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Cities Save the World!

Broadcast on December 03, 2019
With Reinette Senum & Rebecca Kaplan & Mayor Heidi Harmon

With Washington paralyzed by political dysfunction, is it time for mayors to step up into the vacuum? Can cities solve the biggest problems of the twenty-first century better than nations? Is the city democracy’s best hope? Join us for this dynamic discussion with three local leaders to delve into why cities are where it’s at in terms of solving the multitude of today’s challenging issues.

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Reinette Senum

City Councilwoman of Nevada City, former mayor, community curator

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.” Simon Sinek In 1994 Reinette senum would be the first woman to cross Alaska alone. It would be during this isolated winter solo trek, filmed for National Geographic, that Reinette would learn, of all things, about the power of community. Ultimately, lessons learned along the trail would become the catalyst for Reinette's community work later in life. For the last dozen years Reinette’s focus has been on building a better world by reworking her hometown as a more resilient community through creative and unconventional means. Through risk assessment, public outreach, and a daily hands-on approach, Reinette has been on the forefront of curating Nevada City towards a more resilient future. Whether as an irrepressible city council member, mayor, or community activist, her community-changing projects such as the city-sanctioned sustainable vision, the organic Nevada City Farmers Market, the Peak Oil Task Force, and the construction of 40 portable micro-houses for the homeless, launching a county-wide TimeBank, or a fostering a test-pilot for a town square, Reinette has changed her community’s conversation while reweaving and strengthening it for unpredictable times.

Rebecca Kaplan

Councilmember-At-Large, Oakland, CA

Rebecca Kaplan was born in Ontario, Canada and grew up living with a universal healthcare system, in a family and community which encouraged her to fight for the rights of workers. Stories about the history of worker abuses and the fight for worker rights, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, as well as people giving their lives for social justice, such as the murder of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner were part of Rebecca's upbringing and inform her values.

Rebecca attended MIT as an undergraduate, where she was actively involved in organizing for women’s rights and reproductive freedom, LGBT equality, and part of the successful effort to get her campus to divest from apartheid-era South Africa. She volunteered on the re-election campaign of Senator Kennedy, and worked for the City of Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women. Rebecca obtained her law degree from Stanford Law School, where she had the opportunity to learn from teachers like Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow) and became involved in advocacy for prisoner rights and against mass incarceration. She worked in Oakland as a tenant’s rights attorney and advocate, and helped pass “Just Cause for Eviction” on the ballot. She served for over seven years on the AC Transit Board of Directors, an elected position, and expanded late night bus service, opposed outsourcing, expanded bike-transit connections, solar power, and sustainable fuel initiatives.

Rebecca now serves as Oakland’s citywide elected Councilmember, elected November 2008, and was unanimously selected by her colleagues to be President of the Oakland City Council in January. Rebecca serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which represents all the local government agencies and transit providers in the Bay Area. She led her colleagues in successfully passing the 2019-2021 budget with increased investments to combat the homeless crisis, create and preserve affordable housing, maintain Oakland's parks, and tackle illegal blight remediation. The budget also restored cuts to Parks Maintenance positions and increased funding around police accountability and workforce development.

Mayor Heidi Harmon

Mayor of San Luis Obispo, California

Heidi Harmon is the Mayor of San Luis Obispo, California. She won her election on November 8, 2016. Her run for public office came after being elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention representing Bernie Sanders.

Heidi is an experienced community organizer, climate change activist, and public speaker with a track record of success impacting positive change through coalition building, policy advocacy, and public education.

She was also an early childhood educator in San Luis Obispo for many years and continues to teach a music program for young children.

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Reinette Senum & Rebecca Kaplan & Mayor Heidi Harmon
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