January 12, 2016 Meeting – Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board
Topics covered included: Report by Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller on Smart Cities project; report by Jeff Beckstrom on seattle.gov redesign; Digital Equity update with strategies overview by David Keyes; Comcast franchise agreement update and overview by Tony Perez; updates from Broadband and Cable, Privacy, Digital Inclusion and E-gov committees; 2015 Planning: work plans, annual meetings with Mayor and Council. Presentation materials
This meeting was held: January 12, 2016; 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: Joneil Sampana, Karia Wong, Amy Hirotaka, Jose Vasquez
Public: John Tigue, Lloyd Douglas, Doreen Cornwell, Henok Kidane, Tim Clemans, Heather Lewis, Dan Stiefel, Jeff McCord, Allan Yeung, Kate Schneier, Ronald Ning, Erik Jansen
Staff: Michael Mattmiller, John Giamberso, David Keyes, Tony Perez, Derrick Hall, Jeff Beckstrom
22 In Attendance
Meeting was called to order by Amy Hirotaka.
Amy Hirotaka: Welcome, everyone. I guess that we do have quorum because we have a third of current CTAB members here. So we can vote to approve the minutes. I have one amendment to the current minutes, which is that it refers to my co-chair as Ben Krokower, but my co-chair on the Broadband Committee was Dan Stiefel, so I’d like to have that changed. With that change, I move to approve the November 2015 minutes as amended.
NOVEMBER 2015 MINUTES APPROVED AS AMENDED; AGENDA APPROVED
[Minutes from the last CTAB meeting (November) with correction made was posted after this vote.]
Amy Hirotaka: I’ll turn it over to Michael Mattmiller for the CTO Report.
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER REPORT
Michael Mattmiller: Happy New Year. It’s going to be an exciting 2016 for DoIT technology in the City. We are just three short months out from creating the new Seattle Information Technology Department. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s the largest transformation of every organization in the City over the past 20 years or not. Six hundred and fifty staff from across the City will be coming into the new Seattle IT. I’m very thankful to our staff for leading transition teams and really making it true that we’re building the foundation for our new department. We are still having monthly meetings with staff from across IT functions in the City to make sure that we’re communicating what’s going on. And I’m very excited to share a couple of staff changes. We’ve just selected Charlene Moran from DPD as our senior manager from program management, her new department. Jim Loter has been named the new director of Digital Engagement. So I will be working closely with Jim. We are thrilled to have him come in from the Library and serve in this role. For those who didn’t hear, Kendee Yamaguchi left in November. She couldn’t quite share where she was going. She is now happy to share that she’s the new Director of Economic Development for Snohomish County, under the County Executive out there, so I’m very happy that she’s had that opportunity.
I look forward next time that I’m here and able to share the new Director of Applications for the City. We are very close to being able to announce that. And we also are reviewing resumes now for the Chief Privacy Officer position.
There are a number of updates on the agenda from the website for Digital Equity that I think most people will be very interested in. We’re also getting very close to finishing the Digital Broadband Map, so by the end of this month, we’ll be able to share that.
Thanks to everyone who was at Hack Night last week.
I got to do something pretty exciting last week. Based on the work we’ve been doing in Seattle on Open Data and Smart Cities projects, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy invited us to be part of their presentation at CES (Consumer Electronics Show). US CTO (Chief Technology Officer) Megan Smith and Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation, did an hour-long super session called An Inside Look: Industry Innovators and Government Join Forces. They highlighted the key technology priorities for the Obama administration–diversity in tech, tour of duty hiring, and Smart Cities. I had an opportunity to give a four-minute talk on some of our projects.
Smart Cities is not just about putting sensors into the environment, it’s about how are we becoming more data driven today, how are we making data available to our civic technology community and others. I highlighted three examples of how we’re becoming more data driven as part of that conversation. I talked about the Seattle 23 District and how we partner with companies to understand how they’re using energy, give them actionable feedback, and as a result, reduced energy usage by 20 percent at a time when we pledge to become energy neutral by 2050. I talked about an example of how we’re partnering with the University of Washington Rainwatch Program. So for those who aren’t familiar, rain causes flooding, causes public safety hazards, so with UW and the National Weather Service, we were able to determine that rain falls differently in different parts of the City. And now we can get a hyper local weather prediction one hour before a rain event is likely to occur and we can take steps to prevent flooding and other hazards.
I also talked about our Hack the Commute last year as an example of why open data is so important to us, and that when we invest in taking the time to go into a community and saying, “What data do you need to solve a problem. And then we work with others to make that data available. We get some really cool things that happen as a result, and so we got 14 prototypes out of Hack the Commute for new technology solutions to solve our transportation issues. So it was a great opportunity. I’m very thankful that the White House chose to feature Seattle in that regard. And that’s a nice segue to say that right now, Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is sitting in Michelle Obama’s suite at her box at the State of the Union, and has been asked to sit there in part, because of the great work she’s been doing to build community based policing and take steps to build trust in the police department. But also because of the City’s commitment to take part in the White House’s Police Data Initiative. As you know, we are one of the first cities to make available real time 911 data at data.seattle.gov, and we are committing to looking at other types of data we can make publicly available.
When I think about the role of CTAB, I think about the tremendous position of strength we’re coming from when it comes to technology. We have a great base of support in CTAB and the University of Washington and some of our community partners. And nowhere is that more evident than when you have something like the USDOT Smart Cities grant challenge that comes up, and all of a sudden we have dozens of companies and organizations trying to cling onto that effort, because there’s a recognition that we can do big, cool things in Seattle around tech. I’m really looking forward to CTAB and the role it can play, and your collective vision for how to be a smarter City. What does that mean? When we think about the role that ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) plays in changing the way the City delivers business how we can scale, how we can better serve the public. And some of that is traditional in e-gov, and thinking about what that interface looks like to the public. CTAB looks at the bigger picture: What are the newest technologies that will not only help us better serve the public, but operate in a new manner as the City that we are. Really reaping the same types of benefits operationally that the public sector–that the private sector has realized for some time–and I’ll show one take-away I had from CES in that regard. Had a chance to pre-order Oculus Rift, a new $600 virtual reality headsets. Pretty cool. I did not wait in line to try it. It’s really cool. You could play with the new DVA, right next to it, and we took a few minutes to play with it. But if you got past VR and all the goodness that is going to come from that style of gaming in an immersive experience, there’s augmented reality. So, we looked at what other companies are doing. And if you think about it, you can wear a headset while you’re doing your work, and it’s not obstructing your field of vision, but at the same time, you’re getting additional information. So if you think about our City staff, we have line workers and field workers who are out every day, having to deal with the complex systems and thinking about — either it’s maintenance or repairs or other types of activity. Today, many of those workers have to first go to their work order management system and get a print out of their tasks for the day, they look at what’s going on. Then they go to their enterprise content management system and they have to go through schematics or other types of things to help them do that work. Then they go out in the field and put on heavy equipment, gloves, and those types of things and try to balance paper, balance manual activity to keep track of what they’re doing. If they had their augmented reality glasses on, and their work instructions were right there as they’re doing their work, it provides a checklist for them as they work. Let’s say that a complex system can overlay the schematic so that you can more accurately do your job. Let’s say something’s not going right. Someone at the support center is actually sharing your field of vision and can actually annotate in your field of view what you’re missing or what needs to change. That’s something that perhaps we’re not thinking about. That’s another situation where we can add value with technology. We can be innovative and think ahead. Think about how to enable service to the public in a way we don’t expect. So lots of opportunity. I can’t wait to be working on that. And that’s what’s going on from my perspective.
Joneil Sampana: Was the CES presentation recorded?
Michael Mattmiller: It was. If you go to CESweb.org and then click on videos, it is the Megan Smith presentation about government and innovation partnership. Seattle starts at 45. There is also the one where the administration is talking about priorities at whitehouse.gov/ces2016.
[See White House blog post and video of the panel including Michael Mattmiller’s talk on Seattle sensor project.]
Amy Hirotaka: We have time to open it up for questions.
Question: Can you tell us about the position we took?
Michael Mattmiller: Sure. Many of you know Candace Faber. She started with the City in December. When you think about DoIT today and all the work going on in the City, we invest a lot in our open data program. We invest a lot in engaging the community from a smart perspective to make sure that when we produce data, that when we are looking for civic technology innovation that we’re making the connections to empower people to use what we provide. The gap we had is that Bruce and his team are very busy just mechanically trying to get data out there. And when we want to do something like a Hack-a-thon, it’s hard trying to get resources cobbled together within a period of time. We would like to get more systemic about that engagement. We had an opportunity to make that her full time role. Candace has been going out and talking to our City departments about where they see the opportunity in open data, and the type of work that we see as happening in the community that we want to be better funded to. Within a week, she nailed down specifically what the vision was for her position and the work plan for next year. It’s going to include more touch points with the community. It’s going to include more regular events. And–knock wood–as part of the What Works Cities event, many of your know that we’ve been looking at having an open data policy that more formally gets departments to open up the data sets, and we’ll probably have something within the next month or so. Candace has been very involved with that.
I see John joining us. Thank you for all your work on the broadband Map.
Joneil Sampana: Going back to Candace’s job description, is there an aspect of that or any of the other job descriptions coming out that focuses on diversity, in regards to getting more diverse communities engaged in some of the work we’re doing?
Michael Mattmiller: At the moment, there is not a position focused on that. Here’s a couple of things that are spinning. We have Andre Nellams, our human resources manager, expanding that staff as we consolidate. He is our RSJI for our department, making sure that gets managed. Andre and I have been brainstorming about how we can more formally think about diversity in our department. One of the things that has been very impactful for me something I know it’s more common in the corporate space, but for folks who aren’t familiar, creating business oriented groups of people who might identify or want to support a certain diverse element of the staff. For example, when I was approached by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, I helped create here in Seattle our LGBT employer resource group. And it’s not just for folks who identify as LGBT, but for those who support that community or those who want to network or help advance the business by engaging with the broader community. We don’t have a lot of resource within the department to establish at that level of granularity, but can we even think about having some type of diversity ERG for people who are passionate about supporting and increasing the number of diverse employees, and giving them a charge of something like liaising with diversity in tech groups. And we’re fortunate in the City to have some great groups, and I wish we could better manage those relationships. We’re spinning out a few ideas like that. I’m very thankful to outgoing Councilmember Jean Godden. She did give us $90,000 in our budget for interns from code academies. We look forward to leveraging that resource this year. We would be thankful for any ideas.
Jose Vasquez: I had a meeting with the national board Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. They’re having their annual convention here in Seattle this year. We’re going to talk about how we can collaborate.
Michael Mattmiller: Just keep me posted. I’m not familiar with that group.
Question: Are you looking at how you can enable outside developers to build stuff for City servers?
Michael Mattmiller: Yes. And one of the things that we are looking to take on is thinking about what is our best way to enable civic intervention and what is its role in government. There are some things specific to Seattle, and progress which broke the decision of DPD to build something internally. Every decision is going to be a little bit different, but the short answer is ‘yes.’ Definitely for that innovation pipeline and figuring out how we can leverage it through the community.
Amy Hirotaka: Thank you, Michael. A few more people have joined since we started, so please introduce yourselves.
Introductions for New Arrivals
Amy Hirotaka: We will move on to Jeff Beckstrom, who will tell us about the seattle.gov redesign.
SEATTLE.GOV REDESIGN UPDATE
Jeff Beckstrom: This is the first public demo of the new seattle.gov homepage and portal areas. Along with that, we’re also going to be launching a new Mayor’s site, Council web site, and new City Attorney web site. We’re looking at February 11 as the launch date, so it’s right around the corner. Our team has been extremely busy getting all the features ready to go. I wanted to preview the site with you today.
With that, I will start the demo.
David Keyes: Jeff manages a team. There are some individuals that do the content for different departments, but our team has done a lot of work over the past two or three years on implementing the Ingeniux content management system.
Jeff Beckstrom: It’s pretty much our enterprise content system for the City of Seattle. Our team has really been focused on migrating existing department web sites to the content management system. In the past, it’s pretty much been flat file, developed in Wordpad or Dreamweaver and FTP-ed across. This is not exactly a very modern process for web. And the web teams were typically bottlenecking the process, and content wasn’t separated out from design. So that’s been a very large project for our team, trying to get everything migrated over. We’re about 85 percent complete at this point with the big department migrations, with a few of our bigger departments still hanging out there. The goal is to bring the new design to those departments, including SDOT and Seattle Parks. Both are web sites which are very seriously in need of an overhaul.
So, with that out of the way, this is basically where we’re headed with the new seattle.gov redesign. One of the thing we wanted to accomplish was one city/one web site. That’s been our slogan from the onset of this. We’re really trying to get a more cohesive branding, so citizens and constituents can know that they are on the seattle.gov web site, and presents a more professional, approachable face to the City of Seattle.
One of the things we decided to do was to go to a more tile-based approach. Part of the reason we did that was that tiles lend themselves extremely well for mobile and responsive design. Everything that you see that’s been developed so far is mobile friendly. We’re taking a look at mobile push design for many of our portal areas. We’ve seen huge rise in mobile traffic over the years. We tend to see 28 to 30 percent on seattle.gov. Parks gets up to 42-45 in the summertime. Because you’ve gotta find that soccer park. I’m guilty.
So, all of our web sites inside the content management will be responsive design. They support four break points, including enhanced desktop version, which is the one you’re seeing now. The normal desktop version at 960, a tablet based design, and a mobile based design. That’s pretty much right out of the box with the content management system. It’s a product called Ingeniux, for the content management system. But we’re using Bootstrap for java scripting responsive design. One of the things we were asked to do in the new redesign was showcase the beauty of Seattle. I always joke that it’s extremely hard to take a bad photo in Seattle, because we live in such a beautiful place. There are so many great photographs out there that we’re leveraging our seattle.gov Flicker group, and have been for a number of years, to really promote the beauty of Seattle throughout our portal pages. You’ll see that scattered throughout our main portal areas. One of the things that we have done is to standardize some of look and feel of our tiles. We have a number of different types of tiles that can be used by departments, created by departments to promote programs and services. Also news, social media, and larger features. We’ve basically been stuck with an antiquated model, which was similar to the Yahoo! style resource list. That model is tired. So we really tore this to the ground and rebuilt it from the ground up. We decided to develop a set of common topics, because a lot of our constituents don’t know what department to go to for the information they want. We divided them up by a common set of, I believe, 23 or 24 topics that act as a clearing house for information, regardless of what department owns that service. A visitor can go to Animals and Pets and find ways to license their pet, or make a complaint about an animal that’s being a nuisance or off-leash. Really, this is one of the first times that the City of Seattle, to my knowledge, that departments have done a complete audit of the services that we provide to our constituency. While it’s not 100 percent complete, it’s definitely a starting point, and we will continue to organically grow those over time, as we move to this new model.
One of the big goals was ease of use for constituents to find information without having to know that you have to go to the City Auditor for this particular service. Again, tile based design makes it easy.
We also have these three sections, which are allowing the user to identify themselves. It’s a model that I believe we introduced years ago, and predates my time with the web team. Here, you will see the same kind of treatment, but the information tiles focus on things that are pertinent to a visiting audience. Some of the things we are doing with the visiting piece is partnering with seattle.org, which is the default tourism and visiting area for business for Seattle. In order to provide that content, our existing visiting portal is similarly out of date, and quite honestly, needs a lot of love, so we figured we might as well leverage some of the partnerships out in the community that exist and specialize in that in order to get people to where they want to go.
Amy Hirotaka: I think we have a few minutes of wiggle room. I wonder if we should leave at least a minute for folks to ask questions.
Jeff Beckstrom: On the service and information piece, again the tile face design up front. One of the things you’ll see here is all of the services listed in tile format. But then you can filter these services by sub-topics. So if you’re looking for licensing and registration, use the services filter. You can also do keyword, which I don’t have on this particular version. But as you start typing, it does a pretty good search on all of those services.
We also have the ability to feature programs on these pages. This is going to be a clearinghouse for information from the City about that one topic. A lot of the departments can tag that within content management and have that promoted up to our central portal area pretty easily at this point.
Question: Now that you’ve switched to a CRM system, can you easily translate?
Jeff Beckstrom: That’s one thing we are looking at as a group at this point. Google Translate is an option at this point, but as you know, Google Translate is pretty poor. One of the things that the City of Boston is currently doing is they have a section that’s asking the public what are the important sections of the web site to translate, which I think is a brilliant idea. You don’t need the whole web site if you need information translated. We already see high numbers on Google Translate of people going there on their own initiative. Rather than being responsible for mis-translated information, critical information, that may be a better approach. Building out smaller sections and translating in multiple languages.
I think a lot of portal areas work pretty well, but then when you start getting into more of the content heavy areas, that’s where it starts to break down.
Dorene Cornwell: If you can see who goes to Google Translate, then those would be ones that I would prioritize.
Jeff Beckstrom: Definitely, that’s a good idea. A lot of the translation pieces are visiting traffic.
Let’s go quickly to the Mayor’s site. One of the things that we try to do is to echo this same tile treatment throughout the departments’ sites, really keeping a consistent look and feel, consistent navigation across the top. We’re also going to be rolling out a context aware mobile menu throughout all of our CMS managed sites. It basically knows what page you’re on and can navigate you forward and back throughout our entire structure, which is a much need improvement. Also featuring current issues, initiatives, recent news. We’re hoping to carry the tile based piece at least to the home pages of the departments. And then, as you start getting more and more into the content and start finding your way, then the tiles kind of start dissipating. Still responsive, but just not a responsive.
Amy Hirotaka: I think we have about one minute, so does anyone have any questions?
Joneil Sampana: I heard you say CMS. I didn’t hear you say CRM.
Jeff Beckstrom: Yes. Content Management System (CMS). CRM is — we currently use Motorola as our CRM and it will tie into it through the customer service bureau, but there are a lot of ways to directly tie into that system.
Joneil Sampana: The reason why I ask is I think it’s important that you’ve done a great job in consolidating the system services. I noticed that a couple of times it says, ‘Paid For, Subscribe to This.’ I wonder if there’s one way to sign on. My pet, and dealing with my electric bill, to just sign on once.
Jeff Beckstrom: That would be fantastic. Unfortunately, at least our existing CRM system doesn’t have that capability. i think that we are looking at that.
Henok Kidane: I wonder about people with slow connections. Have you considered maybe a lower speed for those who don’t have connections that can utilize this?
Jeff Beckstrom: We are employing Lazy Load for a lot of the mobile pieces, but not necessarily for our desktop version. Most of that is because we didn’t want to fill up everybody’s data plans with high imagery. I really haven’t given a lot of thought to do a slower bit-rate connection version of the site. That’s actually a really good idea.
Dorene Cornwell: Following up on the mobile question, sometimes I know that for some people with assistive technology, just having a mobile site can solve lots of problems. So having a link where you can find that is part of useful accessibility.
Jeff Beckstrom: Definitely. We have been doing pretty extensive accessibility testing. That’s one of the things right out of the box that we’re enforcing from any other redesigns. It will be 2.0 compliant. We have been paying attention to that, which hasn’t been easy.
Dorene Cornwell: Someone sent me an email the other day about a different government site, and I just said, ‘Send it to tech support.’
Karia Wong: I use the web site very often to show my clients where the Chinese information that they look for at the City site. I’m wondering, for the new site, is it going to be in the same place? Before, when I clicked the Chinese button, most important information that has been translated into Chinese is available. For the new site, what’s going to happen?
Jeff Beckstrom: We recognize that. It’s really difficult to maintain that, as you might imagine. I think we have 32 different languages and portal pages of information. We recognize that we need to do something about that to manage that content better. We will have something in place, but we’re going to have to do some longer term thinking about what it is that we’re offering our communities, and really get to the meat of the matter, typically around messaging for critical information. And not rely on Google Translate to do that for us.
Karia Wong: Before this, there was important information about tenant rights and other items that I share with my clients.
Jeff Beckstrom: That’s good feedback. What we’ll probably end up doing is putting it up as is, and then in the future working to manage that information better. It’s always been a challenge, but now that we’re in a content management system, it helps, definitely. In the past, my team would go and compare documents with English meta tags, and comments in the code, and that’s just not a good way.
Question: So if you search for Chinese, will tagging help find that content.
Jeff Beckstrom: Yes, I would imagine so, through Google search.
Amy Hirotaka: We’re out of time. We’ve run way over. If folks want to get in contact with you, can they? Or should they make comments to me and then I can give them to you?
Jeff Beckstrom: I can provide my email. That would be fine. Thank you guys for the time.
Amy Hirotaka: Now we’ll turn it over to David Keyes.
DIGITAL EQUITY INITIATIVE: STRATEGIES OVERVIEW
David Keyes: We’re about to head into the third phase of the Digital Equity Iniative. Thanks to a number of you who participated in it. The first phase was establishing visions and goals. The second phase was starting to work on specific strategies. So, I’ll just run through a couple of moments about it.
This was the initial vision that was set. We envisioned a City where technologies opportunities would empower all residents and communities, especially those that were under-served or under-represented, and then develop some guiding principles. One was ‘Be a Leader.’ There were some very interesting discussions around, “Are we the leaders? Are we stewards? What is the City’s role in that? What are other peoples roles, like libraries or tech companies or others, to be sure we’re coordinating and then ensuring equitable development. As the Comprehensive Plan comes out, you will also see a lot of discussion about equitable development. How do we apply race and social justice principles to all the aspects that the City is engaged in. And to think about that in terms of broadband deployment and broadband adoption.
We established six goals. With the top three, Devices and Technical Support; Connectivity; and Skills Training being the priority goals. And the others ones also being important, but both for a combination of time and attention and also as we started to talk to them, as we implement, how do we get more folks to have devices at home and low cost and free devices. When they get technical support, how do they get broadband to their home, and mobile broadband, and make that affordable. How do we ensure digital literacy? These three –Outreach and Accessibility, Building the Community Capacity, Inclusive Engagement and Empowerment — seem to be supporting goals that get woven in as we implement those top three. With folks like Candace and others working on civic technology, and CTAB and others working on that, and others. There may be other initiatives by the City that come back and support those elements and often tie back to Digital Equity work, as well. So it’s certainly not exclusive.
This is a little bit hard to read, but I’ll do a print out of it during the break and come back.
Basically, for each, we have a few different strategies that we set. This came out of work groups here, particularly now that there’s some discussion by the Broadband Committee and the Digital Inclusion Committee, and our Digital Equity Action Committee, which were 25 or so stakeholders from different tech companies, community nonprofits, education sector, faith groups and others, and the round tables that some of you participated in. On Devices and Technical Support, there were three primary ones. Increasing assistive tech at community sites, increasing support for device ownership, and developing tech support programs. We mapped out what are some specific things to do and starting to map out a time frame for that. for instance, by 2017, to develop plans for expanding assistive tech devices and software in public computer labs. That’s something that we might get done sooner, but at least sets a target. And I’ll talk more about that.
Increasing support: We talked about a pilot scholarship or voucher program. We also talked about increasing recycling of devices and coordinating with refurbishers. We had a quite a discussion with Interconnection about that, to distribute devices to low income residents.
Then on Tech Support programs, we talked about having a better marketing and communications strategy to increase promotion of those resources, and then expanding awareness of tech support options, both for the community members and also for computing labs and small businesses.
In Connectivity, three main goals: Improve high speed infrastructure, improve internet to individuals, and improve digital connectivity in public spaces. Along side that was, come up with some recommendations for best practices for competitive and sufficient broadband, particularly in multiple dwelling units. For instance, a discussion came up with some of the providers in Seattle Housing Authority. How can we encourage enough building in enough conduit and pipelines so that we can put multiple providers in public housing or other low income housing to enable that. Start to look at building codes and we can do to change those. Tony has already started working with the Department of Planning and Development to look at how we change the code to make that more accessible.
Improving internet for individuals is promoting the low income internet idea, developing and expanding the hotspot program that the library has.
Improving connectivity in public spaces: The City Council has just approved funding to work on a City-wde WiFi strategy–to look at that. To look at sustainability at community computer labs with high speed internet. One thing that came up was setting up multiple charging stations, having greater access to that, particularly for homeless folks to have a place to do that charging. Implementing building wide WiFi, where feasible at Parks and Rec community centers.
In Skills Training, three main things: Boost the digital kills training programs, prepare qualified trainers so that people at the centers, both staff and volunteers can assist others so we can build that pool of people helping other people. then providing additional resources or support for the community organizations that are working on that. In boosting digital skills training, we set as a goal to pick three schools that are Title I and are low income, and work with them to be able to ensure and expand the number of families that are connected as a starting point. Let’s increase STEM and coding instruction for students in school programs, and try and use that, as well as coding education programs for adults; increase awareness of digital skills training programs among vulnerable workers. There was some discussion about a person working at a hotel or elsewhere, how do we help them open up opportunities. Goodwill and community colleges were also interested in that. We talked about preparing quality trainers and applying a train the trainer program and putting that in place.
Additional resources is doing two exciting things. One is to do a joint, large marketing campaign to increase awareness of training and technical support opportunities for residents, and secondly, to look at how we can create a funding collaborative. In Kansas City, for instance, they’ve done that and created a pool, so that companies can contribute to a foundation that puts money out to support things that could feed back into something like the tools, the devices scholarships, and other things.
Next steps for us: Right now, we’ve got the full report we’re about to get published. We’re just starting to plan a launch event for February. We’d love to have you guys involved in that. Just talked to the Mayor’s office this week about what date that would be. We really want that to be a great and exciting opportunity. And then, to establish some ongoing leadership teams as CTAB does its work plans for the year, to keep that moving along. How do we community engaged as we’re doing it and get new folks in to do projects to implement the Digital Equity plan. And important thing is that it’s all of us together–City as leader, but it’s really all of us together. There’s no reason why the other aspects can’t be lead by other groups.
We’re looking at the strategies and developing a more detailed work plan. Evaluations are really important so we’re getting metrics along the way, so we can talk about success in moving the needle on Digital Equity; continuing to strengthen these partnerships and investment opportunities, so as we announce these strategies, the opportunity for you guys to help bring in others to work together on it. And then, establish a regular reporting on progress. So again, thinking about what you’re doing and how to look at, a couple of times a year, hosting forums so that we can share some of the great successes that are coming out, get more feedback, keep the energy going around it.
So that’s where we’re at on the Digital Equity plan. Thanks to folks here who worked on that.
Amy Hirotaka: Thanks, David.
Jose Vasquez: We did run out of time on that. Do we have time for questions?
Amy Hirotaka: Sure. Are there any questions?
Joneil Sampana: For the launch event, how can we help get other communities involved in that?
David Keyes: I think as soon as we get a date set, then both really talking it up, word of mouth, press releases and some marketing materials. We’re looking at how do we do it as a demonstration of what’s going on. We don’t have a place set yet, so I don’t want to confirm that, but one of the places that makes some sense to us is New Holly, where we could bring in some of the coding education, and robotics that’s happening with the East African community services. It also hits the place that is tied to Seattle Housing Authority. Another project that is related to this is a federal HUD Connect Home broadband project that we’re a part of, to increase access and skills for low income public housing residents. The director of that program for HUD is interested in coming out for the launch of that. I think if you’ve got ideas about also doing some demonstrations of things that show what can be done with Digital Equity, Karia, maybe you’ve got something to demonstrate in Chinese and how to help immigrants with digital literacy. Or Joneil, maybe some of your data mapping could be used as a display or demo. I’m kind of interested in ideas on how to showcase what moving the Digital Equity plan forward would mean.
Joneil Sampana: I think it would be exciting to have the participants, a very different demographic group represented.
David Keyes: Yes, I think it’s pretty important to have people from the community who would be impacted to talk about what that means. Whether its youth or family talking about it, and so on.
Amy Hirotaka: We’ll move on to Tony Perez. You have ten minutes.
COMCAST FRANCHISE AGREEMENT UPDATE/OVERVIEW
Tony Perez: I’ll move quickly so we can have question. It seems as though this topic always generates questions.
I’m Tony Perez, the director of Seattle Office of Cable Communications and part of my job is to negotiate these franchises from time to time. The next time we will be doing this is later this year with Wave Broadband, and we can talk about that another time.
A brief summary or overview of the benefits we were able to achieve within the framework of a franchise. I’ll talk a little bit more at the end about some other considerations that we were able to negotiate outside the context of the franchise, such as internet benefits, which we can’t require internet–we have no regulatory authority over that. One thing I wanted to say, too, and you should be aware of this because it will come up to probably when we worked with Wave. Our leverage in negotiations was severely impacted by a 2007 order from the FCC called 621 Order. That manifested itself in a couple of ways. For example, the 621 order provides that effectively a company like Comcast can deduct from franchise fees it pays the City the cost of providing free cable service to all schools and City buildings, which we require them to do. Over the course of a ten year franchise, that would be millions and millions of dollars in either lost revenue to the City or we would have to start charging the school district and the City for the cable service they receive. That’s one of the limiting factors from that order. The other aspect of the order that was problematic for us was that it really frowned upon what are called level playing fields in existing franchises. So, in the Comcast franchise, we had a provision that if we granted a franchise let’s say to a Century Link, on terms that were more favorable or less onerous than the burdens Comcast has, Comcast would get to reduce its obligations. That’s the climate and environment we faced when we first started negotiating with Comcast, and everything from their lawyers was, “621 Order, 621 Order.” Century Link did the same thing. But, I think we were able to arrive at a good franchise, actually extremely good in the context of the negotiations that we had.
I want to move the the next line where we’re comparing what we got this time compared to 2006. Back then, we got up front cash money from Comcast. It was approximately $7 million, with $4 million to support our new arts and civic programming for the Seattle Channel, which helped create the greatest and best, we think, government channel in the county. And we consistently win awards for program excellence. $2 million in capital funds that were used for the Seattle Channel and public access channel. Nothing up front this time. We were able to secure a PEG fee of .4 percent of Comcast’s gross revenues that we anticipate will generate approximately $8 million over the next ten years. Although we did not get a civic engagement grant like we did last time, we did receive $500,000 to support digital equity initiatives in the City.
All together, we kind of got to where we wanted to be, taking inflation into account. Given the limitations of the 621 Order, we went from a stance of trying to get as much as we can to ‘let’s just try and remain whole.’
Next line, again we were able to continue to get free cable connections to schools and City buildings, which was a big win for us, without deductions of franchise fees. And free advertising for the Seattle Channel up on the cable network. Also, we insisted that public education and government channels have the same technical standards as the best commercial offerings from cable operators.
Next one: We can talk more about these. Cable discount, which was important.
Next line: I want to talk a little bit about some considerations that you may not have heard too much about, but were also part of the overall package that we negotiated. We got $450,000 from Comcast that was in dispute over payment of franchise fees. We had a disagreement as to methodology that should be used for providing the City franchise fees. We felt that they had underpaid. They said, ‘No we don’t owe you anything.’ And like in any good negotiation, you both need to come to some resolution. So, you probably didn’t hear too much about that, but we did get $450,000 for that, which the department could use for most purposes. It probably will be used some way for Digital Equity programs. $100,000 per year for five years in support of Digital Equity. I was in D.C. the day after Council announced the franchise, and then there was some drama because we found out that Philadelphia had gotten some benefits that we didn’t get. So credit to Michael and the folks who were here when I was gone, who were able to get some additional money from Comcast to put us on par with Philadelphia.
We expanded the free internet program–free internet service to nonprofits in the City. We also got Comcast to agree for the first time to provide cable TV to nonprofits, as well as internet service. And we got a commitment from Comcast to pilot a senior internet discount in the City. Philadelphia got it. We want it, too.
That’s it in a nutshell. A ten year program. Questions?
Joneil Sampana: Going back a couple of slides, what is that four percent?
Tony Perez: It’s a .4 percent.
Joneil Sampana: What is that earmarked for?
Tony Perez: It will be primarily for the Seattle Channel operations and capital support for both the Seattle Channel and the public access channel. It could be used for some other purposes, but in my goal in the negotiations was to keep PEG.
John Tigue: Will these slides be available?
Tony Perez: Yes. Is that a request for public information?
John Tigue: And where would I find them?
David Keyes: I’m going to print out some copies of this presentation for distribution, and it will also be embedded into the minutes.
John Tigue: And that’s all information that we can share?
Derrick Hall: Right. It will be on the web site.
Amy Hirotaka: Are there any more questions?
Tony Perez: The last thing I’ll add is that this is a ten year franchise. This is the relationship we have built with the cable operator, so this may be what we get today, but I think they understand and everybody understands that City’s needs change, technology evolves. And that we want to be able to exploit any technological developments to address emerging needs in the future.
Dan Stiefel: In the Wave negotiations coming up, how will what you got here affect what you ask for from Wave.
Tony Perez: It’s going to be difficult. They’re a much smaller company, with much smaller resources. Wave probably has less than ten percent of the subscribers. Proportionately, I think we will probably get there. I think they understand that that’s the baseline.
Dan Stiefel: But you can’t get something really better from them, now that you’ve made this deal with Comcast, because of the 621 Order?
Tony Perez: No. We can negotiate. We don’t know yet.
Dan Stiefel: How does that order affect that? I don’t quite understand that.
Tony Perez: The order was primarily that we couldn’t say to a Century Link, ‘You have to do everything Comcast did. They provide service to all City schools and buildings. You need to go and do that.’ And there was a provision in the Comcast franchise that basically said that if somebody came in on more favorable terms, they get to (reduce their obligations). The problem for us was how do we get, knowing that for Century Link we couldn’t ask for those things. How could we come back to Comcast and say, “Despite what the 621 Order says, we want you to pony up more than Century Link. But we got there somehow. The understanding with Century Link is that time goes on and as you capture more market share, you’ll assume more of these responsibilities. Ideally, if they have half the customers Comcast has, they’ll have about half of the burden.
Amy Hirotaka: Thank you, Tony. We have time for public comment, and we will move on to that. We have five minutes for that.
PUBLIC COMMENT AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Jose Vasquez: The World Affairs Council is bringing seven youth tech entrepreneurs from Latin America. It will be February 28 to March 12. They’re looking for host families. So if anybody here knows someone or is willing to host seven tech entrepreneurs, come and see me after the meeting.
Dorene Cornwell: How long would it be? That’s a very cool. They might need transportation, too.
Jose Vasquez: The whole week. So they are requiring a room with a bed and meals.
Amy Hirotaka: One more housekeeping issue: If you need a parking pass, see Derrick Hall.
BROADBAND AND CABLE UPDATE
Amy Hirotaka: I will give the Cable and Broadband Committee update. You heard about the Comcast franchise update, which is the bulk of what we’ve been working on thus far. Our next big thing is going to be the Wave franchise agreement, and we’ll be talking about that. To recap our accomplishments over the last year, private input on public benefits for Comcast and Century Link; developed a low income policy decision statement shared with the Mayor and Council; advocated for increased broadband access through changes in the SDOT rules about placing telecommunications cabinets; and one that’s actually missing from here, provided comment to the SEC on their Lifeline Program, which is something that we worked on pretty recently, as well.
One item of business is that now that I am the CTAB chair, I am looking for someone to replace me as the co-chair with Dan Stiefel of the Broadband and Cable Committee. I’ll still be active in the committee, but I am looking for someone to take on the co-chair position. Just putting that out there, and I will be sending out emails.
So let’s move on to the Digital Inclusion Committee and Jose.
DIGITAL INCLUSION COMMITTEE UPDATE
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. First, I want to touch bases on the Technology Matching Fund cycle. We’re going to hold off the Technology Matching Fund cycle for now, until they announce the Digital Equity Plan. Once that comes out and is official, we’ll know exactly what that means. After that, we’ll come back and reassess.
Update on last year: We reviewed and provided recommendations for funding the TMF projects; supported the City’s Get Online and Low Cost Internet campaign; and contributed to the development of the Digital Equity Initiative.
For this year, I am looking for a co-chair, since I’m taking more responsibility. If somebody here is interested in getting more involved with that, contact me.
Amy Hirotaka: Thank you. Let’s move on to the E-Gov Committee.
E-GOV COMMITTEE UPDATE
Joneil Sampana: The E-Gov Committee, as you know, last year we supported a number of different Open Data initiatives, both at the City level and the State level. The most exciting news was the Summer Internship program with the data visualization program, where it placed 13 students from four universities with four private partners. Those were Socrata, Microsoft, and two others. And there were six different government agencies at the State level. So that was a deciding cross collaboration between government and private sectors. Upcoming, our main project for next quarter is going to be the Metro Lab. This is the Urban Center Project that’s happening in March, with the City of Seattle working with the University of Washington to identify different neighborhood initiatives for folks on big data solutions who will be acting as the citizens’ [unintelligible]. As a quick reminder, meetings for E-Gov are typically every fourth Tuesday of the month and held either in the Westlake office down in South Lake Union, or [unintelligible] in Pioneer Square.
Amy Hirotaka: Great. Thank you. And I should have mentioned that the Broadband meetings are the fourth Monday of the month at O’Asian, next door.
Karia Wong: O’Asian is closed.
Amy Hirotaka: O’Asian is closed. Okay. They will be at a new location to be decided.
Question: I was curious about the data mapping initiative. Is there anything available about the City of Seattle?
Joneil Sampana: For the City of Seattle, not necessarily. There’s a lot of information about tax revenue, so you might be interested. It’s not limited to King County. The revenue came from marijuana sales. King County raised the most money last year, but the approach could be adopted here in the City of Seattle. According to Bruce Blood, we have funding for this program from the four partners to redo the program for a number of different other students, typically from a number of universities. This year, we are looking at community colleges as well as universities.
Open data sets are typically in Excel and hard to read. For citizens that may not be data-savvy, it’s a combination of data analytics, but also story telling for a visual perspective. That’s how they learn from their mentors. [unintelligible]
Ronald: You mentioned universities and colleges. What about boot camps?
Joneil Sampana: We haven’t reached out to those because it just takes some dedicated time to work with student groups. And we got a lot of support from the universities’ career resource centers to help find people who can work on their own, because most of these programs were done virtually. So they were done in Bellingham, Spokane, etc. So we need a specific skill set that will keep them moving during the summertime.
Amy Hirotaka: I should ask if there were any questions for any of the other committee chairs. I don’t thin we have a representative from the Privacy Committee, or we don’t have a CTAB representative. Is there anyone sitting on the outside of the room who could give a Privacy Committee update? If not, I’ll just read through the updates here.
PRIVACY COMMITTEE UPDATE
Amy Hirotaka: They provided input into new City privacy policies at CTAB meetings and through CTAB members’ participation in the City’s Privacy Advisory Committee. They conducted planning for a Privacy Symposium, and they held three community based Privacy Workshops. Are there any questons about any of the committees?
David Keyes: Beryl sent out a summary of their privacy work.
Question: Is this related to a federal action?
Amy Hirotaka: I don’t know.
David Keyes: The initial work was more as the City was starting to develop Privacy Policies. One result of that, as Michael mentioned, they’re in the process of hiring a Chief Privacy Officer to establish where we’re coming out on advocacy for the Privacy Initiatives. I don’t know that it’s specifically responsive to the federal thing. Certainly, that’s an important piece of what’s going on. An interesting side note, there’s a letter going around to be submitted to the FCC, asking the FCC to start a proceeding to look into rules around customer rights and privacy for broadband subscribers, to ask them to start a proceeding. I saw that through the National Digital Inclusion Alliance.
John Tigue: How can I get on that?
David Keyes: I’ll just forward the email through the CTAB notice list. I’ll do that tonight. [See the letter here.]
Dorene Cornwell: I was going to comment about privacy. I had a conversation with Beryl in the last couple of days about her report, and I think privacy is actually a huge interest. When you look at it from City government agencies, you have one reality, but if you’re a customer or a citizen, you have different ones. And if you do open data, there’s lots of questions about how to anonymize. I think that there’s huge interest, so much that a a committee like CTAB’s, what it gets to focus on is one thing and how to do the bigger piece is a bigger picture. There aren’t federal requirements…[unintelligible]
David Keyes: Next month is when CTAB sets its committees for the year. You guys are going to pick what issues you want to work on.
Amy Hirotaka: The next item on the agenda is planning for 2016, including work plans and the annual meeting with Mayor and Council. As far as the annual meeting with Mayor and Council go, are we meant to be coming up with potential dates for those sessions?
David Keyes: What we’ve done in the past is pretty much every year had either the Mayor or Mayor’s representative, and the chair or representative from the City Council committee that was dealing with technology come to CTAB and talk about what their priorities are for the year, and give you guys a chance to ask questions also. And that’s helped inform the work plan. That’s usually the February meeting. We have at times shifted the meeting times slightly if the Mayor is available at 5:00, to do that, or have a slightly extended meeting. Last year–there are two models. One is waiting for the Mayor and Council to come and inform you about what’s coming up and going on. The other is based on what you know already. We know things like the Broadband Map is coming out. The Digital Equity plan is coming out. The Wife strategy. You guys can start to say what’s on your work plan and to present that to the Mayor and Council or to revise it when they come. We can either do a longer meeting and have them come early in the meeting and hash out committees and things, or split that over two meetings. Have them come and go back and work out plans for the year, and adopt them in March. I think we did that last year. The group started to work on what they wanted to do for the year, and got ahead of things. That probably enabled a little bit more conversation when staff came in. What I see as kind of important this year is it had firmed up early what’s on the work plans, and have it be consistent across the different committees, and adopt that.
Joneil Sampana: I think it was a great model to get a lot of the committees to participate, crowd sourcing ideas that we’re passionate about as well. At the end of the day, it does take out people power to get these programs and projects pushed through in 2016. One thing I think is a best practice, is now that we have Digital Equity Initiative and that framework. If we’re able to identify what program or project that interests us, and match our alignment to one of these key goals, then overall, all of our committees within CTAB align to the City-wide Digital Equity Plan. So we can find out where our gaps are, where we’re doing really well, and try this cohesive approach.
David Keyes: And the other thing that we can do. Last year, folks posted what their draft work plan topics were. So that was open for public comment. You put the word out and you give people a chance to have some input.
Joneil Sampana: Going back to the data visualization project, underneath the S3, skill training, we’re providing specific skills to students and communities of color, and the City can bring those numbers up and show a dashboard from what we’re doing, holistically, to other citizens and then cite what project from what organization.
Question: Those interns are who the university hires?
Joneil Sampana: We tried to encourage that, although we wanted the best students. For those students having trouble finding those positions, let’s have community centers or career resource centers at universities pay special attention to that.
Amy Hirotaka: It sounds like it’s better to have work plans in place before the February meeting. Do we have confirmation that mayoral staff and council staff will be here?
David Keyes: No we don’t.
Amy Hirotaka: But it sounds like having work plans in place prior to when they are able to come, in order to have a richer conversation with them. It sounds like out goal should be for the committee to have a draft work plan in place before the February meetings. That is something we can circulate to staff prior to the meeting?
David Keyes: Yes.
Amy Hirotaka: Are there any representatives from the Privacy Committee here tonight? Okay. Unclear about how to proceed on that one, but we’ll figure it out. Does that sound amenable to CTAB members? David, are you the point person on scheduling with staff?
David Keyes: Yes. I’ll get back to you. I’ll try and confirm that.
Comment: So, there’s City staff that write up the plans that are reviewed by this group before they are shared with the Mayor?
Amy Hirotaka: Committees are not staffed by City staff. Those are volunteers, generally with a CTAB member representing, and there are a lot folks here who participate in committees. Dan Stiefel is co-chair for a committee, for example. So those are community members.
David Keyes: We have myself as the main liaison to the full board. We probably do the most staff support in writing minutes and such. And then there’s a staff liaison around content to each of the committees, but he committees are self-managed. Tony has been the liaison for broadband issues. Bruce has worked with E-Gov and Open Data. I worked with Digital Inclusion.
Amy Hirotaka: But the actual product should come from members being informed by City staff.
David Keyes: Yes. We can help integrate. The important thing–and I don’t think we will know all of this by February, because I think there are a lot of pieces coming on for the City–but we want to make sure that you guys have meaningful input at meaningful times. And can move things forward. And we also know, because you guys are all volunteers, your time is really valuable and there’s a limited amount that you can do. We want to figure out the best use of your time. I think we can help figure out in terms of time. We can check back with Michael on the open data piece and say what’s the forecast timing for something this year. We know from Tony that we’re starting the Wave franchise piece, but that will really kick up later in the year. Because the goals will be to have most of the agreement in place by June of next year. This year is the community needs ascertainment and starting to frame that. I don’t see anything coming up with the Seattle Channel. On connectivity, we are going to potentially put out an RFP for the WiFi strategy. We’re waiting on the timing on that.
We’ve got a couple of templates that have been used in the past. I can send those around. I think some of the metrics on the Digital Equity plan are being put into place. We’re trying to figure out how to scale up each of the work items within that. Some of those will be shorter term. Some won’t be implemented until late this year or next year, depending on community resources.
Joneil Sampana: Aren’t our current work plans in the minutes some place?
David Keyes: Yes. The current ones were posted in the CTAB blog.
Question: Can we have committee descriptions?
David Keyes: Yes. I think there was a mix in terms of formatting and stuff this last year. I’ll try and look for those and send them out so you guys don’t have to look for those. It was probably February or March. I’ll check with the Council staff and we’ll work with the Mayor’s office on some scheduling, so stay tuned.
Amy Hirotaka: CTAB members, are we all good with using our scheduled meeting time for this with the Mayor’s staff and Council?
David Keyes: I know that the City Council just this last week passed and approved what their committees will be. The technology component is still with Bruce Harrell as chair, but all the committees have changed somewhat. I’ll send out that link, which is easily find-able at seattle.gov/council. To see what the committees are, you can now see which new Councilmembers are on which committees. There is an associated description of them. Good to understand where Councilmembers are coming from, and what their intentions might be, because there is some crossover to other committees. If you guys are out in the community and happen to be talking to the Councilmembers, to make that connection. I know that Lorena Gonzalez is the co-chair of the committee that is also the tech committee. Equity and Governance have Tim Burgess as a third member on that. You can go on the web site and you can subscribe to alerts for the committee, which gets you the agenda for the committee. I found one useful thing about that is, oftentimes if there are briefing on something that will range from Michael doing something on the cable franchise or Smart Cities initiative to somebody coming in and talking about housing related issues. So there’s some good briefing with the materials that also happen at the Council committee meetings and that’s a way to get those materials right away and see what’s going on.
Amy Hirotaka: We should move on now to wrap up. One thing that isn’t here is, I think we all really liked the way Joneil did action items from the meetings so we could know what we’re doing moving forward. I captured a few. Jose, if you could go over what you captured.
Jose Vasquez: Sure. First relative to the launch date for seattle.gov, they’re asking us to share [unintelligible]. Waiting to get confirmation from the Mayor and City Council on the February meeting. Drafting work plans and having them ready for feedback at the February meeting. And David will send out the templates for us to review and maybe pick one.
Amy Hirotaka: Anyone else?
Joneil Sampana: Did you mention the Diversity Initiative launch. We’re trying to find a date, and once we do, get it to the right communities.
David Keyes: And I’m going to send out the National Digital Inclusion Alliance info about the letter to call for the FCC to do a proceeding on the broadband consumer and privacy rights. I’ll send out the notes so that everyone can get a copy of the presentations that were done tonight.
Joneil Sampana: I’ll make a special request to include in the minutes the URL for the presentations from tonight.
Amy Hirotaka: Last item, are there any topics that people would like to see covered at our next meeting? It seems that, depending on scheduling, a lot of it will likely be taken up potentially working with Mayor’s and Council’s staff. But if there are any other items that folks would like to see covered, you can always email me.
Comment: I’d like to see a presentation on the new DoIT Civic Technology work.
David Keyes: I’ll mention that to Candace Faber and see if we can arrange that, with Jim Loter.