Collaboration in Civic Spheres

U.S. Military contracts flowing to Washington state this week

by October 6th, 2011

Four U.S. military contracts with companies based in Washington state have been announced so far this week by the Department of Defense. Three of the firms are in Central Puget Sound, in Bellevue, Issaquah and Bothell, and another is in Richland. The four contracts have an aggregate value of up to $53.9 million. Excerpts from DOD daily announcements follow, with additional information.

Oct. 5, 2011. “Spacelabs Medical, Inc., Issaquah, Wash. was issued a modification exercising the second option year on the current contract. Award is a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $13,460,681 for patient monitoring systems, subsystems, accessories, consumables and training. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The date of performance completion is Oct. 7, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting (entity).” Contract #: SPM2D1-09-D-8351/P00007. (Oct. 5, 2011 contract announcements; Spacelabs Medical, past U.S. military contracts).

Oct. 4, 2011. “Sealaska Constructors, L.L.C., Bellevue, Wash., was awarded a $10,894,289 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the repair services of the ventilation and mechanical environmental systems in the Aircraft Corrosion Control Hangar, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Work will be performed in Abilene, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 14, 2012. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting (agency).” Contract #: W9126G-11-C-0084. (Oct. 4, 2011 contract announcements; Sealaska Constructors, past U.S. military contracts).

Oct. 4, 2011. “RC Engineering & Construction Management, Richland, Wash., was awarded a $20,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the engineering support services for the Walla Walla District, Corps of Engineers. Work will be performed in Richland, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2016. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with seven bids received. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla, Wash., is the contracting (agency).” Contract #: W912EF-11-D-0013. (Oct. 4, 2011 contract announcements.)

October 3, 2011. Philips Medical Systems, Bothell, Wash., “was awarded a $9,626,500 time-and-material contract. The award will provide for the maintenance services for biomedical equipment for the Army. Work location will be determined with each task order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2016. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with two bids received. The Center for Health Care Contracting, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the contracting (agency).” Contract #: W81K04-11-D-0016. (Oct. 3, 2011 contract announcements ; Philips Medical Systems, Bothell, Wash. past U.S. military contracts.)

Public Data Ferret Military Contracting archive

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“Renewed civics education” theme of City Club outreach

by October 4th, 2011

The non-partisan non-profit Seattle City Club has launched its 2011 Community Matters Campaign with a special focus on reinvigorating civics education and citizenship. There are online surveys and games, exploration of state and local ballot measures at The Living Voters Guide, plus discussion groups and public forums. City Club explains, at its Community Matters Campaign page:

City Club and Guiding Lights Network are launching an initiative to revitalize civics education because, currently, it’s absent from most students’ school experience. We feel this is a serious problem for our democracy. We’re committed to advocate and develop programming for renewed civics education, but we need your help to create a smart platform for what it should look like. The community input we receive from this year’s Community Matters Campaign will directly inform that platform….Our goal is to create dialogue, buzz and inspiration to act; to engage our whole community with the data, urgency and opportunity for positive change, and as a result, to develop a more engaged community.

You can start by answering three questions in the “Great Citizenship Survey” that’s available online and open until November 17.

The survey questions are:

  • “What inspires you to be involved in your community?”
  • “What does a great citizen do?”
  • “Did you receive any formal civics education?” (Yes/No)

  • The 2011 Community Matters Campaign also includes “The Great Citizenship Game,” available online. You’re asked to rate the relative importance of nine citizenship components: knowing how government works; knowing American history; understanding media; listening skills; cultural responsiveness; verbal and persuasive skills; collaboration/negotiation skills; ability to foster change; and leadership/empowerment capabilities.

    To get an idea of why being engaged and informed actually matters, City Club has a brief quiz on civics education here.

    The 2011 Community Matters Campaign includes offline, face-to-face components. You can sign up to attend facilitated 60-minute dialogs that will harvest perspectives on how best to enrich civics education and community engagement. You may also register to attend any of the three remaining public forums on health care, elections, and engagement.

    In an interview, City Club Executive Director Diane Douglas said, “A lot of people have felt intense frustration with the gridlock in Washington, D.C. As the elections of 2011 and 2012 approach we all need an antidote to the vitriol we hear all around us. People are yearning for a more civil discourse. It’s time to reboot and repair, to mine the wisdom of the community about the skills and values need to return to a citizenship that’s about listening, constructive action and mutual benefit.”

    A final report from City Club detailing community recommendations for renewed civics education is expected to be available by the first quarter of 2012.

    RELATED: City Club publications archive.

    Politiwidgets lets you embed data on U.S. officeholders

    by October 3rd, 2011

    Whether you write online about public affairs or are just doing some due diligence on an officeholder, Politiwidgets is a government transparency toolset worth exploring. Developed by technologists at the non-profit Sunlight Foundation in Washington, D.C., Politiwidgets let you embed easy-to-read graphics of performance and contextual data on members of the U.S. Congress and Senate into online articles, blog posts or social media entries. The data are all drawn from first-rate cited sources, to which links are provided.

    Widgets can be customized to different sizes/Poliwidgets

    At Politiwidgets, each member of Congress or the Senate has their own page with a range of data in several categories. Here are the Politiwidgets main pages of all Washington state U.S. Representatives and Senators. The first feature is their “business card” which includes contact information, plus a link to their Web site and social media accounts. Getting into the data, you can see how many bills a legislator has sponsored versus how many of those have been enacted, and how those figures compare to the average for legislators in their chamber. You can also review and compare the records of legislators on how many earmarks – appropriations which are directed to specific recipients – they have have won approval of, again versus the average for legislators in their chamber.

    Other legislator data at Politiwidgets includes voting records, campaign contributions, top contributors, interest group ratings, top U.S. government contractors in their district, and district map.

    I’ll demo Poliwidgets by showing the most recent full-year earmarks data for each member of the Washington state delegation. U.S. Rep. Jamie Herrera (R-3) isn’t included because she was just elected last November, and there’s no data reported for her yet in that category at Politiwidgets. I’ve used the earmarks widget for U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-9) (above) to show a different size option than those below and to illustrate that with a bit of elementary code you can embed the widgets neatly in text, and add a caption.

    The Sunlight Foundation invites active bloggers on public policy and politics who’ve used Politiwidgets to share their feedback in an online survey.

    King County seeks budget advice in online survey

    by September 29th, 2011

    King County Executive Dow Constantine has unveiled his $5.3 billion proposed 2012 budget for the county, and highlighted a range of efficiencies he said his administration had achieved. The county council will review, possibly amend, and adopt the budget by November 21. There’s a way to have your say on the budget. If you live, work or go to school in King County, you’re invited to take an online survey by October 16 that will help the county shape its budget priorities.

    The survey is sponsored by Countywide Community Forums, a privately supported civic engagement program run in conjunction with the King County Auditor’s Office. This is the eighth round of the community forums since the program began in 2007. The online survey includes an optional 10-minute video (below) and optional fact sheet that are built in.

    City will remove race-based graffiti at Seattle Parks boating facility

    by September 29th, 2011

    Only last month, after 12 years and a $3 million public-private fundraising effort, the George Corkery Family Boating Center re-opened at the City of Seattle’s Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center at Stan Sayres Memorial Park along Lake Washington Boulevard in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood. Our fellow Seattle Times news partner The Rainier Valley Post reported on the milestone. It’s a great, community-driven improvement to a government-owned site that’s a hub for aquatic recreation in boating-mad Seattle and a focal point every summer for the iconic hydro races of SeaFair.

    It’s now unfortunately also the site of some ugly graffiti which blames “white people” for a U.S. “terror-hate” campaign in Iraq.

    In a reference to the U.S.-led war in Iraq which began in 2003, graffiti over the men’s room urinals adjacent to the just-upgraded facility proclaims in blue magic marker, “terror-hate by White People in Iraq.”

    Told of the graffiti, Seattle Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson Dewey Potter said it would be removed. She stated, “hate crimes come first. We’ll take care of this as soon as possible.”

    UPDATE, 9:41 a.m.: Potter emailed to say that a work order has been sent and the department will get the graffiti “removed immediately.”

    Race-based graffiti in men's room of Seattle parks department boating facility in Mount Baker neighborhood/Matt Rosenberg

    City of Renton passes resolution against I-1125, but voter survey shows majority support

    by September 27th, 2011

    After holding a public hearing on the controversial topic of regional tolling, The City of Renton last night approved a resolution opposing Initiative 1125, which would restrict highway tolling. Washington voters will decide it in November. Renton, a growing suburban city at Seattle’s southern border, is at the junction of a multi-billion-dollar proposed tolling project that would connect Interstate 405 with State Route 167 and add tolled express lanes to both, as part of a broader toll-centric plan to unsnarl traffic and fund highway fixes in the Seattle region and elsewhere in the state. Initiative sponsor Tim Eyman sharply disagreed with the vote by the Renton council. Meanwhile, a new Survey USA poll reported today by KING5-TV in Seattle showed more than twice as many voters for I-1125 as against, but a crucial margin still undecided.

    Whistleblower report: UW prof got job for unqualified daughter

    by September 27th, 2011

    On the heels of a mid-July state report that a University of Washington professor took a contract fee from a state agency for work he never delivered, and following another 2011 case which sparked a criminal prosecution against an alleged embezzler in the University’s Medical Center, comes an additional indication Sept. 26 of ethical troubles at the state’s flagship institution of higher learning. According to a Washington State Auditor’s Office whistleblower investigation report just released, a professor in the UW Medical Center’s Pediatrics Division of Neo-nataology appears to have violated state ethics law by using her position to get a job for her unqualified daughter as a research scientist and engineer assistant. The professor’s name, released by the auditor’s office in response to a media inquiry, is Sandra Juul Ledbetter and her daughter’s name is Kelly Ledbetter.

    Seattle eyes transfer of troubled Indian services properties to non-profit

    by September 26th, 2011

    SUMMARY: A public development authority formed by the City of Seattle in 1972 called the Seattle Indian Services Commission, which has been the subject of several critical city and state audits in recent years, now appears unable to continue to service the $6 million bond debt for its two adjacent properties on 12th Ave. S. in the International District, or to repair an estimated $2.5 million in water damages to one of the buildings, built in 1995. The commission’s primary tenant and sole source of debt service revenue is the non-profit Seattle Indian Health Board, and it says it intends to move out unless the Commission conveys title for the properties to the board, which has pledged to assume the debt and fix the water damage. The Commission has refused to approve this offer, so the city council has prepared an ordinance, to be discussed and possibly voted on in committee September 28, authorizing the City Attorney to seek permission in King County Superior Court to impose a trusteeship on the Indian Services Commission which would trigger a title transfer of the properties to the non-profit Indian Health Board. The resolution states this will allow for current services and programs to continue to be provided to Seattle’s Native American community. Sponsor of the resolution is City Council Member Nick Licata.