August 2, 2007
I have received several e-mails and phone calls regarding the notion, circulating about the question that is raised in the title of this opinion article.
This is not a notion that I would propose or circulate. The view that it sets forth is that there has to be a "winner" and or a "loser" when it comes to community and information services to that community. Let me make it clear that is not the spirit in which this web site originated, it is in the spirit of building together and co-operation that this site is founded and will continue to operate. It does however need to be said that this is an "independent" web site and is linked with a "independent" discussion list serve. The reasons for the creation of an independent list serve can be found on this site under the discussion list linked on the home page. It is important that information about this web site and its creation be placed in proper context. From the emails and conversation, it appears that there is a need for explanation. It has been entirely framed in a negative light to those who are not familiar with the context in which it originated. I hope that you will take the time to read this and understand the context in which it was formed and introduced. It is important to the community and to the purpose of this web site which is; "bringing together neighbors through information” and should not be portrayed as a divisive tool and a reason to fragment the community. There are always different perspectives on things and they are formed by the experiences we have and the information that is available for us to form those views. This is what this site is about and this is what this article is about.
I would like to begin by saying that a simple exploration of this site will illustrate that it is not an "organizational" web site. It was designed by professionals to compliment the Central City Discuss list serve. There was a strong need to have that static reference point that would anchor information that passes through the list serve. A place that can provide a reference point. The success in supporting the Historic Preservation Office in the expansion of the Coronado Historic District is an example of how that concept works. With 453 views on the GCNA forum for the expansion of the district, and the last posting 11/3/2005 from HP that said we were due last year to be reviewed, indicated to me that there was a community need that was not being met and would be a great first project. Those that were involved experienced first hand how the Central Phoenix Discuss, the web site information, and the lists facilitated the support and the forward movement of the expansion. The next project is to make available Speed Tables that meet visual standards for a Historic District. Something that will require the same type of information exchange interaction, but expanded to include other historic neighborhoods . Of course the site provides a visual tour of what Coronado is as a community. We hope to build on these things with many of the unique areas of our community to explore and write about. Contributions to this effort are welcome. A strong believer in participatory citizenship, there will always be an area that demonstrates that part of our civic duty. So anyone can see that the site was born to be different, not to compete, but to liberate ideas that can compliment an organization’s web site when there is a spirit of co-operation.
Let me take you back to last year with an e-mail I wrote to then president Don Mertes, indicating the need for improvements to the web-site and the ideas as to how that would work. After much open discussion and work with several volunteer professional web designers the resulting recommendations which I presented to the board and membership at the January meeting were not acted upon. I attempted to get the site corrected ASAP, so that it would be a functioning part of the community in time for the home tour. These recommendations, as initially set forth in my e-mail, were that the website not be centered on the Dispatch, but that the home page reflect the different links to various areas of the “participation” parts of the site. Specifically the GCNA Forum and the Central Phoenix Discuss list serve. It was also recommended that the updates be kept current so that there would be the "desire" to return to the site to check. All of these recommendations were rejected. The fact remains that "none" of the recommendations were carried out in the following months, which demonstrates that they were rejected by the board at that time. The web master had resigned in January and there was no replacement effort made, no minutes posted, and no current information updated except for the Dispatch, further demonstrating that the current condition of the GCNA web-site was the desired condition. Here is a goggle snapshot of the GCNA site days after the election meeting with no current information posted about a very important lection meeting, and still lacking any updated information about Fightback programs or meeting minutes. The volunteer professional web designers who were working with me said that they were not willing to donate their valuable time if their professional recommendations were going to be rejected by individuals who did not know web design. I would like to point out that E-Hood Coronado incorporates all of the recommendations that were made last year as the site was designed by the same individuals who made those recommendations after they approached me and in late April and suggested that a site should still be created to work with the real time online Central Phoenix list serve. Also notice that the initial plan to get the expansion off the ground ran aground at the same time, only to be facilitated now by the necessary information services currently available to launch that sort of community involved effort.
I hope that by placing the E-Hood Coronado web site into perspective that you will be able to see the need that was the birth of this site, and the necessity for it's independence. I know that the new board has made it a priority to update and redesign the CNA Web Site to be a contributing information resource for the CNA Association's news and information related to it. This is a task that E-Hood Coronado is really not suited for so I hope that this happens and that there is a spirit of co-operation when the new CNA Site is designed.
It is Ratero's desire and belief that information to the Greater Coronado Neighborhood community should not be exclusive nor competitive , but that every new and additional source of information should be welcomed. I look forward to having this independent site remain the kind of information source that it was designed to be and to function to provide a broad range on information in conjunction with the CNA Site when it is re-designed.