Today marks the launch of the Grand Lake Guardian, a volunteer-powered, online newspaper to serve the neighborhoods surrounding Lake Merritt.

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Because the people, places, and events around Lake Merritt are important, interesting, dramatic, infuriating and frustrating, joyous — at least to those who live in these neighborhoods and, in many cases, to Oaklanders generally. After all, we have been entrusted with Oakland’s Jewel.

Information, complemented with analysis and perspective, is crucial to our being able to responsibly participate in our community, government, and politics.

And that participation is crucial to our neighborhoods’ and city’s health and success. Crucial because you our neighbors are creative, experienced, resourceful, wise, and grounded. We can’t afford to waste your potential.

And crucial because there too often are powerful forces hoping that we do not participate; hoping that we are asleep, distracted, or deceived. We must frustrate their hope.

We contributors to the Guardian are not professional journalists; we are not disinterested; we are not deliberately uninvolved and uninvested. To the contrary…. we are activists; catalyzers of change; agitators of involvement.

So, our model is different. It would not be enough for us to report to you what happened, what decisions were made, what your future will look like. Our goal is to timely provide the information you need so that you can take part in shaping those outcomes.

With your help, we will encourage the good and progressive. We will defeat the unwise, greedy, rapacious, and short-sighted. In time, we hope to become a deterrent, so as to prevent some from even considering the outrages they are now accustomed to perpetrating under cover of darkness.

We have no party line. Our only litmus test: is the idea well reasoned, factually correct, and held and expressed in good faith by someone who genuinely loves Oakland and our neighborhoods for what they are and for what more they can become? If so, that’s Guardian material.

Talk back to us and dialog with us; keep us honest. You have the opportunity to comment on individual stories and you can submit letters to the editors for publication. If you’re really interested in a topic, talk to us about becoming a contributor.

These are interesting, exciting, ripe times for Oakland. Let’s join together to watch, think, and act to help steer Oakland on a winning path.

Jim Ratliff, publisher and co-editor
Ken Katz, co-editor