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Santa Cruz County is a tough place to buy a home or rent a place to live. Due to a variety of factors such as very high land prices, slow growth policies, density restrictions, an ever growing UCSC and the proximity to Silicon Valley, “housing stock” has not kept up with demand. For people of […]

robin-williams

On August 11th the news of Robin Williams’s apparent suicide stunned the world. Here was a man who possessed boundless energy, who could transform before your very eyes into a prim nanny, an irate scotsman, a lovable genie. He dazzled audiences across the world, never missed a single beat, and seemed to embody laughter itself. Since […]

The John Lennon Wall

Our family is enjoying an extended visit to Europe. Our first stop was Berlin, a city with a complicated history under the Nazis and then, for half the city, under the communists. My initial impression was also complicated, as we careened in a taxi from the airport through town to our hotel. I saw a […]

Tim Wu

Upon entering what felt like a club I had no invitation to, I opened an iced glass door stylishly marked 548 off 4th st. into Brigade’s San Francisco office. The immediate narrow stairwell lead me into their ultra hip work space, epitomizing the stereotypical San Francisco startup: euro-sleek desks scattered according to proper feng shui, […]

President Obama & Governor Jerry Brown speak with farmers about California drought.

Three years now into the worst drought California has experienced in decades and it seems as though we are still stuck in a waiting game. Scan any local or state news report on the current water crisis and you will find that there really is no quick fix solution here. Without a long term commitment […]

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Over the last couple months Civinomics has been conducting an outreach campaign in San Francisco, taking our trusty iPads and walking around neighborhoods to get input about what new green infrastructure residents would like to see in their communities. It’s a fairly non-controversial topic, people are generally  pro more green stuff in the city (“I […]

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San Francisco may not have an app that can solve its astronomical housing prices, or console the 3,374 families who have lost their homes as a result of the Ellis Act, but Silicon Valley has produced a guide book for solving complex problems just like this – it’s called The Lean Startup. In it, author Eric […]

steyerHero

Having invested heavily in traditional disaster-based climate rhetoric, Steyer could benefit from diversifying his portfolio with a positive vision of a climate-safe future. You may have heard of Tom Steyer, he’s the billionaire founder of Farrallon Capital, a San Francisco based hedge-fund, that has pledged his private fortune to mitigating climate change. He’s basically playing […]

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The City of Santa Cruz’s Economic Development Manager J Guevara works closely with Santa Cruz businesses in regards to economic development and redevelopment. He has been apart of a variety of economic development projects including the Motel Improvement Program, Facade Improvement Program, and the Santa Cruz Trolley. This week I sat down with Mr. Guevara to talk […]

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Residents cross the Rail Trail trestle in Capitola. If train service were offered, secondary trestles would need to be constructed along the route for bikes and pedestrians. These secondary trestles are one of the largest contributors to the $130M price tag for a full Rail Trail build out. (photo courtesy of santacruzlive.com) Today the Santa […]

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The County is taking public comment on the final draft of its landmark Economic Vitality Strategy (EVS). Like most government documents, it is deep on study, thick with recommendations, and light on clear next steps. There are 131 strategic recommendations in the EVS – demonstrating that the County’s Economic Coordinator, Barbara Mason, did a great job […]

Water

Here in Santa Cruz County, a recent civilian grand jury concluded their examination of the local water situation with a warning that “an environmental disaster is looming if major county water suppliers don’t identify new sources“.  Several years into a severe drought, and with the defeat of plans to build a desalination plant, the issue […]

Kabloowee!

  One of the servers employed by Civinomics crashed hard and was restored from backups by the good folks at Cruzio onto a new machine. Total downtime was about 3 hours. We’re doing a forensics scan to determine the cause, and will be working to minimize the downtime the next time. Oh, there will be […]

MayDay logo

    A common rationale for steadily declining voter turnout is that people don’t feel their votes count, that democracy is bought and sold by a small group of powerful, monied interests. This is especially true following the recent Citizen’s United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling by the US Supreme Court. The MayDay PAC was […]

Be the press

As the newspaper industry has struggled to adapt to the impact of the Internet on their business model, budgets have been slashed and newsrooms have been decimated by repeated layoffs. This is felt in local communities everywhere, as journalist coverage of government and governance has been cut back. It’s important to know who the elected […]

Santa Cruz Bikes represents a unique "lifestyle" industry sector, and key to our region's future growth.

  The County of Santa Cruz has released its draft Economic Vitality Strategy (EVS) for public comment. The due date for comments is July 7th. Here’s why you should care: – This plan will affect your business and your job. Whether you work for a large company or a small company, in health, agriculture, education […]

Chock full of democracy.

Stated simply, the goal of the Civinomics site is to provide members with an online “civic tool box”, a selection of web-based tools to facilitate participation in the civic process. Current features include online workshops and initiatives and the just released new public meetings and agendas listings. There are several other features in the works, […]

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Over the past several months there has been a lot written about how net neutrality, the idea that all Internet content should be treated equally and without preference to companies who can afford to pay for special “fast lanes,” is being threatened. In February a federal court struck down the FCC’s old rules protecting net neutrality, […]

Two businessmen having an argument

  Recently I posted an initiative regarding homeless camping in Santa Cruz on two very different local Facebook groups. The initiative, which wasn’t mine, garnered a substantial amount of feedback, but mainly of varying extreme positions, limiting the amount of real dialogue that could take place. In one group I was labelled a “fascist, conservative […]

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I’m hunched over a table, staring into my computer screen as the bags under my eyes sink in a bit further. It’s 11:30pm on a Saturday night, and I had just finished explaining my revenue model and market projections to friend of mine, for probably the third time that hour. In one hand I have […]

UAW Strike at UCSC on April 2nd-3rd

We can all recall what happened just a few weeks ago: Strike activity may be a little ho-hum in Santa Cruz, but the UC Union strike is nonetheless a reminder of the few instances of youth political uproar. But the event brings up the question of just how does our generation participate in government, at […]

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“The principle that all Internet content should be treated equally as it flows through cables and pipes to consumers looks all but dead,” wrote Edward Wyatt of the New York Times last week in response to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) new proposed Internet rules.  In a story originally broke by the Wall Street Journal, these new […]

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Last week at the Board of Supervisors meeting I was pleasantly surprised to see what has become a rather rare site in Santa Cruz politics – a sensible and constructive compromise. Even more astonishing considering the issue being addressed, the controversial (though some would disagree with this characterization) needle exchange program. For what has been […]

Scotts Valley City Council

What is public opinion worth? Civinomics conducts a public opinion poll of registered voters in Scotts Valley asking whether they would support a city-wide ban on plastic bags along with a fee on paper bags. Scotts Valley currently lags behind the rest of the county in passing a ban, so this seemed like an important local […]

The top 3 Finalists holding their winning checks, from left to right Bubblecoup, Top 5 and Project Slug

This past weekend was a turning point for local technology and the future of the Santa Cruz economy. In what can only be described as a wild success, UCSC students held their first ever hackathon and blew the socks right off their local mentors, teachers and community leaders. For those of you who don’t know, […]

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Earlier this week the Malaysian prime minister announced that Malaysia Flight 370 had been lost in the southern Indian Ocean.  Authorities from Australia, the U.S., China, and Malaysia are continuing to look for any clues that will lead them to the missing airliner, with efforts focusing on an area roughly the size of Alaska in the […]

President Obama's Between Two Ferns appearance was aired March 11th.

Whether or not you agree with The Affordable Care Act, you have to give President Obama credit for using some pretty smart marketing strategies to get the word out to young people.  Last week a web video was released with the President being interviewed by comedian Zach Galifianakis on the internet show, Between Two Ferns, […]

The 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, a great example of a successful pedestrian mall.

Last week I posted an initiative to implement a pilot project that would close off part of Pacific Avenue to cars, once a month, for 6 months. The idea would essentially turn part of downtown Santa Cruz into a temporary pedestrian mall to see whether or not such an idea could be feasible, if not beneficial to […]

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Last week I wrote about the January 14th ruling by the DC Circuit Appellate Court that struck down the existing net neutrality rules, arguing that such a move was a devastating blow to the free and open internet as we know it.  Without strong net neutrality rules, large telecommunications companies have the power, at will, to […]

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I remember growing up when my family got our first PC – just like when families bought their first television sets in the 1950s, there we were, huddled around this magical and mysterious piece of equipment that supposedly had the power to revolutionize our way of life. Our astonishment and wonder quickly morphed, however, into, […]

Brookings recently released an awesome article on the role of civic engagement in government innovation. 2013 was a big year in civic innovation and at this rate, it looks like 2014 is going to hold even bigger changes in civic tech and innovation. They used a report by IBM Center for The Business of Government  […]

Source: http://www.flytobarcelona.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/San-Francisco-Fly-to-Barcelona.jpg

I’m sitting in a Philz coffee in San Francisco on Folsom and 24th street, the heart of the Mission District.  A hodgepodge of tables, chairs, and sofas of different sizes, walls painted with pictures of trees, various portraits of the founder, Phil, baristas who are as hip as they come, the calming slogan of “one […]

UCSC Science Library. Source: UCSC

This blog post was written by Melanie Fornes, a current UCSC undergraduate student who is very involved in UCSC campus sustainbility. Melanie has a Civinomics workshop on UCSC campus sustainability projects which you can view here: https://civinomics.com/workshop/4R7q/ucsc-sustainability-measures Moving up to Santa Cruz, I’ve learned a couple things about this city’s culture. For starters, I came from […]

Source: Wikimedia 
President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, James Farmer.

Date: 18 January 1964
Source: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. 
Image Serial Number: W425-21. http://photolab.lbjlib.utexas.edu/detail.asp?id=9853
Author: Yoichi R. Okamoto

Monday is a federal holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. Now, what does someone have to do to earn a nationally recognized government holiday on our limited calendar of just 365 days? Martin Luther King is arguably the most important figure in American history with regards to ending segregation and championing civil rights. “Over an […]

You know how to whistle, right?

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our […]

trollsandhaters-01

Haters and trolls are disruptive and destructive personality types which manifest strongly on the Internet. For some reason, people behave differently in different degrees in different communications mediums. Face to face, we comport ourselves one way which engages maximum native sensory input of visual and auditory, and at a deeper level, smell (pheromones, BO, etc). Humans are generally more civil […]

Bike Prom

Intro by Esther Kim This guest post is co-authored by Melissa Ott and Alex Hoffman. As two UC Santa Cruz undergraduate students, they have taken on transportation projects to empower and educate people in the Santa Cruz community. Melissa Ott also presented an initiative at Civinomicon 2013 which you can view here. M –  I’m Melissa, […]

Anti-apartheid leader and member of the African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela salutes supporters while addressing on September 05, 1990 in Tokoza a crowd of residents from the Phola park squatter camp during his tour of townships. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner in South Africa before becoming the country's first black president IN 1994. Mandela was a leading member of the African National Congress (ANC), which opposed South Africa's white minority government and its policy of racial separation, known as apartheid. AFP PHOTO TREVOR SAMSON (Photo credit should read TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Sometimes I feel like we are wading into treacherous waters here at Civinomics. Our intent is to reduce the barriers to civic participation, and to galvanize people to take a more active role in their communities.  But there’s a reason why many of us avoid anything political: the civic process can oftentimes be downright unpleasant, […]

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