Exploring municipal broadband in Seattle with Chris Mitchell 10/8 at City Hall

The City of Seattle’s Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) is exploring implications of a municipally-owned broadband system in Seattle with a presentation and discussion with Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell is a leading national expert on community networks and speaks at conferences across the United States on telecommunications policy.

On October 8, 6:30 p.m. at Seattle City Hall (Bertha Knight Landes room, 600 4th Avenue, Seattle), Mitchell will discuss the realistic feasibility of a municipally-owned broadband network that delivers high-speed internet access, such as:

  • Case studies of successful and unsuccessful attempts to create a publicly-owned network
  • Considerations in planning and implementation of a publicly-owned network
  • Social benefits of a publicly-owned broadband network
  • Audience questions

As the City evaluates strategies to increase the availability of competitive, affordable and equitable broadband options, this session will help inform the decisions that will be made. Come to this educational event to gain valuable insight and information regarding the possible future of Seattle’s broadband infrastructure.

Summer success at the Eritrean community

erit2The Eritrean Community In Seattle and Vicinity, ECSV, has been serving Eritrean families since 1983.  Located in the Central District the organization has served as a bridge to help  Eritrean refugees and immigrants to adjust to the culture of their new home here in the United States.

With a $15,000 grant from the Technology Matching Fund, ECSV provided a much needed upgrade to their aging computer lab.  Five new computers and an air conditioner to beat the heat allowed the Technology Learning Center to launch in June with classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.  Computer Instructor Teshome Mesgun, has since helped over 50 adults learn basic and professional computer skills and provided Tigrinya language training (GEEZ).

Volunteers and Board members have been key to making the new Technology Learning Center a reality.  They have contributed more than 265 hours of volunteer effort in coordinating and promoting the lab.    Classes filled after they spread the word about the computer lab at key public events, such as graduations, wedding and picnics.  They continue to build awareness about what Technology Learning Center can offer through flyers and other channels.  For more information on the project, contact Kiflemariam Sequar at nkdmit@yahoo.com.

Tips for browsing the Internet

computer_key_BackspaceIf you want to go back a page, don’t use your mouse to go back, just hit the Backspace key.

(Alt+left-arrow key also works for Back, and Alt+right-arrow for Forward. In this article, if you have a Mac, substitute the Alt key with Option.)

If you are searching for something, you can type a word or phrase into a Search box, and then hit  Enter. This also works with searching inside of Windows Vista and above.  When hitting Enter, it works just like the “Go” button when you type it in an address/search bar.

On brand-name web sites like Seattle.gov, Facebook.com, Amazon.com, etc., clicking the upper-left logo to return to the site’s home page.

New citizen tech advisors

joneil custodioJoneil Custodio is an active Central District resident with a strong interest in civic engagement, open data, and digital equity.  He volunteered on the 2014 CTTAB Technology Matching Fund grant review committee.  Joneil enjoys working on large social issues that integrate solutions from the corporate, social, and government space. His work synthesizes his interests in storytelling, civic engagement and emerging technologies with his deep passion for creative collaboration. He’s the founder of ThriveCentral, a youth-tech internship program, which operates in collaboration with Seattle University and Seattle Parks and Recreation. He currently works as a Business Program Manager for Microsoft and serves as a partner with the Social Venture Partners network.   Joneil received his B.A. in Operations & Information Systems and Computer Science from Gonzaga University (’96) and his Masters in Software Engineering from Seattle University (’04).


Sarah Sarah_Trowbridge1Trowbridge is passionate about ensuring today’s youth are equipped with the technology and savvy needed to thrive in Seattle’s tech-based economy. She is also excited about working to make the tech space more inclusive for all citizens of Seattle. She has a strong background in social and environmental justice initiatives throughout the country.  Sarah has a variety of experience in creating digital and social strategies for start-ups, making documentaries and facilitating youth leadership workshops. Her volunteer experience includes working as a mentor for at-risk youth in the Seattle area, fundraising for non-profit organizations and consulting on the grant writing process for non-profits throughout the Northwest. She is currently working as an online marketer for Genelex, a Seattle-based biotechnology and software company. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies and Sociology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. She lives in the Fremont neighborhood.


Kids and online safety from Microsoft

With the start of the school year comes the increased use of computers and the Internet at home, school and on the go.  At Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center, you can find resources in their Family Safety Center on setting rules of online safety, online bullying, social media use, playing games online and using tech on the go.  Each topic area provides tips, resources and tools you can use to help your kids stay safe online.  This information is also available in eleven languages, including Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

Share your voice on the Seattle City budget

The City Council conducts its official budget deliberations from late September to mid-November, but drafting the budget is a year-long process.  Once the Mayor’s draft budget is delivered to Council, there are several ways for you to share your budget priorities.  Help create Seattle’s future by email (council@seattle.gov), over the phone (206-684-8566) or at one of two public hearings:

October 7, 2014, 5:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. sign up) at Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St

October 23, 2014, 5:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. sign up) at Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave, second floor

Here is a link to a brief 2-page handout (http://www.seattle.gov/council/Budget/attachments2013/Handout_FINAL_2014.pdf) that shows where your tax dollars go.  This has also been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Somali, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, which can be accessed here (http://www.seattle.gov/council/budget/).

If you have any questions about the process, please contact the office of Council Budget Chair, Councilmember Nick Licata at nick.licata@seattle.gov or 206-684-8803.

Are you ready for elections? Check out the Living Voters Guide & King County Elections

LVG 2014Living Voters Guide.org

Unlike voter guides generated by government, newspapers or advocacy organizations, Seattle CityClub’s Living Voters Guide.org is created by the people and for the people of Washington State. It’s your platform to learn about candidate and ballot measures, decide how to vote and share your opinions. CityClub believes that sharing our diverse opinions leads to making wiser decisions together.  In addition to pros/cons posted by citizens and on-demand fact checking provided by Seattle Public Library, LVG provides information about federal candidates through MapLight.org.

Living Voters Guide.org evolves as people use it.  The more citizens adding their perspectives, the more valuable a voter resource it becomes so please join the Living Voters Guide.org community now at LivingVotersGuide.org.

Bug to report? Have a comment? Confused? Email LVG (admin@livingvotersguide.org).

KCEKing County Elections

King County Elections has some great tools to help you in the voting process:  You can use My Voter Guide, which will give you a custom voter pamphlet based upon your voter registration information.  Ever wonder whether your ballot made it?  You can use My Ballot Tracker, which will track your ballot at three points: (1) Ballots are mailed to you from Elections by US Postal Service; (2) Your ballot is received by King County; and (3) Your signature on returned ballot is verified.

For more information on these tools or about the King County election process, contact them by email (elections@kingcounty.gov) or by phone at (206)296-VOTE (8683).

Meet Kate, the new PugetSoundOff, Civic Voice lead

kate_Schneier_photoWelcome Kate Schneier as the new civic voice and youth media manager at the YMCA, where she’ll be running PugetSoundOff.org, YTech and the Get Engaged programs.  Kate comes to her position as the YMCA’s Civic Voice Lead with a background in film, media literacy, health-related community education, outreach and client advocacy. A graduate of the University of New Mexico’s Cinematic Arts program, with a focus on Gender, Feminism and Media, she moved to Seattle from Albuquerque, NM in 2013. In Albuquerque, she worked with the Media Literacy Project’s Girl Tech summer program and was a graduate of their Catalyst Institute, and worked with Basement Films, teaching workshops, organizing events, and helped to produce their annual Experiments in Cinema Film Festival. Since coming to Seattle, she’s been a mentor with Reel Grrls and a volunteer with LGBTQ Allyship. In her spare time, Kate is a screenwriter and filmmaker. She is passionate about the power of media production and media literacy in all of our lives, and excited about nurturing youth voices and creating opportunities for media access in this role. Kate can be reached at kschneier@seattleymca.org.