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Archive for the ‘Citizen Journalism’ Category

Most companies are legally required to be selfish. That is, to put shareholder value over all other considerations including worker health, dangers to consumers, damage to the environment, or anything else.

Enter the “B Corp” – a kind of company that can legally pay attention to what most of us call values. Arizona doesn’t yet recognize “B” Corps, but five states now do: Maryland, Vermont, Virginia, New Jersey and now New York.

Arizona? What does your legislator say?


New law fosters benefit corporations

Background reading: The Corporation by Joel Bakan, available at the library.

Originally published at

2011-06-20 The Huffington Post ran a hard-hitting article Jun 17:Did Arizona Education Chief Huppenthal Commit a Felony in Growing Ethnic Studies Scandal?

Read it for yourself – the Tucson Weekly has posted a full PDF of the ethnic studies audit online

The audit appears to be a thorough review including unannounced classroom observations, student interviews and curriculum analysis.  The audit firm, Cambium Learning, was chosen by Huppenthal’s department to conduct the audit.  

read more at under Schools

The cool thing about citizen journalism is you get to talk to really neat people.
I talked to Randy Parraz, who led the Pearce recall effort, back in June. His voice was a little raspy after talking to thousands of voters, and the day after turning in the petitions he sounded a little tired, but took time to talk to me bright and early and explain how this turnaround came about.

So this was a big day for Arizona?

read more at Tucson Politics and Government

I didn’t even know there is a strong effort out to recall Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senator who has perhaps done the most harm to Arizona and to Tucson.

** Update – There were actually TWO efforts to recall pearce, and the first one posted, Arizonans for Better Government, is now focused on finding a decent Mormon Republican to replace him.

The second effort, Citizens for a Better Arizona, is about to reach its signature quota, see – Arizonans for Better Govt is asking people to donate to the Citizens group since they need the money to complete their recall effort.

The deadline is May 31, help energize this campaign!

Citizens for a Better Government also has a facebook page

The Arizonans for Better Government took a smart tactic of having some Mormon leaders run fireside chats to educate Mormon voters about the position of the LDS church, which is actually pretty humane and not at all in line with Pearce’s brand of vitriol.

Some background info:

Quite a bit, according to Jonathan Rothschild, the Democratic candidate apparent. Rothschild, currently a $295/hr attorney, intends to drop out of his law practice and dedicate his 12-hour workdays to ‘doing whatever it takes’ to make Tucson thrive.

We (myself and two of my daughters) interviewed Rothschild from broad strokes to brass tacks. He’s articulate, well-researched, and can think on his feet. My kids also thought he was genuinely decent, and they are pretty tough on fakes.

read the full interview here: What can a Mayor do for Tucson?

Walking through Military Plaza park this afternoon, a small rally was in progress and I had a chance to talk to one of the volunteers for the campaign to Recall Jan Brewer. It seems the campaign was started by a Republican! And when the volunteer was making her calls asking for support, she mentioned this fact. The woman on the other end started laughing – “I’m a republican too, and I can’t stand that woman. I’m going to tell all my republican friends!”

Perhaps there is some hope for the Moderate Middle after all. Moderates of Arizona, unite!

Originally published at

TUSD board member Judy Burns came out strongly last night in opposition to closing any more schools for a year, and instead spending the time to redraw boundaries and work with parents and communities. Adelita Grijalva supported Burns and Hicks voted to at least vote on it; but Stegeman and Cuevas argued that if closure needs to be considered it should be done sooner rather than later. read more

“Citizenship isn’t just the possession of rights and responsibilities; it’s a state of mind.” –Jess Zimbabwe, speaking at the 2010 Open Cities conference.

It’s your city. Have at it.

The Open Cities movement wants citizens to be more engaged with their city government, planning and development. Open information and modern technology promises to make city services more efficient and responsive, while giving city dwellers new avenues to provide feedback and guidance to decision makers. As a grassroots movement no single organization is ‘in charge’, but Code for America has put together some bright folks to tackle urban issues. Andrew Greenhill, chief of staff for mayor Walkup, is on the board of Code for America and had been wanting to do some projects here in Tucson, to open up city data and make it more accessible.
read more…how to fix a pothole!

Aung San Suu Kyi was interviewed on a contraband camera

Partial transcript – read below to find what Aung San is asking us to do (transcribed from the video):

[Question about her willingness to talk to a brutal and oppressive regime]

“You have to talk to people if you want ..peaceful change”

“We want to review the position of sanctions, we want to see what the political ..effect is…”

Are you saying sanctions are on the table?

“It depends what the outcome of the dialog is”

“Freedom and democracy are goals which you never give up”

even when her husband was dying of cancer, and the regime refused her a visa
seeing her…she only saw her son now after ten years…

“Tt was lovely to see my son, and I was grateful to see that he was alive and well…many of my colleagues are no longer alive

[mentions Obama calling her his hero]

“I do appreciate his words, but I do have to say if I were the blushing kind I would blush at being called a hero”

What do you want from America?

“We want the people of america to be aware of what is going on in Burma now. Just writing to their members of congress, and they then they must call for an inclusive political process in Burma”

Have you any doubts about nonviolence?

“No not at all, because violent methods may bring about change quicker, but they leave such wounds…”

“I have seen great changes. The people are much more open, much braver shall we say. The number of cell phones…not because of any policies, but because of the IT revolution here and all over Europe”

“I guess there are worse names than a lady…I think I’d like them to see me as a worker”

How do you want to be remembered?

“I want them to remember me as someone who has performed what she should have performed, who has done her duty. And I think there is nothing more satisfactory than the knowledge that you have done your duty.”

Originally published at

Much has been written about the impending demise of journalism. No doubt, papers and magazines are in trouble, and with them the usual revenue stream of the professional journalist.

Ellen Goodman wrote a recent column in which she made a great call that crowdsourcing leads to the basing of facts on opinions, instead of opinions on facts. There is truth to this. The famed ‘many eyes’ approach of open source software works best when all the eyes are dispassionately looking for truth, and not spin.

I believe though that journalism has a fascinating future. The key is trust, and for readers to be able to make informed judgements. Goodman pointed out that there seems to be no consequence for bloggers who make things up. Some consequence exists, in that other bloggers may write about their lack of veracity, and individual readers reduce their trust level, but it doesn’t reduce the number of links to the lying blogger’s page and thus does not reduce their PageRank, which is essentially Google’s level of trust that they have something useful or interesting to say.

The web may need an explicit TrustWeb, where users and webmasters/bloggers can state their level of trust in a website or even a website author (the latter requiring some of the semantic web technology that allows more explicit markup of relationships between things). Initial work has been done on Trustwebs (search on Guha + trust web) in a controlled setting. To have a distributed trustweb may come out of semantic technology, or it may get done as some kind of a hack: <a href=”somesite” trustlevel=-8 rel=nofollow &rt;this guy is ridiculous </a&rt;

If TrustRanks become public (and perhaps disjoint – there may be different named trustwebs that propagate separately) you can bet having a high trust level will get a dollar value attached – either from associated advertising or from micropayments from readers. Then abusing the reader’s trust will once again have an immediate consequence to the writer – maybe even more so than an irate boss.