Tag Archives: news

Civic Diary 7/2/2016

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)



Still watching the fallout from the Brexit.  It seems to have been a sadly obvious con, and one where opportunistic a-holes manipulated and scared people.  It’s a hideous synergy of crap news and awful people who got people to vote for destroying their economy and their country’s reputation.  Honestly, even if the UK doesn’t leave the EU (and I’m leaning to it won’t now) this makes people trust the country less.

It’s also a reminder that something may be imperfect, but may be a hell of a lot better than the alternative.  Which, politically, is what we should consider “good” to “excellent.”

So my big civic lesson from the Brexit is to keep up more on news.  I did anyway, but I sort of went back to my “news rituals” in force as I’d slipped on them.  That involves:

  • Checking my newsfeeds at least once a day in an app.
  • Reading long-form articles from reliable sources (I use the AP and Quartz) from said feeds.
  • I added Politifact to my news scan since it’s useful.
  • Doing my usual Twitter news scan.  Remember I have one list just for government, politics, and activism that helps me stay up to date.

You can’t know everything; you can work to stay informed.

Political Engagement:

Now that I’ve got some leads on political orgs fitting my interests, I’m slowly gearing up.  That takes time as people are busy, but I’ve got an actual (almost sure not to be cancelled) political meeting coming up and am in contact with other volunteering options.

As noted my interest is voter registration right now, but as also noted I’m asking what my long-term interests are in political engagement.  I’m thinking beyond that education and communication.  It’s sort of exciting to think I can apply my hobbies and my career experiences to something.

Political engagement doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be boring.  Look for what fits you.


– Steve

Civic Diary 4/7/2016

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

So remember my post on Citizenship? Where I’d post monthly or so on my experiments in being more civicly engaged? Taking it in a slightly different direction.

Welcome to the Civic Diary.

I figure as opposed to a monthly roundup, I’d share my experiments sort of whenever. That way I can get feedback and ideas and it may inspire others to do likewise on their attempts to be more engaged citizens.

(I also figure it adds structure to the whole endeavor).

I should note this is not an attempt to show off – nor should it be for anyone. This is more chronicling a journey to see if it helps anyone – but it is a journey, since I’m not there yet.

So what did I learn since last time:

  • If your town/city or whatever has a Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, or RSS feed get it. A lot happens locally that can affect our life and the lives of others, and there’s often many chances to get involved. It also keeps you aware of issues from the bottom-up. Here in Silicon Valley just one week into following my town I already feel more educated.
  • A lot of citizenship seems to be about the power of weak links (just like networking) – many small, not really strong connections that you leverage when needed or that add up. In the case of citizenship that combination of friends, RSS feeds, retweets adds up. No one little bit of citizenship-connection is going to be The One that makes you some epic civic wonder – its having many options and inputs.
  • Libraries – if there’s a local library get their newsletter, check their page, etc. Libraries provide a lot of social services – you can find a class, keep up on community news, or even do presentations or each.
  • Keeping up on news is invaluable to citizenship – on all levels. That seems obvious, but when you’re thinking “how do I be a better citizen” regularly (say, in making an effort like this) you see how valuable the news is.
  • Everyone has their own “news rhythm” that keeps them informed. Maybe you check once a day, maybe regularly, whatever. Just develop one.

Finally, I also find keeping a civic diary like this helps me think about how to be a better citizen. So hey, why not try your own.

– Steve

Urban Sprawl Is Bad For . . . Income Mobility?

So short form is a University of Utah study found Urban sprawl is bad for income mobility.  There’s one I didn’t see coming.

Basically, it seems sprawl reduces access to jobs and plays some role in segregation by various factors  None of this is actually shocking (especially when you consider lousy transport in some sprawl), but is a really interesting reminder of how location seriously affects life and job prospects.

I can definitely say in Silicon Valley I see the advantage of density – more job prospects for people, better contacts, more chances to learn, etc.  It’s paid off for a lot of people I know.

It’s also a great reminder to take a look at where you live, work, and may want to move to.  Sprawl was always a warning to me – I was worried about commuting and about an overheated home economy in the past.  Now it looks like there’s much more to be concerned about.

  • Steve