20100508__eoak0509mother~2_VIEWER OPEN GOVERNMENT
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An 86-year-old community
activist who has fought for years for open government was
honored Saturday morning as Oakland's Mother of the Year, reports Kelly Rayburn in the Oakland Tribune.

Barbara
Newcombe, who received the early Mother's Day gift at an Oakland Parks
and Recreation reception, urged those who gathered at the Morcom Rose
Garden not to shy away from pushing for change — no matter how difficult
the process may seem.

"Don't stand still when you're told that
there's a reform that's badly needed but it's going to be very difficult
and cost too much," she said. "That doesn't cut it."

Newcombe
worked for a decade as the head librarian for the Chicago Tribune
newspaper. She moved to Oakland in 1984 and volunteered at the Center
for Investigative Reporting. She wrote a book called "Paper Trails: A
Guide to Public Records in California," which was published in 1991.

Later,
Newcombe, along with others active in the League of Women Voters of
Oakland, pushed for city leaders to adopt the sunshine ordinance that
was passed in 1997. Newcombe then served on the city's Public Ethics
Commission from 2000 to 2003, turning 80 shortly before her term was up.

The
League of Women Voters recently honored Newcombe at a "Making Democracy
Work" luncheon. She said open government remains a passion for her.
"I
will be concerned with that until they put me six feet under," she said. "It is so important."

Though being a parent is not a requirement,
Newcombe gave birth to four children and has five grandchildren.

She
offered some tips for a happy retirement: Take risks, go exploring, do
something new once a year, try to see beauty in unexpected places, go to
a City Council meeting — and always push for needed change.
"

She's
my favorite kind of leader — one who leads through action," City
Councilmember Nancy Nadel said. "She's a worker bee, but a worker bee
with vision."