“…the best Oakland coverage anywhere, bar none” – kos, Daily Kos, April 9, 2009

“…a thoroughly reported blog on the nitty-gritty of Oakland politics, complete with key video moments from government meetings, illuminating crime analysis, skillful fact-checking of political puffery, transit coverage, development coverage, thorough meeting recaps, spicy guest posts, and, yes, the occasional media criticism” – Ryan Tate, Gawker, May 7, 2009

A Better Oakland was a website focused on Oakland government, politics, planning, and transportation, written by Oakland resident and activist Echa Schneider under the pseudonym V Smoothe. The site started as a spinoff of the blog FutureOakland (founded during the 2006 Oakland mayoral campaign), and was active from April 2007 through November 2011.

A Better Oakland was widely lauded for its detailed posts explaining the nuances of municipal government, made accessible through their conversational tone. The site received numerous awards during its tenure, include the League of Women Voters of Oakland Making Democracy Work Award, Reader’s Choice for Best Blog in the East Express 2008, 2008, 2010. and 2011, and Reader’s Choice for Best Blog in Oakland Magazine in 2009 and 2010. Additionally, the blog was featured as an example of stellar hyperlocal journalism in many local and national publications, including The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, PBS, Gawker, and San Francisco Magazine.

I closed the blog in 2011 due to a combination of factors.

Although the blog is no longer active, archives will remain online here for reference. Posts will no longer accept new comments, but I will happily answer questions to the best of my ability. Feel free to e-mail me at v at vsmoothe dot com, or contact me via twitter at @ionecha.