June 13, 2017 Meeting – Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board
Topics covered included: CTAB board appointments; TMF recommendations and board vote; report on Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband conference by David Keyes; reports from the Cable and Broadband Committee, E-Government Committee, Privacy Committee on the Surveillance Ordinance, and the Digital Inclusion Committee; discussion on CTAB recommendations and/or comments on Restoring Internet Freedom; summer meeting schedule.
This meeting was held: June 13, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m., Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2750
Podcasts available at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/CTTAB/podcast/cttab.xml
Board Members: Jose Vasqez, Heather Lewis, Karia Wong, Chris Alejano, Eliab Sisay, John Krull, Amy Hirotaka
Public: Dorene Cornwell, Harte Daniels, Lloyd Douglas, John Krull (schools), Torgie Madison, Charlotte Lunday, Felix Chang, Adam Owen (Century Link), Terrell Kelly (Y Tech), Scottie Isen, George Richardson, Ryan Furey
Staff: Chance Hunt, David Keyes, Derrick Hall, Cass Magnuski
24 In Attendance
Jose Vasquez: Welcome, everybody, to the June CTAB meeting. Beautiful day outside. Thank you for being here. We’ll get started with introductions while we wait for everybody to settle in.
Jose Vasquez: Everyone please speak up. We’re recording this meeting for the public record. So make sure that little device can hear you.
Agenda and May CTAB meeting minutes were approved.
RECORDING MACHINE SHUT OFF BY ITSELF until second hour. There was no backup recording. Following is this writer’s attempt to report what happened in the first hour.
TECHNOLOGY MATCHING FUND GRANTS
Chris Alejano updated the board on TMF recommendations. The Digital Inclusion Tech Matching Fund Review Committee is presenting their recommendations for a vote to forward them for approval by the City. The review panel consisted of a diverse group of CTAB members, community members and City staff. The 2017 panel included Jose Vasquez, Chris Alejano, Mark DeLoura, Eliab Sisay, Joneil Sampana, Heather Lewis, Amy Hirotaka, ZamZam Abdulgani, John Lefevre, Julie Pham, Will Pugh, Jen Hughes, Jacob Goldbas, Delia Burke and Vicky Yuki. In this application cycle the City received thirty-six applications, requesting over $1.1 million with an average request of $32,389.
After rigorously applying the Tech Matching Fund selection criteria, the committee is recommending funding a slate of fifteen community organizations. The projects represent a broad range of community-driven, collaborative solutions to achieving digital equity in Seattle. The grants will strengthen community partnerships, leverage existing expertise, and engage historically underserved or underrepresented communities.
City Council is expected to approve on the second or fourth Tuesday in August. A reception with Mayor Murray will be held; date and time to be decided. Amy Hirotaka moved to approve the slate, with Chris Alejano seconding. The CTAB board voted to approve the recommendations with Chris Alejano abstaining on one applicant, due to possible conflict of interest. Heather Lewis moved to accept the rest of the slate, with Eliab Sisay seconding. Motion passes. See attached recommendations for details.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS
It was announced that Torgie Madison and John Krull will be joining the board, pending City Council approval.
Nothing was captured from public comment and announcements, however, Harte Daniels discussed Aunt Bertha, auntbertha.com, which is a search engine that uses zip codes to provide local links to free or reduced cost services such as medical care, food, job training, and more.
Torgie Madison suggested that Comcast be approached to fund future TMF grants, as people drop out of cable TV contracts. Board members and David Keyes discussed the two current streams of funding. Torgie was referred to the Broadband Committee for further discussion.
David Keyes: The Urban League is scheduling an August 17th, 1 pm completion event for their Summer University, to be held at City Hall. This is one of the 2016 Tech Matching Fund projects. The Summer University targets at-risk high school students of color. The 6-week program provided academic enrichment and skill-building through a STEAM curriculum and is taught on the campus of Seattle Central.
Amy Hirotaka: The students will be touring Facebook as part of the Summer University tech career exposure.
See http://www.urbanleague.org/education/summer-university/ Their Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/seaurbanleague/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf.
SCHOOLS, HEALTH, AND LIBRARIES BROADBAND (SHLB) CONFERENCE
David Keyes attended the 7th Annual SHLB Conference, held May 30 through June 2 in Crystal City, Virginia, and gave the CTAB board an overview. The SHLB Coalition represents and advocates for broadband for anchor institutions and their constituents. The conference explored five tracks: 1) Broadband Policy in the Trump Administration, 2) Building Telehealth Networks to Rural Communities, 3) The Future of the E-rate Program, 4) Financing Broadband Networks, and 5) Anchor Institutions and Home Access.” http://2017conference.shlb.org/about/
A few highlights included:
- The non-profit EveryoneOn is taking over most of federal HUD ConnectHome project, which works to increase connectivity and skills for public housing residents. They broker partnerships and offer a portal and resources for obtaining low-income broadband services and devices.
- In Arlington Virginia, their Partnership for Affordable Housing is looking at providing internet for free to a public housing complex by allowing provider to use their dark fiber.
- A Cleveland hospital is extending wifi to nearby housing.
- Choctaw Nation teaching senior health online including prescription ordering.
- San Jose is piloting a project with a school district to look at connecting the networks beyond the school day, so chromebook can have the same onboarding process at the community center or library and at the home. In San Jose, cops got called to a park for gangs assembled. It turned out to be a group of teens using the wifi for homework. It was actually safer because kids were engaged and parents came to use it too.
Implementation of Lifeline Broadband providers was put on hold by the Trump Administration. There is a clause in the FCC Restoring Internet Freedom (net neutrality) proceeding regarding Lifeline. They have stalled the eligibility for broadband only providers and for aggregation. According to the National Consumer Law Center: It would be helpful to have comments on how aggregation could work. This is the opportunity for a public housing authority or a broadband provider to collect the Lifeline discount from a group of subscribers (eg apartment residents) and apply it together. For instance, this could enable lower cost purchasing of services or activate internet for a whole building at a time.
Jose Vasquez: Okay, everybody, we’re back. Hopefully, we’ll get to go home a little early. Cable and Broadband Committee?
CABLE AND BROADBAND COMMITTEE UPDATE
Karia Wong: We met on the first Monday of this month because the last Monday in May is Memorial Day. The Broadband Committee initiated a conversation with Century Link to follow up on the conversation with Mary recently. Last year we were told of a few solutions. We got into the billing issues and also the issues we have seen with the applications for broadband: Internet Basics and also Lifeline. We examined the issues and sought solutions. As far as we know, we were told that when there are issues, we just need to call Century Link and identify that we are calling from Seattle and the call will be routed to a special place where they will handle the billing and applications issues. But, recently we found out that that was not the case. Sometimes the call was routed to the main line; sometimes it was routed to billing, or even the sales department. We talked about that. Adam was there trying to adjust the issues, because he has been with Century Link for a very long time. He has had a lot of hands-on experience and also a lot of technical knowledge to help us get a better picture of where the issues are and how they are going to resolve them. It was a very good conversation that we had. We also talked about the future of Internet Basics. There is the possibility that this program will be fading out, but we are not sure yet, so we are just trying to balance the conversations that we’ve had with Century Link last year.
Jose Vasquez: Are there any follow up calls or …?
Karia Wong: We are trying to schedule meetings to try to touch base and to get updates on the progress, especially with these issues. One of the solutions right now–because there are times when we called the billing department, there is a possibility that we we get routed to the sales department. Especially for people of color or people who don’t speak English.
Jose Vasquez: Thanks for the work that you and Amy are doing with the committee and bringing up these issues and elevating them. I’m really happy to have you representatives here who are willing to engage and have these conversations and trying to come up with solutions so that community members don’t have to go into a lot of issues or jump through a lot of hoops to get access to affordable broadband, which I think this board is really supportive of–providing more access to broadband services and making it affordable for those who really need it.
Karia Wong: We also mentioned about, in the future, how are they going to address calls from people who do not speak English, like immigrants and refugees.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. And when is your next meeting?
Karia Wong: It will be the last Monday of June, the 26th. If we have City staff, we could meet here. Because the building is closed to the public at 7:00. If we don’t have City staff join us, we will meet at CISC or a coffee shop nearby. I will send out the place for that.
Jose Vasquez: Great.
Harte Daniels: Jose, as an FYI, on the issue of multiple languages, Providence Health Center, headquartered in Renton, has an investment arm, and they have invested in a business in Kent that supplies translation through VRI–the same type of technique that they use for translators for the deaf. That’s a local company. Specifically, at least for the health care industry, it is addressing the same issues, and has found a solution for these issues.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. I think in this case, they have their own call centers….
Harte Daniels: I understand. I’m just informing both of them that there are people there that can help in this arena.
Adam Owen: I have some updated information, if you want it right now.
Jose Vasquez: If you don’t mind, can we table this in order to get through the reports, and bring it up later, if we have time? We definitely want to hear it, but I just want to be respectful to the committees’ time. E-Gov Committee?
E-GOV COMMITTEE UPDATE
Heather Lewis: At the last meeting the E-Gov Committee voted to take a recess for the summer. We had a couple of projects that were winding down, and then there was another one that was dependent upon a partnership between Seattle City Council and the committee. And between vacations and a number of other things on their plates, it looks like it makes sense to reconvene in September. So, our committee won’t be meeting in July or August.
Derrick Hall: I have an announcement to the board. I need a guinea pig to test Sharepoint.
Chris Alejano: Okay. I can do it.
Derrick Hall: Great. Thank you.
Karia Wong: Question. When will Sharepoint be alive?
Derrick Hall: I will know more after he has finished testing. By the next meeting, I think.
Karia Wong: What is the timeline?
Jose Vasquez: Will it be at the next meeting, based on the what the findings are? Hopefully, we can get it as soon as possible. We need it.
Chris Alejano: Virginia Gleason set it up, didn’t she?
Derrick Hall: She partially set it up, but then she left. So, I’m kind of in the middle of trying to figure out where she left it.
Chris Alejano: I’ll follow that email and see where it goes.
Jose Vasquez: Okay. Thanks for taking that on. Privacy Committee? So Christopher Sheats wasn’t able to make it, but we do have an update.
PRIVACY COMMITTEE UPDATE
David Keyes: Wasn’t there a question about the Surveillance Ordinance? I don’t know much about this, other than that there is a pending Surveillance Ordinance in front of the City Council. There was one draft circulated in April, and Michael Mattmiller thinks this will probably be scheduled for July.
Heather Lewis: That was the information I have, too.
Jose Vasquez: If anybody has interest in the Surveillance Ordinance, keep an eye out for that. It will be going around possibly for a July vote. Everybody is welcome to attend City Council meetings.
Charlotte Lunday: I was just wondering if there is any kind of formal name or citation or something for it?
Heather Lewis: I Googled it earlier and it came up right away. Seattle Survey Ordinance. Perhaps we can follow up with a link.
Jose Vasquez: Yeah, we’ll put it into the minutes. http:bit.ly/2rfKW3U Okay, Digital Inclusion Committee?
DIGITAL INCLUSION COMMITTEE
Chris Alejano: For part of our meeting, we just focused on getting ourselves right for the Tech Matching Fund review. That sort of checks off that box. The other half of the conversation was revisiting this effort that we want to initiate around creating this digital literacy network. By way of background, for those of you unfamiliar with it, we had about three months ago, talked to some folks down in Austin, where the City of Austin helped pull together community stakeholders that were doing work in tech or digital equity. Their group is called the Digital Harmony Community of Austin. It’s a grassroots effort that the City helped to initiate that would get businesses, corporations, nonprofit organizations or others, to come up with some initiatives or efforts that they all want to collaborate on around a digital equity umbrella. The thought was trying to utilize CTAB as perhaps a convener for a similar, sort of Seattle-based effort, but around this umbrella of digital literacy. That said, the committee is a very small group of folks that consist mainly of board members at this time. I think that in this meeting, as well as in past meetings, we have to do a better job of pulling in others to help do this work. And re-engaging in outreach to TMF grantees or other organizations that are doing this work and have a stake in digital equity and digital literacy. So, the first thing we’re going to do is do a scrub of the current digital equity listserv, and at least pull the emails of folks that are on that, and focus on all of the tech matching work. I haven’t gotten around to that, but I have a week until the next meeting. So we can check off that box, but the hope is to just sort of see who on there still wants to be included in that. And then refresh that base so we can start inviting folks.The other piece was we started a Google doc that would help identify folks within the community, whether it’s Tech Matching Fund folks or other organizations that we personally are connected to that could help us initiate this and help us to do some brainstorming, thinking about what this kind of group would look like. So, really, we’re at the stage of just trying to pull in people. And to ramp up the interest in it. But I think there’s an initial phase of just trying to figure out what it is that we want to do with it, and I think the conversation needs to be extended beyond CTAB board members. So, hopefully by the next committee meeting, we will have hopefully identified some folks. And I would like to figure out a way to engage other CTAB board members and get their thoughts on what we’ve boiler-plated to see if that makes sense, and to otherwise get their feedback. Obviously, we would like to link up with Seattle IT that need to be pulled in. Because it certainly isn’t going to happen by itself or just by the committee’s work.
Jose Vasquez: Would it be helpful at a future CTAB meeting presenting on the conversation we had with Austin? Kind of get some more background.
David Keyes: I was going to bring this to the Digital Inclusion Committee meeting, assuming we were meeting next Tuesday…?
Chris Alejano: Wednesday.
David Keyes: Wednesday? I’ve got a little bit of information, too, about a couple of other cities that are doing digital literacy coalitions.
Chris Alejano: That will be Wednesday, the 21st. We usually meet at the Porch office, but seeing that there’s a Sounders game that night, it’s probably not the best place to meet in SODO. Last month, we met at the Sitting Room in Queen Anne. I guess that could be a placeholder. 6:00 to 7:30.
Jose Vasquez: I did also want to mention, when we had our initial conversation with Austin, I did a quick search on what types of networks exist across the country, and only Austin and Seattle kept on coming up in articles about cities that are doing digital equity work. So, kudos to us and to Austin for being the leaders in digital equity. We’re still figuring it out as we’re going, but it sounds like we’re ahead of the curve here.
Chris Alejano: I think part of it to make it more coherent. I think there are lots of efforts happening in and around the City. People who knew the community tried to figure out who is the convener, how to get connected to these folks, it’s really hard. I think part of what may be able to happen with pulling this coalition together, is to have that one-stop shop.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. For the Restoring Internet Freedom proceedings, anybody have an overview?
FCC RESTORING INTERNET FREEDOM PROCEEDING DISCUSSION
David Keyes: Mark DeLoura sent out–I think it was Mark. He’s not here, so we can assign it to him, right? Joneil is not here, either, so that would make a good pair. So this would be a good follow up, and I have a general picture that there is this Restoring Internet Freedom, which is the administration’s re-look at the classification of internet, at net neutrality, a fairly broad range of things. There is a proceeding right now that has a July 7, first deadline, and then an August 16 date to reply to comments.
Chris Alejano: July 7th or 17th, David?
David Keyes: July 17th is the first date. And then August 16th. We’re finding wit some of these things is it is a fairly short comment period. I looked yesterday, and there has been 4,975,000 filings on this so far. A lot of them are just one word or something. I think it is slightly different for group submissions. There have been a number of different articles about it. I think the crux is comments on he classification of broadband and how the internet is treated, there is the net neutrality approach, and then as I mentioned, there is this clause also about Lifeline. I think what Mark was throwing out to the board is whether you wanted to comment. And in general, there are two things you can do. You can make recommendations where the City files comments. I don’t actually know whether the time to file comments is now. I know in the past we submitted comments directly. We could do that with the Austin advisory too.
Jose Vasquez: So, the question is do we want to take it on officially and vote on it to provide our own public comment as the CTAB board? We could discuss it at one of the committee meetings and then come back to the July 11 meeting and officially vote?
Charlotte Lunday: Sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt, I kind of love the Administrative Procedure Act which governs this process in part. When you write comments, the federal agency has to respond. It is legally obligated to respond to and consider significant comments. It’s a little unclear what that means, but basically, a really well drafted comment that has good points that counter the agency’s position is something that they have to consider. And they have to have a good, substantive response for it. What this does is it sets up where agencies get sued all the time because people are always unhappy with whatever decision they make. This comment process is one of the ways in which, if and when there is litigation, judges review based on particular standards around this process. So, I would say that putting it off to July 11 wouldn’t really give you a lot of time to make a really good and well-vetted comment. But, as a member of the public who really loves this stuff, I would be more than happy to help draft. I am not yet licensed as an attorney, but I do have a law degree, so I can understand some of this stuff. And actually, with net neutrality rules on internet regulation under Title 2, that was actually when I was going through administrative law, the class, so that entire quarter was focused a lot on this particular issue. So, I would be really happy to help. I would just caution about pushing it too far back.
Jose Vasquez: So, definitely yes. Please, we would love your help. For it to be an official comment from CTAB, there has to be an official vote and on the agenda prior to it. So we can’t vote on it today, whether or not we want to. We would appreciate any help preparing a comment like that. So we would send it out to committee, where we would have that conversation and draft it out. That’s where we would engage whoever is interested and then bring it to the next CTAB board meeting to review it, make any final comments or edits, and then officially vote on it to have it be an official comment.
David Keyes: But it can get sent out for review and comment prior to the meeting. So there can be versions and development.
Heather Lewis: So,given that we don’t have an E-Gov Committee meeting in June, I would be happy to host something during the regular E-Gov time, for anybody who is interested. Because I would also like to participate.
Karia Wong: What is the schedule for E-Gov?
Heather Lewis: I’ll put that on the board. I’m checking the date right now. It would be June 27.
Jose Vasquez: Maybe after the meeting, those that are interested can stay behind we can come up with a plan. Sounds like we have a plan with the next E-Gov time slot where we can have the official work group meeting, maybe some can go out and start drafting something together to come present at the next CTAB board meeting. Does that sound good?
David Keyes: I’ve got some background information from some of the other consumer groups and folks in the national Digital Inclusion Alliance and others who have some concerns about helpful comments. Probably Tony Perez does also.
Eliab Sisay: When did you say the deadline is?
David Keyes: July 17, I think it said. July 17 is the first deadline, and August 16 for reply to comments.
Jose Vasquez: So, when we vote and if we approve it on July 11, we can officially comment on the FCC web site, or we could also send a copy to City Council and the Mayor’s Office, if we want to consider asking them to also provide some comment. I’m just putting it out there in case there’s a recommendation that we want to put out. I know that also because there is little time to the City….
Dorene Cornwell: Excuse me for jumping ahead, but I think making sure that CTAB can get our comment together and voted on by the 11 is important, but I also think it sounds like in the process that we can ask the City Council just to sign off on ours, but would it be valuable to put together some information and send it to Council with recommendation that they make a response statement on it.
Jose Vasquez: Yes, we can always ask. We don’t control what the Council takes on but we can always make those recommendations.
Harte Daniels: We exist to be their advisers, so somebody that can talk to the Council before their meeting.
Karia Wong: I think we made some comment on the FCC regulations a couple of years ago. Maybe we could just take a look at what our point was at that time, and then move from there.
Heather Lewis: That’s on the web site, so it would be easy to do.
Jose Vasquez: We have one minute left, but yes, this is a great idea. I love seeing community involvement. The more the merrier. One last comment before we move on?
Lloyd Douglas: Did we ever see the response to the last comment we sent to the FCC?
Jose Vasquez: I haven’t seen it.
Amy Hirotaka: No. Because I’m the one who submitted it, so my email address would have been the contact. Or I made David Keyes the contact. Did you get something David? I didn’t.
David Keyes: We typically don’t receive a direct–other than an affirmation that something was submitted.
Charlotte Lunday: If I may clarify that point? Usually how responses are done, is typically not to individually to a comment. At the end of the comment process, the agency makes their decision and lays out their reasoning. And within their reasoning, they have to hit on significant points. That’s what I meant.
Jose Vasquez: All right, if you’re interested in this, please stay afterwards. We’ll get an email list going and we’ll get that going. Thanks. We’re running early. Would you mind if we invite Century Link to give a a few updates to the Broadband Committee?
CENTURY LINK UPDATE
Adam Owen: I did a little bit of research. I know in regard to the network call in there is a specific number you can call and talk to them at length, and go through situations and they said that there is a certain number. It’s based in Omaha, and it’s the only number that people are supposed to call. So calling to any other number, it will not be routed to that group. They need to call back to that specific number. So I do have that and I can give it to you. Regarding translation, they said if they can get somebody to specify what the language is, they can actually get a translator on the phone. So, I’ve listed a bunch of ones that I know, that cover Russian, Ukranian, Somalian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean. And basically, specify when you are talking to them, and if they would like to get a translator, they can. It does go to a third party, so it does take a few minutes to get the other company online, and it would be basically a conference call. I guess the question is whether or not the person calling would be okay with having another person be on the phone with them.
Karia Wong: Number one, how are you going to share that phone number?
Adam Owen: I didn’t ask that question.
Karia Wong: Initially, we were told that we just need to call one number, and as soon as they identified that the call was from Seattle, we would be routed to a particular tier.
Adam Owen: I’ll take a look and see how that will be communicated. Hopefully, we’ll get more information on that. And in regards to the Lifeline portion, and being able to call someone directly. There is actually a Docs form where whenever you speak to–whether it’s the local retail store or any of the stores–they need to have a Docs form, which is basically just a survey form, and all the information you put in goes specifically to a group that actually handles it. Because there’s a lot of applications that come through. It will give them some time to do a little research on that. So, there is a process, but you’re right. Being able to get that communicated out is very important. We need to make sure that everyone knows how to do that.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. Now we move on to the meeting schedule for June, July, and August. We don’t take a break, but we usually have a smaller agenda during the summer break, because people take vacations and whatnot, and sun is out full blast and we want to be outside. Heather and I have been talking about a follow-up conversation on strategic planning. It was a conversation that we had at the beginning of the year, and we definitely want to continue that and bring that back up. so, I’ll be sending out an email to figure out what is the best approach for that, whether we maybe come in an hour early at one of these meetings, and have the conversation before we present here at the board. Or maybe we do an executive session during one of those lighter agenda months. We’ll see what the majority thinks is best. We want to be respectful of everyone’s time. We’ll get something figured out and scheduled possibly for August to officially get this all finalized by September. It will be good for the new CTAB members to be engaged in this process and also give us feedback as outsiders to the process that we’ve been doing so far. Once we present to the official board, we’ll also encourage feedback from the community at large to kind of help guide us in our strategic planning. Sound good? Is there anybody taking any holidays during CTAB meetings for July and August? If so, feel free to send me an email so that we can start planning around it. Especially if we’re not going to have quorum. I think one time that happened where in one of the summer months, there was very light turnout. Any questions about that? Comments? Great. Now wrap up.
David Keyes: There’s one thing I put up here. I found the Council Surveillance legislation that was just before committee. So, there’s a summary and fiscal note. It was sitting in committee for discussion, but at least you can get to the Council information on our Legistar system. I just made a Bitly, because it was really long. http://bit.ly/2rfKW3U
Jose Vasquez: Great! Any other wrap up items? The possibility of coming back and doing an Austin presentation. The possibility of doing a presentation on Get Engaged, because I see some new Get Engaged people. We could present on the definition of Get Engaged, how we’re trying to engage more youth at the board level, and especially your experience with it. And then, maybe a conversation about Lifeline in general. How we as a City are approaching that and advocating for the communities. Anything else? Okay, then, with that, we wrap up our meeting. Meeting adjourned.