• Alison Lawyer at alison[at]


Follow the money: Updated website makes Oakland election data accessible
October 10, 2018 - Oakland North, Maria Sestito


Oakland’s new technology chief: responsive digital government, high-speed internet access for all
March 22, 2017 - East Bay Times, Howard Dyckoff

Oakland CIO to Tackle Agile, Take Advantage of Civic Tech Opportunities
March 16, 2017 - Gov Tech, Ryan McCauley

From citizen to CIO: Oakland’s newest tech chief prepares to make a difference
March 15, 2017 - State Scoop, Jason Shueh


Oakland’s Code for America summit emphasizes diversity and inclusiveness
November 16, 2016 -East Bay Times, Howard Dyckoff

OpenOakland and the Search for Sustainable Civic Technology
MAY 9, 2016 -Civicist/Civic Hall, Jessica McKenzie


Three Data Access Trends Shaping the Future of Community Development: Open Data, My Data, and Smart Disclosure
What Counts book (2015), Published by the Urban Institute, Amias Gerety & Sophie Raseman.

Speak Up Oakland Encourages Civic Involvement
June 15, 2015 - Oakland Local, A. Scot Bolsinger

Q&A: ‘Civic hacker’ Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America
April 3, 2015 - Mercury News, Matt O’Brian


Great Ideas
December 20, 2014 - GovTech Today newsletter, Government Technology Magazine
‘Welcome to a special “Great Ideas” edition of our Saturday newsletter. Over the course of 2014, Govtech Today covered hundreds great deployments and cool new ideas. Here are some of our favorites.’

Oakland App Sheds Light on Campaign Finance
August 28, 2014 - Gov Tech, Jason Shueh
‘…residents got a clearer picture of mayoral candidates’ finances in the November election with an open data-powered transparency tool. The Open Disclosure platform pulled public data from a number of sources to provide a simple and timely analysis of candidates’ financial filings and major donors.’

Volunteers hack technology to improve Oakland city government
March 18, 2014 - KALW Radio, Laura Flynn (mp3, 5:39)
‘Though a lot of jargon is thrown around, some of the people here have no tech backgrounds at all, including Anna Mathai. “I just wanted to know more about Oakland politics and budget,” she says. “Just about government. And I just find this to be a good forum to, I think, help foster transparency and open government. But also get plugged into what’s happening where, and what’s going to happen with the next election, and other initiatives.’

Oakland Data Day Jumpstarts Multiple Civic Projects (Community Voices)
February 27, 2014 - Oakland Local, Howard Dyckoff

2013 - OpenOakland Expands

Oakland’s Public Participation Route to Open Data Legislation
October 29, 2013 - The Sunlight Foundation, Rebecca Williams
‘The Oakland public input process serves as an excellent example of the community’s role in generating open data policy, and an exemplar route to incorporating public perspectives into policy.’

Civic hacking our way to a stronger democracy
August 4, 2013 - The White House
‘This is the heart of civic hacking for me: building new solutions and processes to replace broken ones, sharing our lessons and our successes and allowing others to benefit from our knowledge, failures, and shared technology.’

There’s an app for that
August 16, 2013 - San Francisco Business Times
‘OpenOakland.. brings together coders, designers, city staff and others to improve how Oakland’s government serves its citizens.’

Profiles in OakTech: Steve Spiker, Open Data Advocate
August 12, 2013 -Oakland Local, Howard Dyckoff

Most Innovative Activist Group
July 16, 2013 -East Bay Express
‘Oaklanders have always had a fierce penchant for community organizing. But until very recently, ‘grassroots activism’ didn’t exactly conjure up the image of a bunch of self-described data nerds with their laptops in tow talking about code. But venture out to Oakland City Hall on most Tuesdays nights and you’ll find Open Oakland, a group of self-described ‘civic hackers’ intent on using government data and technology to create better ways of engaging citizens. …’

Civic Minded Hacking
June 11, 2013 - IEEE Spectrum, Travis Korte
‘Oakland, Calif., ever the outlier, hosted the massively collaborative ReWrite Oakland event, in which more than 70 programmers, designers, city officials, writers and local residents came together to create a new community-oriented information website for the city…  ReWrite Oakland provided a great model for this kind of collaboration, and other cities would do well to take note…’

Re-Write Oakland Hackathon Answers Over 160 Civic Questions
June 6, 2013 - Oakland Local, Howard Dyckoff

Hacking Oakland’s Budget
April 30, 2013 - East Bay Express, Ellen Cushing
‘a new project that aims to use data visualization to give average people the tools they need to understand — and, in turn, get involved with — Oakland’s budgeting process, just went live a few days ago (in beta at least) and it’s pretty sweet.’

Oakland Gets a New Data Visualization Site for its Budget
April 30, 2013 - TechPresident, Sarah Stirland
‘The civic hacking group OpenOakland unveiled a new budget visualization Web site called Open Budget Oakland Wednesday. The site enables visitors to visualize total department expenditures, the details of spending within each department, and their sources of funding.’

Urban activists hack their way toward open government
March 30, 2013 - Ars Technica, Cyrus Farivar
‘City officials see CFA and other parallel hacktivist projects, like OpenOakland, as a welcome (and low-cost) effort to aid a city under strain. They don’t expect technology to solve all of the Oakland’s problems, but they believe it might alleviate a small portion of the city’s challenges.’

Early Fruits for International Open Data Day 2013
2/25/2013 - Atlantic Cities, Emily Badger
‘This past Saturday was International Open Data Day, and with it came hackathons hosted in dozens of cities on five continents all simultaneously tinkering with apps, visualizations, data catalogs and new standards built on the world’s growing trove of public data. Of course, put a bunch of mapping geeks and civic hackers in a room – many rooms, all over the world.’

OpenOakland to host community hackathon Feb. 23
2/19/2013 - Oakland Local, Samuel Felsing
‘In Oakland, community group OpenOakland, will host its own Open Data Day celebration. The event, dubbed a “hackathon,” will be held at the 81st Avenue Branch of the public library. All Oakland residents are encouraged to attend — with designers, coders, statisticians and city staff members being especially welcome.’

Weekly Oakland Wiki Edit-a-thons start at the History Room
1/18/2013 - OaklandNorth, Adam Grossberg
‘So far, Oakland Wiki’s only stated guidelines are that the wiki is free and anyone can edit it … OpenOakland has already hosted an “unconference” they dubbed CityCamp, which brought city officials and residents together to talk about local issues, and put together an Open Government Pledge that asked Oakland politicians to affirm their commitment to government transparency.’

Cracking Oakland’s Code - Can a group of hackers figure out new answers to the city’s old problems?
1/2/2013 - East Bay Express, Azeen Ghorayshi
‘I think one of the biggest problems we’ve faced is that whenever government operates in a closed fashion, it just asks for and results in distrust and concern that government isn’t doing what it’s meant to be doing and isn’t willing to be questioned,’ said OpenOakland’s Steve Spiker. ‘But there is a love for this city that’s very strong and very rich, and it’s got a history of social activism that’s carried over in a lot of ways to the tech community.’

2012 - OpenOakland starts up

City Hall starts its Open Gov, Open Data journey with City Camp Oakland December 6, 2012 - Oakland Local, Howard Dyckoff
‘Steve Spiker: “CityCamp Oakland was about supporting open government and we all witnessed some genuine interest in seeing this happen from city staff with a real desire to partner with us and others to make this happen. Our team put a ton of effort into creating an event to show appreciation to our city staff and to create a safe, encouraging place for us all to have open, frank conversations about how we can all collaborate to make our city even greater, for all our residents, not just the tech community.”’

OpenOakland brigade encourages collaboration between government and community using technology
December 3, 2012 - / Oakland North, Nausheen Husain
Over 120 people, including programmers, city officials, bloggers and community members, attended Saturday’s CityCamp “unconference,” or interactive forum with topics of discussion that attendees themselves chose.

Data community asks Oakland Council candidates to sign ‘open government’ pledge
November 4, 2012 - Oakland Local, Barbara Grady
OpenOakland asked City Council and City Attorney candidates to sign a pledge of open government principles including transparency, participation and collaboration.

Oaklanders push City Council candidates for increased government transparency
11/2/12 - / Oakland North, Nausheen Husain
Born out of Code for America, a non-profit that serves as a kind of digital liaison between governments and residents, OpenOakland is a group of volunteers interested in using technology to make government more accessible.

A Crowdsourced Hyperlocal City Guide, Coming To You Soon
10/24/12 - Fast Company: Co.Exist, Emily Badger
Thanks to a grant from the Knight News Challenge, LocalWiki has been further developing the software so that communities anywhere can replicate the idea. The Raleigh-Durham Triangle area launched one earlier this year. Now Oakland and Ann Arbor have wikis, too. As a sign of true global dominance, a LocalWiki project is even coming to Antarctica.

Meet Our Vanguard: Stephen Spiker
10/8/12 - Next American City, Kate Holmquist
Stephen Spiker is brigade co-captain for the new start-up OpenOakland, a volunteer group of hackers, software engineers and civic advocates who build open source technology to tackle civic issues that government doesn’t have the resources to undertake. Spiker loves data, democracy and design. Oh, and he’s a new dad, too.

OpenOakland Brigade tries to unite techies, community advocates and city hall
9/4/12 - Oakland Tribune, Angela Woodall
The Brigade project started as a way to create a national network of cities whose residents were leveraging technology to improve their community. The Gov 2.0 civic tech movement is a growing one but tools developed in one city were being reinvented in others.