The July CTAB meeting was held on July 14, 6:00-8:00 p.m., 700 Fifth Avenue, Room 2750. The group heard an update from Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller; a report on the Technology Matching Fund (TMF) awards; an update on the Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan); a report on Cable and Broadband Committee from Sarah Trowbridge; a Privacy Committee update from Beryl Fernandes; a Digital Inclusion update from for Jose Vasquez; a report on E-Gov from Joneil Sampana; a discussion and vote on the CTAB Twitter account hashtag.
This meeting was held: July 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: Beryl Fernandes, Jose Vasquez, Joneil Sampana, Karia Wong, Sarah Trowbridge
Public: Dorene Cornwell, Henok Kidane, Dashiell Milliman-Jarvis, Kevin O’Boyle, Greta Hotopp, Kevin Volkman (A.R.T.), Enzhou Wang (City Light), Peter Abrahamson, Dan Moulton, Lambert Rochfort, Andrea McVittle, Josh Gerrish, Ronald Ning, Seth Vincent
Staff: Michael Mattmiller, Will Schoentrup, Tony Perez, David Keyes, Derrick Hall, Cass Magnuski
23 In Attendance
Meeting was called to order by Joneil Sampana.
Minutes approved with one change from Sarah Trowbridge.
Michael Mattmiller, Chief Technology Officer: I’m pleased to introduce Will Schoentrup, our new Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Information Technology (DoIT), day two.
Joneil Sampana: I don’t know whether we can approve the agenda, because we don’t have a quorum. In regards to the minutes from last week, we can’t actually approve those, but are there any glaring errors.
Sarah Trowbridge: I have one edit. There’s a line where we’re talking about broadband where I state that I think it’s determined that the City can go to the electrical space, but in fact, I was asking a question: How is it determined if the City can go to the electrical space? Just to clarify that.
Joneil Sampana: We’ll hold off until next meeting when we have a quorum to approve both the minutes and agenda.
Michael Mattmiller: Before I jump into the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) update, I’ll give Will Schoentrup a couple of minutes to talk a little bit about your background.
Will Schoentrup: I’ve been involved with information technology for the last 19 years, mostly in the private sector–the last 13 years in retail for Tommy Bahama, and Union Bay, and most recently as Chief Information Office (CIO) for Sur La Table. Before that, a few years back, I was an officer in the United State Navy. I grew up in the Seattle area in Issaquah, and went to the University of Washington. I’m please to join the City and to give back to the community that I have been raised in and love.
Michael Mattmiller: We’re incredibly thrilled that Will is with us. It’s going to be a huge benefit to the department that we are able to double our capacity. Some of the things that Will will be focused on is IT consolidation. We’ve talked a little about it to this group where we’re going to be structuring the new Seattle IT department, in a manner where we will have strong shared services, and we’re going to have department account teams that have domain knowledge and focus on the needs of our larger departments. Will is going to be over the IT directors that run those department account teams. That’s going to put Will front and center in terms of strategy and how we’ll not only run our internal operations, but how we think about moving the City forward with incoming technologies across our departments. That’s one of the many things that Will is going to be dunking into and we look forward to talking to you more about it in the future. With that, we’ll let him go.
It’s been a great summer so far, here in DoIT with technology in the City. I’m so excited to be with David Keyes at table tomorrow at Council for the Technology Matching Fund (TMF) grants. It’s due in no small part to the amazing work that this group has done to grade 64 grants this year. That’s amazing.
David Keyes: Sixty-four applications, 22 grants.
Michael Mattmiller: For a total payout of $470,000, which is phenomenal. So thank you to everyone in CTAB who worked on that effort. And I have to share with you how jealous I hear my peers talk about the Technology Matching Fund program. I connect with IT leaders from across the nation in other cities. Even at the federal level, we’re getting recognition for what a great digital equity type of program initiative that this is.
Other things going on: IT consolidation is moving forward. We’re trying to bulk up that program. So from an internal perspective, but exciting nonetheless. When we think about how it is we’re going to bring together about 670 IT professionals to create the mature services which will allow us to focus on being innovative around technology.
Next Generation Data Center (NGDC) is moving along as well, for anyone who has been paying attention. We have pictures of racks coming together, and in fact, a portion of our project team is in eastern Washington today, checking out data centers that will serve as our secondary facility to the main facility that we’re building out down in Tukwila.
Beryl Fernandes: When do we get to see pictures?
Michael Mattmiller: We can bring those next time.
Office 365 is growing, as well. Our first big push towards the cloud here in the City. We have a decision letter this month to see if we’ll proceed on migrating mailboxes, starting in late August. I can tell you that I’m signing up for that first wave, although my team is, perhaps, not on that same page yet. But it is very exciting to see the enthusiasm out of that team, and people around the City excited to engage in the rollout activities.
So, those are some of the big things that I’ve been focused on. A little bit more internal for the moment. And all of the TMF funds–David, I don’t know if it’s on the agenda to talk about the Digital Equity Advisory Committee?
David Keyes: Yes. We’re going to do a little bit on that and then it will come up in committee, also.
Michael Mattmiller: Great. So that’s going to come up. I know Tony Perez is going to be talking about, in part, the excitement yesterday where the City Council voted 9-0 to pass the Century Link cable television franchise, which will bring tentative service options, right off the bat, to more than 80,000 Seattleites. And we expect that number to continue to grow. Of course, if you are in an area that isn’t yet served by that Century Link product, we still see the benefit of competition, lowering prices and improving service.
Those are the things that are top of mind for me right now. Anything that folks would like to ask?
Enzhou Wang: I have a question in regards to consolidation as well as technology. What is the tone of your employees? How are they dealing with all of this change?
Michael Mattmiller: It’s a great question. There is a range of thinking, as you might imagine. There are people who are excited and ready to go. There are some folks that really question what this means for them. And there are those who need some additional information. We are very excited that we will retain the services of SV2, and MC2, a consulting firm that is run by Marty Chakoian, former CTO, and Marty’s firm is going to help us with change management, around consolidation specifically, but as you can imagine. So Marty and his team are going to have a draft change management communications plan done this Friday. We’re also retaining some organizational development talent as well to help make sure that we have the big picture to plan around consolidation and the right thinking around what we have to do.
I also forgot to mention that on the internal front, we received our PCI level one report on compliance last week. It was a clean report on compliance. If you can imagine where we started just a few months ago, it’s a tremendous amount of work that our City staff has done–more than 200 people involved in that project to bring us up to the highest standard for credit card processing security. Use your credit card with the City. You are safe.
Beryl Fernandes: You mean we weren’t before?
Michael Mattmiller: You were safe before, but you’re even that much more safe. We now have validation from an external assessor.
Enzhou Wang: I work for Seattle City Light. I just want to know if there are initiatives or things that collaborate to train local government…King County or other cities that share best practices or resources?
Michael Mattmiller: There are a couple of things we did to collaborate. First, I stay in close contact with Bill Kehoe, CIO of King County. We’re just across the street from each other. It’s a wonderful opportunity for partnership and our staff are talking about a number of initiatives. For example, we are developing a road map for our [unintelligible]. Starting about three years ago, we just had our third deployment. So we’re working very hard to understand the lessons learned that they went through. We also have some other specific Title II projects and partnerships where we work with partners across the region. So the Puget Sound Emergency Radio network are replaced the 800 mehahertz radio system used by first responders. We partner with all the people involved on that front, and have been very active.
Also, I had an opportunity last week to connect with not only my counterpart from King County but from Bellevue and Kirkland on what’s called the C3 Initiative, which is an effort to coordinate some fiber building activities around Lake Washington. Beyond that, we’re also part of an organization called ASIS, which I won’t even try to say what the acronym stands for, but it’s the IT leaders from across Washington State. We meet on a twice annual basis to share knowledge, talk about challenges. And of course, if you think of an opportunity, especially within City Light, please let me know all about connecting with those. And in fact, I’ve met a couple times now with Benjamin Beberness, who is the CIO of SnoPUD, to learn about the challenges facing his world.
What do you do with City Light?
Enzhou Wang: I’m part of IT. I work with treating system, hydro optimization, system optimization.
Sarah Trowbridge: With regards to the Century Link franchise that just got passed by the City Council, CTAB gave some testimony, and I was wondering, now that the franchise has been passed what other opportunities there are? We’d like to hear more from you on the topic.
Michael Mattmiller: Did the committee get that blocked off for next month? I don’t have my calendar.
Sarah Trowbridge: Next month on the first.
Michael Mattmiller: So, we can delve into all the details there about strategies and potential opportunities. What I’ve appreciated about working with Century Link is that while we landed where we did on the franchise after a period of negotiations, their government affairs has been very active and visible both within our community and in terms of being proactive in working with us. Granted, there were lots of stakeholders. The person in government affairs is not always the person negotiating the franchise. But that team will be amenable to specific concerns, thinking about how we address them. For some things like the discount program where they have drawn a hard line and said ‘we want a national standard.’ If we aren’t able to modify the terms of that, per se, I think that we do have an opportunity to dialog with them and think about wrap-around types of things and how it’s going to be helpful in digital equity and access issues concerning communities. Seattle Housing Authority was wiring a new facility, and Century Link realized that the way they were doing the wiring was going to limit future broadband space that would be offered in that building as well as other services. And so we were able to pull that in and make connections with Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) to have them think about changing their wiring standards. It’s a minor point, but it’s still an important one. And I think that we need to find those ways that we think of to engage them and ask that they do the same. Also, they’re going to be building out the community for some time so there’s lots of opportunity to think about how we continue to work with them.
Question: So Open Seattle met in January and are really excited about showing people in the community and answering any confusion or making corrections. Find and Fix It is something that the City is using and I haven’t played around too much with the data.seattle.gov, but I don’t want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to mapping things, or other issues. I guess the way I would put it is I don’t want to build a car on top of the wheels that the City’s offering, and how would we collaborate more with more than one system. One thing I’ve noticed is that we’re not using the Open 311 system that other cities are using. San Francisco, Boston, DC. I was curious about why Bill Schrier signed the pledge for Open 311. I don’t know the history of it, but that was one question that came to mind. What’s the difference between what Open 311 is offering and what the City is offering as far as building applications on top of data?
Michael Mattmiller: It’s a great question. And I would love it if you could send me Bill Schrier’s pledge. As luck would have it, my husband and I are moving to West Seattle within three blocks of Bill Schrier’s house. So, with 311, it’s a really interesting question. I’ve had several conversations with the team at FAS, in part based on the conversation you and I had about the state of open–“gee, why isn’t this data open?” I can’t, unfortunately, give you a date for how or when we will make that available, but I can tell you that we want to figure out how to get more of the high value data out to the Open Seattle community. I think the challenge is in figuring out how we can pump that into the Socrata data.seattle.gov platform. And as you pointed out, Chicago has figured it out, DC has figured it out. It’s not a new concept. I think that one thing that keeps us moving forward on that is our privacy study. I think we’ve got the preliminary report back. I haven’t seen it yet. But we want to make sure that we’ve got the right guard rails in place, that we know every day how we’re scrubbing that to protect identities. So, if you don’t like Find It Fix It, use the open source product. Build your own. Write it as an API into your system. I was having a great conversation with the winners of our Hack-a-thon. Do you remember Hack-cessable? How great would it be if we can figure out a platform for crowd sourcing information in a way that makes the crowd sourcing code part of ESG? And I don’t know if there’s another app that makes it easy. But whatever you want to crowd source in terms of information, we give you the platform and tools to source that. So they were starting to think about that a little bit as they consider a native app for access.
I’ll keep the script close as we have those conversations. I think everyone knows Bruce Blood. He and I and Kendee are working on a plan for seattle.gov next year, so stay tuned.
Joneil Sampana: Another data point to that. Can we get Katherine Schubert-Knapp to come and give a presentation for the September time frame?
Michael Mattmiller: That would be great. Straight from the source. I’ll try and grab her for that.
Greta Hotopp: I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but DC and Boston having something like that and it is night and day. It’s just a world of difference. They’ve already got it down on privacy issues, not to say that Seattle couldn’t do it better, but you can make a widget and make it specifically be for Duwamish, for example. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We don’t need to over-complicate it or be afraid of the public’s input. We could use our best practices for how to handle that so that it’s a very positive forum. And I think that maybe talking to the people who had to deal with the worst parts of it in Boston, and DC, and Houston would calm people down about what it’s like to deal with the public. This is a much better process online than it is having an open forum, where someone hijacks the thing and it’s a nightmare for you guys, it’s a nightmare for citizens. There are studies that say that if you click online at their convenience, you are better equipped. It’s a big step up from what you guys are doing now, which is everything top down. It makes me sad because I love everything about Seattle. I think it’s the best City in the US, but I hate that, you know. Even New Haven has it better on the social-civic aspect.
Michael Mattmiller: Is the use case to be able to see what others have reported?
Greta Hotopp: You can see what others have reported, but also you can see when the City as input on it. So, if I report something, I can see it, everybody else can see it They can vote on it. They can comment on it. People who know specific laws have input. Different departments in the City. It gets routed based on keywords, geography. It can go to the right place in the City. It’s just so much more efficient, and from the citizen’s point of view, it is so much more common so you know what’s going on. They moved the Share-a-Bike outside my apartment building. For two months, I couldn’t find out when it was coming back. It’s a big part of my commute. No information from the City. And Find It Fix It is like leaving a message. And it’s so different. It’s very inclusive also.
Michael Mattmiller: Totally valid point. So here’s the challenge we have today…
Question: Is it open source software?
Michael Mattmiller: The software is a third party solution.
Question: So, if we decided that we want to change it, how would that work? I think the difference is where we invest public dollars in something, it should be an open utility that we can modify. I’d advocate something that has a free license.
Greta Hotopp: Yes, and they don’t have a great API either, but it’s ridiculously cheap for what it does. A lot of the things that you use are so much more expensive and things aren’t immediately solved. I’m not saying that you can’t do it better.
Michael Mattmiller: I don’t disagree with anything that you just said.
Beryl Fernandes: Sequent started as open source.
David Keyes: Just a quick request. I know we’ve had a bunch of folks come in over the last little bit of time. Try to remember to just speak up, so we can get it into the notes. And also, if you haven’t introduced yourselves in the initial round, just say who you are. During the break, maybe sign the attendee sheet. The agendas are over there, also.
Michael Mattmiller: I’ve been getting the high sign on time. One quick thought on that. The challenge is not just with our current voter roll and the Motorola CSR system. It’s actually the back end systems that pass information. So, in Find It and Fix It, if you take a picture of a downed tree and hit submit, that goes to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and into the Hansen system that handles work orders. Today our interface between Hansen and the Motorola CRM is such that it only passes one way. So, immediately you get the email that says, ‘yes, got it, we’re going to think about doing something at some point.’ Bad experiences, totally get that. So the challenge is not just putting Sequent Fix. The nexus is how do we take Sequent Fix, figure out how that fits in our work order system. If you think about that being one process, and multiply that by over 20 or more processes you have to find. Not an excuse, but it’s the level of how we have to think systematically about the challenge. The way we’re starting to do that is the Council included in their budget last year a study to figure out where we need to be as a City related to 311. And as you can imagine, there’s a big system component to that. That study, if it doesn’t come out by September, we can ask Katherine Schubert-Knapp about where it is. And that will fuel our conversation about how do we get to where we want to be on that.
Beryl Fernandes: Quick question on the data center and the coordination with City Light on energy use: Did you guys do that or are doing it?
Michael Mattmiller: Yes. As part of moving to the data center, energy efficiency consumption was a strong consideration. We did as part of our competitive bid process for the data center, require that City Light be the energy provider. And we also, as part of consolidation and virtualizing the servers, so I think we will have something like 600 servers virtualized from the go to the new data center. So, if you can imagine the power consumption savings from 600 boxes down to five nodes–quite a bit in energy savings. The data center we are leasing from Sabey, down in Tukwila.
We are getting our power from Seattle City Light, which is a carbon-neutral utility. In terms of the specific power use, I’d have to go back and check.
As part of the next generation data center project, we’re procuring two data centers. The facility Sabey in Tukwila has been selected. And we actually have a team in eastern Washington right now selecting a secondary utility.
Approval of Minutes
Joneil Sampana: Okay. You turned into a real talkative bunch today. Thank you, Michael for all of your comments. We appreciate it.
We have some news that we actually do have a quorum, so we can vote. What I’ll do now is prepare the audience and we’ll have a five minute session here for community announcements that you’d like to share with the group. Before we get to that, let’s go back to our minutes and have a vote to see if we approve. Can I get a motion?
Beryl Fernandes: I move that we approve the minutes.
Joneil Sampana: Second?
Sarah Trowbridge: I’ll second it if you will make that one little edit. Second.
Joneil Sampana: All agree? I think it passes.
We actually have a larger group than when we started the meeting, so we have five minutes. Would anyone like to share any community goings on?
Seth Vincent: This is kind of a silly announcement, but for the past couple years, we’ve been called Code for Seattle. We renamed. We are now called Open Seattle. Hopefully, it feels, by the name, more inclusive. We’re also changing a little bit so the first Thursday of August we will have an orientation for Open Seattle, a volunteer orientation. So if you’re wondering how to get started, that’s how.
David Keyes: Has your web site changed? If so, what’s the URL?
Seth Vincent: Openseattle.org
Joneil Sampana: How many members here are from openseattle.org?
[Many hands raised.]
Jose Vasquez: It’s outside of Seattle, but we’re having our next Latinos in Tech meetup this Thursday. But we will be bringing it back to Seattle in October.
Joneil Sampana: Is that rotating?
Jose Vasquez: Yes.
Doreen Cornwell: Just a reminder that the 22nd is the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and there’s a big rally in Westlake Park, and there are some other events the next day at City Hall.
Comment: I’m technical adviser for the Young Professionals of Seattle, which is a fairly diverse group of young professionals. The young professionals of Seattle feel very disenfranchised. I’m working with several entrepreneur organizations within the City of Seattle to try to see if we can get some kind of collaboration workshops. There are some privacy initiatives that they have planned for this year to try and educate up and coming leaders of Seattle about what is going on with Seattle civic activities. Homelessness, transportation issues, etc.
Dan Moulton: [unintelligible] I haven’t launched this but the purpose is to allow people to create their own [unintelligible] g It would be across all skill sets, development, project managers…
David Keyes: Just a quick follow up on Doreen’s things. The rally for the anniversary for the Americans with Disabilities Act is on July 22, Wednesday, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Westlake Park. And there is also an event at the library the day before, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. with a Resource Fair. I’ll send it out to the CTAB mailing list.
Beryl Fernandes: I was going to make this announcement during the Privacy update, but as long as we’re doing announcements. The third in our series of workshops for the Collaborative Fund is taking place on the first Tuesday of August. I believe that’s the fourth. We had the first one in June, the second one in July last week, and the third is coming up in August. We’ve got some people here who have been there. I think it’s been a lot of fun and very connective. The focus is on marginalized populations and vulnerable populations, so we’re taking the issues they bring, the needs that they have, and matching them up with the resources that they feel they need. So far, it’s working pretty well. So I encourage everyone to come. It’s at Douglass Truth Library, 6:00 to 7:45 p.m.
Joneil Sampana: I’m going to pass over the next two line items to David for announcements on the Technology Matching Fund (TMF) as well as the Comp Plan draft.
David Keyes: As Michael Mattmiller mentioned briefly, tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. the proposed Technology Matching Fund grants are coming to City Council. We’ll be meeting briefly with Councilmember Harrell at about 1:45 and expect representatives from the 22 projects to be there. The actual agenda item isn’t up until 2:45 to 3:00, depending upon how the meeting goes. This is front of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. There’s a report from the police chief prior to that, and one other item. We’ll be presenting the awards for a vote from the committee. The final vote, if they approve it, will be Monday for full passage. Following that, we’ll be having a reception for everybody, up on the seventh floor in the Mayor’s office. Folks are welcome to come. It’s a great chance to talk to and learn more about these 22 community organizations that are going to be doing digital literacy and access projects in the community. Just a wonderful array, thanks to you guys. I know Jose is planning to join us and talk there. Joneil, I think you’re coming also. Beryl, are you coming?
Beryl Fernandes: I think I’ll try to make it.
David Keyes: Quorum! So we can do more votes tomorrow. Thanks again to Greta for being one of the folks on the committee that helped.
Joneil Sampana: Is it not rude for folks to drop in around 2:30 or 2:45?
David Keyes: No. And for anybody that can’t make it, you can also stream it on seattlechannel.org. That will be available for viewing later. And if folks don’t know, also you can go to the City Council web site and sign up for alerts on the committee announcement, so that way you’ll get the agenda for things coming before. You can do that for any of the City Council committees.
Joneil Sampana: How about Comp Plan?
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN REPORT
David Keyes: This last week, the City just released the draft Comprehensive Plan. It’s URL is 2035.seattle.gov. Basically, between now and fall, I forget whether it’s October or November, the City is taking input on the draft Comprehensive Plan. They have put it up there. There are a number of different sections, about ten. Most of the internet components, first of all, are in the Utilities section. Along with electricity and other utilities. And that deals with public utilities, but it also deals with cable franchising, cable utilities, and so on. You’ll see some references to broadband in there. The other place that might be of interest, particularly in the Economic Development section that talks about workforce training, workforce development, and businesses. Certainly, there may be other implications. I know this committee has an invitation from the Planning Commission that works closely with the Department of Planning and Development to meet with them and be on a panel with them in September. They sent an invitation to the board to participate in that. For folks that weren’t here, we had people from the Planning Commission here a couple of months ago to present.
I think that now that the draft plan is out, that’s the next step, to get into nuts and bolts about changes you would like to see in the Plan to address your concerns.
Beryl Fernandes: Have they invited other boards and commissions, too?
David Keyes: Yes. My understanding is that that meeting in September is an invitation to all other boards and commissions that want to comment. So, it’s a round table.
Other folks can certainly comment on the Plan. So visit the site. There are other folks providing feedback through the CTAB committees on what our position and recommendations are, as well as certainly participate directly through the Seattle 2035 site. There will be some other public meetings that are coming up around it.
Joneil Sampana: This is a really great opportunity to have a place at the table to have your feelings known, especially on the Comprehensive Plan for many years out. So, if you’re interested, I’ll like to do this a little more formally. On the signup sheet, if you put by your name that you are interested in participating on a volunteer basis in this subcommittee, that would be really helpful.
David Keyes: Maybe just put a big ‘C’ next to your name, and circle it.
[Note: Those who signed up are Karia Wong, Dorene Cornwell, Kevin Volkmann, and Ronald Ning.]
And also when you folks go and read it, you’ll also see that there was quite a bit of work around race and social justice and equitable development threaded into the Plan this time, too.
Joneil Sampana: Our specific angle, obviously, is where does technology plays into the Comprehensive Plan.
David Keyes: And that sets the guiding framework. It’s not the implementation, but it sets a guiding set of policies and framework around growth and development and what a department should be thinking about as they institute practices in programs.
Sarah Trowbridge: Since you’re in the middle of working on the Digital Equity Initiative, how do the values that come out of the Digital Equity Initiative get inserted into the Comp Plan if technically the initiative is in its final stages?
David Keyes: I did provide some input as the Department of Planning and Development staff were working on it, mainly on the Utilities end of it. I think there is probably more that you’ll see that you’ll want to make more overt about that. I think, as we’re looking, we’ve got the values and principles–we’ll talk about that a little later in the agenda–but the Comp Plan is not set in stone. Now is when they are looking for comments around it. So I think we should take some of what we’ve got on vision and principles and goals that we’ve been developing for the Digital Equity Initiative with the community members and CTAB, to take some of that and see where we want to literally put that into the Comp Plan around internet and broadband. Or is it reflective there? What we have now is not final, but what we have scoped out already for the Digital Equity Initiative I think is probably a good tool to use.
Beryl Fernandes: A question for Tony Perez with regard to the infrastructure. Where is the fiber laid, and does that have any bearing on how the Comp Plan is made. I don’t know that we can change where the fiber si already. City fiber.
Tony Perez: It’s changing. Century Link is building it out, along with Comcast.
Beryl Fernandes: But they both affect each other. So, if you have major concentrations, densities of population in certain areas, then you would want more fiber going in that direction rather than someplace else. All I’m saying is, ideally it would be great to coordinate those. I’m not sure that it has been done. I’m not sure it can be done at this point.
Tony Perez: We talked about including broadband in the Utilities element of the Comp Plan. So we’ve had some discussion, but not necessarily what you’re saying. Driving fiber or creating incentives for public investment. I’ll have to take a look at that.
Beryl Fernandes: I think it’s worth throwing it out there for the Planning Department at least for the next iteration.
Tony Perez: I don’t think it’s part of the Comp Plan, but the Utility Coordination that the City wants to have can modernize the Utility Coordination program. For instance, if there’s work being done in a certain neighborhood, then trenches are going to be opened to make sure that we impact that neighborhood as little as possible. This is your opportunity now to get in there because we’re not going to tear up the street, dig up trees and things. We’re not going to do that for another five or ten years. So those kinds of descriptions are taking place but they might be outside of context.
Beryl Fernandes: That policy has been in place for a few years, but it’s really hard when it gets down to Seattle Public Utilities having to go in there tomorrow and do something, to then get the other utilities aligned. Easier said than done.
David Keyes: The Comp Plan doesn’t answer some of that. What the Comp Plan does address is some of those elements. The coordination on the rights of way, the siting of facilities, looking at equitable practices in development as the City is planning growth. Those are elements in here within some categories. On the practical level, the Comp Plan is not going to address the day to day stuff, but it gives you a framework to point to and argue for in base practices.
Tony Perez: Yes. We’re going to be part of an inter-departmental team that is going to look at how to modernize that. There’s still a lot of good institutional memory, paper permits, just how do we do technology tools to modernize that entire utility process.
Joneil Sampana: Looking at the time, we have to jump to Digital Equity. I’m not sure if you’ve covered what you want to talk about on the initiative.
DIGITAL EQUITY INITIATIVE REPORT
David Keyes: I think this will come up more. Jose and Sarah and I met and just talked a little bit about the coordination with CTAB on the Digital Equity initiative. Short summary is that we’re just in the final finish up of phase one where we did some community round tables, a number of interviews with people, had a Digital Equity Action Committee composed of a diverse group and an inter-departmental team with representatives from a number of City departments to just start to frame out the vision and goals and principles. We also had discussion at CTAB here. What I’m handing out is the latest version based on the input that we’ve gotten from folks on a vision statement around Digital Equity. A set of principles, over-arching things that would apply throughout, and a set of goals. I think we’ll probably still end up doing a little bit of tweaking. Some of the principles may be moved into goals. There might be a little bit of moving around. But I think that all the basic concepts are there. What follows that is a list of possible action strategies. So, over the next few months, to head to a final action plan at the end of the year is to say now, what can we get done to move Digital Equity forward/ So, we’ve been starting to take input and have an initial brainstorm on some possible strategies–things we can do along that way. Right now those action strategies are grouped under each of the goals. I think that sets the stage for the committees.
Sarah Trowbridge: I brought a draft of this document to the people on my committee a couple of months ago and they determined that the two goals that we were interested in for our action strategies were connectivity and accessibility. The workflow that we determined for that was everyone was eager to get started right away, so I wanted to use an open platform. So putting this document into Google Docs and then having people draft out action strategies related to those two goals. And then we come together as a committee next week and talk about those and see if there is an tweaking before we present them. This might be a good opportunity to talk about whether there are any other committees that see goals that really resonate with the topics they are working on, or if there are any suggestions for improving the workflow. I want it to be an open and accessible document. One way we can get public input is including the link to that Google Doc on our CTAB blog and then distributing that elsewhere. But if anyone else has any other ideas on how to get community input, let us know.
Jose Vasquez: You know we’ve been doing this work with different inter-departmental groups. Now we can take that work and start plugging it in to the different committees.
Sarah Trowbridge: That might make sense at the August or September meeting, to block off some time for us as a board to look at those action strategies and look for the next steps.
Joneil Sampana: This is a great plan you have here. Wow!
Jose Vasquez: This enabled some really exciting conversations. It’s helping us move forward as a City to start looking at these issues. I’m really excited to take this on and have those conversations.
Joneil Sampana: When you went through the citizen engagement process, was there any negative intensity towards the committee? Was there any outrage?
Jose Vasquez: I wouldn’t say ‘outrage.’ People just had a hesitation to bring out some historical issues regarding digital equity issues. But I think that that’s where we come in. We can help provide a broader input from community members who don’t ordinarily take part in these things.
David Keyes: There were two things when we were starting to get into some deeper discussion in trying to craft that, and one of them was certainly knowing that there are racial inequities, historical inequities, justice inequities in the past so that certainly digital equity’s been exacerbated and shown in the technology sector and field and access. Whether it’s enough to just say we intend to serve all residents, does that get at the need to do the depth to make something equitable, rather than just equal. I think there was some sense that we do need to call that out to make sure that it is getting addressed, and you’ll see that reflected in the document. Certainly, people from both the community and the tech sector, and the communication, are all itching to do something concrete. So it’s hard to spend time on the framework to get there. I think there’s a little bit of tension around setting the large vision versus the pragmatism for what we can get done–what’s practical and what can be done soon.
Greta Hotopp: She commented on how the city has been evaluating data and suggested weighting or conversely weighting data variables to show areas of opportunity and more specific analysis of factors.
David Keyes: I think some of that will come more to fruition in the strategies. There was certainly discussion about the importance of data and evaluation and using metrics. As part of the City’s equitable development work, there was an interesting and valuable index, an opportunity index, and risk index that was done not long ago, which is probably up on the Seattle 2035 Comp Plan. Part of the analysis is to say here are areas of the City that in a sense provide higher opportunity for investment because of past inequities. There is an opportunity to make the difference there, and so I think in that same sense, we have not done that kind of an index for the digital opportunity. But we do have some of the data from our technology adoption study by zip code. But I think there is an opportunity to overlay some of the digital opportunity with that equitable opportunity map.
Beryl Fernandes: But with everybody throwing the word, ‘equity’ around–and that’s not only here but everywhere–the question in my mind is what do we mean by it? I mean in this case. You don’t have to answer that right now, but it just came up.
Jose Vasquez: One thing I do want to mention is we were still missing people in the field. I think everyone has their own definition of equity, but right away everyone involved does recognize that. There are still people missing from the conversation. Usually, at least from my perspective, the people involved are the last. But we were able to talk about that in an open discussion and everybody was for it. So I don’t think we have an answer for that yet.
Joneil Sampana: When you say ‘that larger body of folks,’ does that include the big community?
David Keyes: Yes, and Digital Equity, who were the folks that were on the Action Committee listed on the web site seattle.gov/digital-equity. As I say, we’re just wrapping up phase one, so we will be publishing a progress report on page one. That will have a listing of all. Let’s talk about that definition. Also, some of the data we have is what we gathered from the round tables and from stakeholder interviews, where we did ask, ‘what’s your definition of equity; what’s your vision of digital equity.’ So there’s that body of information as well.
Beryl Fernandes: Is this the work that a consultant is doing? Who is doing the work?
David Keyes: Yes, we have had a consultant work with us on phase one. So it’s been my team–Derrick, Delia, Vicky and I. And then a few folks from the firm PRR worked with us.
Joneil Sampana: Out of respect for time, we’ve got to keep moving on to the next item before we get our break. Tony?
FCC ACTIONS: LIFELINE FOR BROADBAND, EFFECTIVE COMPETITION
Tony Perez: Our office covers Cable and Broadband issues for the City. I want to talk about two items on the FCC’s docket, but I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Comcast introducing an over-the-top video service that will include the broadcast channels and HBO for $15. By over-the-top, for those who might not initiated, the terminology is just streaming video. We met with Comcast today and we actually got some good news. At least for now, Comcast will consider those servers to be cable servers. What that means is consumer protections under the City’s Cable Code will apply to that service. But more importantly, at least for the City staff, is that we can continue to assess franchise fees and cable utility tax on the revenues generated by the provision of over-the-top service. It’s a big issue.
That said, later on this year the FCC is going to issue a notice of proposed rule-making related to streaming over-the-top video services. And right now, the FCC has tentatively concluded that the type of streaming service that Comcast is going to be offering is not a cable service within the meaning of the federal definition of cable service. That can present all kinds of trouble for the City later on. I think maybe next month I can do that presentation on the implications of over-the-top service to the City. For now, things are not going to change, but we’ll see this fall what happens. One of the reasons we think why Comcast decided at this point is not so much to do a favor for local government, but by calling it a cable service, I think they realize that, given the FCC’s net neutrality rules, the streaming service would not be subject to Title II regulations around state caps and other things that the FCC is concerned about. So there is some trickery going on there, but we’ll soon find out.
The two other things I want to talk about is the FCC Effective Competition Order. They’ve already made the order. And what that means, right now we have rate regulation authority in this City. Other cities do, too. That means that we can regulate only the cost of Comcast Basic Service, the one that is like $18/month or so. Also, the law provides that certain channels, such as PEG programming and local broadcast stations must be available on that Basic tier of service. If Comcast wanted to not be subject to regulation from the City, previously they would have had to file with the FCC and prove why they are not subject to effective competition. So the burden was on Comcast. The FCC flipped that around and made a presumption that every community has effective competition. That’s the ruling, and once that is published in the Federal Register, which will be soon, the City would have 90 days to prove that Comcast doesn’t have effective competition. And that’s going to be a high bar, now that Century Link is coming into town competing with them. So we’re not going to be successful. But the more seriously consequences of any kind of effective competition finding is that Comcast can now charge different rates in different parts of the City. When you had right regulation you couldn’t do that, so it could lead to a real perverse situation where if they want to compete with Century Link in a part of town, they can lower the prices there. But in the areas where they don’t compete, they could raise them. And there’s nothing we can do about it, other than shame them, maybe, at Council or something like that.
Joneil Sampana: Is that at an address level, or like a block?
Tony Perez: However they want to do it. We don’t know how they want to do it. The Basic Tier that I talked about earlier, is a product of rate regulation. so they can say, ‘There’s no rate regulation. There’s really no such thing as a Basic Tier with requirements for PEG programming and local over-the-air channels. So, our lowest cost tier is going to include Fox and CBS but not ABC and NBC. If you want those two, you’ve got to subscribe to this higher tier.’ So right now, that’s not the case. So because of that–it’s an interesting development–the National Association of Telecommunications Officers (NATOA) is the national organization of which I’m president–We were approached by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), heavy hitters, and they seem to have lots of money and they want to sue the FCC and wanted NATOA to join in, because without NATOA joining in, the broadcasters would not have standing to sue. So, we’re in a fortunate position where we can leverage the considerable financial resources of the NAB, to file suit to try to try to get the FCC to reverse this order. So we’re going to do that and see what happens.
Question: If Comcast can price differently based on different areas like you were describing, can’t you file you filing with the FCC on the same basis? Saying there’s no competition? Indeed there is. Therefore we should retain the right to regulate.
Tony Perez: That’s not the way it works. Basically, they made a rebuttable presumption that there is in fact competition everywhere. So we would have to prove that in our jurisdiction, there isn’t. What effective competition means is in the old days, cable had like 90 percent of the market, and then when satellite came in, the rules said at a certain point, if satellite captured like 15 percent of the market of subscribers, you would have effective competition. We’ve been lucky in a way in Seattle–lucky or unlucky, depending on how you look at it–is that because of our terrain, and our foliage, and our rain, satellite penetration is lower than other communities. So Comcast never filed effective competition with the FCC for Seattle. Because they thought they would probably lose. But they did file it in Spokane, and cities east of the mountains, where it is easier to get satellite service. So, nice try, but that’s not the way it works. So, we’ll see. We’ll file suit.
The other one is that on the Lifeline, I noticed there is proposed rule making where the City is likely going to file comments. For those of you who are not aware of it, the FCC has voted to extend Lifeline to broadband as well as telecommunications service, which is great. It’s a $9.25 subsidy to lower income people from their broadband service. David and I were talking the other day and said that maybe that means the discount internet and maybe we can work with manufacturers like OOMA devices to make that a phone service at the home and you’re getting phone service and broadband for like $12 or $13. There are things we can do with that. And maybe it’s part of the Digital Equity Initiative.
But what I want to discuss with CTAB is whether or not CTAB is interested in also filing comments. We’ll have time. The comments are going to be due 30 days after the proposed order is published in the Federal Register. That hasn’t happened yet. So, at a minimum, we have 30 days. Basically, what we’re planning to say is we suppcort what the FCC is doing, we wish the subsidy were greater. One of the big issues has been a lot of fraud in the use of the Lifeline subsidy. So there’s a lot of political opposition from Republicans, just like they do in voting, (Voter fraud is nonexistent.) So if the Broadband and Cable Committee want to discuss filing comments in support of the FCC’s actions, maybe saying that they could do a little more in certain areas.
Greta Hotopp: It would help to mention fraud in the statement, speed incentives?
Tony Perez: Yeah, that’s a really great point because one of the other things that the FCC is going to recommend is that there are minimum service standards tied to both the telephone service and the broadband services. We hope that the minimum standard for broadband at least, is meaningful. And not be two megabits per second.
Greta Hotopp: If we can show that it’s not what it’s stated to be?
Tony Perez: Right. That it’s the minimum speed required during peak times.
Lambert Rochfort: It seems to me that the biggest issue is that they’re not allowing somebody to have both a Lifeline subsidy and a broadband subsidy. To have to say you’re going to have to cancel your free cellphone service and get a $10 internet is not going to work very well. I think that’s an issue that should be brought up.
Tony Perez: That’s why we get to comment. But I would say about 90 percent of the time when the FCC seeks comments on the proposals they’re making, they’ve already made up their minds. But we can try to nudge them. It’s always good to get things on the record in the event that they revisit this issue down the road.
PRIVACY COMMITTEE REPORT
Beryl Fernandes: I’ll just barely give you a summary of what we’ve done so far. We have had these workshops which are part of what we’re calling the Collaborathon. It’s community generated localized strategies for protecting your privacy and yourself in the digital age. The first one we focused on was immigrant and refugee and youth. And last time, we did some focus on workers. But let me give you an idea of what some of the projects are that are coming out of there. One is a safe communication web site, where someone has to go up on a web site so that people who want to communicate with each other safely. It could be activists, it could be domestic violence, it could be any group that is concerned about having things publicized out there. They’re working on that.
Another is Open Data and Individual Privacy. That is something Dashiell and others are working on. People with a criminal past–could be a very long time ago, when they were youths even–but it follows them forever, and how do you balance that? It cuts across a lot of other issues as well.
Another is consolidating Low income housing applications. There were 17 different possible applications for low income subsidies. They are trying to consolidate that, having a place where an individual can go, put in all their financial and personal information, and it’s encrypted, so it’s only yours and you would have a pass code. So whenever you have an application, you pull out just those pieces of information and put them in there.
These are examples of the projects that people are working on. Internet privacy protection. We’re finding that, especially with youth–and this came out of a youth focus group I had with the Seattle Youth Commission and several others, teachers, computer instructors, talking about youth getting online and not really protecting themselves when they get there. So the question is not whether to do it. They acknowledge that they need to do this. The question is how do you get youth to do this. Tell them to come to a computer class where we’re going to teach you how to protect yourself? Not very attractive. So I think that what we’re looking at more than anything is the ‘how.’ One person has come up with an idea since the last workshop, and that is game-ifying it. Developing a game. So I put her in touch with some of the local gaming companies that I know, and she’s going to see about that.
Another is a woman, who is an immigrant herself, who teaches computer classes to immigrant and refugee women in some of the low income housing projects. She is now talking about simply incorporating privacy into those technology classes that she teaches. Another one is with the tech centers incorporating privacy into the classes they teach. The question that always surfaces is how much is this going to cost them. But that’s a different phase.
This just gives you an idea of some of the issues. But I think one of the best things to come out of these workshops–and we had one in June, one in July, one coming August 4th–is to watch the cooperation between the techies and the non-techies. People who have ideas on how to mitigate or address these issues and problems and they say, this is how far we’ve gotten. And there are always people who are ready and willing to step in and say, ‘maybe we can help you.’ That has been very exciting.
One completely unanticipated offshoot is that we have had a refugee family that is here on asylum. And they have come to our meetings and we have kind of adopted them. They’ve come with their kids and when I first out a description of this, I said we want everybody, from zero to 99 years old. Well, we’ve had two twins who were like three month old, very close to zero. So they have become very much a part of it. It also becomes sort of a backdrop. Here they left because of surveillance and the oppression that they face there, and here we are. We’re not there and never hope to get there, but it puts into perspective why we’re doing what we are doing. So it’s very exciting to watch how this thing is evolving. And everybody is invited. Everybody has something to offer.
It’s at the Douglass Truth Library, 2300 East Yesler Way, from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m. And we have to end promptly because the library closes. It’s always first Tuesday of the month, Tuesday, August 4th, and we do serve pizza.
Joneil Sampana: This is a great segue for the Broadband and Cable Committee with Sarah. But before we go there, David reminded me that after Tony’s presentation, his comment about Lifeline for broadband, if you would like to send that request to your committee for review for a vote or to comment.
BROADBAND AND CABLE COMMMITTEE REPORT
Sarah Trowbridge: We’ll be discussing that at our next meeting on next Monday, the 20th at O’Asian Restaurant at 6:30. One possibility is for CTAB members who are interested to attend that meeting. We’ll probably draft some kind of position as a statement that CTAB can then review. And then we could submit it as a board.
Joneil Sampana: To your point about having a position, we actually have something prepared for Lifeline. I didn’t realize that we’d have to choose one or the other.
Karia Wong: I just have some questions about Lifeline. I actually have a lot of experience in having people sign up for Lifeline. What happens is, for some seniors, we don’t know why, they have mailed in their applications but haven’t gotten anything back. To me, it’s more like a black box operation. We don’t know who to call, how to follow up. Some have submitted an application again and again without hearing anything back. We even talked to Century Link and asked them to help with the follow up to an application. Sometimes, they have looked at the notes relevant to that account, and said, ‘Oh, the social security number is not matching, or the name is not matching.’ Things like that. Person from CISC can look at the account, but there is no way we can follow up.
Joneil Sampana: Come to the meeting.
Karia Wong: Is it going to be July 20th? Okay.
Sarah Trowbridge: Also we welcome you to submit your thoughts by email to the listserv and then we can incorporate that into the discussion.
So, just a quick update. We’ve continued the discussion with Wave about their low income internet program. They requested a meeting with Interconnection, a local nonprofit that recycles hardware to people. We had that meeting in June and it was a good meeting. And it seems that Wave is on board and is currently collecting information on how they will roll out a low income internet program. I just want to thank all the committee members and community members who submitted their time and advocacy for pushing for a low income internet option for Wave. It’s seems like we put some fire in their bellies and we’ll wait to see what happens, but I think we’re on track for that.
Beryl Fernandes: We started talking about that a year and a half ago. Thank you, Sarah, for shepherding that thing all the way through, and Dashiell for all his help.
Sarah Trowbridge: Then, I also mentioned earlier that some of the people on the Broadband Committee have written testimony with regard to the Century Link franchise. There is a hard copy of that over there. We’ll be discussing with Michael Mattmiller at our meeting next Monday, July 20, about how that input that we submitted can be incorporated into the franchise when Century Link rolls out.
Lastly, we’ll also be discussing the action strategies related to connectivity and accessibility for the Digital Equity Initiative. The majority of next week’s meeting is going to be a focus on municipal broadband when Michael Mattmiller and Tony Perez can speak a little bit more to the subject. If you’re interested in learning more about the feasibility study, or what the City’s thoughts are, please come to that meeting. It should be a good one.
It’s next Monday, July 20th, 6:30 p.m. at O’Asian Restaurant.
I do have one final comment. I’m a Get Engaged representative, and my term ends. August is the last technical time in which I have voting power. I’m interested in going on as a full CTAB board member. and so I’m going to work on trying to explore those options. But if there is not a position that’s open starting in September, then I will be technically rolling off the board. So, anyone that’s interested in cable and broadband related issues, please come to the next meeting.
Beryl Fernandes: David, how does that work, technically?
David Keyes: Technically, the term is September through August. The Mayor’s office has been going through the decision making process and through the application process. And the Mayor has just made a decision on a new Get Engaged person. By our rules, someone who has served on Get Engaged could take the spot of a full time member. Right now, in terms of vacancies, we have Dana Lewis’ term is up in October. And we’ll also have some openings in January. The Mayor or Council, depending upon which the appointee is, has the option to renew the terms. So people can serve two terms. Does that answer your question?
Beryl Fernandes: I’m just curious about what happens now. Dana is leaving.
David Keyes: I don’t know for sure that Dana is leaving. Dana was a Get Engaged person. She served one term. I haven’t actually spoken with her about her intent. I think that’s the first question. And then needing to speak with the Mayor’s office.
DIGITAL INCLUSION COMMITTEE REPORT
Jose Vasquez: We already talked about the Technology Matching Fund. Everybody is invited tomorrow to attend. We’re also starting to talk about next year’s TMF process, so if anybody is interesting in getting involved with the Technology Matching Fund Committee, to help guide and recommend the grantees for next year, contact either me or David Keyes.
Just a quick update on what we talked about at the last meeting. For TMF, hopefully for next year, we can build out more of a networking component to the grantees process and the application process, so that it’s not just so one-sided, but they are also able to collaborate and hopefully connect with each other. I know that other organizations have been trying something similar, sharing resources. But we’re just providing the opportunity, and then we can start figuring out what components to add or start planning for next year.
Adding onto that, we had a group of volunteers and they’re interested in developing a platform to enable volunteers in tech to connect with nonprofits who need tech support, so connecting community organizations with resources. So, we’re going to be talking more about that at the next meeting. We’ll see what their needs are and what their technology expertise is, and I’m s