Tips on Zooming, Hats and the Abuse of the Sunshine Laws

Jeff Danziger Cartoons, 3/31/2020

If you haven’t spent time in a zoom meeting, then what the ish have you been doing? Oh, gardening, walking, baking, cleaning? Well, la dee da.

Anyway back to zooming and how much you’ve learned about your coworker’s or distant relative’s {or even best friend’s} room where they google, email, facetime, etc, all those not-so-private yearnings, grousing, and youtubing go on.

After you figure how to turn the damn app on, find the current password and then get both the audio and video on at the same time, no wonder you look frazzled by the time everyone else notices you. Inevitably someone asks you how you feel…

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So, I’m busy preparing for a more public zoom than my last gathering was. So that means, either redecorating my space which doubles as a guest room, baby changing room and yeah my office with all its papers and files. So do I clean it up and file everything away-filing for me is like the refirgerator for teenagers-if I can’t see it at first glance, it no longer exists? Or do I scour the house for some pretty coverings to hang over the offending items? (Make a guess, ha!)

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Which are you doing? Here’s another measure of your zooming prowess-do you dress the top half of your body as you usually appear, including earrings and possibly make-up? We recently had a zoom in which the host asked us to wear a hat. I have so many I changed them five times-after all where else will I wear them? It was fun, try it. I’ll loan you a hat or two or four….or six…

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So now I have to venture into the territories we all knew was gonna cause us problems and here’s just a short list.

  • (If possible) please don’t use your phone to zoom it gives the rest of us nausea akin to sea sickness. That bouncing visual does nothing to enhance your point! (Remember hand held film making, yeah, this is worse!)
  • For women, getting up and moving around often results in upshots of your breasts and you might not want that.
  • Don’t forget to turn off the visual if you don’t have pants on and decide to retrieve that 2nd cup of coffee.
  • By the way, eating while zooming is acceptable but cooking a whole meal might not be. One of our first zoom meetings gave us a birds-eye- view including all the sounds of blending and scraping something fairly elaborate, and, of course, the cook could not hear us yelling, “use the mute!”
  • Please, please don’t feel you have to put your face two inches from the screen so we can see up your nose. Social distancing still applies!
  • When you move your phone (yep phone miszooming again) remember, most of us are not palm readers!
  • Here’s my other pet peeve-even though you may still be in your pjs and just moved off the couch, try using your outside voice or something like your public voice.
  • The quickest way to put us to sleep is to use your gravely I-just-woke-up voice. The only thing really keeping us awake anyway is trying to read the book titles in your bookcase (real or fake), waiting for your kids to yell Mom or Dad and listening for your dog to bark or watching your cat jump on the keyboard. Those are all more fun than sleepy voice!

Bring Back the Brown Act

Crises need leaders who can make decisions that promote our well-being. For instance the Department of Transportation in Oakland, formulated a modest little program, Slow Streets, as a way to offer neighborhoods some options to get out of their apartments or houses and walk safely in neighborhood streets. I know, maybe it’s not the right street and inconvenienced you for 20 seconds, (hu)man up cause some folks are taking advantage of quiet streets by speeding around.

If you don’t like it or have a street you’d like to see slowed down, just email OAK311@oaklandca.gov, instead of your usual whining…I mean…commenting to your buddies on facebook.

But,

Some things do not come under the heading of emergency measures and so the city attorney, of all people, should not be taking advantage of this relaxing of the the state Brown Act https://firstamendmentcoalition.org/facs-brown-act-primer/ and our stricter Sunshine Laws https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/oakland-sunshine-ordinance-pec to play fast and loose with a measure that was originally designed to strengthen our police accountability agencies.

Measure LL-Police Commission

Everytime the clean-up to Measure LL–which required some tweaking but also needed real strengthening to close loopholes that the city attorney and the city administrator have repeatedly themselves used-was sent back to the city attorney’s office in order to check that the authors’ [Kalb and Kaplan] language was correct, it was returned in a weakened and entirely different state.

These actions have prompted alarmed responses from as diverse groups as the Coalition for Police Accountability, the Oakland Chamber and the Police Commissioners themselves. At tonight’s emergency Police Commission meeting to review the most recent revisions before Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee discussion, Chair Regina Jackson noted that versions of the clean-up ordinance, “have been coming out left and right,” while they tried to reconcile which version they should even be discussing.

This is no good. This ordinance will either strengthen police accountability in a town with a 17 year record of racial profiling and court oversight or it will weaken it, just as it appears these unique agencies are making real headway towards reform. This is no time blur the lines and make a mockery of the process, leaving people even less trusting of their institutions just when they need them the most. Just stop it.

Meantime, wear your best hat, comb your hair, stop wiggling in front of the camera and for gd’s sake, speak up!

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