February 11 CTTAB minutes

February 11th meeting minutes.  This includes:  1) Welcome; 2) Minutes; Mayor & City Council Technology Priorities: 3) Robert Feldstein for Mayor Murray, 4) Vinh Tang for Councilmember Harrell; 5) Public Comment;  6) Letters to WAVE and providers regarding low-income Internet services; 7) Preliminary discussion of City priorities and CTTAB workplan. The full meeting audio is available here.

A video of the presentation and discussion of the Mayor and Council’s technology priorities is available: Watch the video here. The full meeting audio is available here.

This meeting was held:
February 11th, 2014, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Seattle Municipal Tower: 700 – Fifth Avenue (at Columbia St), Room 2750 (27th floor)


CTTAB Members: Dana Lewis, Stacey Wedlake, Nourisha Wells, Brian Hsi, Ben Krokower, Phillip Duggan, Beryl Fernandes, Rob Dolin, Daniel Hoang

Public: Richard Huff, Michael Spindler, Ken Gillgren, Myranda Miller, Ken Meyer, Marie McCaffrey (HistoryLink.org), Mary Taylor (CenturyLink), Nancy Sherman, Margie Nicosia, Dan Stiefel, Dorene Cornwell (STAR Center), Mira Latoszek (UPTUN), Viet Nguyen (UPTUN), Sarah Schacht, Ryan Thurston (IBM)

Staff:  Robert Feldstein (Director, Mayor’s Office), Vinh Tang (Councilmember Harrell’s office), Department of Information Technology: Sabra Schneider, David Keyes

1. Welcome – Introductions of all attendees, agenda approved

 2. Approval of January’s minutes (http://cttab.seattle.gov/?p=181).

See also the discussion approving the February and January minutes in CTTAB’s March meeting minutes.

Proposed Amendment to the minutes. Beryl distributed her proposed addition to the minutes.

Ben read the proposed amendment:
“Beryl recommended that CTTAB draw on a broader, more diverse group of youth leadership programs in Seattle to oversee the selection of youth for the Board. Instead of relying solely on the YMCA’s Get Engaged Program to oversee the selection of youth, she suggested also including the broad array of excellent Seattle youth leadership programs serving underrepresented youth who do not have and are eager for opportunities to engage in City decision making. DOIT Staff responded that a change could not be made because the Y’s Get Engaged program had a sole contract with the City, which was embodied in the Seattle Municipal Code. There was also opposition  voiced by several CTTAB board members who disagreed there was a need for opening up the City contract to include other youth leadership programs to manage the process of selecting youth for the City’s boards and commissions.”

Ben asked and Beryl indicated that this was a motion.
Phillip asked if this would replace the whole section or be added on

Beryls said she was suggesting it be added to section 8 of the minutes, unless there were other suggestions.
Phillip seconded.

David asked if there could be additional discussion.
David said that the Get Engaged program establishment was in the municipal code, but not the specific contract with the Y. The contract itself is a programmatic decision made by the Mayor’s Office.
Beryl pointed to this as an important distinction.

Ben moved to table this discussion to after the break. Beryl agreed. Stacey seconded. This was unanimously approved to table to after the break.

[Action Note: Later in the meeting, additional discussion and a vote on the minutes was postponed to the March meeting.]

3.  Mayor Murray’s technology priorities: Robert Feldstein, Director of the Office of Policy and Innovation

He came here from New York City working in the Bloomberg on a variety of issues including criminal justice, truancy prevention, small business and data. Still learning and welcomes CTTAB and others helping.

Priority 1: Broadband/Fiber: Will explore new options. Looking at all elements of what we’re trying to address, including digital divide and deployment.  Would wifi be an option to help low income access, or working with Comcast to increase the size of the pipe. Possible pilots in diff neighborhoods to see what we can get done.

They are looking for looking for real data about what’s out there, service gaps and what people want in order and will pay for, in order for the City to to make policy decisions.  Wants to make decisions on needs, data and priorities.

Is the gap there because you can’t get service to your house, or is it nearby and you can’t get it to your house, can’t pay for it, don’t see the incentive for it, or don’t have the equipment? The more info we can get on the landscape

Mayor is committed to action on broadband. Crazy that Boston is calling itself a digital city and Seattle isn’t. Eager to hear about possible smaller projects and pilots.

Priority 2:  How people interact with the City & how technology can help:

Mayor is sponsoring a Neighborhood Summit on April 5th.   There should be a seat for everyone at the table. They are committed to having more people participate in the design of their neighborhood and the city, and not just the usual people. A lot can’t get to meetings. He mentioned other opportunities, such as the survey for the neighborhood summit that they’ve started doing online. Through social media, surveys, other ways to get input.  They also want to look at how does government get information out, to make sure people hear what happened from the input they provided.

Technology of basic interactions: What different systems do you need to sign up for a permit, report an abandoned car, open a restaurant…most people don’t think of departments. How do we build make a system for the people, rather than thinking about it as departments. Want to build sensible ways to interact, including having info ahead of time so when they come in for a meeting, they know the steps and have the pieces ready, to make more efficient use of people’s time when they come in.

Priority 3:  Improved Data Systems and Retrieval

We have different systems across departments in various states of usability. His dream is when a building’s going to go in, someone should be able to get all info the City has on the address.  But we have this info kept in different databases in different ways.

In NY, they were able to do this. Once we had the info, we were able to look across the data to do predictive analytics, see patterns and solve problems, such as where there were changes in buildings and fires were occurring. They had to build a system to identify the indicators across different types of data systems and a means to connect them together. This was more efficient for inspectors and more likely to reduce loss of life. Also looked at restaurant grease disposal issues by looking at sewer blockages.

This is not a starting goal, but has many steps and is a big investment. The starting point is getting better information, so we and public knows how we’re doing. Then opening it up for other applications. What’s exciting about CTTAB and Seattle is if we can find ways to partner with other talent, universities, private sector, and improve the city.

Brian Hsi: Thanks and welcome.  Which are year 1 goals?

Robert: We won’t have a fiber to all solution this year, but hope to announce first steps and present starting points.  Pilots are a possibility. There are a lot of other finance asks, so need to be mindful of where this fits.

Some other aspects have started – getting more info online from people and presence. We will get better at it, increase capacity and look at new ideas – keep expanding what we do.

How people use data, different MIS systems: Can’t give an answer on that timeframe, as it’s complex and he’s still learning the landscape.

Brian: What do you want from CTTAB?

Robert: Ideas for strategies, partnerships, info to help us resolve issues, work with us on lay of the land and how to set priorities.

Still learning the role of CTTAB. You could also be of help setting criteria and process.

Ben:  Explained that CTTAB’s role is advisory to Mayor and Council, soliciting input. Members have different networks that they are part of to being to this.

Robert: His title is policy and innovation.  Innovation is not only technology; it can also be shortening lines, suing best methods to simplifying or improving processes. It’s not just an app.

Phillip Duggan: Seattle has a lot of involvement infrastructure. How is the Summit going to use getting online? Eg community groups that are just on Facebook.

Robert: Tech is an ally and enhancer, not likely a replacement. Up to the summit and others to develop the answer to this.

Neighborhood Summit is April 5th at Seattle Center: As Seattle goes thru growth, what’s the role of people in the neighborhoods, and what role can they have. How do we address dichotomy of growth vs preserving communities. Kathy Nyland in the Mayor’s Office is spearheading the Summit.

Beryl Fernandes: as you’re looking at innovation, hope you won’t overlook city staff talent for innovation.

Robert: 100% agree. Mayor talked about trying things, some will fail, will learn from that; it’s part of innovation.  Yes, it would be great to give employees the opportunity to innovate.

Beryl: Look at what’s there, such as work on process in DPD and how to use that.

Rob Dolin: One idea to help with citizen challenges is creating an editable how to knowledge base. Consider use of Mediawiki for people and something like Bugzilla for people to comment and track issues in the process – a single forward facing interface.  (eg abandoned car was reported, car was towed, it’s closed.

Ben: Board will be taking priorities and turning it into committees and workplan.

Follow-up: Robert & Vinh will talk and get back to Board about following up.

 4. City Council’s technology priorities: Vinh Tang, Legislative Aide to Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Priority 1: Improving broadband deployment environment, starting with SDOT rule revision, hopefully in first quarter.   Want to work with new Mayor and make immediate change to allow more deployment this year.

Acknowledged CTTAB, people in the audience from Beacon Hill and providers in the audience.

Also acknowledged Richard Huff in audience, who had been working on broadband issues,

Fiber to premise: Still need the right business case. Business case hasn’t been made for us to pay for this. Not a lot have run fiber to the premise; Chattanooga is probably the largest. They are supportive of the idea to get fiber out. Price of delivery has significantly decreased. Want an environment where anyone can enter the market.

Priority 2: Comcast franchise renewal: Need help listening to the public. We have limits on what we can do, but this is an opportunity for improvement.

Next generation data center: Nothing for the Board to act on; DoIT is moving ahead well.

Priority 3: Privacy/ appropriate use of data – with people subscribing to multiple services, and especially if the City becomes a wholesaler of a bigger pipe to homes, there’s also the risks of what data the city collects and protecting privacy. Talking with CM O’Brien and Seattle Privacy Coalition.  First step is internal identification of what and where we collect personal data. After we do internal part, index of data, CTTAB could help with best practice on data privacy rules.

Priority 4: Big Data companies and start-ups: New industries are developing. It would be great to create an environment where companies come here and develop here. Mentioned UW data programs. Passed budget for

 Priority 5: Computer programming education:  Could CTTAB work with CM Harrell to help figure out partnering and supporting getting coding education more infused  into Seattle Public Schools, even at the elementary schools. He is in the early stage of exploring this.

Priority 6: Tech Matching Fund: Cable franchise fees are going down. Need help to be able to maintain the level of funding.

 Priority 7: Indicators (Seattle Technology Access and Adoption Study): We want to use the data coming out of DoIT’s updated report to help guide decisions. This report has been helpful to see that there is a high degree of access, but still inequity.

Would love to have this be a work item of CTTAB.

 Priority 8: Apps or symposium event: We know CTTAB really helped with the hacking weekend a couple years ago. It would be great to have some event or symposium.

Priority 9: E-waste: Help encouraging recycling, including phonesThis could include developing better partnerships for the City.  SPU does some work on this.

Brian: NPO’s are recycling and using them for people who need it.

Rob: SIMs are locked to carriers. Could connectivity on an old iphone or device be a solution.

Robert: In some areas, Wi-Fi plus last year’s smart phone can get you a lot of what people can’t do right now for much cheaper. Not sure of the role, but it should be a tool.

Priority 10: 311 Customer Service Single sign-on: It hasn’t been fully funded and developed. Departments have silos of backend databases and services has been an issue. It’s very complicated on the backend, but the front end needs to be simple. They would like to work with the Mayor on this.

 Priority 11: 5 year Strategic Plan:  He’s talked to Erin about this.

Stacey Wedlake: Technology Matching Fund funding: what’s the timeline to make sure that doesn’t get reduced?

This year was a one year budget, so will have a 2015-16 budget. Projected outlook, he believes  is there will be a reduction in cable subfund by 2016. Loss of revenue impacts cable fund.

CM Harrell doesn’t want to get rid of Tech Matching Fund. Always hears great stories of the projects. Looking out at options for 2017-18.

Dana Lewis: What forum topic should we consider?

Vinh: Broadband / fiber would bring out the most people. What do you want?

Dana: Big data is a topic we’re considering.

Robert: Big data has 2 aspects: What we want to do with it, and also the concerns of privacy and what happens with the data collection.

Rob: real-time video chat, elephant flows – big data capacity for researchers.

Has heard people complain a lot about “up to..” pricing (eg.up to 20mB)

Vinh: They haven’t heard any complaints about the “false” advertising, up to pricing. Our hands are somewhat tied in the Comcast renewal, but maybe we can talk about.


Robert: Can you get a bottom line for service quality?

Beryl: Quality of data in big data is a challenge and needs to be kept in mind. Check it with the source, clarity in terminology is important.

Dan Stiefel: Will there be hearings on the renewal?

Vinh: Yes, it’s also required and he sees CTTAB engaged in it.

Brian: They are working with Tony Perez on the process and they had the consultant also talk to us. There is a broader plan.

Vinh: Similar to minimum wage, what speed should Seattle have, at least, for high speed next generation Internet, and at what price point?  (eg 100 Mb for $10).

Brian: Landscape and market changes as services develop and more devices are connected.

Rob: Thinks about what high school students need when they go home.  Can they take the course? Minimum bar should be real time video chat without packet loss.

Daniel Hoang: Timeline matters. Are you looking at the standard today, or you need to adjust that bar, depending on if you’re (eg at one point, he would have said postage stamp size video was acceptable.

Robert: As we build more capacity, like roads, more will come. The reasonable standard now will not be the case soon.

Ben: Thanks and please do communicate back how we can help with the priorities. We’ll compile our draft workplan.

 Networking Break

 Public Comments

Ken Mayer  commented briefly. [Secretary note: Recorder was off; checked with Ken after the meeting and he responded that there was nothing that needed to be noted here.]

Mary Taylor, CenturyLink: Regarding telecommunications cabinets. They have gotten the ok from engineering to add art/decoration wraps to the cabinets in Seattle. Could add a photo and other image. They plan to work with a Seattle youth serving non-profit on these whom they’ve worked with on other projects and has gone through design review before.  This is pending city approval.

Also they now have a smaller, 34 inches tall, cabinet that they can use.

 2 Continued) Minutes: Return to approval of minutes.

Rob moved and it was voted to bring the approval of minutes to the March meeting.

 6) Letters to WAVE and providers regarding low-income Internet services

Daniel introduced the draft of a letter to WAVE asking if they provide a low-income option for Internet service.

Brian Hsi: At the last meeting it was pointed out that WAVE doesn’t appear to have a low income Internet option and at the last meeting, the Board agreed to write a letter to WAVE.  Also they agreed to write to Comcast and CenturyLink to get information about the adoption rate of their low income Internet programs.

Download (DOCX, 16KB)

Daniel drafted a letter with assistance from Tony Perez.

Beryl- 3rd Paragraph, 3rd sentence. Re CTTAB would be happy to help ensure success of a program.  This puts too much responsibility on the board.

Rob – proposed change that we would help promote the program rather than ensure success of it.

Strike “To All” and “has to offer”:  Replace with: To obtain affordable access to the Internet

Be clearer that we know they don’t they offer it.

David stated that Tony had asked last year when we were compiling information for a webinar and web site information.

Nancy Sherman stated that she asked for service and they don’t have a rate lower than $20/month.

Phillip: They may have different plans in different places.

Beryl: this is to request and get info back to open up discussion with them.

Mary Taylor: Jane Nishita does the bulk of training and they would be happy to provide info. They’re eligibility is broader, but

Let’s talk to follow up and get more detail on what’s wanted and what we can provide.

Rob: should this go to committee.

Brian – Yes, put this to committees.

Need some different baseline info.

Mary: She suggests asking the state for the number of people who qualify for the public telephone assistance (program). She thinks they’re only getting about 30% participation.

Ben: There are two data points, neither of which we have:  how many people are subscribing and how many are potentially qualified.

Rob: Also should ask what languages the outreach is in. He sees this issue in the public school students he works with.

Ben: As Nancy pointed out, there is also what creatively could or should be done to light up a low income building that wouldn’t otherwise have it. This could be using Tech Matching Fund or other solutions.

Rob moved CTTAB to approve the letter as amended. Daniel seconded. Approved unanimously.

Thanks to Broadband Committee for their work on this.

7) Preliminary discussion of City priorities and CTTAB workplan

Ben: Dana presented a general plan at the last meeting for distilling the work and developing a workplan. This includes a plan for engaging Board members and the public.

Dana: We will put our notes on the CTTAB blog and encourage comments.

For March, the officers will have a plan for using the meeting to distill the priorities to actionable work items and come up with committees to work on these.

Ben: The officers will also make an effort to start a “strawman,” a draft distillation of the priorities and committees, for feedback and development. Will post this to the blog.

There was discussion of how to get wider input and to get materials on the website for review early enough.

For review at the next meeting: Responsibilities of chair and process for getting materials posted.

Committees will continue as is for now.

Beryl: Before we go into planning, suggest we talk about the practice of sending items to the committee. There are fewer people on a committee, so less perspective, less input and then it gets rubber stamped here. For Mayor and Council to listen, they woul want to know that more people were involved in the crafting, but also do need to balance the time spent. She would like a discussion on this.

Ben: His instinct is that committees is where a lot of the work gets done and then it comes back to the full Board for discussion. But we should look at how we review items and vote on what comes out of committee.

Phillip: Also need to make sure committee activities and participation is vibrant.

Beryl: This didn’t happen with the Seattle Channel committee. It started out vibrant and participation of outside people dropped off. Then the mandate came here for a vote. Not sure if people read it.

Rob: Yes, we don’t want 1-2 people doing the thinking and the rest of us don’t do the deep thinking that needs to happen.

1)      It will help if committee info can be made available a week or two in advance and everyone has a chance to read and comment.

2)      None of us are limited to only go to one committee, so for instance anyone could go to the broadband committee.

With 3 officers we hopefully have a little more capacity to help with administrivia, like making sure that committees get well publicized in advance.

Ben: Good suggestions. Also let’s look at the monthly cycle that was discussed last year to make sure process is in place and getting used.

Indicators: David circulated draft recommendations that will be in the summary report for consideration in the Board looking at its workplan. He could do a later presentation on the data.  Could put this on the Board’s agenda for the year.  Completing the analysis and finalizing and laying out the report has taken much longer than expected. Expect in the next few weeks to be ready to post. Would like CTTAB to consider how they want to be involved.

Rob: Will raw data be available?

David: Yes, but this will take longer to get data cleaned up for posting, but the plan is to get it on data.seattle.gov.

There was a short discussion that the data could be used for classes at the UW ISchool and elsewhere and additional analysis done.

Download (DOCX, 17KB)

8)  CTTAB Agenda Item and Motions guidelines

This item was tabled to next meeting.

9) Upcoming Meetings:

Feb 24th: Broadband committee. Last Monday of each month.

Beryl: Will there be a Seattle Channel Committee?

Sabra: There doesn’t appear to be a need for it this year, but if items come up it may make sense to bring them to the public engagement committee.

Stacey: TMF grant reviews will start up end of March, so she’ll be asking for participants.

Straw for committees: TMF/Digital inclusion, Broadband (for discussion whether cable should be part of this committee or separate);

Ben: And Public engagement.

Rob: Consider Standing committees or project committees.

Phillip: regular meetings are really helpful so people know what they are and to come.

Sabra: Regular committee meetings don’t need to be monthly. Need to reasonable for  volunteers

Daniel: Are any groups meeting virtually?

Some PEOMPS and GetOnline meetings have been over phone.

The meeting was adjourned.