Friday, December 30, 2011

blog pulse: Sanjiv Handa

Inever met Sanjiv Handa, but everyone who follows Oakland politics knew who he was. He passed away unexpectedly this week at age 55. Sanjiv was a fixture at city council meetings; a council meeting without Sanjiv didn't seem like a real meeting. He was best known for haranguing city officials about transparency in government, or to be more accurate, their lack of it.

Sanjiv always seemed to stay within the rules. When the council changed things to further limit speaker time (informally referred to as "the Sanjiv rule"), he collected speaker cards from others to maximize his speaking time, and he always used the full time allotted to him. And even though everyone on council certainly knew who he was, per the rules he always began by stating his name: "For The Record, I'm Sanjiv Handa, East Bay News Service."

Some blog posts and articles remembering Sanjiv:

He wasn't universally loved, and was strongly disliked by more than one city official, but his absence at city council meetings will be noticed. Hopefully someone else can step up and work to try to keep Oakland's government working in the open as it's supposed to.

A memorial service is planned for Sanjiv this Saturday in Fremont. @OaklandBecks and others on Twitter also came up with the idea of riding bikes (to honor cycling advocate Ron Bishop who also recently passed away) to an upcoming city council meeting and delivering pastries and pizza for attendees. (Various remembrances above refer to him bringing food to share at meetings, and to victims of a fire not far from his home in Oakland.) Rest in peace, Sanjiv, though you'd probably rather haunt city officials to make sure they're following the rules.

additional reading:

some of Sanjiv's articles:

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