Using new gadgetry to make government information more easily accessible, Oakland's first ever Chief Information Officer, transforming traditional Mexican music with electronic beats, and local musicians Tumbleweed Wanderers.
Groups like Open Oakland and Code for America want to help improve digital efficiency in the city, and now, a new government office is joining that effort. This past January, Bryan Sastokas became Oakland’s first Chief Information Officer (CIO). He has held the role in two cities previously, most recently Modesto. He oversees all things tech in city government, and it is his job to figure out how technology can solve communication breakdowns between residents and City Hall, or within the network of city departments.
It’s a Tuesday evening in Oakland’s City Hall. A group of people ranging in age from their 20s to 50s are sitting, many in front of their laptops. This is an Open Oakland hacking meeting. Though a lot of jargon is thrown around, some of the people here have no tech backgrounds at all, including Anna Mathai.
You might be familiar with the 1958 Ritchie Valens song, La Bamba. But what you might not know is that this song comes from a very old Mexican musical genre, the Son Jarocho. Born of conquest and slavery, Son Jarocho is a traditional music from the Mexican state of Veracruz that mixes African, indigenous, and European influences to produce a truly American sound.