Tag Archives: change

Ohio's redistricting reform ballot measure is just a cynical Republican ploy to block real change

Ohio is home to some of the most extreme Republican gerrymandering in the country, so it may come as a surprise that the GOP-dominated legislature overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment that would make the state’s congressional redistricting process more bipartisan. This measure had wide support from both parties, as well as the backing of nonpartisan reform groups. Consequently, it will almost certainly pass when it appears on the May 8 primary ballot. While it may seem astonishing that GOP legislators would willingly give limit their power, we take a far more cynical view as to their real motivations: This reform is intended to block more vigorous measures to end gerrymandering and create fairer maps, as we explain below.

Ohio currently lets the legislature draw a congressional map subject to gubernatorial veto. Republicans gained unified control over state government in 2010 and drew one of the most partisan gerrymanders in America. This map has given the GOP 12 of 16 seats in every election since its adoption, even in 2012 when Obama won the state 51-48. Reform advocates had been pushing for change for many years, and both the League of Women Voters and Common Cause had been backing a ballot initiative to create a bipartisan redistricting commission and had been gathering signatures for the November ballot. However, that effort will likely come to a halt now that reformers have accepted a compromise with legislators, but the devil is in the details.

The new amendment approved by the legislature would still leave legislators and party officials in charge of the process. However, for the legislature to pass a map, it would need 60 percent supermajority approval, including at least 50 percent of the members of the minority party. If the legislature can’t pass a map, it would go to the same bipartisan commission of officeholders that already handles legislative redistricting. That commission is made up of four legislators—two from each party—and the governor, secretary of state, and auditor. The panel would currently have a Republican majority thanks to the GOP’s hold on statewide offices, but at least two votes from the minority party would be required to pass a map.

However, if the commission can’t reach an agreement, the legislature gets another crack. The legislature would still need a 60 percent supermajority, but this time the share of votes required from the minority party would go down to just one third. But here’s the critical part: If all those convoluted steps still fail to produce a map, the legislature gets to pass a map with a simple majority and no minority-party veto, although the map would only be good for four years instead of the usual 10. And what happens after four years? They can do it all over again.

Antonio Conte has no plans to please fans with major tactical change – here’s why

Antonio ConteAntonio Conte has no plans to switch to a back-four. This is despite back-to-back embarrassments vs. Bournemouth & Watford. READ MORE: Chelsea and PSG set for summer transfer negotiations. Antonio Conte has managed to make light of Chelsea’s 4-1 demolition at the hands of Watford on Monday night. Just when you thought our 3-0 defeat […]

Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What Social Marketers Should Do About It

25601340Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What Social Marketers Should Do About It

By now, you have heard that Facebook’s algorithm is changing.

This news could be particularly devastating for marketers and small businesses with low budgets. Organic reach on Facebook pages is about to plummet, and it is going to be harder to reach the audience you have probably spent years building. However, these changes just mean that it is time to focus and find more innovative ways to reach your target market in a genuine and positive way, and it can still be done with limited resources.

Here are three cost effective ways to keep your business relevant on Facebook.

1. Create a Facebook Live Strategy

Facebook Live videos are an effective and economical way to garner instant and constant interactions and comments. If you haven’t been using Facebook Live, now is the time to start!

Filming video–like Live Q&A’s, big announcements, or answering blog comments–is a proactive way to not only get users to watch, but also to get them engaged. Start slow; try doing a live video every other week to test the waters. Promote the fact that you’re going live to get people excited about it. There are endless ways to get creative with live video!

2. Invest More in Influencer Relationships

Investing in the right influencers and having your content shown on their pages can be even more effective than posting about it yourself.

Many partnerships do require monetary compensation, but it is possible to find influencers who are willing to work with you for trade. Influencer relations is a cost-effective way to create brand ambassadors who will keep talking about your brand, not only on Facebook, but on all social media platforms. There are plenty of articles out there to help you get started with influencer relations.

3. Run a Group Page AND Your Business Page

This idea will not necessarily work for every business, but it is an easy and free way to stay relevant on Facebook, boost engagement, and show up on the Facebook news feed more than the traditional business page. A business page is designed to be the official profile for a business or entity, whereas a group page allows people to come together to share a specific interest and share related content.

Group pages will see a bigger presence in the Facebook news feed because of the involvement they generate. Facebook ads are the other option.

The great thing is you can now link your Facebook page to your group page. There are products, such as the Instant Pot, that have group pages with a stronger following than their official business page. You just need to find the best way to do it for your own business.

The important thing to remember in all these changes is that Facebook is meant to foster meaningful interactions between people. If you are creating content that your audience enjoys, engages with, and shares, then these Facebook changes will not affect you.

Now it’s your turn – what suggestions do you have to make the most of Facebook in a cost-effective way? Let us know on Twitter. And to plan and execute better in 2018, download the planning guide below.

The post Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What Social Marketers Should Do About It appeared first on Simply Measured.

Climate change closes iconic summer ski slope where winter Olympic athletes trained

By Jeremy Deaton

Imagine that Steph Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant went to the same summer camp growing up. Every June, they showed up to the same gym, trained on the same court and drank from the same cooler of Gatorade. ESPN would make documentaries about that camp. Curry would wax poetic about his bygone summers in postgame press conferences, and every kid in America would know its name.

Now imagine that, one day, it vanished into thin air.

This is the story of Camp of Champions, once Canada’s premier summer training ground for elite skiers and snowboarders. There, beginners could rub elbows with Olympic greats like snowboarder Shaun White, two-time gold medalist in the halfpipe, or Joss Christensen, who won gold in slopestyle skiing’s Olympic debut.

A slopestyle skier at Camp of Champions, 2014. Credit: Camp of Champions

It was at Camp of Champions where former U.S. snowboarding coach Bill Enos first took notice of slopestyle legend Sage Kotsenburg. “One of the days when the jumps were firing and it was sunny, he just went to work,” he said. “You could tell he had a really good chance of doing well at the Olympics. I actually called my boss and said, ‘We got one here.’” Kotsenburg would take gold in Sochi.

For Ken Achenbach, founder and owner of Camp of Champions, it was almost too good to be true. “Every person on the Canadian slopestyle and big air team for snowboarding used to be campers,” he said. “In Sochi, we swept the slopestyle podium in skiing as well as snowboarding for men.”

The long parade of Olympians would come to an abrupt halt in June, 2017. In a letter to would-be campers, Achenbach explained that dwindling snowpack meant he couldn’t build the ramps athletes needed to train. “I wanted to give you an exceptional experience, and now I can’t,” he wrote. “After 28 years, my dream is over. Honestly, I want to crawl under a rock. I feel like I have died.

“Simply put, it’s the effects of global warming.”

Ken Achenbach. Credit: Camp of Champions

Camp of Champions sat on a glacier on Blackcomb Mountain, a craggy alp around 100 miles north of Vancouver and one half of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort. Snow would build up during the winter and spring, covering the glacier in a thick layer of powder. When summer arrived, it was the cool bed of ice that kept the snow from melting. But in recent years, the glacier on Blackcomb Mountain has retreated — losing 35 vertical feet of ice in 2015 alone, according to Achenbach. Snowfall also has declined.

“It didn’t snow for three years, and then, when it did snow, the glacier was in such a depleted condition that Whistler Blackcomb wanted us to build super tiny jumps,” Achenbach said. Resort managers tried using snowmaking guns to restore the glacier, but it was of little use. Without the glacier, snow withered in the June heat. “It almost doesn’t matter how much snow we get in the winter anymore because in the summer it’s just so hot for so long.”

Camp of Champions, 2011. Credit: Camp of Champions

Achenbach used to keep the camp open for six weeks, but as temperatures rose, six weeks become four. Then four became two. “In the summer, when it’s hot there, we would be losing a foot of snow a day — two feet a day sometimes,” he said. “30 degrees C used to be a hot day. This year, we had pretty much a month straight of 35- or 37-degree days.”

The problem isn’t unique to Whistler Blackcomb. Temperatures are creeping up around the globe. “We’ve had a couple of very bad seasons, years where we expect to have snow at certain elevations and we don’t get it,” said Adam Higgins, athlete development manager for Canada Snowboard. “If there’s no snow on the mountains, we’re out of a sport.”

The closure of Camp of Champions has deprived athletes of an invaluable training site. “Everybody that’s really shooting for the Olympics or becoming a great pro now is training in the summer,” Enos said. “When a facility like that puts up good jumps and creates a great park with fast lap times, that’s when your guys start to get better.” Now, skiers and snowboarders must find somewhere else to hone their skills.

A snowboarder at Camp of Champions, 2013. Credit: Camp of Champions

In some ways, Camp of Champions is interchangeable with other summer training sites, but ask the people who attended the camp, and they will tell you that it was something special. Achenbach was eager to nurture young talent, creating a space where novice skiers and snowboarders could learn alongside their heroes.
“We will definitely miss Camp of Champions. Absolutely,” Higgins said. “When you can have young kids from all over the world come to Whistler and be able to ride in the same park as the national team, I think it’s great.” Enos shared his sentiment.
“To see the pros interact with the campers was something Ken and that program did really well, year after year,” he said. “You really felt cared for there. It wasn’t just a business. It was a family.”

A skier at Camp of Champions, 2013. Credit: Camp of Champions

Achenbach reminisced about shy kids learning to ski and snowboard, making friends from around the world, and gaining a newfound sense of confidence. “Camp of Champions is where kids got their first taste of what they could do, what they could become,” he said. “It changed everybody’s life that came to it.”

Some of those young skiers and snowboarders would stick around after they grew up. “We trained people to be professional snowboarders and live their dreams, and then, once they became pros, we would hire them to be coaches,” Achenbach said. “We didn’t hire just anybody. We hired people that came from camp and achieved their dreams and went on to inspire the next generation to do the same thing.”

Among Achenbach’s first hires was Colin Whyte, a snowboard enthusiast who went on to serve as editor-in-chief of Future Snowboarding Magazine and later covered snowboarding for ESPN.

A snowboarder at Camp of Champions, 2013. Credit: Camp of Champions

“Ken Achenbach has always been snowboarding’s number one evangelist in Canada,” he said. “Camp of Champions was a real cultural behemoth, and I’m sad that skiing and snowboarding have lost this one-of-a-kind institution.” Whyte worked at the camp from 1989 until 2001.

“I met some incredible campers and coaches over my years there, many of whom I’m still friends with today,” he said. “If you could measure the cumulative fun that went down at Camp of Champions in all those decades of camp, I guarantee it would be off the charts.”

For Achenbach, a real estate agent and father of two, it was a dream come true. Asked about his favorite moment from his 29 years at Whistler Blackcomb, he replied without hesitation.

“Every second of every day.”

Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow him @deaton_jeremy.