Celebrate A Better Oakland’s Two Year Anniversary by Donating

12 May

Nearly two years ago, I started this blog. At the time, I didn’t know there were other Oakland blogs, but I soon stumbled onto Great Expectations (now known as A Better Oakland) and Future Oakland, and began reading them regularly. I basically knew nothing about Oakland government at the time and was consistently amazed by how much V Smoothe and dto510 knew, and even more so, by how much research and analysis they put into their blogs.

So I read, and I read, and I started to become more interested and invested. I had initially promised myself that my blog would never be political because just about everything else in my life revolves around politics, and I wanted to have a different outlet. So I wrote about arts, and produce at the farmers market, and I told stories about riding the bus.

But a few months later, I found myself writing about zoning and transit planning, and then I was hooked. I blame most of this on V Smoothe and dto510 because if it wasn’t for them, I never would have had access to the ins and outs of Oakland government. I wouldn’t have realized that I could contribute something as well.

Since then, not only has my blog changed, but my life has changed as well. I’ve been an activist for all of my adult life (I volunteered for my first campaign when I was 18), but I had done little in the way of local government activism. Regular readers know that things are pretty different for me now.  I poured tons of time and energy into Rebecca Kaplan’s successful City Council campaign, I was on the campaign committee in Berkeley that defeated Measure KK (which would have endangered bus rapid transit), I helped stop a surface parking lot in Uptown, and now I am part of the efforts to turn the Oakland Airport Connector into a BRT project.

But I swear, this isn’t my fault. It never would have happened without influences from the blogoaksphere, especially V Smoothe’s writing at A Better Oakland.

Today is A Better Oakland’s two year anniversary, and in honor of it, Sean Sullivan wrote a really sweet post asking ABO readers to donate to V Smoothe. I’d like to echo his ask. I’ve been harassing V Smoothe for months, initially just to get her to put up a donate button, and later to get her to place it somewhere that’s visible. Now it’s up and we no longer have any excuses – it’s time to give, and to give generously.

Because ABO is so much more valuable than a newspaper or even a well researched magazine. V Smoothe gives us more than news. I know I’m not the only one who’s been inspired by her writing to get involved in local politics, and that inspiration is worth infinitely more than a subscription to the Chronicle.

Now, I know how these things work. You’re going to read this post and mentally note to donate someday to ABO, but then you’re going to keep forgetting and it’s not going to happen for a very long time. Well, I’m going to try to prevent that by offering  a limited time matching donation. For the next 48 hours (from 9am on Tuesday until 9am on Thursday), I’m offering $1 for every $10 donated, and I’ll donate up to $250. I’m challenging the blogoaksphere to give $2500 to V Smoothe in the next 48 hours. Whether you can give $10 or $100, it will make a huge difference. So please give today at www.abetteroakland.com/donate.

3 Responses to “Celebrate A Better Oakland’s Two Year Anniversary by Donating”

  1. Christopher May 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    hi Becks, I just donated to ABO. How can I arrange your generous matching donation?🙂

  2. V Smoothe May 12, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    Okay, Becks. Now you’re the one making me cry. Really, this is so unbelievably sweet, and you cannot imagine how happy it makes me. The entire reason I spend so much time writing the blog and give up so much to do it is because I want people to become more engaged in local politics. To have played any part in inspiring such a kick-ass activist as yourself…well, I’ll just say that Oakland is very lucky to have you.

    As for your extremely generous donation match challenge – I don’t even know what to say. Thank you so much.

  3. dto510 May 12, 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    I am happy to accept blame for helping you learn about and get involved in local government! Now you are an inspiration to me, to make the phone calls and send the emails and meet the people and go to the meetings to make change happen. Working with you on the No on Measure KK Committee (on which you served as chair and co-treasurer) and getting public art instead of public parking in Uptown have been very rewarding, not least because we won. Your donation challenge is incredibly generous, but so are your contributions to the community.

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