooks and inputting twitter handles into iPhones apps rather than exchanging business cards. (It’s awesome to come back from a [un]conference without any paper. Oft heard phrase, “It’s up on the wiki already.”)…I put up a topic for discussion and ended up being assigned a 91-seat auditorium-style room for the first round of sessions – yikes. Continue reading ““US Gov Digital Dark Ages Are Over””

Book Demonstrating Municipal Financing Evils


This book talks about how the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) financing Jack Evans throws around like confetti is making the rich richer at our expense: Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill)David Cay Johnston even uses building baseball stadiums as an example.


Listen to Terry Gross interview the author: David Cay Johnston on How the Rich Get Richer.


Or watch Bill Moyers interview him: Bill Moyers talks with David Cay Johnston.


Resigning from ANC to take DCCA Presidency

My election as President of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association is looking certain. I’m going to resign my ANC seat this month. I’ve enjoyed being a commissioner more than I could have imagined. If you knew me four years ago, you wouldn’t likely have guessed that I’d be the DCCA President. All this started for me with me getting mugged. My reaction was that I should do something positive as a response. Some people may dispute whether most of what I’ve done is positive, but they wouldn’t likely dispute that I’ve gotten a lot done. I plan to have a bigger impact from my new position at DCCA. Continue reading “Resigning from ANC to take DCCA Presidency”