Guest Opinion | James De Pietro: “We Should Expect More of our City Commissions”

first_imgOpinion & Columnists Guest Opinion | James De Pietro: “We Should Expect More of our City Commissions” By JAMES DE PIETRO Published on Thursday, July 30, 2020 | 2:18 pm 84 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena More Cool Stuff At the end of June, via Zoom, Pasadena’s Transportation Advisory Commission or “TAC” held its first meeting in five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected so many lives in our community. In addition to being TAC’s first virtually held meeting, it was also my last as a member, having served as the District 7 representative since 2013.While proud of my time on TAC, the past several months have provided some critical distance and strengthened my view that our city commissions are invaluable resources that are undervalued and underutilized. Furthermore, I believe that Pasadena and our City Council should use our commissions to further engage with the public and develop and vet policies that affect every corner of our city.Pasadena has more commissions, committees, and boards than its neighbors because they all serve a critical function – community participation with knowledgeable and informed members of the public. These commissions help advance diverse issues such as arts and culture, planning, accessibility and disability, the status of women, and now potentially police oversight.During my time on TAC, I had the privilege to serve alongside transportation engineers, affordable housing developers, community organizers, and a retired bus driver, to name just a few. Other than our dedicated city staff, few know these complicated issues better than these commissioners because they bring both their professional expertise and real-life experience. Because of their unique qualifications, we should expect more from our commissions because of the unique position they play in serving both the public and the City Council.One of the most controversial issues that arose during my time on TAC was the proposed construction of a road diet along Orange Grove Boulevard. This plan would have reduced the number of vehicle travel lanes as well as created a center-left turn lane with buffered bike lanes. Because departments did not develop an adequate public outreach strategy and leverage the knowledge of our commissions, the situation has become a case study in how well-intentioned government objectives and community group interests do not always align. The lasting effects have included the erosion of public trust and an increase in public division.In the case of Orange Grove Boulevard, TAC or other city commissions could have interfaced with the City Council and department staff earlier so that they could have played a more constructive role. Our commissions could have dedicated meetings to provide both City departments and the public the opportunity to evaluate plans and express their support or opposition. By doing so, commissioners could have helped ease tensions by listening and aiding in the development of a thoughtful community-based compromise that benefited most interests and assisted the work of the Departments of Public Works and Transportation and the City Council.As a city, we are facing significant health and economic challenges. When we ask so much of our elected officials and our tireless public servants, we need to acknowledge that they are sometimes under-resourced from both a personnel and informational standpoint. To expect our City Council and Pasadena employees to do everything is unrealistic and unfair. However, with some changes to how we utilize our Commissions, they can help alleviate this strain by bridging the gap between the government and the public.Like many other commissions, TAC operates as an advisory body to the City Council and its expressed purpose is to discuss, analyze, evaluate, and make policy recommendations. But far too often commissions are brought into discussions too late to make substantive impacts. The result is that they are relegated to a more reactive and isolated role than a proactive and visible one and thus operate more like islands than part of an integrated system.Therefore, a proposed solution is to empower commissions to develop regular and actionable policy recommendations to the City Council. The first step toward this objective is for our commissions to hold additional meetings and not just in one location, but across the city, so that they can hear the diverse opinions of our residents, businesses, and visitors.When I look back at my time on TAC, I am incredibly proud of its work, such as updating transportation metrics from level of service (LOS) to vehicle miles traveled (VTS) and advocating for more significant funding for alternative transportation infrastructure. However, TAC often worked without public input because our meetings were not easily accessible, and because we did not prioritize community outreach, and this should not be the case.Every person who has served on a commission knows that there are limits, rules of operating, and systems to protect the public, city departments, and the City Council. These are essential checks on balancing power, and non-elected commissions need to be careful and considerate not to overstep their authority or burden city staff. Keeping these considerations in mind, however, commissions can and should play a more significant part in shaping Pasadena into the place we want it to be.Going forward, I believe that there are two things that, as a city, we should consider. First, the City Council should fully take advantage of our commissions by assigning them more responsibility and providing them with additional autonomy to explore issues so that they can actively participate in policy recommendations.And second, commissioners should demonstrate greater leadership in the community. Aptly positioned, commissioners should use their time of service to promote issues, call for action, communicate and educate others, and bring additional voices and diverse viewpoints into the process.Pasadena has so many public commissions because it highly values community involvement and the free and respectful exchange of ideas. Accordingly, we need to update the role of our commissions now so that they can act in an effective, engaging and approachable way.James De Pietro represented District 7 as a member of the City of Pasadena’s Transportation Advisory Commission from 2013 to 2020 and served as its Vice Chair and Chair during his tenure. He lives and works in Pasadena. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Community News faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Top of the News center_img Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Community News Herbeauty15 Countries Where Men Have Difficulties Finding A WifeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWant To Seriously Cut On Sugar? 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Limerick students to represent Ireland in summit for change-makers

first_imgJames Lawlor, Narrative 4 | WeAreLimerick Episode 34 Previous articleLimerick Smarter Travel BeSPOKE festival rolls outNext articleLimerick Garda seeking public’s assistance in renewed appeal for missing Limerick man Cian Reinhardthttp://www.limerickpost.ieJournalist & Digital Media Coordinator. Covering human interest and social issues as well as creating digital content to accompany news stories. [email protected] Advertisement NewsCommunityLimerick students to represent Ireland in summit for change-makersBy Cian Reinhardt – June 8, 2018 1638 Kevin O Reilly (Vice Principal Gaelchol‡iste Luimnigh) Darragh de Klein Gaelchol‡iste Luimnigh, Amee O’Connor Berkery and James Lawlor Narrative 4 IrelandFOUR young people from Limerick have been chosen to travel to New Orleans to represent Ireland in an international summit for change-makers. The Narrative 4 Global Summit will bring together young people involved in the organisation from around the world, including South Africa, Palestine, Israel, Mexico and the United States over 5 days from June 20 to the 25.Amee O’Connor Berkery, Alex McCarthy, and Gustaw Marciszewski finished secondary school in SMI Newcastle West last year, where they took part in Narrative 4 programmes. Amee and Gustaw are currently students of the University of Limerick. The youngest, Darragh de Klein, is currently a student of Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh, and was instrumental in setting up a project that connects 1st year and 6th year in his school.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “Our staff and students have been involved in Narrative 4 for two years, allowing us to focus on the personal and social development of our young people at a critical time in their lives,”Donncha Ó Treasaigh, Principal, Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh said.“Darragh is representative of a  generation of young people who are taking initiative to make the change they want to see in society, and we are so proud of him,” he added.The four young people are Student Ambassadors for Narrative 4 Ireland, a Limerick-based organisation that was founded in New York by Irish author Colum McCann. Currently with a reach of 18 schools, and a busy programme of workshops and events in its city centre story-telling hub, Narrative 4 Ireland has seen a huge engagement with its programmes. Narrative 4 harnesses the power of story to build empathy in society, with the belief that the leaders of tomorrow will be created by instilling empathy and emotional resilience at a young age.Narrative 4 Regional Director, James Lawlor daid, “The four young people are exceptional representatives of Limerick and their communities. Each of them demonstrates leadership abilities beyond their years.“Our work at Narrative 4 is centred around nourishing their change-making skills and this summit will offer them an opportunity to meet like-minded young people from around the world.”Narrative 4 Ireland is supported by J.P McManus Benevolent Fund, Limerick City and County Council, Regeneron and other supporters. The Global Organisation, based in New York City runs programmes with schools and organisations across the United States and in other countries. The organisation has recently worked with there Obama Foundation teaching empathy to youth across the US.   To find out more about Narrative 4, check out www.narrative4.com, and to connect with the Narrative 4 Ireland projects check out the Narrative 4 Ireland page on Facebook or call into their offices at 58 O’Connell Street.Read more community news stories here. Facebook Twitter TAGSglobalInternationalNarrative 4Narrative 4 LimerickstudentsSummit Print Emailcenter_img Linkedin Narrative 4 to celebrate the power of community with special livestream event Limerick-based charity Narrative 4 has announced an all-star line-up for its annual Christmas party fundraiser RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Limerick Post Show, August 2, 2019 WhatsApp Online registration for Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades opens Limerick Post Show | Ruairí McKiernan of Narrative 4 last_img read more

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Numbers on the Live Register in Donegal fall in January

first_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Numbers on the Live Register in Donegal fall in January 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry Twitter WhatsApp Previous articleEPA report says Letterkenny had significant air pollution before smoky coal ban kicked inNext articleCalls for better safety protocols outside Donegal schools admin Pinterest WhatsApp Homepage BannerNews The numbers signing on the Live Register in Donegal at the end of January were almost down 11% on the same period last year.Latest CSO figures show there were 16,224 people on the register in the county at the end of January, down 1,970 from the same time last year.There were falls in all of the local offices.Percentage wise, the biggest fall was in Donegal Town, with 992 people signing, down 17.5%.There were 2,955 people signing on in Buncranna, a decrease of 16% while in Killybegs 941 signed on – down 11.3%. Dunfanaghy also saw a similar decrease with 1,171 people signing on, a fall of 11.4%.In Letterkenny, 4,899 were people on the register – a fall of 9% compared with this time last year, Ballybofey and Ballshannon both saw a decrease of almost 7%.The smallest decrease was recorded in Dungloe, with 1,823 signing on, a fall of just 5.5%.center_img By admin – February 8, 2016 Pinterest 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Google+ Facebook Google+ Twitter Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

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Led Zeppelin Announce 50th Anniversary Illustrated Book

first_img2018 marks a special monument for Led Zeppelin, as the band celebrates their 50th anniversary this year. Despite no rumors or announcement of reunion shows, the rockstars are celebrating this momentous milestone with the release of an illustrated book entitled Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin.The group’s official social media accounts announced the new project, with surviving members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones providing input for the 400-page collection. The self-titled book is set to be released in October via Reel Art Press, with a pre-order currently underway. The career-spanning project is set to include “previously unpublished photos, artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives and contributions from photographers around the world.”A detailed description of what to expect explains:Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin is the first and only official illustrated book to be produced in collaboration with the members of the band. Celebrating 50 years since their formation, it covers the group’s unparalleled musical career and features photographs of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham on and offstage, in candid moments and in the recording studio. This definitive 400-page volume includes previously unpublished photos, artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives and contributions from photographers around the world.last_img read more

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Craig R. McCoy wins 2010 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence

first_imgThe Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard will present the 2010 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence to Craig R. McCoy, an investigative reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer.For almost three decades, McCoy has exposed injustice and corruption in Philadelphia through his probing and meticulous investigative work. McCoy most recently headed a team that uncovered entrenched problems in Philadelphia’s criminal justice system, including abysmal conviction rates, rampant witness fear, and a massive number of fugitives.Using statistical analysis, the paper’s investigation and resulting series, “Justice: Delayed, Dismissed, Denied,” showed that defendants charged with violent crimes were escaping conviction in nearly two-thirds of cases. The reporting has triggered major reforms, including new state Supreme Court judicial rules, two investigations, federal and state hearings, and new legislation. McCoy joined staff writers Nancy Phillips, Dylan Purcell, John Sullivan, and Emilie Lounsberry in this project. In previous years, McCoy was part of larger teams that twice were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.Established in 2008, the Stone Medal rewards journalistic independence and honors the life of investigative journalist I.F. Stone. The award is administered by the Nieman Foundation and its Nieman Watchdog Project and is presented annually to a journalist whose work captures the spirit of independence, integrity, and courage that characterized I.F. Stone’s Weekly, published 1953-1971.McCoy will receive the award during a ceremony at Boston University’s College of Communication on Oct. 5. To read the full announcement.last_img read more

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Gunners look to close gap on Chelsea

first_imgMeanwhile, the Scottish League Cup Final takes place this afternoon.Aberdeen lock horns with Celtic at Hampden Park at 3pm.Celtic and Aberdeen last met in a League Cup final in 2000, with the Glasgow side winning 2-0. Elsewhere sixth placed Manchester United host struggling West Ham at 4.30pm.At the same time, Everton boss Ronald Koeman returns to his former club Southampton for the first time when they meet at St Mary’s.Watford and Stoke meet at Vicarage Road at noon.last_img

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Audio: Second edition of Joy Sports Locker Room

first_imgIf you missed the second edition of Joy Sports Locker Room, click to listen. You will not be left out of this innovation from Joy Sportshttps://soundcloud.com/addojnr/lockerroom-11th-march-2016–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img

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