Video Voters’ Guide for the General Election Launches

The Seattle Channel's non-partisan video voter's guide.

The Seattle Channel’s non-partisan video voter’s guide.

We told you about the Seattle and King County Video Voters’ Guide for the primary election last July. Now we’re approaching the general election.

– Want a transparent look at the candidates and issues on the Nov. 3 general-election ballot? With the launch of the 2015 general-election Video Voters’ Guide, voters can hear directly from the candidates for various offices as well as learn about city of Seattle and King County ballot measures.

The non-partisan video guide offers candidates on the ballot up to two minutes to issue a prepared statement that outlines the key planks of their platform. Proponents and opponents of ballot measures also issue short statements. The segments are unedited and published online and broadcast on local television. In all, the guide features 42 video statements, which are captioned for increased accessibility.

The Video Voters’ Guide is available on Seattle Channel’s website at For easy reference, the video statements are organized by race and ballot measure. City and county versions of the Video Voters’ Guide are also airing on Seattle Channel cable channel 21 and King County TV cable channel 22.

“The Video Voters’ Guide is a unique and valuable public resource. It allows voters to hear directly from the candidates and weigh statements on ballot measures,” said John Giamberso, Seattle Channel’s general manager. “Working with our partners, we’re pleased to provide this comprehensive guide which offers another vantage point for voters. The guide brings to life the candidates and the issues in a convenient format.”

The Video Voters’ Guide features candidates who will appear on the ballot for Seattle City Council and Seattle School Board. New this year, seven City Council members will be elected by district, with two others elected citywide. The guide also features candidates for seats on the Port of Seattle Commission, Metropolitan King County Council, director of the King County Department of Elections and King County Assessor.

The guide also features pro and con statements for several city and county ballot measures: the city’s Proposition 1 property-tax request, known as the Move Seattle transportation levy; Initiative 122, which would make changes to the way city elections are funded; a county levy to fund early-childhood programs, known as the Best Start for Kids levy; and King County Charter Amendment No. 1, which would strengthen the role of the county’s civilian Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.

Primary ballots must be postmarked or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The Video Voters’ Guide is a project of Seattle Channel, Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission and King County TV.

Seattle Channel is a local TV station that reflects, informs and inspires the community it serves. Seattle Channel presents programs on cable television – channel 21 on Comcast (321 HD) and Wave (721 HD) – and via the Internet to help residents connect with their city. Programming includes series and special features highlighting the diverse civic and cultural landscape of the Pacific Northwest’s premier city.

Seattle Is Rolling Out Its Innovative Privacy Program

The City of Seattle continues to lead the nation in protecting citizens’ privacy.  Last fall, the Mayor and City Council launched the City’s new Privacy Initiative.  In February 2015, Seattle’s Privacy Principle’s were announced.

privacytoolkitThe next phase, the toolkit for Seattle’s Privacy Initiative, is now being implemented.  The toolkit will guide City departments on how to incorporate these principles into daily operations.

“Seattle is leading the nation to implement a comprehensive privacy program across all City departments,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Our privacy principles are designed to protect individual privacy while still providing government transparency.”

The Privacy Toolkit will provide guidelines for how each department will implement a privacy assessment. Departments will also identify a privacy champion who will work with a privacy manager at the Department of Information Technology.

“This is a game changer in how we operate and do business to ensure we uphold the highest standard for your privacy,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “We have come up with the right balance of transparency, accountability and flexibility.”

The privacy principles and the toolkit were created by an interdepartmental team comprised of more than 10 departments and an external Privacy Advisory Committee comprised of community members and privacy experts from private industry, law firms, privacy advocates and academia. The mayor’s budget for 2016 includes funding for a Chief Privacy Officer for the City who will be charged with implementing the principles.

“This is the first time any city in the country has taken steps to protect the public’s private information whenever possible,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “This groundbreaking toolkit will help city employees think proactively about potential privacy implications with regards to any data or personal information we collect in the course of regular City business or when evaluating a new policy or program,”

In November 2014, the City launched its Privacy Initiative, led by the Seattle Police Department and Department of Information Technology. The initiative defined how the City collects, uses, and disposes of data in a manner that balances the needs of the City to conduct its business with individual privacy. For more information on the City’s Privacy Initiative, visit

Seattle is one of the first cities in the nation to establish its own privacy principles to protect personal information. City partners and vendors are instructed to follow the same guidelines.


From Data to Action: Open Data and You

SPLlogo“Open Data” is one of the most popular phrases in technology right now, but what exactly does it mean? More importantly, how can you use it to make a positive impact on your life and society? It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. Learn more at an event on Tuesday October 13 at the Seattle Public Library’s central location in downtown Seattle.

Join us as our panelists introduce you to data that is open and available, and how to make it work for your project. They will discuss:

  • resources for open data on a range of topics, with a special focus on
  • ways to combine data sets and make maps
  • best ways to learn about data if you are starting out on a project
  • examples of the creative ways people have used open data

Bring your questions, data-related or otherwise!


  • Ryan Biava, ‎Senior Policy Advisor, Mayor’s Office of Policy & Innovation
  • Abe Diaz, Mobile Program Manager at NBC-Universal, Inc. and Independent Developer
  • Amy Laurent, Assessment, Policy Development and Evaluation Unit, Public Health, Seattle & King County
  • Domonique Meeks, Masters of Science Information Management graduate student at the University of Washington and the co-organizer of Hack The CD
  • Jenny Muilenburg, Data Curriculum and Communications Librarian, University of Washington Libraries Research Commons


  • Jim Loter, Director, Information Technology, The Seattle Public Library

Tuesday, October 13 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

It’s free, but space is limited. For more information,  call the Central Library 206-386-4636 or Ask a Librarian

Hundreds of Youth Bridge the Digital Divide

NS_computer classThis fall, hundreds of kids from North Seattle are returning to school empowered with new computer knowledge.

In the 2014 round of Tech Matching Grants (TMF), North Seattle Boys & Girls Club (NSBGC) was awarded $20,000 to create 23 computer work stations, now providing free computer access and education to hundreds of youth. Volunteers and staff monitor the labs, offer technology classes and partner with community organizations to offer additional programs.

Since the computers’ arrival last fall, the equipment has been in almost continual use. During the school year, homework takes priority for computer use as more than 100 youth come to the Club each afternoon. Various age groups cycle through the computer labs for designated homework time, with staff and volunteers available to help complete assignments. Each evening, technology education classes engage kids in activities like writing newsletters and designing projects.

Having the computer labs on-site also allows several special projects. Teens used the computers to research electric airplanes, create a blog about their community service projects, and learn about resume building. Younger kids used the computers to experiment with robotics, create newsletters and design graphic projects.

This summer, the North Seattle Club was selected to pilot a new Google CS First (Computer Science) curriculum. Led by AmeriCorps VISTA staff, youth as young as 4th grade experimented with writing code. This fall, North Seattle will continue the program with Club staff and volunteers teaching the class.

“Our computer labs are a springboard for so many programs and opportunities,” says Joan Caldon, Club Executive Director for NSBGC and STEM committee member for Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. “Strong technology skills open doors for our Club kids, and will likely provide a way out of poverty for many.”


National Radio Day

August 20, 2015 is National Radio Day

August 20, 2015 is National Radio Day

National Radio Day is a celebration of the history of radio. Radio serves many people in many ways: on the community level, providing a voice and a platform for those who often struggle to be heard, on the local level, entertaining and informing when critical news breaks and on the national level, with a sense of immediacy and detail that other mediums can’t quite replicate.

On August 20th, there will be a celebration at the Seattle Central Library Plaza from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m that will include a pop up station. Seattle has plenty to celebrate – seven new low-power FM neighborhood radio stations. They’ll cover 90% of the city and be community resources, like The Seattle Public Library.

The Seattle Public Library has even come up with a reading list covering broadcast radio, HAM radio and more.

For more information, go to


Seattle Chosen as Part of “What Works”

The City of Seattle is a leader in utilizing Open Data.  Websites like  and have demonstrated the City’s commitment and effective use of open data resources.

Performance Seattle home page.

Performance Seattle home page.

Now, Bloomberg Charities just chose Seattle as one of the first eight cities to participate in the “What Works Cities” program.

In the next three years, Bloomberg Charities will give 100 cities part of a $42 million initiative aimed at helping cities develop data-driven projects that improve their communities.

Seattle will focus on integrating data and evidence into their contracts to achieve better results.

To learn more and apply to be a What Works City, visit

TMF success: UW Women’s Center’s Making Connections

The University of Washington’s Women’s Center’s Making Connections (MC) program received a Technology Literacy and Access grant for $14, 399 to “provide enriching educational and character-building experiences for underrepresented Seattle-area high school girls to achieve in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).”

In the 2014-2015 academic year, MC served more than 105 students from 23 high schools in the greater Seattle area.  In addition to new computers at the center, other components of the program include mentoring, tutoring, career exploration, and founding a local chapter of the national “Girls Who Code” program to support MC students who want to pursue computer science. See more here.

Making Connections (MC) also provided opportunities for students to explore careers in STEM fields, which focus on providing a better understanding of what different companies (Boeing, Microsoft, Google, etc.) are like through hearing first-hand from managers and employees themselves. See more here.

“The most important experience of this event was hearing and networking with the Google employees. You learn so much from their past experience to better prepare yourself for your future. I now know that I can still explore different careers, and still have time to find my passion. Also, it was great to see what the Google company has to offer,” said one student who went to Google to participate in a hands-on activity where students could make their own designs for a product.

Mentoring is another core element of the MC program that offers students the ability to work one-on-one with a mentor who can provide them academic, professional, and personal guidance as they prepare for life after high school. Mentors have served in a variety of different fields and include college students, working professionals, and even former Making Connections students who want to give back. Mentors meet one-on-one with their mentees each month, and are up-to-date on resources that can assist their students. – See more here.