Here’s a new post I wrote for Civicist: Toward Sustainability for Local Tech Organizing. Snip:

Sustainability of civic tech organizing is basically resolved in Chicago. The question for me is whether these kinds of tech organizing groups are the model that should be supported.


Smart Chicago’s focus is on the unmet technology organizing needs in neighborhoods all over the city.

Sustainability of civic tech organizing is basically resolved in Chicago. What remains is a city of 2.7 people million with precious few invitations to range beyond their own block, very few jobs in tech for people with low to medium digital skills, and very few ways to listen and hear the needs of the people.

That’s what we need to build.



PATF_Final_Report_Executive_Summary_4_13_16On page 112 of the report of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, “Recommendations for Reform: Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities they Serve“, there is a section about the publication of police data that might change the way we think about “crime data” in the #opengov and #civictech movement.

In the section on Early Intervention & Personnel Concerns, the main recommendation for this area is that the Chicago Police Department embark on the “design and implementation of a mandatory EIS that centrally collects data across a broad range of data points to capture information on the totality of officer activity”. This kind of system is typically called an “Early Intervention System”, or EIS.

But later in this section is a recommendation that is near and dear to my heart (disclosure: I served on the Early Intervention & Personnel Concerns Working Group for the Task Force).

Here’s the nub:

Continue reading “A Radical Approach to Open Police Data”

The New York Times has a travel feature called 36 Hours. The schtick is that they lay out a core set of things to do in 36 hours of real time. This year the kids’ Spring Break snuck up on us and I had nothing planned. So I put together a short jaunt to Milwaukee with some (planned and unplanned) stops along the way. S-L added the meal components. Here’s our report:

Racine: Trump Rally

We had to drop off Kitteh early on Saturday morning and then got donuts at Stan’s. This still left some goodly time to get to SC Johnson by 10AM, so we decided to detour to downtown Racine and take some pics at around 9AM. We saw a bunch of cops and people standing in line, then some Trump-oriented vehicles. We quickly realized we stumbled on a Trump rally. Fuck that guy. So we got out to take some pics.

Trump Rally Racine

Continue reading “Spring Break 2016: 36 Hours in Milwaukee”

One of a series of posts documenting the seasonal changes of a prairie marsh in 2016.

Notwithstanding a morning snow, the inevitable victory of blue and green is nigh.


The green is taking over the ashen ground of the prescribed burn.

Continue reading “Lincoln Marsh, 2016: April 9, Bright Blue and Green After Morning Snow Burned Off”

One of a series of posts documenting the seasonal changes of a prairie marsh in 2016.

Is is to be expected, given the temperature in the 40s, and the date post (post-equinox), Spring keeps right on going on, like Anne Sexton.


When I arrived I found that I had missed the first burn of the year. It makes me sad to have missed it— I want to be there one day, I want to see cleansing fire work.

Continue reading “Lincoln Marsh, 2016: March 25, Bright Day, Shoots of Green After the First Burn”