Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Andrew Hart's Profile

Email: pandhart (at) gmail (dot) com
Andrew Hart is a Seattle native and 2010 graduate of the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. His curriculum focused on digital media and social media communication. During his academic career he participated in several internships including one with the new media department of The Seattle Times. He has contributed to several blogs concerning art, recreation, music, and culture. He was a participant in the Journalism That Matters-Pacific Northwest collaboratory, and an advocate for civic participation in the media. He has worked for Parnassus Group, a web metric concern, and Investigate West. He is currently Associate Producer at Ora TV, Larry King Now.

Andrew is fascinated by the implications new media technology is having on communication with society. He enjoys the plethora of voices now available due to the ease of publishing content. Additionally, he is excited by the challenge that this presents to legacy media institutions. He expects that competition will lead to better quality and more diversity in the media landscape. He believes strongly that through collaboration with audiences, media and journalism will better serve society.

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Andrew Hart's Recent Posts

U.S. Model Estimates Green Car Costs Per Mile

April 12th, 2011

SUMMARY: Assuming that new technical and business strategies can be successfully adopted to accelerate transition to electric and hybrid electric vehicles, the potential long-term savings to consumers could be substantial. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy has developed a model for assessing the relative operating costs of a conventional vehicle, a hybrid-electric, a plug-in hybrid electric and an all-electric vehicle. The model yields an estimate of “levelized cost per mile” for a mid-size vehicle in each category, factoring in vehicle and component cost, battery and fuel prices, location, driving behaviors, charging costs, and infrastructure requirements. Predicted miles per gallon or equivalents are 26 to 32 for a conventional vehicle; 35 to 44 for a hybrid electric vehicle; 95 to 135 for an all-electric vehicle; and for the plug-in hybrid electric, 54 to 74 on gas and 263 to 327 when operating on electricity alone.  Read the rest of this entry »

South Kirkland Transit-Oriented Mixed-Use Project Advancing; But Fate Still Uncertain

January 18th, 2011

SUMMARY: The cities of Kirkland and Bellevue have approved an agreement outlining principles to guide the development of the South Kirkland Park and Ride into a regional transit, commercial and housing hub intended to boost transit usage and model the benefits of transit-oriented development. Following upcoming public hearings and final amendments to the development plan, a $6.25 million federal grant could be released and would help cover some of the costs of adding 250 new parking spaces to the current 600 spaces which are at capacity now. 200 housing multifamily housing units are also planned, and 12,500 square feet of commercial space. If private and perhaps non-profit investors can partner on the housing, then the expanded parking component of the development plan can be fully funded; otherwise, not. Demand for commuter parking at the transit hub is likely to increase as tolling begins this spring on the nearby State Route 520 bridge, and then reconstruction of the bridge follows. Read the rest of this entry »

Idaho Nat’l Lab: “Transforming The Energy Infrastructure”

November 15th, 2010

SUMMARY: In a July, 2010 report the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory advanced a five point strategy for the country to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals in a way that best serves U.S. economic and security objectives. Key recommendations include: reduce energy consumption fractionally each year; cut gasoline and diesel consumption 70 percent from 2009 levels by 2050; continue to replace coal-fired electric power with that produced from renewable energy sources; increase use of nuclear power to produce electricity; and if technically feasible, deploy carbon-capture and sequestration technology for “clean coal”-derived electricity. The cost of the comprehensive plan detailed in the INL report would be about $3.85 trillion over forty years and would entail a 54 percent increase in the cost of energy by 2050. However, the INL report posits that the costs are justifiable because the strategy would comprise a self-sufficient, predictable and secure approach to meeting our nation’s future energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction needs, versus the current unsustainable approach.

Figure E-2, Emissions Reductions Required To Meet Objectives

Read the rest of this entry »

City of Kent: Amendments to Parking Restrictions

October 7th, 2010

OVERVIEW: Paid public parking is a scarce commodity and as a result, parking time limits and other parking regulations are usually strictly enforced by cities. On June 15th of this year the city council of Kent, Washington increased the penalty assessed for two-hour parking violations from approximately $20 to $50. But the Kent Police Department has voiced concerns that the larger penalty hurts downtown businesses, already struggling in the current economy. After further consideration, on September 21, 2010 the Kent City Council passed an ordinance rolling back two-hour parking violations from $50 to $30. However, in order to continue covering the cost of issuing tickets as necessary, the city council also authorized increasing fines from $20 to $50 for a variety of other parking offenses.

KEY DOCUMENT: Parking Restrictions Amendments, Ordinance. Kent City Council Agenda. September 21, 2010. (Pdf file of full meeting agenda packet; in directory on left, click on “Parking Restrictions Amendments, Ordinance” for instant access).

KEY FINDINGS:

  • The Police Department and Public Safety Commission have recommended lowering the penalty for two-hour parking violations from the current $50 to $30. But to offset revenues lost from reducing the two-hour parking penalty, the Police Department has advocated new parking restrictions and monetary penalties.
  • By incorporating certain parts of state law (RCWs 46.61.570 and 46.61.575) into the Kent City Code, the City will now charge $50, rather than $20, as previously, for: parking RVs, boats, and trailers on City streets for more than twenty-four hours; parking in multiple stalls; parking in a bicycle lane; performing repairs on a vehicle while parked on city streets; advertising a vehicle while parked on a City street; parking too close to a stop sign, crosswalk or fire hydrant, etc; and chain parking, or moving a car from time-limited street parking spot to another spot on the same side of the street in the same block.
  • The City Finance Department has determined that the cost of issuing a parking ticket is approximately $54.63. By enforcing the new higher fines, the City “recoups more of its actual costs incurred in enforcing” parking violations.

The ordinance passed on September 21, 2010 by unanimous vote by the Kent City Council. The ordinance is to take effect within 30 days of passage.

Washington State: Audit, Department Of Early Learning

September 7th, 2010

SUMMARY: The Washington state legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) recently audited the state Department of Early Learning (DEL) which is responsible for supporting access to safe, healthy, and quality early childhood development throughout Washington State. The department regulates settings where children receive care, works with partners to improve child care and early learning services, and works with other agencies on the state’s child care subsidy program. DEL was formed in 1996 after the consolidation of three state programs: The Working Connections Child Care Program, from the Department of Social Health Services; The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), from the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development; and the Early Reading Initiative, from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Upon DEL’s creation in 2006, the legislature also called for an audit of the DEL (JLARC). The audit found that a series of improvements were needed in the areas of integration of programs, management controls and monitoring of licensed child care facilities and ECEAP sites, and great variance in the availability of subsidized child care. Read the rest of this entry »

User Guide: Seattle Police Department Crime Mapping Tool

July 29th, 2010

BACKGROUND, AND KEY LINK: Hoping to make crime information more accessible and timely, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) began publishing police reports for robberies, burglaries, aggravated assaults and homicides online here earlier in 2010. In June, SPD supplemented this effort with a customizable online mapping tool depicting crime in the Seattle area. The SPD crime mapping site details recent incidents including crimes against persons, drugs, vice and property crime for different neighborhoods and time frames. The SPD strives to post crimes 12 hours after they occur.

Crimes are depicted on the interactive map as categorized icons, and upon selection display details of the incident and a link to the police report. To access the police report, users are asked to register an e-mail and password and agree to the terms and conditions. The SPD has stated that not all crimes are reported, as is the case for some Type II crimes and crimes where there is need to be sensitive to the identity of victims and officers.

Two years in development, the SPD crime map is a step forward for police department transparency and civic awareness. From monitoring neighborhood criminal activity to making real estate decisions, the map can be a valuable tool for citizens. Below follows a brief guide to the map and its features. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Examination of Northwest Communities’ Education Center and KDNA-FM

July 7th, 2010

BACKGROUND: KDNA-FM is a radio station based in Granger, Washington licensed by the Northwest Communities’ Education Center (NCEC). NCEC is a non-profit community organization serving the Latino/Chicano/Hispanic populace of the region. NCEC uses KDNA to address the educational, informational and cultural interests of the Hispanic/Latino community. KDNA is funded by government grants, private donors, program underwriting, membership dues, and funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

After allegations that the station was not complying with CPB and Communications Act of 1934 requirements, the CPB Office of Inspector General conducted an examination of the station and submitted a report to CPB management on March 31, 2010. Specifically, the examination sought to determine whether KDNA: (a) made inappropriate expenditure of CPB grant funds, (b) improperly claimed non-federal financial support on fiscal year 2008 annual financial reports, (c) kept inaccurate financial records for fiscal year 2009, and (d) insufficiently responded to public requests for information and open public meetings as required by CPB and the Communications Act.

KEY LINK: Examination of Northwest Communities’ Education Center, KDNA-FM, Report No. ASR911-1002

KEY FINDINGS: For the period ending September 30, 2008, the examination of KDNA conducted by the CPB’s Office of Inspector General found several issues:

  1. $58,587 in grant funds were used to pay salaries and fringe benefits of a KDNA producer and news director rather than for funding national programming.
  2. KDNA over-reported non-federal financial support by $494,539 for fiscal year 2008, which could lead to CPB making excess grant payments in the future.
  3. KDNA’s financial records of CPB revenues and expenditures for the calendar year 2008 were inaccurate.
  4. KDNA did not adequately comply with Communications Act requirements. KDNA failed to provide the public with information regarding public meetings and financial information. The examination also found that KDNA did not follow CPB’s requirements for: holding open public meetings; maintaining open financial records, equal employment opportunity information, and information on donors and political activities.

Based on the findings, the Office of Inspector General made the following recommendations to CPB management: Read the rest of this entry »

King County: Ordinance Creating Open Data Web Site

June 15th, 2010

SUMMARY: On May 17, the Metropolitan King County Council passed Ordinance 16838, establishing the county will create an unrestricted public website providing access to high value data sets.

BACKGROUND: The ordinance comes at a time where municipalities are making more and more data “open” to encourage civic participation in politics and government transparency. The proliferation of web and mobile technology has allowed cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Seattle to release public data to software developers, and numerous applications have been created. King County Executive Dow Constantine has been an advocate for greater constituent access to government, greater government transparency, and facilitating opportunities for private-sector software developers to build applications based on government data sets.

KEY DOCUMENT: King County Ordinance 16838, May 17, 2010.

KEY FINDINGS: The ordinance requires the county to strive to publish existing, high value data sets appropriate for unrestricted public access on a single web site. By August 1, 2010, a list of the initial high-value data sets and procedural documentation are to be filed with the council clerk. The web site is to be online by November 1, 2010.

High value data sets are defined as related to core county services, and which “improve public knowledge of the agency and its operations, increase government accountability and responsiveness or create economic opportunity.” High value data sets, as defined by the ordinance, will not typically include documents, emails, or calendars. The “open format” requirement means no particular software or hardware should be required to view a data set. The open data Web site will include information on each data set, terms of use, information contact, and a mechanism for public input on usefulness and prioritization of initial data sets.

RELATED: Although the official open data Web site is not yet live, more information is available at a working Web page on the initiative, which includes a press release on and video of a June 8, 2010 open data workshop hosted by King County.