Collaboration in Civic Spheres

EV Charging Hubs: Get It Right, Backers Say

by March 18th, 2016

New at Lens:

EV Charging Hubs: Get It Right, Backers Say.

Public-private partners who’ll be submitting bids for state grants within months will want to make sure they get the details right on new charging stations for electric vehicles in Washington. Multiple users should be served at the same time and the equipment needs to be more reliable.

Those were some of the take-aways yesterday from a public meeting (March 16) at the SeaTac Airport conference center. About 40 electric vehicle (EV) owners, advocates and officials attended.

It was first public meeting to gather suggestions on a new state program. The aim is to foster private sector backing of more fast-charging direct current stations along major highways in Washington. Sponsoring the meeting was the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Read the whole thing.

Lens: State Auditor “Bled, Broke, And Disrespected”

by March 17th, 2016

Recently, from Lens:

Bled, Broke And Disrespected: Tough Times For The Washington State Auditor.

How bad have things gotten in Washington state for the embattled State Auditor’s Office (SAO)? Really bad.

As in, the auditor is under indictment, the office’s performance audit budget is being raided yet again, and the legislature was going to great lengths to consider a bill to partially weaken the auditor’s powers.

Read the whole thing.

Lens: More Broadband for Rural Washington, Please!

by March 16th, 2016

New at Lens:

Broadband Internet For Economic Growth In Rural Washington: More Please!

Rosalia Mayor Nan Konishi sells hand-crafted furniture, when she’s not busy governing the town of about 550 residents in Whitman County, Washington near the border with Idaho. Konishi would like to sell items on her store’s website as well, but the town’s slow internet has been a deterrent. Rosalia is starting to plan for better broadband access.

“In today’s market if you’re not online, if you don’t have the online capabilities for promoting your business, your chances for success are really small,” Konishi said.

Broadband Internet For Economic Growth In Rural Washington: More Please!Read the whole thing.

Lens: The Real State Budget Battle Comes Next Year

by March 16th, 2016

From Lens:

Overtime Session Foreshadows an Even Bigger Budget Challenge in 2017.”

“As the state Legislature heads into a special session to conclude negotiations on mid-course adjustments to the $38 billion 2015-2017 state budget, some lawmakers are already looking to next year and the perfect storm they know may be waiting for them next year when a new biennial spending plan must be devised.”

Expected are “tougher circumstances in 2017 when a new budget will have to be hammered out under the shadow of the State Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling on fully funding K-12 education.” Perhaps adding complexity “are revenue forecasts and a potential recession. Some $3 billion to $4 billion will be the McCleary price tag…” A new K-12 funding task force lawmakers created will advise.

“…some statehouse sources have said that a 2017 McCleary deal is likely to include a net outflow of school tax monies from richer districts in and around Central Puget Sound to other parts of the state.The politically volatile scenario also includes state control of teacher salaries, although with cost of living variations for different locales.”

Read the whole thing.

Lens: Coal-By-Wire Phase-Out Eyed, But Coal Persists

by March 16th, 2016

From the new site Lens:

Washington Aims to Phase Out Montana Coal-By-Wire, But Coal Will Persist.

Key take-aways:

  • Puget Sound Energy has won support from Washington lawmakers to shift federal tax credits awarded to them for alternative energy projects away from a ratepayer return fund and to another fund the utility says is vital to protect ratepayers. That’d be a special account to pay for tear-down and clean up, in the 2020s probably, of the 1970s vintage Colstrip 1 and 2 coal-powered electricity plants in Montana.

  • PSE’s General Counsel told legislators: “We’re looking at the reality of Colstrip, at the fact that there is a life-end out there, at some point in time….We think it is incumbent upon us…to…minimize the ultimate costs to our customers.”

  • It’s an important acknowledgement of the inevitable declining role of coal in U.S. electricity production. But the appetite of the nation and Asia for U.S. coal will not soon subside, as shown by projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And labor sees jobs, wages and economic growth accompanying a controversial coal export terminal proposed for Southwest Washington state.

  • Read the whole thing.

    Open Government: State of the Union

    by November 11th, 2014

    Nowadays, Andrew Hoppin is the CEO of NuCivic, an open-source cloud-based Software as a Service provider helping governments and nonprofits host and manage open data, apps arrays, and platforms for hackathons. But along the way, he learned a few things in the New York State Senate.

    When Hoppin became the body’s Chief Information Officer in 2009, “we had a political mandate” for transparency and change that made a big difference, he said last week at a panel discussion in New York City, “Open Government: State of The Union.” It was sponsored by the Paley Center for Media and the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation — and kicked off a half-day Paley-Knight symposium, “The Next Big Thing in Open Government.”

    Smaller Families, Longer Lives – An Open Data Portrait

    by November 5th, 2014

    This open data tool from The World Bank – via the free service Google Public Data Explorer – shows the association between life expectancies and fertility rates in dozens of nations from 1960 through 2012. Generally, as fertility rates – or average number of births per woman – have declined, average life expectancies have increased. Although the data represent only an association, not causation – and other factors clearly have bearing on longevity – the relationship is nonetheless strong over the period measured. The data are from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, a widely-utilized resource that was updated last month. World Bank began to park dozens of WDIs in Google Public Data Explorer in 2010.

    TO USE: Move the slider from right to left and back to see dramatic changes in fertility rates and life expectancies, nation by nation, over the 52 years. Nations are color-coded by continent for added insight. Hover over any charted circle for more data on a nation. Click on “Explore Data” at lower right to review in Public Data Explorer dozens of WDIs across major categories such as economy, education, environment and health, and to create your own data visualizations. Tip: once you’ve got a table, chart or other viz ready, the link icon (upper right) yields embeddable code for online publishing. Pixel width and height can be manually tweaked. (Note: Make sure you change the http:// portion of the embed code to https:// so the viz will preview and display in the Firefox and Chrome browsers.)


    This article originally created by Matt Rosenberg was first published at The Open Standard on 11/5/14 under a Creative Commons license allowing full free re-use for non-commercial purposes.

    Meet The Guardian’s Data Editor, Alberto Nardelli

    by October 28th, 2014

    When Alberto Nardelli started the Twitter feed Tweetminister in 2008, there were a small handful of British Members of Parliament tweeting. As that number began to grow, leading into the 2010 U.K. general elections, Nardelli introduced Twitter Q&As and mapped and analyzed political trends using tweets as source data.

    Now there are more than 400 MPs using Twitter, and Tweetminister – which lets users track down their MP’s tweets – has more than 63,000 followers. Before stepping away, Nardelli turned the pursuit into a media consulting company with a team of four others. In September he was hired as editor of The Guardian’s Data Blog.