Anyone able to pick up some computers, monitors, keyboards, mice, and
headsets this Thursday or Friday?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rachael Evarts <REvarts(a)foe.org>
Date: Tue, May 27, 2014 at 1:02 PM
Subject: RE: FW: Extra servers
To: Matthew Senate <mattsenate(a)gmail.com>
We finally got our new computers in and we have 6 desktops to donate.
Would you also want any extra monitors, keyboards, mice, and headsets? Are
you available sometime on Thursday or Friday to pick up from the office?
Friends of the Earth
1100 15th St NW, 11th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
I have been afraid. I don't often feel fear, or let myself get carried by
that fear, but in this circumstance it has taken over me periodically for
I was afraid of Timon. I was afraid of his physical and psychological
intimidation. I have been targeted, among others, by him, and this has made
sudo room an unsafe space whenever he is present.
But I'm no longer afraid. I no longer will allow this abuse to continue.
Timon *asked *that I send a written message, so I sent an email to him and
our landlords that indeed, Timon has no right (legal or otherwise) to sudo
room, the public school, or the common space of 2141 Broadway. This is
However, the more important matter is that I sent this message because I,
among others, have been habitually harassed and targeted by Timon.
This harassment ends now. We provide a space that is safe for everyone to
be fully expressed, where safe space and mutual respect is prioritized far
over ideology. There is no argument to be had; your fellow members are
begging for help, to hold fast and expect the most minimal of standards for
behavior for anyone who enters our space.
Please help end this abuser's targeting of myself and other sudoers.
I know I will be present on Wednesday in full confidence and unencumbered
by my previous fear. I have overcome this fear through support of the
friends and community that truly makes sudo room an amazing place. Please
join me if you have shed this fear too.
Together we will resist this and future patterns of abuse.
A sudoers car was broken into tonight right in front of the sudo room
entrance. It was unlocked and was empty so nothing was stolen or broken.
The car owner caught them in the act and they fled.
Later, another sudoer saw one guy breaking into another car on the street
and then attempting to break into the same car from earlier (which was
apparently now locked). The sudoer ran toward the culprit and the culprit
fled on his bike.
The people breaking in seemed two be two teenagers. Those who saw them
estimate that they were about 17.
Looks like we've finished up migrating the calendar events from our old
calendar to the new one. Please take a look at the calender here and let us
know if you spot any inconsistencies!
Many thanks to Ashley Graham and Judi Clark for moving these over!
People should be making more blog posts.
When you have an event, make a blog post!
When you do a cool thing at sudoroom, make a blog post!
Pictures are even better.
If you don't have an editor account yet, the best way to reach people
with admin access is info(a)sudoroom.org or the sudo-sys list.
This is interesting, and it made me a little less depressed. I'm pro
development, building up, but the speed at which things are taking place in
Oakland has me taken aback. here is an interesting article someone passed
along to me...
Proposals to protect Oakland's historic residents from displacement. Photo
by Laura McCamy ♦
Last week Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC <http://www.cjjc.org/>) released a
report titled Development Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in
the Bay Area. The 112-page document, prepared in collaboration with the Alameda
County Public Health Department <http://www.acphd.org/>, goes beyond
describing the public health
gentrification to proposing steps that cities like Oakland can take to stop
displacement of historic residents.
Six key principles create a framework for the report’s policy
1. Baseline protections for vulnerable residents
2. Production and preservation of affordable housing
3. Stabilization of existing communities
4. Non-market based approaches to housing and community development
5. Displacement prevention as a regional priority
6. Planning as a participatory process
“Because gentrification is an issue that crosses various different kinds of
aspects, you actually do need a variety of policy strategies,” said Maria
Zamudio, San Francisco Housing Rights Organizer with CJJC. “There is no
silver bullet to take on the housing crisis.”
[image: Gentrification Map created by Alameda County Public Health
The report classifies neighborhoods by their place on a spectrum of
gentrification. “Gentrification in different neighborhoods is in different
stages, so the need for policy interventions is different,” she said.
The report lays out proposed policies, including just cause
proactive code enforcement to make sure current affordable housing stock is
maintained, inclusive zoning that mandates affordable housing be part of
development projects, and community trainings to encourage resident
participation in planning processes. A proposed community health impact
analysis of new projects would be designed to help cities like Oakland
welcome much-needed development while mitigating displacement.
[image: Protesting urban renewal in San Francisco's Fillmore District.
Photo courtesy of Causa
Protesting urban renewal in San Francisco’s Fillmore District. Photo
courtesy of Causa Justa
“Right of first refusal” and “reparation and return” policies would allow
residents displaced by habitability issues or urban renewal the opportunity
to return to their former homes. A “No Net
policy would “require all affordable units lost through renovation,
conversion, or demolition be replaced within the same neighborhood if
possible and within the same city at a minimum.” Public data on civic
investment and demographic changes by neighborhood would highlight areas
of neglect and displacement where resources are most needed.
The report advocates against the market-driven planning process that is the
norm in cities throughout the Bay Area. Instead, it suggests, cities should
invest in affordable housing through Community Land
and Limited Equity Housing
levy taxes aimed at making real estate speculation less attractive to
fights need to be organizing opportunities,” said Zamudio, highlighting
another recommendation: to bring affected communities into the process of
preventing their own displacement. “Our policies are never going to be
visionary enough to take on the problem,” she said, without input from “the
most impacted residents of neighborhoods” experiencing gentrification.
Some of the proposals in the report are already being implemented in other
cities. San Francisco is listed as a model for a number of the proposals.
Yet displacement is, if anything, a bigger problem in that city than in
Oakland. “We’re seeing a compounding of impacts,” said Zamudio. “Planning
by the city has been in line with changes that the speculative market
wants.” She noted that demographic shifts, as working class residents are
pushed out, compound the problem by raising the median income and, with it,
the threshold for affordable housing. “The income of the city is
unbalanced,” she said, which leads to increasing challenges in finding
housing affordable to working class residents.
[image: Public development expenditures in Oakland. Chart by Causa
Public development expenditures in Oakland. Chart by Causa Justa
Robbie Clark, Regional Housing Rights Campaign Lead Organizer with CJJC,
sums up the recommendations as “Community health upheld over profit.”
“Money shouldn’t dictate how much power people have in land use
developments,” Zamudio said, adding that community investment should also
Clark sees several opportunities to put these policy recommendations into
practice in Oakland, starting with keeping the pressure on the city council
to make sure the proposed rent control changes which strengthen tenant
protections, is approved when it comes before the council on April 22 and
In May, CJJC will begin a campaign to put an ordinance on the November
ballot that will go after some of the strategies landlords use to get
around just cause eviction laws: allowing units to become uninhabitable and
harassing tenants. “This is a problem that the city knows about,” Clark
said, noting that landlords may threaten to call the police or
tenants complain about unhealthy living conditions. “We believe some
protections need to be put in place to punish landlords that do this.”
The ballot measure would institute fines for failure to maintain habitable
rental units and for threatening or harassing tenants. Pointing out that 90
percent of Oakland’s housing stock was built prior to 1978, Clark said the
aim of the proposed law is “making sure that people can stay in the places
where they live now.”
[image: Art by Design Action
Art by Design Action Collective
“There has been a significant shift in who owns properties, especially in
heavily gentrified areas,” Clark noted. The rise in investor ownership of
previously owner-occupied properties has lead to more rentals in Oakland
that aren’t covered by the tenant protection laws. “This would be a
significant piece of legislation to protect all tenants and not just
tenants covered under the rent stabilization law,” he said.
“As we legislate against a problem, we’re never going to legislate a
complete solution,” Zamudio said. “Policy interventions will always have
loopholes and the market with continue to shift to find ways to make a
profit.” This is why, she added, organizing and strong community
involvement are crucial.
Get a copy of the full report
On Sat, May 17, 2014 at 11:23 AM, Yar <yardenack(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> Come for an evening celebrating healers building projects to reclaim
> medicine in different communities and hear their stories!
Just a reminder, this event is tonight at Sudo, 7pm! I'll be there
early to help clean and set up, would appreciate company. :)
GENTRIFICATION AND THE URBAN GARDEN
In 2012, Linnette Edwards, a Bay Area real-estate agent, produced a video promoting NOBE, a name conjured up by developers for an area covering parts of Oakland, Berkeley, and the town of Emeryville. She posted it on NOBE Neighborhood, a Web site she created to drum up buzz among potential home buyers. The video includes interviews with enthusiastic young residents, a local cupcake maker, a bartender at a new watering hole, and with Edwards herself. It also features a local, volunteer-run enterprise called the Golden Gate Community Garden. “We’re super psyched that there’s a community garden across the street—it’s definitely a bonus to this block,” a new homeowner says, over footage of greenery. “The fabulous edible garden movement is in full swing,” the NOBE Web site notes. “It’s not uncommon to find neighbors crop swapping their homegrown edibles and frequenting the local Farmer’s Markets.” The site listed several neighborhood community-gardening programs, including one run by a nonprofit called Phat Beets Produce.
NOBE is a fiction. It lumps together several longstanding neighborhoods that, since the fifties, have been largely inhabited by low- and middle-income African-Americans. The rebrand was designed to attract mostly young, upper-middle-class transplants who were fleeing high prices in neighboring San Francisco. When volunteers at Phat Beets saw Edwards’s video, and her Web site listing their programs, they were livid. The Golden Gate Community Garden is run by the city of Oakland, but many people involved in Phat Beets also used the space. “Our work wasn’t the cause of gentrification, but our programs and our aesthetics were being used to sell land and help displace people,” Max Cadji, a Phat Beets volunteer, told me. In December, 2012, Phat Beets created a caustic parody video on its own Web site, repurposing the term “NOBE” to stand for Neighbors Outing Blatant Exploitation. Phat Beets launched a campaign against the video, demanding that Edwards remove Phat Beets’s market from the NOBE Web site.
Edwards understands the criticism, and is sympathetic to those forced out of their communities, but she believes that promoting local gardens and markets benefits longtime residents as well as newcomers. “The energy of community gardens helps curb crime,” she said. “Having a new park in the area creates a hub of community and conversation.” She went on, “First, there’s a community garden. Then what we hope will follow is a café, and a little market that might pop up, providing organic food. These all draw people to an area.” As an agent, Edwards represents both buyers and sellers. “The way that these community gardens translate into home prices is self-evident,” she said. “It impacts resale value.” She told me that she didn’t know of any real-estate agents actually funding community gardens, “but maybe they should.”
Before the NOBE rebrand, it was hard to find grocery stores in the area; for years, there was an abundance of liquor stores and bodegas but a scarcity of healthy, affordable food. Such neighborhoods have been the focus of community organizations like Phat Beets, which strive to provide access to low-cost, high-nutrition food in low-income communities. Initiatives like theirs typically have an anti-commercial ethos: we don’t need to buy our food from big chain stores at a high markup, or rely on government handouts, because we can grow our own.
But for house buyers, these community gardens simply have aesthetic appeal, contributing to a kind of rustic, down-home vibe that makes nearby real estate more attractive. And it hasn’t taken long for real-estate agents and developers to take advantage of that commercial potential. “It’s not uncommon for real-estate agents to stage veggie beds in the back yard,” Edwards told me. She often uses this strategy herself. (When my boyfriend and I attended an open house in West Berkeley, I noticed a small bed of vegetable sprouts in the backyard. It was obviously a gimmick, but—kale!—I was sold.) “It’s a life style that buyers buy into,” Edwards said. “The life style of growing food. Which they may or may not do, but they’re buying into that food culture.”
The “blighted” lots suitable for urban agriculture are often found in lower-income neighborhoods like NOBE, as well as in post-industrial neighborhoods like West Oakland and West Berkeley. These also happen to be neighborhoods that developers see as ripe for construction. For decades, the overgrown grass across the street from Jeff DeMartini’s commercial property in West Berkeley (formerly his grandfather’s cabinet factory) had been giving him trouble: weeds encroaching on the sidewalk, phallic graffiti, dead trees that occasionally came crashing down. Last year, a community-agriculture organization called Urban Adamah acquired the space, and announced plans to install a small farm—chickens, goats, and all. At first, DeMartini worried that the animals might degrade the site even further. “I thought, Will it smell?” But, within a matter of weeks, interest in his property spiked, and prospective renters came calling.
“One of the signs of a so-called ‘quality’ neighborhood is open space and green space,” Gopal Dayaneni, a member of Movement Generation, an advocacy organization, said. But quality, in real-estate terms, means higher prices. Many community gardens are started with the intention of supporting lower-income communities, Tiny Gray Garcia, an activist and journalist, said. But once they are built, she added, “the real-estate companies come in and start to reassess the land and use the property value to displace poor people of color. The community-gardening people may be well meaning, but they don’t always understand that they’re pawns in the game.”
Ideological tensions can emerge even when relationships between developers and farming nonprofits are strong. Before the recession, the Emerald Fund, a San Francisco development company, invested in an undeveloped, two-acre lot in West Oakland, hoping to build housing. The lot abutted a gentrifying area, but it was also rimmed by run-down Victorians, abandoned industrial buildings, and tarp-covered vans and buses that were being used, presumably, as homes. When the recession hit, the Emerald Fund had to give up its housing plan, Marc Babsin, a principal at the Emerald Fund, said. To try to recuperate some of its lost costs, the company got in touch with City Slicker Farms, a community-agriculture organization, which sought and won a state grant to increase urban green space. The grant funds allowed City Slicker Farms to purchase much of the land. “We had to spend a lot of time and resources, when we owned it, keeping the homeless out. People would set up encampments, people would dump things there. Instead of that, having this very activated space where people are coming and going and growing vegetables—it’s got to be better for the neighborhood and property values,” Babsin said.
Still hoping to build homes on its remaining swath of land, the Emerald Fund wanted to make sure that the farm was ultimately a draw to future condo residents, and not another form of blight. The developer suggested several minor changes. “We said, ‘The farm is for the whole community—not just for your condos,’ ” City Slicker Farm’s executive director, Barbara Finnin, said.
Finnin pointed out that poor people have been gardening and raising chickens in low-income urban neighborhoods across America for years. “That it is now fashionable is more a function of whose stories get heard and whose don’t,” she told me. And those stories contribute to a broader association with gentrification—a transformation that is as painful for some as it is profitable for others. If young home buyers like chickens and goats and kale, real-estate agents like them even more.
Lauren Markham writes about youth, migration, and the environment. Her work has been featured in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, Orion, Vice, and on “This American Life.”
Above: A rendering of City Slicker Farms’ plans for a farm and park in West Oakland. Image courtesy City Slicker Farms.
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Oakland: Brooklyn by the Bay
OAKLAND, Calif. — On a recent Tuesday afternoon, a group of well-dressed and soon-to-be well-groomed men sat patiently in the sun outside Temescal Alley Barbershop waiting for $25 haircuts and $30 straight-razor shaves. Some idly pecked at their phones, while others wandered into Standard & Strange, a men’s clothing store that stocks rugged-looking American-made apparel and accessories as well as some carefully selected items from overseas like Tender jeans, which are handmade and dyed by one guy in Britain and sell for $350. (A leather belt thick enough to harness a thoroughbred, also from Tender, will set you back $240.)
Walking around this outpost of cool off Telegraph Avenue, you may forget that you’re just across the bay from San Francisco and not in, say, an oft-cited borough of New York City where style, shopping and food have become major draws.
If so, you wouldn’t be the only one. Style.com recently published an article on Temescal Alley and pronounced it “Williamsburg-esque.” Last year, VegNews, a vegan-oriented website, ran a travel article titled “11 Reasons Why Oakland Is the New Brooklyn,” calling it “the new vegan mecca.” And in an interview with National Journal, the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, citing the city’s thriving arts and food scenes, proclaimed, “We’re a little bit like Brooklyn.” (Even HBO has jumped on the bandwagon, setting “Looking” — the gay man’s answer to “Girls” — partly in Oakland.)
Jonathan Hewitt, a 35-year-old London transplant who works as Standard & Strange’s operations manager, and who was describing that same “Manhattan is to San Francisco as Brooklyn is to Oakland” parallel for a recent visitor, was asked if anyone really believed that Oakland was like Brooklyn.
Video | Intersection: Oakland’s Style “People are antinormal,” Sarah Barnekow said of the style in Oakland, Calif.
“Abso-bloody-lutely!” he said. “I hate reverting to a cliché like that, but it’s just so true.”
Many people seem to be hoping that the Oakland-as-Brooklyn narrative — or at the very least, the idea that Oakland is a top-flight creative capital — takes off. In April, Visit Oakland, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing tourism in the city, kicked off an ad campaign, logo and hashtag (#oaklandloveit) in an effort to lure visitors.
For many residents priced out of San Francisco, Oakland has come to be seen as a welcoming oasis, crime and civic challenges notwithstanding. “The starving artist will literally starve in San Francisco,” Mr. Hewitt said. “Whereas they can come to Oakland and they might not live in the nicest part of town necessarily, but you can afford to live here.”
What keeps Oakland from being merely a cheaper option than San Francisco, however, is the way the city’s deep cultural roots entwine working-class African-American and ethnic communities, progressive politics, arts, food and more recently technology entrepreneurship.
One of the biggest draws at First Fridays, a once-a-month block party in Oakland, is the Telegraph Beer Garden.
Thor Swift for The New York Times
“The low burn has gotten hotter in the last year.” said René de Guzman, 50, the Oakland-raised senior curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California. “Oakland is becoming the creative engine of the Bay Area.”
Walking around Oakland, it’s easy to spot unironic displays of civic pride that have nothing to do with defining Oakland in opposition to San Francisco. Many of those signs are found on witty T-shirts and hats from Oaklandish, a local apparel company.
Screen-printed by hand, Oaklandish’s shirts incorporate local iconography like the waterfront cranes and the view from the Bay Bridge, precisely the sort of unpretty nuts-and-bolts infrastructural details some cities may choose not to aestheticize.
The company’s main store, located on Broadway in the heart of downtown, is a celebration of the city, a kind of unofficial gift shop, with a signed poster for the Oakland-set indie film “Fruitvale Station” and double doors leading to its printing facility adorned with a mural that proclaims, “Pride & Roots”; “Local Love.”
Exploring Oakland and some of its many art galleries at a First Fridays festival.
Thor Swift for The New York Times
Started as a public art project in 2000, Oaklandish now employs 30 people (nearly half again as many during the holiday season) and has added a second line, There There, focused on other cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia. (Manhattan and Brooklyn are conspicuously absent.) It takes its name from Oakland’s own Gertrude Stein, who famously put down her hometown by declaring, “There’s no there there.”
“People have pulled over U-Hauls to get shirts,” said Angela Tsay, 41, Oaklandish’s chief executive and creative director. “They want to be wearing an Oaklandish T-shirt the first time they walk into their new house.”
Outfitted correctly or not, it’s those new homeowners whom some longtime residents are eyeing warily. Gentrification is as ubiquitous a topic in the cafes and bars of Oakland as pour-over coffee and Google buses are in San Francisco. The fear that rising housing costs will push out working-class families and truly turn Oakland into the next Brooklyn — a shabby-chic bedroom community that feeds white-collar workers into the bustling metropolis next door but doesn’t see much of them or their money — is an ever-present one, especially when reporters from the national news media come calling.
“We’re glad to welcome folks who add value to the city,” said Chinaka Hodge, a 29-year-old poet and screenwriter who grew up in several neighborhoods in Oakland and now splits her time between the city and Los Angeles.
Ribs from B-Side BBQ.
Thor Swift for The New York Times
Ms. Hodge and other longtime locals want new residents to understand that while Oakland may be new to them, it’s not new. “We were here,” she said. “We’ve been here. We’ve struggled to survive here, and the moment that it’s cool, not only can we not afford to live here, but our entire history is whitewashed, for lack of a better term.
“I feel in many ways that it’s violent,” continued Ms. Hodge, who is African-American. “We’re being erased from history.”
Ms. Hodge addressed this violence in a tongue-in-cheek music video she made in collaboration with the Bay Area rapper and poet Watsky called “Kill a Hipster.” Set in Oakland (but shot in Los Angeles), it depicts tattooed, badminton-playing newbies as “Walking Dead”-style zombie invaders, their hunger for authentic ethnic foods turning into a grisly feast on authentic ethnic people. Its refrain (taken from the slogan of a T-shirt) says it all: “Kill a hipster; save your hood.”
“I think there are two narratives about Oakland that have existed for my entire life,” Ms. Hodge said.
Mateo Challed, 3, with the band Dum Spiro Spero.
Thor Swift for The New York Times
The first narrative, she’s quick to note, is safety. Driving a reporter by her family’s home, Ms. Hodge was frank as she noted the circumstances of her childhood. “We were easily the richest family in the poor neighborhood,” she said. “When we moved in, this was a crack house, this was a crack house,” she said, pointing across the street from her father’s beautifully restored yellow Victorian with stained-glass windows. “There was police tape across the front of our house. We came home one day, chalk outlines on the front.”
“Now, all white folks live there,” she said.
“The second narrative has been gaining attention over the last few years,” she continued. “It’s the Michelin stars, the cool pop-ups, the Eat Real festival, the uptown story.
“Any exposure can be great, but I want to be able to afford to live here in 20 years. I want to be able to raise my family in the neighborhood that everyone thought was ugly until Jerry Brown encourages 10,000 new people to show up and make Oakland theirs.”
A Cypress Sling, a signature drink at B-Side BBQ.
Thor Swift for The New York Times
Those 10,000 new residents were lured to Oakland as part of the 10K Project, a program of urban renewal and revitalization undertaken by Gov. Jerry Brown when he was mayor of the city from 1999 to 2007. The governor has lived in Oakland since 1994 and remains one of the city’s biggest cheerleaders, favorably citing its “edgy quality.”
“I’ve seen the downtown utterly changed,” Governor Brown said in a phone interview. “You have a very lively scene. It’s restored vitality to downtown that hasn’t seen excitement in 60 years.”
That excitement is on full display at First Fridays, a once-a-month block party that grew out of Art Murmur, an open galleries event. During a recent evening, crowds filled a five-block stretch of Telegraph Avenue checking out the galleries, vendors and food trucks. Drum circles, rappers and brass bands vied for attention amid lowrider cars, comedians and models strutting down a makeshift runway to James Brown’s “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud.” The scene collapsed boundaries among subcultures: hip-hop, Burning Man and foodie posses mingled promiscuously. At times, the scene seemed to break the constraints of time itself with vendors selling “Free Angela” and “Free Huey” buttons as if the heyday of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense were still in effect.
The same mixing of crowds can be found at Brown Sugar Kitchen, a soul-food-inflected breakfast spot in West Oakland that opened on Martin Luther King’s Birthday in 2008 and now features long lines around the block most weekends. “It’s like the New York City subway here,” said Tanya Holland, the restaurant’s 48-year-old chef-owner. “You can have the steampunk sitting next to the cop sitting next to the millionaire real estate developer. You see every kind of person here.”
Brown Sugar kitchen, along with B-Side BBQ (also owned by Ms. Holland and her husband, Phil Surkis) and Fauna, an Art Deco bar on Telegraph that adjoins Flora, are just a few of the restaurants that lure San Francisco diners to Oakland. Owned by Dona Savitsky, 43, and Thomas Schnetz, 47, Flora has all the details of a major metropolitan restaurant with none of the airs.
“Being over here is great,” Ms. Savitsky said. “I don’t think we’re trying to be San Francisco. Nor will we ever be.”
One area in which many are hoping Oakland can be both cutting edge and truly supportive of the community is technology. Mitchell Kapor, the software mogul behind Lotus 1-2-3, moved to Oakland’s Jack London Square from San Francisco’s upscale Pacific Heights less than two years ago with his wife, Freada Kapor Klein.
“Career-wise, my talent has been seeing around corners,” Mr. Kapor, 63, said. “We had the feeling we were at the beginning of a big moment in Oakland.
“There’s a sense that everything is possible,” continued Mr. Kapor, whose Kapor Center for Social Impact funds various groups in the Bay Area committed to diversifying the face of technology, like Black Girls Code and Hidden Genius Project. “We’re going to see an explosion of tech in Oakland. It’s the next big area.” Pandora, the music streaming service, has its headquarters here, and there are rumors that Google has considered opening an office in the city.
Mr. Kapor’s enthusiasm is echoed by some of the young tech founders who share a work space in Jack London Square called the Port. Among the developing companies found there is deliberateLIFE, an app-based lifestyle publication that showcases socially responsible products and travel; Shop Pad, a mobile e-commerce platform; and Clef, an identity verification tool that seeks to replace passwords with users’ phones.
The office buzzes with collaborative energy as they work on different projects. Once a week, the team from Clef makes dinner for everyone. They’ve served falafel, ramen, and chicken potpie along with beer and sympathy to end rough days of fund-raising or to fuel late nights of coding.
“Having creative people around has really made a difference as we’ve grown,” said Fay M. Johnson, 31, chief executive and founder of deliberateLIFE. Ms. Johnson was sitting in a conference room with Clef’s Brennen Byrne, 23, and Shop Pad’s Aaron Wadler, 30, near the terminus for a slide that was being installed between floors. “This is a much more collaborative version of what I’d get at an incubator in the city.”
Across the hall is Ms. Johnson’s office, where there’s a blackboard with the outline of the state of California. Written across it in a confident hand is the phrase, “Where Awesome Lives.” An arrow points directly at Oakland.
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