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Twitter's SF Expansion Plans - Rooftop Deck, Green Wall and More

Just caught a glance at the planning notice for Twitter's expansion plans at the old SF Mart building between 10th and Market streets in San Francisco. This notice, posted on front of the building where Shorenstein property management plans to spend tens of million in renovations getting ready for Twitter and other tech companies in a new hub near City Hall, is required because the SF Mart is a historical building.

The notice (large photo) states plans to demolish the 9th story on the west side of the building to make way for "a roof deck with amenities including benches, planter boxes, and a green wall." I suspect the green wall will be something like this.

Here's one of my photos of the building as it is now:

Talking Gov 2.0 with the Moscow Sister City Delegation

Today I was down in Santa Clara speaking with delegates from the Open World program on a Moscow sister city visit centered on government accountability. I shared about best practices and innovations in social media and open data in government. I love doing these talks, but I always have to remind international audiences that the cutting edge applications and ideas in my presentations are still very much in the experimentation phase in the U.S.

We discussed whether it is lack of education about emergening technologies, or civic apathy, that prohibits the spread of Gov 2.0 through communities. Very much both, I think. Here are the slides from my talk:Ā 

Why John Avalos Won't Be #SFmayor

John Avalos made a great showing for San Francisco's progressives last night in the SF Mayor's race. Sady, the early vote totals, history and our ranked-choice voting system show no chance for him to win the math-driven runoff process.

Had Dennis Herrera hit 20 percent or so, he'd have a strong chance of pulling into a lead over Mayor Lee, as other moderate-to-liberal candidates' were eliminated and their supporter's second and third-choice votes reallocated to Herrera, a more centrist candidate. With just 11 percent of early totals, it will be impossible for Herrera to pull ahead either, before Lee crosses 50 percent of qualified ballots. Many ballots will be elimated for not having any of the top two finishers on them.Ā 

Two past elections show how this goes. In 2003, Matt Gonzalez, a Green Party member at the time and a candidate very similar in ideological profile and voter support to Avalos, secured 19.57 percent of the vote in a traditional runoff scenariod, only to lose to Gavin Newsom in a runoff, garnering 47.19 percent of the vote. In a ranked-choice scenario, Newsom would have won outright.

In 2010, Malia Cohen in Supervisor District 10 showed how SF-style RCV really works in a highly contested, multi-candidate race. After a statistical tie with her more left-wing opponent, she won after 20 rounds of RCV with 4,321 votes. More than half of the ballots were not eligible for the final runoff.Ā 

Lee, Pak, Brown and Conway win this one.

Photo by Steve Rhodes

Occupy the phone lines

For a number of people, tents and permanent occupation is beyond our commitment level, myself included. I've got bills to pay and mouths to feed and there aint no rest for the wicked.

Normally phone campaign are designed to be talking point centered and non confrontational. I think this is a situation where are simple, yet MASSIVE SCALE, "I am _________, I vote, and I am the 99%" phone campaign.

It would be nice if we had a Bill to advance of course, but the "throw the bums out" message is credible.

NationBuilder and NGP VAN

If you're looking for the best political software technology platform Ā - integrated voter files, supporter and volunteer database, online donations, voter outreach tools, social media, online political action forms and political websites that build fast and work well -Ā skip over NGP VAN and check out NationBuilder.

Open Data: Saving Forests and City Governments

How important is open data to effective government and good public policy?Ā 

According to two guest speakers at our latestĀ Third Thursdays SF meetup, it could mean preserving California's forests and deciding whether millions a year in Ethics spending in San Francisco will go to reform or just bureaucracy.

I didn't know until recently that California's Sierras were being denuded in huge swaths of clear cutting. But check out this one-minute video from Forests Forever and you'll see it too:

I'm working with Paul Hughes, executive director of Forests Forever, and Larry Bush, founder ofĀ CitiReport, to put together an SF Bay Area hackathon this winter to help their causes. Both groups will sponsor modest prizes, and we welcome support and involvement from wherever you are. If you can help, please email "adriel at"

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Join Adriel Nation

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="180" caption="Adriel Hampton's Adriel Nation"] Adriel Hampton - Wired to Share - Join Adriel Nation[/caption]

The Great Threat of 'Free' to OpenGov

Nothing is free. We pay with our privacy, or with our taxes, or with foundation money, or investors' money, with our eyeballs and our influence, and sometimes we actually pay directly for goods, information and services.

The notion that somehow online and "open" government services are free is a great danger to the open government movement.Ā 

Do I think that online access and standardized formats for much governmental information are important? Yes. Do I believe that open government data access in many instances saves money and spurs innovation and economic growth? Often.Ā 

Does "public equal online"? OK.

But it sure as hell isn't free.

Every online service has to be paid for, and we're competing for tax resources against subsidized transit, the social safety net, public safety, teacher salaries and hundreds of other government services you and I probably value deeply.Ā 

What will sustain the open government movement? Innovative and realistic funding models, and, yes, fees for service. In the best world, governments use minimal funding to create standardized "open" access to information, and companies build services on top of that information. An no, those services won't be free, not if they're to be sustainable.

There is a reason that companies like Socrata and and NIC Inc. are doing significant and lasting work in the e-Gov and Gov 2.0 spaces: they are for-profit businesses with focus, endurance and realistic funding models.

I don't want an OpenGov world where a slavish devotion to "free" means we don't acknowledge competition for scarce resources, or where rich benefactors and their foundation funding decide which initiatives are worthwhile. And in fact, if "free" is the mantra, there won't be an OpenGov future.

8 Tips for Winning Twitter Petitions

From writing letters to newspapers to getting press coverage for a petition drive to creating buzz with new social media tools, media campaigns remain one of the most powerful tools in an activist's toolkit.

In case where you can identify a local congressperson, a key State Department official, an executive or other potential decision-maker who is active on Twitter and who could make a real difference in your cause, Twitter plus an activist tool called could make a real difference (I now work for's parent company, 3dna, but wrote the first version of this post before joining the company). is a simple Twitter petition tool built by Jim Gilliam. You can read a summary ofĀ how worksĀ and highlights of its recent successes here.

So, here's my advice for running a successful campaign:

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