This has been a year of exciting developments and of activity and service for Oakland.

I am proud to be part of such a dynamic and diverse melange that exists in this city and I am amazed by the energy and creativity I see everyday in Oakland.

For me, this has been a year of increasing involvement with people and events all over the city.

First I had an opportunity to work with the late Frank Rose by organizing a community clean up in deep East Oakland. I didn’t know then that I would see Frank only once again after that, although we spoke on the phone this summer. That effort and the related school repair efforts in Sobrante Park filled the MLK weekend in 2011. And something like that may happen again this year with the efforts of volunteers from all over Oakland and the Bay Area.

There was the Digital Town Hall held early this year in the City Council Chambers. That was a joint effort of the Oakland Digital Arts and Learning Center – ODALC – and then newly-elected Mayor Jean Quan to help organizations and businesses become more savvy with social media. The success of that led to a six week series of Digital Equity classes, organized again by ODALC.

Then there were eight Town Hall meetings, one in every council district of Oakland and the last in Oakland’s Chinatown. Holding these everywhere and inviting all of Oakland to participate were a first for Oakland’s government and marked a more open period for City Hall. I documented each of these and posted the pics on Photobucket, Picasa and Facebook. That actually led me to begin more regular participation and contributions here at Oakland Local.

And then there was Occupy Oakland and the roller coaster of challenges and actions that came with it. The encampment, the evictions, the first port strike, the late night meetings. All that and the hope and potential for meaningful change right in front of us. We will have to see how long-lasting all of that will be.

OO first called us, then galvanized us, and then it began to polarize the various communities and constituencies of our city. Priorities have began to clash: Do we try to change the system at every level or do we uphold the rule of law and make change within the electoral system? Do we give priority to the homeless downtown, or do we try to help those who are poor or homeless in deep East Oakland and in West Oakland? How do we get more jobs in every part of Oakland?

What do we want Oakland to look like in 2012 and then over the next few years? These are some of the questions many of us are grappling with on the cusp of 2012 And this is the way the year ends …

The slideshow here/below samples images from the events I covered all over the city: