April 14th CTAB Meeting Minutes
City of Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board (CTAB)
Topics covered included: CenturyLink Gigabit service build-out update; Update from Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller; a discussion of the Comprehensive Plan and technology with Seattle Planning Commission members; Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) parking Pay By Phone application expansion; and reports from the Digital Inclusion Committee, the E-Gov Committee, and the Privacy Committee.
This meeting was held: April 14. 2015; 6:00-8:00, Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2750
Podcasts available at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/CTTAB/podcast/cttab.xml
Board Members: Nourisha Wells, Beryl Fernandes, Sarah Trowbridge, Jose Vasquez, Joneil Sampana, Karia Wong, Amy Hirotaka, Carmen Rahm
Public: Chris Flugstad (Cascade Link), Lloyd Douglas, Chris Lona (CL Design), Greg Howes (AEC Hackathon), Rama Shewai, Ann Summy, Margie Nicosia, Phil Mocek (Seattle Privacy Coalition), Mary Taylor and Robert Larson (Century Link), S.Z. Montsaroff (Swimming Bar Consulting), Henok Kidane, Seth Vincent (Code for Seattle), Vanessa Murdock & Amalia Leighton (Seattle Planning Commission), Daniel Stiefel, Dorene Cornwell
Staff: David Keyes, Derrick Hall, Alice Lawson, Cass Magnuski, Catherine Snyder (Seattle Department of Transportation – SDOT)
29 In Attendance
Meeting was called to order by Nourisha Wells.
Minutes for March was approved.
New board members Karia Wong and Amy Hirotaka welcomed to the board.
Chief Technology Officer Update
Michael Mattmiller (via videconference): A couple of updates since I spoke with you last. We’ve had a really busy month here in terms of technology. We had Hack the Commute last month on March 23. Was anyone in the room at the event?
David Keyes: There are a couple people here who raised their hands.
Michael Mattmiller: Great! Thanks so much for putting in your time on that great weekend. We had 120 participants who formed 14 different teams and ended up with some really amazing and innovative technology solutions to our transportation challenges here in Seattle. We had things that ranged from digitalizations to support the Vision Zero initiative, almost like a safety score for individual streets and intersections We also had Hack-cessible, which was an app developed to help those with mobility challenges better navigate the sidewalks and streets of downtown. Another personal favorite: We had an app called Slug that was developed to help individuals form car pools with their coworkers to help take cars off the roads. Just a couple of the neat applications we saw developed. For those who are interested, we have the championship round of our Hack A Thon coming up on April 29 in City Hall at 6:00 p.m. There’s a Brown Paper Tickets web site where you can go and get tickets for that championship round, because we will have limited seating. Do I hear Mary in the room, from Century Link?
Mary Taylor: Yes
Michael Mattmiller: I’m excited for everyone to hear the update on how the fiber build out is going and how we’re doing at bringing gigabit service throughout Seattle.
I also wanted to share something else that was very exciting. Last week, Mike Wagers and I had the opportunity to go visit the White House, and talk about our efforts in Seattle around police transparency and accountability. Specifically, how we’re doing things like putting body worn video camera data online, on YouTube, in a redacted manner, so individuals can understand how video from that program is being captured and used. We also got to talk about our open data platform and the different types of police and public safety data sets that we make available online. While, I know in Seattle, we’re always striving to put more out there, many of the cities–and there were about ten other cities in the room, from LA to Austin, to Nashville and others–were very impressed by how much we had up there already. so we are going to continue to push to put more data sets online, as well as think about we, with Socrata, our partners, can develop common taxonomies so that when we invest in how to put data out there, and when our great community hackers and volunteers create innovative solutions from our data, they can do so in a manner that can scale to other cities with minimal modification.
I would love to take any questions from the room.
David Keyes: Any questions? No questions.
Michael Mattmiller: Okay. I’ll keep my update short this month. Again, thank you to everyone on CTAB for all that you do to generate ideas to move us forward as a City. And I look forward to seeing you next month.
Century Link Update with Mary Taylor and Robert Larson
David Keyes: I know that a lot of folks on the board were part of working around some of the changes in the SDOT rules. We had Century Link here about eight or nine months ago.
Mary Taylor: Some of you are new. I am Mary Taylor, the local government director for Century Link.
Robert Larson: And I’m Robert Larson, network planning director for the west region.
Mary Taylor: I appreciate the opportunity to come and talk to you. As David said, it’s been a while since we’ve had a conversation with you folks. We had multiple conversations leading up to a couple of policy changes that we needed or had the drive to try to improve the broadband situation in the City of Seattle. The one that probably got the most attention was the Seattle’s director’s rule. I don’t know if some of the newer members are familiar with that, but that was a collaborative effort including DoIT’s [Department of Information Technology] input, SDOT and a good grassroots organization involvement mainly from the folks that belong to Upton, which is an organization that started as a group trying to drive better broadband in Seattle. It really started in Beacon Hill, but now its membership expanded. It took us several years to get there, but that rule was actually passed and amended through legislation, I think on the 29th of September. Coupled with that riding on a parallel track, which is equally important, which wasn’t quite overt, was a change to Seattle City Light’s construction standards on their poles. And what that did was allowed any provider that meets the criteria to change the construction standards so that they can start mounting broadband equipment or telecommunications equipment on poles. So those two major policy changes are really what allowed Century Link to name Seattle one of our Gig cities out of the 16 that we chose in our footprint. Seattle was named a Gig city, so I want to give you an update on what that means. It took us a little while to get our legs under us, to get our equipment in place and get everything coordinated with contractors and so forth, but we are building symmetrical one gig service. Our main focus is on single family homes. Businesses are on a whole other track. We have a whole different broadband strategy with them. We’re actually deploying fiber to businesses coupled with the single family build, but it’s a different process altogether. But to date, we’ve been able to deploy to over 45,000 individual single family homes. And we expect that to be well over 100,000 by the end of the year. So, it took us a while to get our wheels under us, but we’re moving. And we find it really encouraging.
You’ve probably heard from other providers that they’re starting to look at building fiber to the premises to single family homes as well. I think that’s really driven by a lot of the work this group did in getting those rules modified to allow the technology and equipment to be deployed. So I think we all need a pat on the back. Seattle is moving forward and you’re seeing private industry step up. One hundred thousand single family homes puts us in probably one of the largest builds within our footprint. Seattle is in the forefront of what Century Link’s doing.
The services we offer businesses aren’t limited to one gig. You can get as big a pipe as you want under that plan. But for single family symmetrical services with the fiber to the premises, you can get 40 megabit service, 100 megabit services, or one gig. Those are all symmetrical. Something I think you folks have been particularly interested in is our low income broadband program that we have had for a number of years has also been extended to those fiber to the premise locations. And since the lowest speed that’s enabled there is 40 megabits, folks within that footprint that qualify would then get 40 megabit services for $9.99 for the first year.
Carmen Rahm: What is it after that?
Mary Taylor: $12.95
Carmen Rahm: When you say 100,000 homes, do you mean the area?
Mary Taylor: City of Seattle. We actually have 45,000 homes right now. Somebody who picks up a phone within that footprint can order gigabit service.
Carmen Rahm: Can order it. I see.
David Keyes: 45,000 homes are passed and are eligible for the service.
Mary Taylor: Right. We don’t hang the drop to the house until somebody places an order. That wouldn’t make a lot of sense. That means it’s in the street and we can actually hang the drop so we can connect. This is the plan. I don’t need to tell you more of the technical stuff. That’s pretty exciting, given where we were a couple of years ago when we started talking about the challenges we have in Seattle. We still have work to do on policy issues. I’ve been talking to Michael Mattmiller and the folks at SDOT, and we still have a requirement. If you will recall, the director rule requires you to go to air first for deployment, and if you can’t get the services up on existing poles to go to ground on a private easement. DPD, we’re still working on legislation to allow those cabinets to go on easements. That’s in the works. We provided them language to deal with working with the whole industry group. We have some other issues that we’ve keyed up with Michael and with SDOT, and we’ll continue to have those discussions on things that are unique to Seattle that make it a little more challenging to deploy services. But it’s miles ahead of where we were two years ago when we first came and talked to you about this issue.
Carmen Rahm: What qualifies someone for the low income service? You guys don’t know me, but I’m the CIO for Seattle Public Schools. So this is very near and dear to me, and I’d like to put computers and broadband into everybody’s hands.
Mary Taylor: Our program is different from the other that you’re familiar with. Our program has a completely different qualifying structure. Our program is based off of the existing state and federal Life Line and Wake Up programs. And those have unique qualifiers. Generally speaking–and this is an over-arching statement–anybody that is on a qualifying program through the Department of Social and Health Services (there’s a whole laundry list of programs), so it’s not limited to kids or folks that have kids in the household. It’s if you are a qualified program, at the federal level there is also some income parameters. I’ve got a whole list, a document on my computer, that I would be happy to share with David, that gives you both the state reference and the federal reference.
Sarah Trowbridge: With regards to the future build out, are you determining which single family homes you’ll go into next?
Mary Taylor: I actually have a visual, but it’s highly sensitive. Basically, what we’re doing right now is you’re going to see trucks all over Rainier Valley, South Seattle, Beacon Hill. So, we’re really focused on neighborhoods, 1.) that we can get to aerially, and 2.) where we don’t have a heavy concentration of multi-tenant buildings. Because those create their own unique challenge. You can put fiber in the streets, but if you can’t get into the building, you don’t get a lot of return on your investment. So, we’re really trying to focus on where we can get the most bang the quickest right now. That doesn’t mean that multi-family buildings are being ignored. Those require additional conversations with building owners. There are challenges with wiring the buildings. If you’ve got it in the street, that’s fine, but if the building can’t support the new technology you gain nothing. When our folks engineer this, they look for that.
Robert Larson: Just to expand a little more, Mary’s accurate. A lot of it is network based. By network based, that includes the full infrastructure, where our existing fiber is, which is very expensive through Seattle. As we build it and lay out the network, we certainly make provisions for the multi-tenant properties, even if we haven’t negotiated some type of a wiring agreement, but that is what we are looking at as we plan our network.
Mary Taylor: So, if we pass a multi-tenant building in one of the neighborhood builds, we have enough capacity built into that, so if they come on board, we can serve them. It’s not that we’re completely ignoring them and telling them that they won’t get service.
Carmen Rahm: Have you thought of working with the landlord instead of the tenants so that you can go in and put up a one gig access point that would serve a 20 tenant complex, and give it to them for, say, $50 a month and then they share the costs across the tenants. Now you’ve provided that opportunity. You don’t have to worry about the building infrastructure so much and you’re giving it to maybe a whole community of students? Obviously, I’m kind of partial here.
Mary Taylor: There’s a whole team that works with multi-tenant buildings. Part of their stake in that is the landlords. There are door fees that they like to get the revenue from in existing contracts. Every building is unique unto itself because of the wiring, because of the service arrangement. We do have a team that focuses on those, and we’ll continue to do that. We also have a team member that works on multi-tenant commercial buildings as well. So, the answer is yes, but there isn’t a cookie cutter approach that works.
Beryl Fernandes: Are you working with City Light on the poles?
Mary Taylor: Already done.
Beryl Fernandes: They were in the process of replacing a lot of it also.
Mary Taylor: On the double poles issue, we’ve been working since Century Link acquired Qwest. There’s a backlog of double poles that the City is well aware of, and we set up a program four years ago to start building and chipping away at that backlog. So we’ve got a relationship both on double poles and we work directly with Seattle City Light to develop the new construction standards that are allowing us and our competitors, frankly, to use poles in a way that they haven’t been able to do before.
Karia Wong: I have two questions. We have a lot of people who can sign up for the low income plan, so how do we know if someone is living within that area of 45,000 single family household homes.
Mary Taylor: The only way you can really tell if they qualify is, as those neighborhoods get turned up, they get literature that will tell them that they now have services up to a gig. Anybody can get the low income program across the City, that qualifies, but for them to know uniquely that they qualify for that, either they have to talk to us or they can go online, put their address in and see what speeds they qualify for. That’s the most accurate way to do it. Because as we turn a neighborhood up, we load that data in there and there’s actually an address location where you can feed your address into, and it will tell you real time what you qualify for.
Karia Wong: So for an existing customer, if the speed is available in their neighborhood, does it mean they will receive mail so that they know that there is high speed in their neighborhood? Do they call in to upgrade? What should they do if they are already on the low income plan?
Mary Taylor: On that, I don’t think we’ve quite figured that out yet. I can check that and get back to you.
Chris: Out of those 45,000 homes, how many people have actually subscribed to gigabit?
Mary Taylor: I don’t have that data.
Jose Vasquez: Do you offer any incentives for multi-family buildings, particularly for low income ones? Is that something you would consider? For building owners, I mean. There’s a cost associated with rewiring if a building is not ready to provide that. I’m talk about mom and pop buildings.
Mary Taylor: We do not offer any incentive. We are already discounting the services so heavily. Every one of those things is looked at differently, but no. We’ve had some discussions with Michael Mattmiller about that and that’s one of the things that I hope to discuss with the Digital Equity Action Committee. Part of the incentive is that you can have fiber in the street, but if you can’t get it to the individual apartments, you’re going to leave a large segment of low income folks out of the equation. I see that as one of the areas that the City, if they are going to fund something, could have a direct impact if they were to incent the building owners to upgrade the plant. So that you can get the service. If they were to take some kind of funding to do that, it should be something where if you were to rewire the building and make your building more attractive, it should be open to multiple providers. Not just to a single provider. That’s my pitch. It may fall flat on its face.
Jose Vasquez: You may not have an answer for this, but are you interested in investing in it as well?
Mary Taylor: Our incentive is to provide the discounted service to the customers. Our bankroll right now is going into the gig deployment across the City. We don’t have a separate funding mechanism to rewire the buildings. Occasionally, our folks, when they go in and negotiate with the building owners, there may be some opportunities. It’s all dependent on the building. It depends on the wiring. My folks specialize in that purview.
Stephen Montseroff: How much rewiring would a typical building require? I take it that you’re not going to go through their existing phone lines. You can’t use their cable wires. You’d have to put fiber optics to every resident that wanted it. Is that a correct statement?
Robert Larson: There are really a couple options on how that can be done. A lot of it depends on the age of the building, when it was constructed. Really you need less than 300 feet of CAT5e to the unit. That’s one option. Or you can take fiber all the way to the unit, and then you have to basically figure out your interface points, face power.
Stephen Montseroff: You can have copper for 300 feet to fiber optic and you can still get the bandwidth?
Robert Larson: Specifically, CAT5e or CAT6. That’s the big requirement there.
Mary Taylor: And when I say that buildings differ–Pioneer Square is a good example. Those buildings are so old that you may not have a path to get between floors. Whereas a newer building might or might not have the exact wiring that you need but might have a conduit path. That’s why every building has to be looked at individually.
Phil Mocek: I live in Seattle and am interested in having faster Internet service to my home. Every time I’ve spoken with your sales reps over the past several years, I’ve found that there’s a monthly data transfer cap that would have me maxing out 40 megabit service in about 46 hours. For gigabit service in about 30 minutes. Is that still the case?
Mary Taylor: The gigabit service does not have a data cap. Residential gigabit does not have a data cap at all.
Phil Mocek: And 40 megabit service?
Mary Taylor: Forty megabit still does. Otherwise you’d never sell your gigabit services because everybody would subscribe to 40.
Phil Mocek: 250 gigs in 46 hours? It seems rather misleading to offer that speed of service and then tell people if you use it, it’s going to be capped after two days.
Mary Taylor: That’s perfectly fine and somebody may never hit the data cap, based on our experience. It depends really on what you’re using the service for.
Phil Mocek: But that’s our business, not yours.
Mary Taylor: I understand that. But we do is we’re not one of the providers that start charging you for the data if you overrun it. We notify folks if they hit the data cap. But our one gig service for residences is totally uncapped.
Lloyd Douglas: I live in Cascade and we have buildings with exactly two apartment each, so what’s the schedule for bringing this to our neighborhood?
Mary Taylor: I’d need an address to double check. I’m happy to talk with you afterwards, if you want to give me your address, I can check and see if in a projected build, if your neighborhood is included in that. I can give you some sense if you’re on the schedule, approximately where that’s going to go. But you never know because you might get hung up for permits or whatever. But I’d be happy to get your address and take a look at that.
Chris: How much is the gig service if I called and signed up today?
Mary Taylor: The new prices? If you bundle, you get it for $79.95 for a year and the bundle runs $124.95. That’s voice, long distance and gig. On a stand-alone, if you get it for a 20 month term, it’s $124.95. Once you do an auto-pay, then it’s $114.95 for two years for the gig.
Chris: And it will go up after that?
Mary Taylor: Yes, but I can’t tell you what it is. If we have competitors come into the market, those prices are changing all the time.
Chris: Are there any taxes or fees on top of that?
Mary Taylor: Yes. We always have state fees and taxes.
Beryl Fernandes: What happens when a tenant or an owner moves out? Does the next person coming in have to again pay?
Mary Taylor: It’s just your normal service connection fees. There is no cost.
Carmen Rahm: I would suggest an advisory board to advise Matt and the City of Seattle to work with other partners to find create ways to find a way to provide this service to multi-tenant dwellings. Because that’s where our more impoverished personnel live. When I go out and visit the schools, and I have community meetings at the schools, those are the children that I’m hearing from who say, “Can’t you just put something in the community center at the apartment complex where I live? So I can at least walk down there and not have to walk down the street in the rain and stand outside of Starbucks?
Mary Taylor: I will mention that there are two things that we’re working on right now as par of the
Gig and our involvement with Beacon Hill. We’re working right now to site a tech center. I haven’t yet had a chance to talk to the person that is running the location that we’re looking at. So I’m not going to divulge what that is. It’s an area that does not have anything in close proximity. And then if that’s successful, we’re also talking to the technology grant folks through Michael Mattmiller to see if there’s another location that is under-served where we could offer a tech center as well. And that would be in partnership with Interconnect.org.
David Keyes: A quick thing since I’ve got the report from the E-Cycle event that you guys did with Interconnection last weekend, which was really huge. They filled up three 50-foot trailers with mixed electronics, and one and a half trucks with desktops, laptops and monitors for reuse. You guys had 60 volunteers helping out.
Mary Taylor: It was a really great event. People came from ridiculous places like Bellingham, North Bend, all over the place.
David Keyes: Roughly, about 125 cars per hour they said.
Comprehensive Plan with Vanessa Murdock and Amalia Leighton
Vanessa Murdock: My name is Vanessa Murdock and I’m the director of the Planning Commission and I am joined tonight by Amalia Leighton, who is the chair of the commission. I want to thank you all for having us this evening. The purpose of our coming to you this evening is to raise awareness about the Comprehensive Plan, to explain to you about our role in the Comprehensive Plan, and really to hear some initial thoughts that you might have when the public draft becomes available: what areas of the plan that this group might want to focus on.
The Planning Commission, similar to yourselves, were a 16-member volunteer body, appointed by the Mayor and City Council. We are advisory to the Mayor and City Council and the City department staff. And our role in the Comprehensive Plan–we don’t write the Comprehensive Plan, rather we work collaboratively with the Department staff as they are updating the plan. The first Comprehensive Plan that the City had was released in 1994. This year, the City is undertaking its second major update of the plan. The plan is amended in minor ways every year, but every seven to ten years, the City does a complete overhaul of the plan. Really, looking at the goals and policies, kind of checking in to see if they are still in alignment with the core values of the City and the vision for how the City wants to grow over the next 20 years. So, the plan itself is updated every seven to ten years and the planning horizon of the plan is 20 years.
See information at:
So, in terms of where we are in the timeline, the public draft of the plan will become available in July. There will be at least a 45 day comment period. We’re hoping for at least a little bit longer because it is coming out in the summer. Prior to the plan being released in draft form for public comment and review, a draft environmental impact statement will be released on the plan that focuses on the projected impacts of different gross scenarios that will be outlined in the final plan. In addition to that, for the first time this year, there is an equity appendix that will be looking at the impacts of each of the four gross scenarios in terms of displacement and gentrification. That is something that Seattle is one of the first Cities in the U.S. to do and will definitely be worth a lot of public input and comment on. That draft environmental impact statement and equity appendix is going to be released in a couple of weeks on May 4. There is an open house and public hearing on May 27. Close of comments on that environmental impact statement in June 18. I will forward these dates to David Keyes so that he can share them with everybody here, along with the City’s web site on the plan so you can start taking a look at what issues might be addressed.
Carmen Rahm: Is it just going to focus on growth?
Vanessa Murdock: That is a great question. I didn’t want to start too much from the beginning in case it was something everybody knew. All municipalities within the State of Washington are required to prepare a comprehensive plan that addresses at a bare minimum how each of those municipalities is prepared to accept both residential growth and job growth. Estimates are determined at the county level for each of the jurisdictions of how much it is anticipated each of the jurisdictions will be able to accept and absorb. In the Comprehensive Plan, each of the chapters which are referred to as ‘elements,’ talk about how that growth will be sustained and accommodated in a variety of different topical areas. Those include land use, transportation, housing, which includes subsidized, affordable housing, as well as market rate affordable housing; the environment, capital facilities, utilities, human development. So the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Seattle is a pretty high level document that sets forward goals and policies from which all implementation plans that take place in various departments implement those goals. All neighborhood plans need to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. All modal plans, be it bike, transit, pedestrian–all plans within the City of Seattle need to be consistent with the overarching Comprehensive Plan.
Beryl Fernandes: Does it include digital infrastructure?
Vanessa Murdock: It could include more of that. The draft Comprehensive Plan will be released for public comment in July, and then a Mayor’s plan will be finalized. The current timeline is by the end of the year, and then action will be taken in 2016 by City Council. So the timing of the digital equity initiative is fortuitous.
Question: Does it also have a revised zoning map for the City?
Vanessa Murdock: The Comprehensive Plan doesn’t have a zoning map. What is has is a future land use map, which is a little wonky. The zoning map is by parcel and indicates what you can do with land in that area. The future land use map is meant to be one step higher than that. That just identifies what areas are set aside for manufacturing and industrial, what areas are set aside for residential, and then what areas are mixed use, incorporating both commercial and housing uses.
Question: I assume that there is some model that we have right now, and I assume you’re proposing to either maintain or change it.
Vanessa Murdock: When the draft is released by the Department of Planning and Development in July, I’m not sure if they’re planning to have a before and after but you will certainly on the web site be able to go to the existing Comprehensive Plan and compare the elements as well as maps and graphics to the proposed draft.
Amalia Leighton: So the reason that we’re here and why we thought you might be interested in this is that we are really stressing that there be a lens of equity. The existing Comprehensive Plan, the tagline is “Towards a Sustainable Seattle.’ We think that Seattle is leading in a lot of things, but what we really need to work on is equity. We have some historical inequities, we have vulnerable populations, and the Comprehensive Plan as it exists does not adequately address that, in our opinion.
As Vanessa mentioned, as part of the environmental impact statement, which is the legal analysis that is being looked at, they have gone above and beyond what is required by the state for an environmental impact statement, and included this equity analysis. So that is really putting Seattle at the forefront. And there’s a lot of interesting information about that.
With the discussions that we just heard with Century Link, and the things that we see on improving digital equity, you are on par for that.
There’s a couple of things related to equity that we wanted to come and talk to you about, that might peak your interest. Hopefully, you could provide some comments about this process. The first is acknowledging that technology has come a long way and that this is critical infrastructure, and having that addressed likely in our capital facilities and utilities element, or even the public services element. You’ll see that in the environmental impact statement as well as in the draft. You can either make comments on whether that was analyzed appropriately in the EIS, and if the policy statements were updated so that we’re really reflecting current technologies in the actual draft of the Comprehensive Plan. So that’s one way that your expertise could weigh in and be beneficial.
Then there’s just the presentation of the Comprehensive Plan, through the lens of equity and accessibility and technology. The last one was written in 2004. We all know that we’re living in a very different age than 2004, and there are ways to be interactive and searchable for these documents. I’m sure that most of you have never read the Comprehensive Plan, and that is okay. But what we want is that if you have a question about the Comprehensive Plan, we want you to be able to go to a web site like this and be able to search for something. So if you’re interested in technology in the Comprehensive Plan, we think it would be beneficial to have a search engine for the plan that you could search for technology. Or you could search for Internet access, or something related to your interests.
That is not possible right now. It is a PDF static document that gets updated once a year. We think there is some benefit, particularly to improving digital equity for the plan, and accessibility, which we realize that that is not technically your piece.
Comment: Oh yes it is!
Amalia Leighton: That’s great. Both of those things would be very critical and we are making recommendations to the Department of Planning and Development to make the plan more accessible and equitable. So it would be really helpful if there were other boards and commissions that have the ability to weigh in and have expertise. We feel that you guys definitely bring that to the table.
As Vanessa mentioned, there is a lot of opportunity to look through this in the next few months and this ties in with what seems to be nicely with your conversations around digital equity. We also are trying to encourage–right now there is limited funding for public outreach around this and there is limited funding to actually make this plan more readable if it’s going to be predominantly housed on our web site and be digitally accessible. We’re trying to acknowledge that, to put in graphics or interactivity, or searchability in the document, and also making sure that as you’re discussing, it reaches the population of Seattle in a broad spectrum if it is going to be an Internet based document. How can we improve that, both the accessibility and the look and feel of searchability and at what point things need to be translated and things like that. We’re acknowledging that that costs money and that we’re saying that you should allocate funds. Because we are only doing this update every ten years and this is a pivotal point. We are a City of smart people and we need to have the technology that aligns with that.
Beryl Fernandes: What kind of outreach did you do to the population?
Amalia Leighton: The Planning Commission is advisory, similar to you. So we have been more commenting on the City’s public outreach. The City has done a variety of outreach components. Some of it, in much more detail, is listed on here. But they have a couple things that they do, just large meetings in different neighborhoods, but they also still are working with the Department of Neighborhoods, community liaisons in smaller groups focusing on people with English as a second language, hitting target audiences or working with communities that don’t feel comfortable working in a larger group or attending a public meeting–going to where they are, going to community centers where they are more comfortable. I don’t have all of the details on exactly how many meetings, but that is generally how they have been moving forward and getting input.
Comment: You’re working out of the planning department?
Amalia Leighton: Correct. We’re advisory, just like you.
Comment: And you’re saying that right now you don’t have what you feel is a good digital presence for your process.
Amalia Leighton: Let me be clear. The Comprehensive Plan itself does not have a good digital presence. So, the actual document.
Comment: The planning department has lots of documents, many of which should be online. Should this simply be folded into whatever process they use for putting documents online. and which one would assume would be part of a larger City process for putting documents online?
Amalia Leighton: Think of this document as the granddaddy of all documents. In the Department of Planning and Development, this is the document which all of their documents must relate, reference, be consistent with. If you print it out in a binder, that’s about [gestures] this thick. Not everyone wants to have that in their home or go to the library and look at a hard copy. Right now, most DPD documents are put online as a PDF. The challenge is that they are a lot smaller and easier to read: 20 pages, maybe 30 pages. This document is hundreds of pages and as a PDF, it’s not searchable in its current state. To go beyond the status quo of most DPD documents are, because they’re smaller, this needs to take it up a notch.
Vanessa Murdock: That’s our recommendation to the Planning Department.
David Keyes: Maybe we could do a few more questions. Functionally, that might end up being what its tagging architecture and relation and how it’s held as a relational database.
Amalia Leighton: And the last document, again, was done in 2004.
Question: Are you aware that there are thousands of people building digital models in Seattle like this one online available for free?
Amalia Leighton: Actually, someone on the Planning Commission also does a lot of digital modeling in the City and uses some of the City’s graphics, the GIS particularly, and he’s been very involved with those conversations about how to make it more interactive to in showing what these changes potentially look like. That’s been discussion. Nothing has been solidified yet.
Question: I’m wondering why you don’t mention crowd sourcing issues, mapping those needs?
Amalia Leighton: Keep in mind again that we are advisory. So we’re not actually meeting any of those processes. We’ve had some of the same discussions. The Comprehensive Plan is a very high City document. Because it’s a reality that the City departments have different responses. Some of the requirement that we have to follow are state laws and a state mandate, tied to funding and regulation that requires certain things to be done in a certain way, be it good or bad or archaic. That’s the reality of where we are right now. So that’s exactly what we’re trying to do: make recommendations as to how to bring in newer technologies to make it easier where legally applicable and cheaper. That’s exactly the type of comment that we would like to see from this group, because we don’t have that same expertise.
Nourisha Wells: If someone has a follow up question, how can they get in touch with you?
Amalia Leighton: Vanessa is our executive director. She’s our staff liaison, effectively, like David. So if you have any questions, you can contact her and her contact information is on the web site.
Carmen Rahm: So you guys were here coming from one City department to another City department and ask for money to digitize your information.
Amalia Leighton: No. We come to you as a complementary advisory board. I am the chair of the Planning Commission. I am a volunteer just like you. I sit on the Planning Commission. We wanted to come to say that the Planning Commission is an advisory board whose major work is the Comprehensive Plan. And we sought some alignment between your work plan, with your issues around equity and increasing technology access, and from the perspective of this City document that is setting major City policies that are going to be in place for the next ten years, you might want to comment on bringing up technology both in just access for the community, access for the people who are in Seattle. And also commenting about technology access in the Comprehensive Plan, in the appropriate location.
David Keyes: What is the best path forward for our volunteer advisers to share information with your volunteer advisers?
Vanessa Murdock: Once the draft is release in July, either Amalia and I can come back to this group, if you have time on your agenda, and have conversation about some of our initial thoughts or vice versa. Or a number of you can come to one of our commission meetings. If anyone wants to know the schedule of when we meet and whatnot, feel free to email me. We’re definitely hoping to have a conversation with a variety of different fellow commissions and boards.
Amalia Leighton: Keep in mind that we’re not suggesting that you read the entire Comprehensive Plan. We think that what you should look at is in the Public Services element, and the Capital Facilities element, as a starting point. And we think that would be relevant and applicable to discuss technology. Unless you’d like to, in no way are we saying that you should have your whole work plan for July to be to read the document. That’s our job.
David Keyes: Just a note: On that 2035 Seattle site, there is a sign-up for the mailing list, also.
Pay By Phone application expansion: Seattle Department of Transportation
Nourisha Wells: We’re going to hear from the Seattle Department of Transportation for advice on the Pay By Phone application expansion. Welcome Mary Catherine Snyder.
Mary Catherine Snyder: Hello, everybody. I’ve actually read a lot of the Comprehensive Plan. It’s a great document. I’m with the Department of Transportation in the Parking group. I just have a few slides, but I’m here really to talk about our parking Pay By Phone program, where, if you park on the street, and you need to pay for parking, you can do it with your phone. If you haven’t already downloaded the Pay By Phone app, you could do that right now while I’m talking. And then sign up and you’ll be all set.
Here are slides about the application:
We have a study underway to see how we can grow Pay By Phone use pretty dramatically. We see it as a customer service benefit. It’s a fast easy way to pay for parking. You can pay for your parking in your car. If it’s raining out, you don’t have to stand at the pay station. And from the City’s perspective, in the long term, it’s a cost savings. We just announced yesterday that we’re putting in new parking pay stations. After 10 years, we’re getting new pay stations. We just started yesterday in Pioneer Square. That’s a $20 million capital project for us. Over the next 10 years, we’d like to be able to not have to replace these again, or replace them as much as we are this year. So, we’re trying to see how we can encourage Pay By Phone use.
I wanted to get your ideas, from the technology perspective, on how we might be able to push Pay By Phone use. We want to understand what barriers are to mobile payment. And then also talk about access issues. How do we address that and make sure people that don’t have phone are able to pay.
Carmen Rahm: It’s an actual app? For your Android or for your iPhone? What do you look for when you’re in the Google Play Store?
Mary Catherine Snyder: It’s called PayByPhone. It’s all one word, and it’s these green dots that you look for. It’s a free app you can download. A few years ago, SDOT set Pay By Phone up as our vendor. It’s at all pay stations.
Carmen Rahm: You need what universities have in the City. You need to go out and get not the Pay By Phone app, and not the Submit a Pothole app. You need to download the City of Seattle app. And when you download the City of Seattle app, it’s got 20 applets in there. When I was spearheading the first app for the university I used to work for, it was pages of apps and it was garbage. We should have one app, download it, everything’s there. How do you get people to use it? You don’t make them go look for it and have to come to a meeting and say, what’s the app number. City of Seattle technology needs to develop a City of Seattle app and embed everything in it. Information, Pay By Phone, etc.
Mary Catherine Snyder: I’m happy to talk about some ways to organize this. At this point, we’re pretty happy with our vendor. And there are reasons why we have to separate out paying for parking and the credit card transfers.
Beryl Fernandes: From the privacy standpoint, are you storing this data? Like, I parked at this place at two in the morning, etc.
Mary Catherine Snyder: One of the reasons that it’s a separate vendor process for us is because the credit card transactions, which really needs to be a separate, secure PCI compliant on a third party system for us–City of Seattle does not accept credit card payments. We also are not tracking your license plates. The only data we get at the City is that a transaction occurred at this time, that it started at this time and ended at this time, and was on this block, but we don’t know anything about the license plate or the actual vehicle or anything about the person.
I just have a few more slides. It’s a 35 cent fee paid by the user for each transaction. There are signs and stickers at every pay station along the block. We are up to now about 80,000 transactions in February, so we’re growing every month, which is really exciting. But we’re trying to figure out how to grow even more than about a percentage point or a half percentage point a month. When we launched the project, we did quite a bit of different kind of media activities, in terms of postcards to businesses and advertising and blog posts and ads on the Metro buses. But since the July 2013 launch, we haven’t really done much of that. So that’s one thing we’re considering, to do more public awareness of the application.
By November 2013, we had a full build-out to all 12,000 paid spaces. We were at about two percent then. Now we’re at a little over eight percent. So, we’re pretty excited about our growth, but we’re talking about trying to get to something like 20 percent or 30, or 50 percent of our transactions by phone in the next few years. That’s a pretty big jump, as so that’s why we’re really trying to figure out what we can do to move that forward. I’d like to get your ideas about this or others. Addressing the fee amount: whether that’s something people see as a barrier. Whether it’s much less than 35 cents a transaction, or even free. And that would be something the City would take on. More marketing and advertising, more social media push, and I’d love to talk about other ideas. Like I said, I was really most interested in what barriers people might see and how we can push through those, but also a technology access angle.
David Keyes: Your question about what’s a realistic goal from others that may have rolled out an app.
Question: What is the value to the City that people do it this way, versus doing it in person?
Mary Catherine Snyder: We see it as a customer service benefit. So, for people, it’s faster and easier to pay on your phone–just the transaction time is less. You’re not standing in a line at the pay station. So we see that as a benefit to people. And then for the City, over time, it’s a potential cost savings in terms of not needing as many pay stations out on the street, which is pretty expensive.
Question: Do people see, electronically or wirelessly, that these were all filled and they don’t have to go down that street?
Mary Catherine Snyder: When you pay by phone, that information goes to the enforcement officer in real time.
Nourisha Wells: Can you walk us through the process of paying by phone?
Mary Catherine Snyder: Sure. So, I downloaded the app. I set up an account, so it’s your name, vehicle, license, credit card–that kind of information. That’s stored in the Pay By Phone system. When I get to a block, the enter the location number, which is on all the signs. I enter the time I want, and I hit go, and then I’m all set to go. One of the best benefits of Pay By Phone is that you get to extend your time, if you have time left on the pay station, which you can’t do at the pay stations very easily. So, if you’re in a meeting or something, you can buy ten more minutes of time and don’t have to leave the meeting.
Nourisha Wells: So you don’t get the little stickers?
Mary Catherine Snyder: Right. You’re not doing the sticker. And parking enforcement has a connection to Pay By Phone. So they get the license plate that’s been paid and they know how much time is left.
Derrick Hall: Does it notify you that you’re about to run out of time?
Mary Catherine Snyder: Yes. So you can set up a text message or email and you get an announcement that you’re about to expire. And you can extend it. So that’s great because you can avoid getting a parking ticket.
Chris: I understand how you put the number in for the location. I have a problem with that because I have to remember all these numbers. Are you guys thinking of a GPS base, so I can select it on a map? So it tells me where I’m at, for people like myself that don’t really know where I’m at. Where I can just select where I want to park, or if I’m in my apartment and I don’t want to wake up and go out at 8:00 a.m. and go pay for parking, I can select it from my bed. So GPS based or map based.
As far as a fee, I like that you guys are thinking about getting rid of it. It makes sense if the City is saving money by not putting out million dollar boxes on the street, we shouldn’t have to pay a small fee to do this. I would say if you can incentivize people to use this program, you’re gonna get more users. And so I’m in support of paying 35 cents because I like this innovation. I use it. It does save me time. it makes sense. It’s sustainable ongoing. But I think most people, if there was an incentive to use it, they would get on board and I think we would get to that much quicker.
Phil Mocek: I have one comment and several barriers. First, I think that a 10 year lifetime for a sticker vending machine is crazy. I can’t believe we’re replacing them every ten years. And then, as to barriers, I’m very happy paying cash. I would not pay extra to lose my anonymity. I went to the web site of this company, and I see that if you want to, you can opt out of them sharing information. That should absolutely be the opposite. They should not share our information unless we say please share our information. Then also, I looked at the application, and for Android, in order to install, I have to agree that the device is going to share information about the activity on the device, which apps are running, browsing history, and bookmarks. I’m not going to share that information with some third party.
Comment: I think that not having to pay 35 cents to use the device would incentivize people to use it more.
Lloyd Douglas: Putting the words, ‘location ID’ in front of the location ID numbers would be a good idea.
Karia Wong: I work with a lot of low income families. A thirty-five cent fee is a little too expensive. Also, even though you might provide the language of translation for the app, still, if people don’t have experience, they might feel reluctant to use it. Because, if they accidentally hit the button, then they will be charged. Can they get the money back? They won’t be able to do it by themselves. So they have to come to us or someone who can help them to get the money back. Another thing, what if there is a situation where they got a ticket but they actually paid. How can they resolve it? A lot of people would rather pay cash, and not even consider paying with a credit card because of those issues.
Mary Catherine Snyder: Pay By Phone has a rather extensive customer service. They have multiple translators available. So maybe that is something you could advertise?
Karia Wong: A lot of people, our clients, do not have the ability to advocate for themselves. They know something is wrong, but they may not be able to ask the key questions with the keywords.
Joneil Sampana: A question regarding where the transaction data is kept: is it kept at the vendor site?
Mary Catherine Snyder: The transaction occurs with Pay By Phone, and so it’s outside of the City system. They send us transaction records, but it’s really anonymous.
Carmen Rahm: I want to get back to your purpose in being here. The old saying, ‘Why do you rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.’ We don’t partner enough with our own state, City and other organizations. Advertise on the Department of Motor Vehicles web site. The majority of people not only replenish their tabs. Work with the DMV. Have them say, ‘Do you park in the City of Seattle? Would you like to save time? Would you like to not be in the rain? Then click here or download it.” Then have the QR code there. Every car owner goes there.
Another thing I would look at Pay By Phone-only zones. You can only park here if you pay by phone.
And I just wanted to make sure I reiterated that regarding embedding the app into a Seattle app, is not changing anything to do. It’s simply one stop shopping. All Seattle applets would be embedded into one app.
Question: I had family visit here, and they mentioned that D.C. has a similar thing, but it is a 45 cent fee for use unless you park by mobile.
Mary Catherine Snyder: One of the issues is there is huge credit card fees associated with that, so part of the 35 cents is actually paying the credit card companies for the transaction.
Phil Mocek: That 35 cent fee, is that being collected by the City to cover its cost, or is it being passed on?
Mary Catherine Snyder: Pay By Phone collects for parking and the fee, and they transfer the parking revenue to the City.
Jose Vasquez: Is there an option to prepay? To add credits to my account?
Mary Catherine Snyder: They’re working on that.
Jose Vasquez: The reason I bring that up is there are individuals and families that are not eligible to have bank accounts. So having that option would open up use to a wider audience.
The other thing is, I just got a notice for jury duty. Attached was a bus ticket. Maybe that’s something we could do for other things, like job placement organizations. Maybe if somebody has a job interview, they could get a credit.
Nourisha Wells: If someone has further input or questions, how can they get in touch with you?
Mary Catherine Snyder: Again, my name is Mary Catherine Snyder. [firstname.lastname@example.org] Please email me.
Announcements and Comments
Nourisha Wells: We’re going to open the floor to public comment and announcements.
Jose Vasquez: The Latino Community Fund organization where I work is doing their second Latinos in tech meet up this Saturday, April 18, from 3:00 to 5:00 at the University of Washington. If you want to find out more, you can go to communityfund.org/latinosintech. The purpose of this is to connect students with professional working in the tech industry, provide networking and even job opportunities.
Phil Mocek: I looked at the meeting minutes from the March 10 CTTAB meeting, and I find what are labeled meeting minutes are actually a transcript. I think a transcript is useful in some cases, but I want minutes. I want an overview. It would be more useful to me to have an overview of what was discussed than a transcript.
Beryl Fernandes: Can I just say, I like the idea of having a transcript. We went back and forth on this one.
Lloyd Douglas: Cascade is having an art walk, May 7 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Look us up on the web.
Comment: Just so people know what a splash page looks like. D.C. has something similar. Crowd sourcing would be great. You can pay your ticket, pay your parking, or whatever.
Carmen Rahm: There are companies that provide that exact service for universities and for K-12. You just subscribe to the service and you just get the applets you want.
Comment: That’s the kind of application that a hack-a-thon would create for free over a weekend.
David Keyes: One quick announcement: April 22 there is a Town Hall that the Seattle Channel and City Club are doing on privacy. I’ll bring that up on the screen for folks. If you want to go, I’ll make reservations, too.
Digital Equity Initiative (See also seattle.gov/digital-equity)
Nourisha Wells: We’re going to kick off the second half with discussion about the Digital Equity Initiative. Ben is home with kid duties because of a sick wife, so we’re going to hand that over to Jose.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. I know we’re running late. The Digital Inclusion Committee, Sarah and I are going to take part in the Digital Equity Action Committee, which Mary mentioned earlier. We’re going to be the CTAB representatives for that stakeholder committee to help review and set up process to define and work on the Digital Equity mission. We have a list of questions that were going to be asking for input from the public. Because of limited time, we’re only going to take one or two comments on that, but if you do want to provide additional feedback, we’ll be available after the meeting, and you can contact us via Twitter or email. Can you pull up the questions?
I can read them real quick while he’s pulling them up. The main questions we’re asking are: When you think of digital inclusion or digital equity, what comes to mind? How would you describe digital equity? Why do you think it is important for Seattle to achieve digital equity? How would you complete this sentence? I know we will have achieved digital equity when ____. I have two additional questions that I also wanted to ask: What is the timeline that we’re looking at as far as the digital equity initiative. I don’t think we’ve identified whether this is a five-year plan, a ten-year plan, or 50-year plan. I feel like there’s a lot of cohesion with all the other Comprehensive Plans that are going on. So that might be something that we can roll into what was presented earlier.
We’ve been talking so far all about access to Internet. Do we want to narrow our scope to just that? Defined as digital technology access to Internet? Or do we want to open it up to something more generic, because technology can mean something else in five or ten years from now? So what do we want that to look like?
So we’ll take one or two comments. If anybody has any feedback to provide, there will be other methods.
David Keyes: Maybe just one quick thing. This is basically on that hand-out that’s over there on the issue, but between now and the end of June, we’ll be doing the Digital Equity Action committee, and I know Mary and Carmen are on that. Then we will be doing four community round tables, and we have inter-departmental, too. There are basically three things that we’re coming out with: a vision statement, a set of goals for that, and then some possible action strategies. How do we implement that to make it happen? And the second half of the year we’ll be working more concretely on what’s the priority, what’s the feasibility, what’s the strategy for implementing that. As we talked about a little in the last meeting, it could range from increasing our Technology Matching Fund, or as Mary mentioned, doing something different with some of the computer labs, or putting some new ones in. So it’s really open. But I think getting your input here, and I’m sure we’ll have more conversations here also, but to get a little input started, these are just a couple of questions that we can maybe spend a few minutes on tonight.
Beryl Fernandes: Looking at the questions, we are talking about digital equity, I would hope that we are also asking low income people who are marginalized, and we ask them questions that are framed this way. I wonder how much they understand.
David Keyes: Framing it this way is just for this group tonight. There are a series of stakeholder interviews that are being done, and other work as well. We’re certainly also building off of the data we’ve collected.
Carmen Rahm: In February and early March throughout the City for the school district, we had town hall meetings on our technology visions, and a lot of it was discussing what we do for equity and digital equity with regards to the students. And one of the things that came up by several parents at a couple of different meetings, they said it doesn’t matter whether we have the access to the Internet, it doesn’t matter whether they have the tools to access it because so much more is being commercialized on the Internet, where if you don’t have access to high quality, good information, and data, it costs money. You’re subscribing to services. It’s three components. It’s the device you’ve got in your hand to get on the internet; it’s the access to the Internet; and can you actually get meaningful and good devices as over the years, more and more of the content that’s good is totally fee-based. So being able to get on it is less and less important.
Henok Kidane: I looked at the digital equity web site and it’s basically that you’re trying to get as much Internet access as possible. I recall back in the past that Seattle had this little WIFI program that got shut down. I don’t see any reason for that to start back up, but is there anything you can take from that can be applied to this future digital equity business?
David Keyes: Yes. You raised a couple things. One is the question, what is the goal? If the goal is ubiquitous access, the ability to connect anywhere at any time, then the question is, is the strategy of increasing that WIFI, is that the way to go again? That may be a point of discussion with the current providers. It might be an element if the City does a municipal broadband. Just for reference, the City’s research into feasibility of municipal broadband will probably be coming out in the next month.
Comment: Just to piggyback, my company has done some parks. We’ve done free WIFI in parks and we propose to offer providing those access points, installing and supporting them, and providing free connectivity. We were offering to do that for free for the City for those old spots that they took down.
David Keyes: So, part of what you’re saying is if WIFI is a goal, to consider those partnerships?
Comment: Yeah, we are happy to support. That fits in our vision of something that we’re working on, so we’re happy to support in those ways. And that was in putting, I think, three quarters of a million dollars into that infrastructure.
Stephen Montseroff: Let me back this up just a bit. As you said, the purpose of the Digital Equity Committee is to see about getting as much access to as much technology as possible into the peoples’ hands. Can we ask that that not be a goal but a modality, that is a mechanism for possibly accomplishing the goal. And then i would question, what is the goal here? To say we’re getting technology to everyone is like saying we’re giving everyone a car. What is the actual goal here. Along that line, what is the benefit, monetary or tangible, of doing this. Say, increasing the City GDP, or something like that. So I’m asking people to step back and ask those questions, not because they are merely hypothetical general questions, but because by asking those questions they might let us understand the problem better, and therefore possibly open solutions that actually solve problems, rather than possibly perceived problems.
David Keyes: Your point is a good one. Some of what we had discussed initially by with our interdepartmental team, and some of what we’ve had originally from here a few times. The first time was 15 years ago when CTTAB came up with a set of goals and Indicators for a Technology Healthy Community. Those goals included the ability to apply using technology to support healthy economies in neighborhoods, and to be able to enable people to get education effectively. I know we used elements of that in saying our goal is to ensure that people can access and use technology well for jobs, civic engagement, education, and community and cultural participation. I think that piece of what are those goals then drive to some extent, how do we break that down in terms of digital equity goals. And what are the elements. We’ve used a framework in the past, which talked about three components: access, literacy or skills, and content. Having effective services online that are designed in a manner that people could use them, and having the ability that people could publish as well as retrieve information.
Jose Vasquez: Just to wrap up, we are going to be talking about this a lot in the digital committee, so if you are interested in this, we welcome you to take part in that.
Lloyd Douglas: I have a comment about specialized data. Get a library card. I’m amazed at the kind of specialized information you can get through the library, the stuff you have to pay month to month to get access to. So get a library card.
Greta: Make a list of goals and see how much you are willing to give grants to such and such groups who come up with an idea that’s fundable and might accomplish some of these goals. But you have to define amounts and rules. Why does it have to be matching? What if they don’t have any money.
Carmen Rahm: Well, matching means ‘in kind.’
Jose Vasquez: We’re about to wrap up. We’re still in the beginning of this process. The Tech Matching Fund has been going on for I don’t know how long. So, we’re definitely going to continue with that.
David Keyes: In one of those comments I took from you was that regardless of whether the matching fund right now that we have is structured enough, but it’s the solutions subset that needs to be designed to respond to what different needs are in different communities.
Greta: What I really meant was to have the communities decide how it would be most effective.
E-Gov Committee Update
Joneil Sampana: How many folks here are at their first CTAB meeting? And how many from corporate Seattle? Actually, that’s one of our announcements that we want to share today as one of our accomplishments. Through E-Gov, we’re doing a lot of cross cooperation, communication between this community and the corporate Seattle community. So thank you for coming. Some other accomplishments for the month is that we started playing around with a couple of projects in regard to City engagement, civic engagement, with some of the departments within the City of Seattle. One is Seattle Channel. They want to see if they can promote a new population demographic to participate in the Civic Cocktail program. So if you haven’t attended one before, if you have any ideas for how be can actually bring more folks to City events like that, share that idea with the E-Gov Committee. Another project that we’re working on is with the Seattle Police Department. We met with the CIO Greg Russell as well as Sean Whitcomb, the public affairs leader. And they’re looking for a few designers that are within Seattle that are open to a very specific project plan. Starting in June, and every other month, we would create new eyes that are very easy to use for police officers to engage with links assistance. So if you have that background, of know folks, let us know. This would be a great hack-like project, but it’s actually more project oriented. Please email me if you are interested. There is also all the detailed minutes as well as the report recaps on the CTAB web site. So take a look at that.
And then last month, we initiated a project with Washington State, through Will Saunders, based from the unconference event of a couple of months ago, and we are launching a student internship summer program for universities in Washington as well as mentors from corporations, where Will is going to unleash six different data sets from state agencies for these students to spend the summer to try to create new visualizations to use for lobby reports for the next legislative cycle. If you know students or other professional mentors that might be interested, please let us know.
And again, take a look at the meeting report out on the CTAB web site.
Privacy Committee Update
Beryl Fernandes: Just because we’ve got so many new people here today, I will very quickly go over what we’ve done in Privacy from early 2014. Council indicated that privacy was a priority for them. We didn’t have any more direction than that. So what we did was to say, how are we going to go about crafting a work-scope. So I suggested we go to the people and ask what defines it, how are you affected by it, and most importantly, what suggestions do you have for things that we can do. When I say ‘we,’ it could be the City, it could be anybody in the region, a nonprofit. It could be individuals, to mitigate a harm or to avert harm. And so, with that, we proceeded and we decided that we would have a symposium and bring in different perspectives on it. Importantly, we wanted to precede the symposium with a crowd sourcing effort that would go out. With a two-pronged effort, not just an online tool because that only captures the viewpoint of a certain segment of our population. So we are doing in-person interviews, focus groups, especially with the vulnerable population, low income, you name it. And that’s where we are right now. We’re in that first phase of getting information. I did a focus group with the Seattle Youth Commission a few weeks ago. That was very interesting. We’re running short on time, so next month I will have more time on the agenda, so I will be giving a full blown account then. We’ve gotten to youth, low income, homeless, LGBT, seniors, people with disabilities, small business, workers, immigrants, communities of color, medical privacy. Those are the groups and already we’re seeing some interesting things come back. Just to give you a snippet of how I was working, on the youth group, they talked about the need for awareness and education in the schools to alert students on how to protect themselves on the Internet. Then it turned out that one of the schools already has a curriculum, and so the public school students said they’d like that, too. And so I said, I just happen to know someone from the Seattle Public Schools and I will contact him tomorrow. So I contacted Mr. Rahm. So that was a communication between the Seattle Public Schools, the Mayor’s office, and me. The point is, here we are talking about one school that’s got a curriculum that’s developed and there’s a good possibility that other schools could share in that with less cost than it would be for them to develop it from scratch. Those are the kinds of things we’re hoping to come out of this project: easy to implement, low or no cost solutions. Ideally, done by the people themselves, the affected groups. And it’s an empowering process.
Nourisha Wells: So, if anyone is interested, especially new people, in joining the Privacy Committee, how would they do that?
Beryl Fernandes: Let me write my email address on the board. And I would love to have your input.
Comment: In the interest of privacy, use invisible ink.
Broadband and Cable Committee Update
Sarah Trowbridge: For the newer people here, the Cable and Broadband Committee focuses on accessibility and affordability of Internet and cable services, and deployment of those services in the City of Seattle. As you may know, there was a big revision to the cable code that took place in March. CTAB played a big role in focusing on some of the revisions, specifically related to the cable franchise districts. I’m happy to say that the City Council passed legislation with language that works to prevent digital red lining with regards to cable build out in the City. So thank you all for your contributions to that effort. Another update is with regard to the low income position statement that we passed last month. I’m going to be organizing a meeting with Jim Penney of WAVE, Lambert Rochfort, who is the ConnectUP supervisor for Solid Ground, and who has some experience with low income Internet programs, and myself, to discuss how we can begin having WAVE consider offering a low income broadband program for citizens of Seattle. And that came as a result of members of the community voicing their need for a program like that. So thank you to everyone who voiced that. And the last update, if anyone is interested in cable and broadband, we meet the last Monday of every month. So this month it will be on the 27th. We meet at 6:30 p.m. at O’Asian Restaurant, which is just across the street. So please come by. If you want to sign up for our listserv, you can go to the CTAB web site, and then there’s a little place for our email, and you’ll be on our listserv.
Nourisha Wells: We don’t have an update for the Privacy Advisory Board, so we will move forward with our approval of the March minutes. Were there any changes to the minutes?
Moved to accept the minutes, seconded and approved.
Carmen Rahm: I abstain. I wasn’t here at the meeting.
Digital Inclusion Committee Update (in addition to earlier Digital Equity Initiative item)
Nourisha Wells: We have an update for the Tech Matching Fund. Who’s got that information?
David Keyes: We’ll be there. The committee met this last month with the Digital Inclusion Committee are hard at work reviewing applications. I think there were 64 applications, so they’re going through a lot. They’re not all reading all 64. The number is pretty close to previous years. This year, because we had another $150,000 through the Washington State Department of Commerce, so that’s supplementing our Technology Matching Fund grants this year. Folks will be back with their recommendations this May for you guys to go through.
Nourisha Wells: Is there any opportunity to help in any way?
Sarah Trowbridge: Just moral support at this point.
David Keyes: If somebody wanted to review and rate some applications, you could probably do it. They have to be done by April 23. We meet April 28.
Sarah Trowbridge: There are about 23 applications per person if you divvy it up. We want three sets of eyes on each application.
David Keyes: Folks who have gone through the orientation about criteria and how to rate them, and so on.
Sarah Trowbridge: And then in May, we’ll vote on the organizations that we, as a committee, are willing to give funds to, right?
David Keyes: Vicky Yuki is working on the next Get Online campaign around how to do online education. If you folks are interested, contact me or contact Vicky.
Stephen Montseroff: In the interest of fairness, shouldn’t we have someone working on online ignorance?
Nourisha Wells: Joneil, can you give us a summary of action items?
Joneil Sampana: There are no action items outside of new people remembering to sign up for these groups and play more of an eco-role.
Nourisha Wells: I call this meeting closed and adjourned.