I have published a report with Ed Hubbard that looks at the local response to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. You can download the PDF for free here. We would love to hear your feedback, either here or on the Renewing the American Neighborhood website.
Tag Archives: steve parkhurst
I joined The Price of Business and host Kevin Price to discuss the legacy and ideas of the late Jack Kemp. Listen here and let me know what you think.
I was the guest of Kevin Price on Houston’s The Price of Business radio talk show earlier this week. We discussed the 2014 election of a Houston (now) State Representative, Gilbert Pena. The first Hispanic Republican from the Houston area, ever. Please listen to the 9 minute interview and let me know what you think.
This column has been prepared as part of a reading supplement for the Republican Party of Texas convention in Ft. Worth.
By Artemio Muniz and Steve Parkhurst
Robert Putnam in his books Bowling Alone and Better Together, Robert Woodson in his book The Triumphs of Joseph and William Schambra in his speeches and writings, have all touched upon the root of the American character when people in communities work together to improve lives for those around them.
In late 2008, we started working as a group that would eventually morph into what is today the Federation of Hispanic Republicans. Our early focus as an organization was civic renewal; a re-engagement of individuals in their community. All inspired by the likes of Putnam, Woodson and Schambra.
We traveled from Houston to just south of San Antonio to the city of Von Ormy where we joined with Mayor Art Martinez de Vara in a citywide cleanup, led by Republicans. Over the next few months back in Houston, we continued this sort of work. We joined with other people to find projects that needed help. In one instance, a home needed to be painted and a neighborhood church was offering the paint and supplies, they just lacked the manpower. We teamed up with another local organization and while that house was being painted, the rest of us cleared the neighboring lot and cleaned up the yard of a vacant home.
The most interesting thing to see, was after the work was done. Days, weeks, months later, the people who did the work, those who gave up a Saturday to labor, they were still beaming with pride, satisfaction and most important of all, happiness.
Neighborhood Healers are at work across the state of Texas. Most don’t call themselves Healers, they just go about their work. Most only want attention to point out the problems they’re working hard to remedy. If you really think on it, we all know a Healer like this.
In April, Steve Parkhurst ventured out to San Antonio’s famed Outcry in the Barrio ministry. That visit was previously written about here. As was pointed out in the recap of that visit, Outcry, a faith-based organization, has an astonishingly high success rate in getting addicts off of their substance(s) of choice and back in productive lives, often right in their own communities helping others. No government, whether federal, state, county or city, can claim the kind of success rate that a ministry like Outcry can achieve. Mainly because a place like Outcry is steeped in results after an addict leaves, while governments worry about the numbers enrolled, the number cured or healed is less important.
Ministries like Outcry in the Barrio need help. And Outcry is just one of many.
This past March, we were part of a group across the state that sought to include in the party platform a resolution, whereby the Republican Party of Texas would support the creation and/or development of a Neighborhood Healers Initiative.
With this Initiative, we wanted to show support for, and encourage the recognition of such Neighborhood Healers, and we wanted to make sure Republicans across Texas (and the nation) are doing their part to assist these Healers who are putting our conservative principles into practice on a daily basis.
We felt that as part of this initiative the Republican Party of Texas should start finding, identifying, and recognizing these healers and assure that the Republican Party both locally and statewide is assisting as needed in this community renewal. Because when good people apply deeds, and not just words, to the crises in our neighborhoods, our neighborhoods are better and we all benefit.
And this isn’t about spending money. This is about growing our party; it’s about growing our cause. Raising awareness and encouraging people to look a little deeper into their communities won’t cost one cent.
We want to challenge all the delegates at the state Republican convention to get involved when you return home. Find an individual or organization locally that is putting principles into practice, and help them. Help however you can, with time, money, sweat equity, or even with a little social media promotion.
As Deuteronomy 15:11 tells us, “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”
So many Neighborhood Healers have opened wide their hands, they all could use an extra set of hands.
I’ve written something that I won’t post this website for a few weeks, but I wanted to make you aware of it now. Take a look:
Outcry In The Barrio, Neighborhood Healers and a San Antonio Visit.
Have you downloaded your copy of this free report that I’ve written?
What is Big Data? Are Republicans using Big Data? How effectively did Obama 2012 utilize Big Data? Are 2016 hopefuls like Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul ready to listen to what Big Data can tell them?
All of this and more in the free Special Report.
I was recently interviewed for this piece by business and IT writer Debra Donston-Miller about Big Data and 2016. I’ll have more to say about the subject soon enough, but for now, enjoy this article.
By Debra Donston-Miller, May 7, 2013
If big data was something of a secret weapon during the presidential election of 2012, it promises to loom large as we run up to 2016.
There’s no doubt that big data is playing an increasingly big role in business, politics, healthcare, education, retail and numerous other industries. With the right tools and expertise, organizations can slice and dice data to reveal trends and other information that will inform decisions about future strategy and direction.
“[Big data] is the idea that we are finally able to do with a huge body of data things that were impossible to achieve when working with smaller amounts, to uncover to new insight and create new forms of economic value,” said Kenneth Cukier, co-author with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger of “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think,” and data editor of The Economist. “So, for example, the reason we have self-driving cars or very good computer translation is not because of improvements in processors or algorithms, though they are useful, but because we have vastly more data from which the computer can calculate the probability that a traffic light is red and not green, or which a word in one language is a suitable substitute for a word in another.”
During the 2012 election, big data was used to great advantage—namely, by Barack Obama, in his re-election campaign.
A November 2012 article in Time magazine, “Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win, reported, “Data-driven decision making played a huge role in creating a second term for the 44th President and will be one of the more closely studied elements of the 2012 cycle. … In politics, the era of big data has arrived.”
Cukier said campaigns have always been run on information, but in 2012 big data helped optimize that information and activities around it.
“Obama’s data scientists made pioneering innovations on applying big data to politics,” said Cukier. ”They learned through testing what the optimal sum was when requesting a donation. Every piece of promotional literature online and offline is tested before it goes live at scale. They micro target down to subgroups of the population that were otherwise not picked up by campaigns in the past because it was hard to get granular information on those groups and what moved them to vote a certain way. As a result, campaigns try to tailor their activities down the seemingly ‘individual’ level — not broad, lumpy categories like the ‘soccer moms’ used in Clinton’s campaigns in the 1990s.”
The role of big data will only increase in the 2016 presidential election, with practitioners using technology to hone in on data much more granularly than ever before. In addition, say experts, the use of big data will overlap with social media and other platforms.
“For the 2016 presidential election, we can expect big data to play a much more central role than ever before,” said Cukier. “[We’ll see] micro-targeting of individuals and narrow subgroups of the population, tailored messages over social media platforms, instant feedback loops to the campaign about what works and what doesn’t to move voters, and data collected from the private sector to build predictive models of what works best for fundraising, activating the base of supporters and the get-out-the-vote activities.”
Pay attention to some of the hotly contested issues and the preparation for 2014 Senate elections, and you will see big data at work and a preview of what’s to come in 2016.
“There will be data testing in the run-up to 2014,” said Steve Parkhurst, political consultant, GPH Consulting. “There have already been debates this year on issues like the sequester, the Second Amendment and immigration, for example, and I’m sure the big data databases are filling up with usable data. The data drill-down is no doubt tracking where voters are looking and what those voters are saying, especially online.”
All of this is not to say that the process will be easy. Analysis of big data is a highly complex task, and at this point in time it requires a very specialized—and often expensive–skill set.
“Not just everyone can set up a big data shop,” said Parkhurst. “The people who are really good at it are going to charge a premium price.”
Luckily, technology providers are heeding the call for products and services that can tame the big data beast. Indeed, said Cukier, two of the biggest barriers to big data are narrow thinking and a dearth of leadership.
“The only real obstacle is one of mindset,” said Cukier. “We need to think creatively about what we can do with the data and how important it is. It takes both ingenuity and leadership.”