Monday, October 29, 2007

Before the Metro Council

I had 5 minutes to make my remarks before the Metro Council. They interviewed 8 people on October 25th. These were my prepared remarks which I delivered pretty much as written. UPPER case denotes verbal emphasis.

Good Evening... I'm John Miller.

I would like to commend you on the OPEN NATURE of this process! Thank You.

I live at the Northern end of Boones Ferry Road in Southwest Portland.

My day job is System Architect in Information Technology at Metro. I love my Job, but, I would GIVE IT UP if appointed. The Metro attorney here can address this if needed.

When I came to Portland in 1972, I got interested in the Neighborhood Associations (..CPO's), and a Colorful Map of the DOWNTOWN Comprehensive Plan. My eventual involvement in The Collins View Association (next to Lewis & Clark College) LED TO Southwest coalition board which led to chairing the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee which led to serving on the Metro RUGGoS committee (Held up the Metro certificate).

In 1990 I started a family, and stole time only to make or write public comments.

[The Metro Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) draft was on the meeting agenda earlier, so I used it here as a springboard.]

I would like to use the transit component of the RTP as the basis of my remarks today...

[HELD UP] Here are my written comments about the RTP in 1999. In 1992 (fifteen years ago) I also commented on Region 2040. [Held up GRAPH OF NODES] There are circles and arrows on that one. In 2007, I will submit similar comments on the draft RTP Transit plan, introducing a PATTERN LANGUAGE that matches the patterns in 2040 plan.

For example, this RTP has "Radial Community Bus Service". That's Good! But I really think we need to implement these new concepts, indeed even the TOTAL SYSTEM, from the ground UP. TRIMET says that building the TOTAL SYSTEM means providing shelters and information like the TRACKER -- and the PLANNER, and providing adequate SERVICE. But our transit system of the FUTURE should be INTUITIVE to use, connecting adjacent towns and communities so that a person can GET AROUND without having to consult a Trip Planner all the time.

We've got a long way to go... (Held up #39 poster) Here is a project that I recently co-ordinated to connect Lewis & Clark College with Hillsdale, previously STRONGLY DISCONNECTED communities. The new route works well, but this needs to be done all over the region.

I recently heard a rumor -- There's a BLUE SKY project at TRIMET... a total redesign of the system map. What does the public know of that? When I came to Oregon.. the OPEN meetings law had just passed, which was a radical departure from back room deals and such. [Hold up WIRED magazine] This guy, Linus Torvalds, (who lives in District #2, by the way) is on a lot of magazine covers. Here they characterize him as LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. (The world of Open Source Software Development).

This new form of COLLABORATION is being applied in MANY areas. Metro's MetroScope model should be OPENED. The R.E.I.N. website is a kind of OPEN DATA project. We have Open SPACES... even Open FOOD. How about if we APPLY some sort of Open METHOD to the design of a TOTAL TRANSIT SYSTEM, on the assumption that the people in their own communities know how best to serve and connect their own places?

[Timer runs out] In closing,

Why do I want to be a Councilor? I would have more of an opportunity to be involved in all kinds of Metro projects, and that would be a step UP for me. We are facing some hard problems.

Thank You.

That Long Break

I admit that I was chagrined by the treatment that World-Remixed got in the Oregonian compared to the other blogs that got more prominent mention. One of the blogs ran out of things to say after two days. In another guy's blog, all the postings were dated March 10th. It was basically a promo for his consulting business.

I pointed these things out to Steve Woodward, and he wrote back:

On the other hand, that's pretty much a reflection of the real blogging world. Many, if not most, blogs ARE abandoned in real life. And a very high percentage of blogs are commercial enterprises. So I think the readers got to see a representative slice of what's out there. I wish I'd been clear, though, about the nature of those blogs.

Having said that, I would do it differently if I had it to do over again. So please accept my apologies for not featuring your blog more prominently. It really did deserve better.

When lots of family and personal business ensued, I dropped the blog for the summer.

I will get back to my theme after documenting one of the reasons that I continued to take the long break... I applied to fill the vacant seat on the Metro Council created when the incumbent resigned!

The Ghosts of Celilo

On October 5th, we went to see The Ghosts of Celilo, which takes place in the time just before the falls are inundated.

The play was visual and musical. The story was as much about the children placed in boarding school, having their cultural heritage suppressed, as it was about the river being harnessed for "progress".

The play was well-written, fairly representing the mindsets of the time. It had a mythical feeling to it. The staging, lighting, acting, and singing was all very good. It has all the qualities a good play needs, well-crafted throughout.

A group of high schoolers attended from Chemeketa High School in Salem. They particularly enjoyed the well-delivered inside jokes, such as the use of "inn-it", slang for "isn't it?".

There were several dramatic lines and scenes that drew their responses, such as a racist remark from the school headmistress. But there were plenty of cheers as well. Overall, the effect for them must have been tremendous. I was happy that this story was being told to sold-out crowds.

I mention this here to re-start World-Remixed where I left off.

The Ghosts of Celilo website.