Hey again Montavilla Voters,
Candidate Submission | Jonathan Ogden
*Disclaimer* if you are worried about the “(not-so) Silent Takeover” document I had written in March in response to hearing about these gloating developers (link), please read this link. In light of some recent accusations from neighbors, and a request for an apology from other neighbors, I felt I should explain the “takeover” misconception to put folks at ease.
About me | A “Radical Conspirator”
As some may know I am currently the presiding chair for the Neighborhood Association and came into the position during a particularly tumultuous time (inheriting a lot of dysfunction). Despite this I want to continue to try to build an association that makes a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.
A lot of questions about political ideology and neighborhood politics have been discussed during my time at the NA, and it seems that I’ve been accused of having a “radical ideology”.
Perhaps that is true? It’s why the NAs exist, and why I wanted to join them, they are rooted in the Portland Neighborhood Revolution of the 60s-70s and should return to that purpose: popular input on development of the city at large.
Based off of my understanding of the ideas of the critics, I think I might be just what these neighbors think I am.
I am every bit as radical as Barcelona en Comú, and I want the kind of gains they’ve made in Spain for Montavilla too.
No more evictions without recourse, no men-in-suits telling working people what’s best for them in their neighborhood, no more infill displacement being blamed on individuals “not working hard enough”.
See the conference Chloe Eudaly spoke at last year and the below links for context.
My Platform | All Neighborhood Power to the People
I believe we can build a community-run self-managed nonprofit resource to meet our collective needs, and do so seeking processes with implicit fairness without the inherent administrative burdens of the current bureaucratic requirements.
Coming from a background in Engineering I tend to look at things from a broad, system-wide perspective, mostly drawing from the influences of Oliver Cromwell Cox, Jay Forrester, and Immanuel Wallerstein who all contributed to Systems Theory within their work related to different aspects of feedback network design and analysis. These feedback networks are made up of our collective decisions, we don’t really get to decide anything as individuals except how we decide together.
We all make decisions, it’s an everyday requirement, the issue is that some people make decisions that set a limit on the possible opportunities of other people but it is not treated in this way. There needs to be fairness and transparency with regard to government decisions, which means the processes must be participatory and decision-making horizontal, hierarchy means all of the information must be processed at the top, this is simply too slow for modern society and will break if there is no cooperation (see also: the Prisoner’s Dilemma).
As a current student of Electrical Engineering (Systems Minor) I believe these holistic perspectives can be directly applied to the daily needs of the neighborhood residents, and that identifying issues as well as their respective root causes can help build reliable processes we can all use to live better lives. Through my three years of engineering management experience accrued I feel capable of managing such projects.
Against Housing as a Commodity | Society functions as a system based on biological needs, not profits
The Growth Coalition is ultimately responsible for creating the economic opportunities within a given neighborhood, they are the ones who choose what businesses/housing projects open or not. They are the ones who need to be socially responsible.
The UN (with their “fancy degrees”) have done a lot of work to prove that housing being a for-profit commodity is impeding this social system, I agree with them wholeheartedly. I think that people have a right to decide the economic output of their neighborhood, especially since it’s what provides us all with a livelihood, which is essentially our ability to fulfill our desires in life.
I genuinely believe we need a Commons Transition to prevent the inevitable collapse of global Capitalism.
How do I know it is inevitable?
Well it’s an exponential growth problem: if you have a bacteria in a petri dish that will fill it in one hour by doubling every minute, at what minute is it half full?
Infinite growth on a finite planet is not just impossible, but gains happen impossibly fast.
Goals for the Neighborhood Association | Self-managing systems for self-managing change
Together we can define what change we would like to see in our cities, we simply need the infrastructure to be able to coordinate.
Through identifying our community issues and starting programs to help those in need we can enable all members of the neighborhood an opportunity for success in the social sphere, most crime is a result of material conditions and should be reduced by default, I look to candidates like Ingrid LaFleur for inspiration and propose the following:
- Transparency, Open-Accounting, and Participatory Politics
- Improving the >1:1000 representation of the neighborhood through delegated representatives from each area of the neighborhood that can be directly recalled. Currently we have a board of 11 for an area of 16k-17k people, those numbers don’t add up and we need to work on equity.
- All process flows used by the organization should be made available and apart of the Creative Commons License using the Peer-to-Peer Foundation model of cooperation.
- A sanctioned discussion forum using Loomio for the purpose of allowing the community to vote on the priorities of the organization without having to physically attend a meeting.
- Drawing from the Curto Café in Brazil there should be fully open, interactive, financial reporting accessible to the public at-will (as it should be already, but automating the process to improve accessibility).
- Invigorate the Local Economy
- Start a node for using FairCoin as a local currency, especially for programs designed to assist those unable to find traditional work. Local businesses would be able to opt-in to be able to claim charitable donations as a write off.
- Serve as a consultant service that pulls from different professional resources around the city to incubate new 501c3 organizations and worker-owned cooperatives. Products could focus on local needs, then expand outwards.
- Push for a development project around a local makerspace that provides technical training with a voucher program for low-income folks to gain much-needed skills.
- Housing Justice Programs
- Work on forming a local alliance around the development of Community Land Trusts for affordable housing solutions.
- Creating a local response network with existing organizations for the purpose of eviction assistance and protection.
- Provide referral to legal counsel for all matters related to housing through community partnerships with local firms.
- Public Safety Programs
- Use the existing MNA hotline to create a Community Resource line that would cover everything from a “safe walk home” to resources currently open based on call time, to mental health emergency or intervention services; these items would be community-defined.
- Anti-Racist Neighborhood Watch programs that would be run by the neighbors and publish their reports to a public forum to be used by the community. The function of these would be self-defined by the participants.
- Food Justice Programs
- A breakfast program for lower income children that uses locally produced food from producers like Montavilla Mini Farm and others.
- Lawn-sharing for community garden space like some friends did in Florida (IDEAS For Us) with Fleet Farming.
- Produce share locations for drop/off pickup for surplus or donated food.
- Brick-and-Mortar locations for CSA distribution and Montavilla Food Co-Op.
Sorry for the information overload, if there are any questions I’m happy to talk about it. I hope to see you election day (10/9 @ MUMC 6:30pm) and appreciate your consideration, happy voting!