Thinker in Residence Blog

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One Week Down — Yikes!

Posted by peggyhora on March 27, 2010

Friday was another busy, busy day.  I never made it into the office. I was the keynote speaker at the South Australian Law Society conferece. It’s a 3,000 member bar association.  The meeting was kicked off by Chief Justic John Doyle who very kindly mentioned my work.  The conference title, “Smart Justice,” was taken from my residency.  My session was chaired by Justice Robyn Layton and Professor Richard Balfour spoke about the high incidence of hearing impairment in the APY Lands (the traditional Aboriginal community) and the implications for the legal system.  Certainly something I had never thought about.  I spoke about the Family Treatment Drug Court and the Chief Judge of the Youth Court, Steven McEwen, was in attendance.  Later in the afternoon I’m told he spoke and reiterated much of what I had to say.  After lunch I left to have a much-anticipated meeting with Monsignor David Cappo, Commissioner for Social Inclusion.  Our one hour meeting stretched to 90 minutes as we had much to discuss.  I think I am safe in saying our thoughts and ideas are quite compatible.  I got home to rest for one hour then met Sue King and her husband Andrew at my apartment and we walked over to the Cinema where we attended the premiere of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” a fundraiser for OXFAM.  The movie tracked the book quite well and the actress who played Lisbeth was absolutely perfect.  The scenes of the little town of horrors were spectacular and I was on the edge of my seat several times.  After the movie and not winning the raffle prizes, we repaired to the Belgian Beer Cafe Oostende for a late supper.  Andrew had a beautiful fish stew, Sue and her friend Mike had fishcakes and frittes and I had their gnocci in a pancetta sauce.  Heavenly potato pillows in a smokey light cream sauce.  Delish!  Saturday morning I was back at the Law Society conference for a public speech which went very well.  I then dashed off to the Central Market which  readers from last fall may remember as a foodie’s nirvana.  I toted home a spinach and tomato quiche; half barbeque chicken; salad fixings; some lovely cheeses; fruit, including some incredible figs; tinylamb chops and a jalapeno bagel with Danish butter for tomorrow’s breakfast.  Love that place.  I had pretty much exhaused what Pamela had laid in for me upon my arrival last week.  Seven days ago?  Oh, my.  I’m having dinner with a friend from Sydney tonight — Astrid Birgden who is the warden of the mandatory treatment jail or gaol I’m going to tour when I get up the New South Wales near the end of my visit.  Sunday will definitely be a day of rest, reflection and maybe cracking into the second book after “Tattoo” lent to me by Ingrid Haythorpe.  Before I know it it will be Monday morning again and it’s of to the races.  Week two doesn’t look any less busy than this first one.


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Meeting with the A Team, Families, Justice

Posted by peggyhora on March 25, 2010

 The A Team, my 16-25-year-old advisers, and I met for the first time today. One team is working on trust and confidence in the courts, communication with the public and website redesign.  Interestingly enough, Premier Mike Rann said today, “… [W]e will improve our consultation with the community and we will use online more for your input & feedback.” The other team is looking at teen courts, restorative justice in schools, and school discipline.  I’m looking forward to seeing their recommendations.  I’ll meet with them again in week four to see what they are thinking about.  I then met with Jos Mazel, CEO of the Dept. of Families and Communities and Julie Gunn from Juvenile Justice.  We discussed the Unified Family Treatment Court concept and juvenile diversion among other topics.  It was a lively discussion with two fascinating women and the hour flew by.  Finally, the Advertiser article posted today along with the photo I had predicted.  Me on the bench, looking backwards with the Supreme Court in the background.  You can read it at:

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Top judges and more media

Posted by peggyhora on March 24, 2010

My day started with breakfast with the Thinkers CEO, Gabe Kelley.  We went to a great little place near my apartment that was new to me.  Very nice breakfast with fresh orange juice.  Next, to the office where I worked on briefing papers and then met for lunch with the Chief Justice, John Doyle; Chief Judge of the District Court, Terry Worthington; and, Chief Magistrate Liz Bolton.  They were quite keen to know what I’ve been thinking and are anxious to work closely during the rest of my residency to advance the recommendations I’ll make.  After lunch the media advisor Joanna Hughes and I met a phototographer and writer for the City Messenger, another local newspaper.  There should be a story next week (they’re a weekly). After the interview and photo session it was back to the office where Catalysts Sue King and Nichole Hunter are whipping my writing into shape and continuing to research all the issues.  It’s going to be a nice collaboration to produce the report.

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Media blitz

Posted by peggyhora on March 23, 2010

Well, perhaps not a blitz per se but this morning I was interviewed for an hour by Tori Shepherd from The Advertiser, Adelaide’s local newspaper.  She was quite engaging and had lots of good questions.  I’m hoping she not only does a general story but can run a couple of follow-up articles from the interview.  Her photographer appeared later in the afternoon and we went for a variety of shots in front of the Supreme Court. My least favorite was sitting on the lawn al fresco looking at the Court.  Sigh.  What they’ll probably run is one of me seated on a bench, looking over the back with the Court in the background.  Lunchtime was spent with Ingrid Haythorpe whom you’ll remember as my hostess in Mannum on the river and Gary Thompson the State Court Administrator with whom I shared a meal at his home with his wife and two adorable daughters during my last visit.  We caught up on the latest news and talked about the directions of my residency.  They were, as always, helpful and encouraging.  We ate at the Chessar Cellar, a vunerable old resturant that’s a bit of an institution.  I had a lovely seafood tagliatele with squid, prawns, scallops and fish in a spicy light tomato sauce.  I also had informal meetings throughout the day with my project catalast, Sue King, and new-on-board second catalyst, Nichole Hunter who has a criminology research background with a special expertise in restorative justice.  They went to work straight away organizing the preliminary notes I had brought along.  Now that there’s a structure for my report, we can forge ahead with the draft.  The day ended with a meeting with the drug court prosecutors.  Again, I skipped going out for dinner and instead stayed in for fruit and cheese.  Off to bed soon where I’m reading a delightful book on my Kindle titled Somewhere Towards the End by 90-year-old memoirist Diana Athill. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “She is bluntly unconcerned with conventional wisdom, unapologetically recounting her extended role as the Other Woman in her companion’s prior marriage.”   The New Yorker says, “Athill spent more than fifty years editing writers including Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Jean Rhys, and V. S. Naipaul. In later life, she ‘had the luck to discover’ that she could write…”  And write she can.

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And so it begins…

Posted by peggyhora on March 22, 2010

Monday morning, my first day in the Thinker office in six months, I found today that since I’ve been gone one office worker got engaged, one got pregnant and one left to go to England to work with a Thinker.  We had a staff meeting until noon going over six weeks of schedules, outlines for the final report, and some social events.  We went to lunch at Medina Courtyard and sat outside in the 24 C/78F degree weather.  Lovely mussels for lunch with a crisp glass of Australian white wine.  Then off to the Supreme Court to meet with Justice Layton and Dr. Balfour with whom I’m presenting at the Law Society conference on Friday.  Back to the office to review briefing papers for meetings later in the week then finally to home.  In mid-April two former Thinkers, Dr. Geoff Mulgan who has done a TED speech, Professor Ilona Kickbusch from Switzerland and I  do a presentation as part of “the thinkers return” series.  750 people have already booked it!  Wow.  I’m staying in this evening to see The Mentalist then off to bed after a busy day.

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Whirlwind through the Capital

Posted by peggyhora on March 20, 2010

On Thursday, I arrived in Canberra after many hours in the air and just rested for the afternoon.  I met Toni Makkai, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at Australian National University (ANU) for a Chinese dinner and a catch up.  We hadn’t seen one another since 2006!  The next morning, Dr. Nova Inkpen, manager of the Restorative Justice Unit (RJU), Dept. of Justice and Community Safety for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), picked me up and took me to the RJU to meet everyone who hosted me for the day.  I met with Kathy Leigh, CEO of the Dept., whom I had met last fall, just to touch base on her expectations of my visit.  We then went on to ANU where Dr. John Braithwaite, father of restorative justice, introduced my lecture at Hedley Bull Centre. Talking about RJ in front of Dr. Braithwaite was like cooking beef bourguignon for Julia Child. It was attended by an audience of academics NGOs, police and lawyers.  Then we went back to the Dept. for a closed meeting over lunch attended by the members of the Australian Federal Police – Crime Prevention Portfolio, Prosecutors from the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Executive Director and officers from her Legislation and Policy Branch, the Restorative Justice Unit, Director of the Aboriginal Justice Centre, Director of the Police Citizen’s Youth Club, and the Victim’s of Crime Coordinator. 

Taking a break from meetings, I was wisked to Station 666 (no sign of the devil jokes), the local Australian Broadcasting Company (public radio) station for an interview with Louise Marr who does the drive time show.  I got good feedback on it at:

After the radio show we dashed to a meeting with Simon Corbell, the Attorney General for the ACT as well as Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Environment, Water and Climate Change and Minister for Energy.  The 20-minute  meeting ran for nearly an hour as we hit it off immediately and he was very interested in my reform ideas.  I ended the business part of the day by meeting with Magistrates Peter Dingwall, Karen Fryar, Maria Doogan and Ken Cush and Supreme Court Justices Richard Refshauge and Hilary Penfold.  The judges and I talked for almost two hours.  Finally, Dr. Inkpen took me out to dinner at a terrific Italian restaurant, Mezzalira, very near my hotel so I could roll into my room and sleep forever.  It was an exhausting but exhilirating day.

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Coming back to Oz

Posted by peggyhora on March 17, 2010

I’m sitting in the Red Carpet Club at San Francisco International Airport waiting to board my plane to return to Oz.  I got upgraded to Business Class so the 14-hour flight will be bearable.  And, since it’s a 10:40 pm flight, I’ll be able to get a full night’s sleep. Oh, joy; oh, rapture.  After I land and clear customs/immigration, I go to the domestic terminal for my flight to Canberra, the country’s capital.  I’ll get there about mid-day Thur., take a nap and prepare to see my friend, Toni Makkai, for dinner.  On Friday I’m touring the Restorative Justice unit of the Attorney General’s department; giving a public speech and being introduced by John Braithwaite (I’m so intimidated); meeting with the Community Safety division; and, doing a short presentation to the judges.  Dr. Inkpen is taking me to dinner.  I’m really looking forward to it.  On Sat., I fly to Adelaide via Melbourne (wouldn’t you know it, the only day without a direct flight to Aderlaide is Saturday) and will be greeted by Pamela and Sue who will take me to my apartment.  I’ve rented the same one I stayed in last time since I’m already acclimated to it and know where everything is.  It will be nice to be back in my Adelaide home.  I’m told that “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is playing in the theater near my apartment and I just finished reading it tonight before leaving for the airport. I’m going to miss my family and friends but this is such an adventure, I can’t say I’m sad to leave.  I’m looking forward to some exciting times.

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Getting home

Posted by peggyhora on September 29, 2009

Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  I knew I was going home and that it would be long and tiring and worth it when I left Australia on Monday.  Pamela picked me up at my apartment a little before 7:30 and I got to Adeliade airport early.  I checked in only to find that they would not check my bags through to San Francisco.  Evidently Virgin Blue is a codeshare with United but not a partner(?).  The trip to Sydney was about 1 1/2 hours and uneventful except for the fact that water would have cost me $2.50.  Tea was $3.00.  Good grief.  I was too cheap to drink.  In Sydney I fetched my two very large bags, wrestled them onto a cart with my carry on overnighter and purse and tote and spent the next 45 minutes going up and down elevators getting poor information and poor directions to the connecting transportation to the international terminal which is a good 1/2 hour away.  I finally found the bus and some very nice young man helped me wrestle the three suitcases onto it.   I was pretty frustrated when I checked in again with United only to be told Virgin Blue could have checked my bags through to San Francisco.  I consoled myself in the Air New Zealand (a United partner) lounge and waiting for the boarding call.  I settled into my business class seat 6 1/2 hours after leaving my apartment and hunkered down for the 12-hour flight.  There was no one next to me so I didn’t have to worry about the down side of an aisle seat — people needing to use the loo.  I got a few hours sleep, read my Kindle, read the paper, watched TV reruns, couldn’t find a move I wanted to see, couldn’t figure out how to play Bejeweled on the entertainment center, did poorly at Trivia and finally landed at SFO a half hour early.  My BFF Gloria picked me up and we talked like crazy all the way back to my place.  She was house sitting and picking up mail and generally taking care of business for me while  was gone.  She is such a good friend.  She stocked the fridge so I wouldn’t have to go out and even had fresh flowers in the living room.  What a pal!  There’s been lots of drama about my home owners’ association election so I got caught up on my building gossip with my neighbor Don.  We went downstairs to The Counter for a hamburger after he got home from work about 6:30.  I had dozed in my chair during the afternoon so was able to put a sentence or two together at dinner.  I forced myself to stay up until 10:00 and gave up trying to stay in bed after 3:00 a.m. I’ll pay for that later in the day.  I have a call into my hairdresser and manicurist.  Hair like a yak and nails like a komodo dragon.   I have lots of mail to go through and unpackingto do so I’m not exactly wasting time.  Now that I’m home I won’t be blogging as often but do check back every now and again to see the status of my “thinking.”

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Posted by peggyhora on September 27, 2009

Rodin's Le Penseur

Rodin's Le Penseur

I left SFO on August 10, almost 50 days ago, to come to Adelaide, a city I’d never seen, to participate in a program which details were not known to me and to live in a rented apartment for the first time in my life (except for two months when I was 17 but that’s another story).  I had two acquaintances but no friends here in South Australia.  I leave with 500 acquaintances and many, many friends.  I had high hopes and lots of ideas about change.  “People say that time changes everything but you really have to change yourself.”  Compliments of that great philosopher, Andy Warhol.  I leave having  given 18 different addresses (okay I used some of the same Power Points), met some of the state’s legal icons, had 365 hits on my website, wrote more than 40 blog entries and had as many as 100 readers on some days, gave away 250 business  cards (no one has ever needed a second box before), made two out-of-state trips, have met with the Premier, both the state and Commonwealth’s Attorney General, two cabinet ministers, and lord knows how many departments.  My barista in the Thinkers office building knows my order — flat, white decaf — and I’ve filled two “frequent flyer” cards and received my free cups of coffee.   The drivers of the cars who pick me up and schlep me around all know me now and pretty much know exactly where I’m going. One said the other day, “They didn’t tell me I was picking up Peggy Sue.”   I’ve been invited into homes for dinner and taken to must see tourist sites.  I’ve met husbands, wives, children and partners of my office mates and judicial colleagues.  I’ve managed to amuse the staff and myself on many occasions and have spent the week saying goodbye.  Early in my residency, Pamela said the Thinkers always come back (I’ve met two while here) and I can see why.  Not only do you want to see how your various recommendations are doing but you want to see the people with whom you’ve labored.  I’m so glad Sue King, my Project Catalyst, is able to stay on for the next 12 weeks to advance my work (and I should say “our work” because her thoughts, organization and insight have been invaluable) until my return on March 21.  I’m not sad and I don’t think I’ll cry when I get on the plane but it is with a tinge of something that I leave Adelaide and the Thinkers in Residence program this time.  But, as both General Mac Arthur and Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I’ll be back.”  Ta ta for now.

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Last Sunday in Adelaide

Posted by peggyhora on September 27, 2009

I spent the morning packing, tidying up and getting ready to leave.  Pamela picks me up at 7:30 Mon. morning to go to the airport so I won’t have much time then.  Around 11:00 I strolled to the next block, site of the Rundle Street Market every Sunday. Someone told me it wasn’t worth attending but they were wrong.  I was actually on my way to breakfast around the corner but stopped at a booth selling poffertjes, a small Dutch pancake.  You get about 8 little fellers (about 2″ across) sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon and served with slagroom (whipped cream).  Yummy in the tummy.  The woman in the booth was playing “In the Mood,” a Glenn Miller tune from the ’40’s.  Quite pleasant.  There was also an organic farmers’ booth and a lovely infused salt booth (lavendar, lime and Mediterranean herbs) that also had pyramid-shaped salt.  I would have bought some but am down to my last Australian $10 and don’t want to hit the ATM again.  Maybe next time.  At the end of the street was a Kettle Korn booth and it tasted just like ours.  There was also jewelry and clothing and other things of no interest to me.  I found a free taxi (actually it was far from free!) for the 45 minute ride to Aldinga for lunch at The Orchard, a lovely restaurant owned by Thinkers’ director Gabe Kelly and her husband Kerry Flannigan.  We settled in for a long lunch of a couple of glasses of wine made by Kerry and a nice lamb dish with philo dough and gravy with a balsamic vinaigrette salad on the side.  We were joined by Kerry’s 16-year-old son Louis who is quite a charming young man.  He reminded me of my 17-year-old grandson Dillon.  We took a drive along the ocean and enjoyed the green hills of the Southern Vale on the way home. Tonight it’s take it easy.  It was a nice end to an incredible six weeks.

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