The beginning of the Wayne County Time Bank

Last fall while I was at a conference on our planet's energy crisis and how local communities can be more self-sustaining, I had a conversation with a gentleman from the TimeBanks USA organization. Time Banking is a revolutionary (I think) concept in community building that helps us value the unique skills and experiences that each person has to bring, and helps bridge the gaps in our society created by economic and social disparity. Put simply, it's a system of "give support, get support" that doesn't depend on conventional notions of wealth. I made a note at the end of that conversation that some day I would help bring a Time Bank to Richmond.

As a part of my participation in this year's Institute for Creative Leadership workshop, a group of Wayne County citizens are now creating the Wayne County Time Bank, and I'm so excited about it. If you're interested in learning more about this new tool for social change, I hope you'll come to our next information session on May 16th at 5:30 PM, at the Uptown Innovation Center. And whether or not you can attend, check out WayneCountyTimeBank.org to sign up for our mailing list; we'll let you know when the project is ready for public participation!

Unchecked population growth costs $8 in NYC

Population MapI saw an article today about New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to introduce an $8 congestion fee for drivers who enter Manhattan below 86th Street. As someone who lives in a town where they'll just about pay you $8 to enter the downtown area, I'm not too worried about this trend reaching me anytime soon. But the plan itself is in reaction to a premise that drives so much of our economic development conversations these days:

"Advocates [of the fee] say it's crucial for a city that's expected to add another million people in the next 20 years."

The reactions include frustration at the economic implications, outrage at the imposition on personal liberties, concerns about the logistical implementation details, and an overall sense of "well, somebody better do something or we're going to grind to a halt."

But no one seems to question the idea that adding a million people to the city is what must and will happen, and everything else must work to accommodate that.
Continue reading Unchecked population growth costs $8 in NYC

I'm Funding Indiana "In God We Trust" License Plates

I remember going to renew my car registration at the Indiana BMV several years ago, and in a moment of vanity, asking about getting one of those personalized license plates. I was thinking maybe "SUMSALT" or "WEBPRO" or "TALLGY" or the like. But when they said it would be at least an extra $40 because of the costs of producing the special plates, I decided this was an area of my life where I was perfectly fine being just another number in the system. I guess I understood that it cost the state extra dollars to produce those plates, I just didn't want to pay for it.

I was surprised and disturbed today to learn that there's one kind of custom/special license plate you can get in Indiana at no extra charge.

Continue reading I'm Funding Indiana "In God We Trust" License Plates

Bits and pieces from a busy few days

Some bits and pieces from life right now: I'm really proud of the RNR podcast episode from last night, even though I was tired enough that my production quality wasn't what it usually is and I mispronounced some names. But it's been an emotionally charged week and it was an emotionally charged evening, so I think the episode reflects that.

Thanks to the folks at PhilQuinnForCouncil.com for linking here so prominently on the site. Of course, as much as I like and admire Phil, please know that I have not (nor do I plan to) endorsed any local political candidates here. I do wish them all the best in fulfilling the promise of the democratic process.

If you haven't already, you can head on over to GetWellJoe.com, a site I set up for Joe Augustin after he was assaulted earlier this week. The technical details are mundane compared to what Joe is going through, but it was a strange experience going from scratch to a full-blown weblog with hundreds of visitors and comments pouring in in a matter of an hour or two. Thanks to all the people who are holding Joe up now and keeping each other posted on his progress.

In a little bit, I'm heading out to IU East to help unveil the preview and website for the new documentary being produced here, 1:47. I'm at Summersault right now working with my team on the final prep for actually making the new site live, so you can check that out shortly. I haven't gotten to do as much lately with video production as I would like, so it's at least rewarding to be peripherally involved in a project where some really great production work is being done.

Have a good weekend.