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tv   [untitled]    November 9, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PST

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>> good evening and welcome to the regularly schedule meeting of the san francisco ethics commission, we will begin by taking the role. vice chair renne. here. >> hayon. >> here. >> keane. >> she is taking this down and i don't think that she needs to do this part. >> the first item is public comment on the matters appearing and not appearing on the agenda that is within the jurisdiction of the ethic's commission. >> good evening, commissioner hur and commissioners. i'm hoping when you go into
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closed session, on item 6, that you may have a conversation about the second complaint that director st. croix dismissed. as i mentioned in your september 22nd meeting. that the (inaudible) did not go into the order of the sections 3.1.1 of the sia. and that indicates no officer employer shall aassist or provide assistance to an entity. and it seems quite clear to me, that mr. pilpil's repeated appearances here before you have done just that repeatedly. so, i would ask that you
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consider when you are in closed session. going to dismiss the complaint back and taking a good look at it. i am also, a little disturbed to see on the table tonight the policy discussion paper regarding the sunshine task force referrals. that topic is not on the aagain and in fact it has been presented to the forum in two separate meetings of the sunshine task force, without the ethics commission having discussed it before it magically appeared at (inaudible) and it rings a bell, the same bell that allen (inaudible) lawsuit, that to the supreme court is still making up its mind whether it is going to hear. that lawsuit was filed, that the ethics commission ever
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having discussed it first. and these drafts recommendations regarding the task force referrals, one would think, a reasonable person would think that you are taking action. but you have not taken any action, because you have not even discussed it yet, in a meeting. so, it seems to me, that the cart is before the horse, again. you need to tighten up these processes. >> next on the aagenda is presentation by the code for america's sf brigade. >> steven, are you going to make a introduction. >> as you may recall, last month, we gave a presentation about the individualization projects that i have been working on as part of the staff and today we have some members of a community group called the
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sfbrigade, which is part of code for america. and they have been working on a similar project, and they have been using our open data, website to access our information and so actually the data visualization projects that i built and the projects that they are working are, are working on the same source data, and so just to give you a little idea, the summer that (inaudible) and i first met with this group and out of any group that i have met with and since i started here, this group really did their homework. they had three hours of questions for us. and at our first meeting. so, i have been very impressed by them and they have a website to show you today. >> great, welcome. >> could you use the microphone, please? >> can you hear me? >> yes. my name is (inaudible) and i want to introduce my team mates.
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>> my name is steven (inaudible). >> i'm peter howell. >> as steve mentioned, we are part of a volunteer group called code for america. now code for america is a non-profit organization, what they do is they try to bring people who are working in technology, wo ven together with the groups that need the help with the different kinds of projects and so the space we work in is called civic tech and so there may be a lot of different ways in which people who are working in the tech industry, can help out with government programs or social programs that might need some of these resources but don't have the money to be able to actually hire those people. so that is kind of a space that we are in, we are all volunteers. and so we are part of the local chapter and it is called the sf brigade, and we are one of the
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many group of volunteers of many different projects that they are working on. and we focused on the taking the data that steve and jessy have helped us really understand taking that, and making it much more accessible to the public. so, we are going to just walk you through, what we have created. and we will take some questions at the end, each one of us will present a little bit about the different parts of it. and you can ask us anything that you would like to, or would like us to explain more, or any ideas that you might have, at the very end that we could maybe try later on. and of course, we definitely want to thank boe, jessy and steve, because they have consistently come out to meet with us and really help us understand and make sense out of this data. we don't look at this data on a
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daily basis and so this is really and i am sure that you guys are fed up with hearing about the form 460 just as hearing about it was was is this thing? so they were very helpful, in helping us, sort of sort through that stuff and really try to make sense out of a lot of this data and so we really want to thank them both, for everything, so far. is it on? >> yeah. >> okay. >> all right. so this is a small piece and this is just for this lecture and so what we have done is basically focused on the form 460, and what you are going to see is the data is actually broken up into... (inaudible) and one is all of the campaign finance for the board of supervisor's election, and the ballot matters, and so i will just walk you through quickly what we have and so for the
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prepositions we just have all of the (inaudible) listed out. and if you go to each one, you can see that we have there is a for and an against listed, those will be listed. and then, if you click on any individual one, you can see the total raised and then this is the, and this gives you the full visualization of the summary by date, and so if you just, rollover it, you can just sort of see the date. and coming down, this is a visualization that tells you about where the money is coming from. so there is a schedule a of 460, so if you hover over them, it sort of goes around, and who made the donation. and there is a little bit of
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sorting on that. and this, tells you, and this is schedule e. and which tells you, the expenditures. and we have a little bit of a grouping, if you drag and drop one of the circles, it tells you who that is, and how much it gives you the break down of what it is. >> is there any way that you can make it any darker? the text is very faint. >> yeah, i think that it is because mainly of the resolution. >> yeah. that would not surprise me. >> okay. >> yeah, if you can't, that is fine. >> steve, how do we? url, also, we will be sure that you can access it, it is on-line and you can access it any time. so, yeah, so yeah, so we have
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the same thing for candidates. so it is broken down just by the districts that are currently up for election, and again, this is the same thing and we have the incumbents and all of the other people and again, if you click on any particular individual, it gives you the same data. and it gives you the money raised and the money spent and the balance by date, and then, it will also tells you all of the (inaudible) for that particular individual. you can group by different types of entities that are making those contributions, whether it is individuals, or recipient committee and then it also gives your grouping by size that shows you how much in this case it is 500 and it was
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given 500 and above, and those are below 500 and so you can just get a rough sense of like, it is about a third, that is less than 500. and the rest is mostly, everybody's maxing out on 500. so, the same thing. and going down, and you can see what they are spending their money on. we created something, for the incumbents, and one of the great things, that we have accessible through the sf gov site is data on lobbying, so who is lobbying all of the different board of supervisor whens they are lobbied and what
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contributions were made. and so we were able to take both of those pieces of data and put it together. and you can see right here, that it is combining the data of lobbying and contributions. and this is sort of a heat map that tells you some activity and so you can see for scott weiner on the 27th. he got six contributions. yeah. from the san francisco association of realtors. so it is the san francisco association of realtors in the contacts and you can see what it is for. and what the issue was that they lobbied for. and so, you can see that it is ellis act evictions or illegal inlaw units and so all of those details are in there.
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and i will turn it over to peter and we will talk a little bit about the challenges that we had with the data. >> all right, so i did some work with the propositions, and one of the things that we found out as we did work with the data is that all of these things that we decided to actually display like just total money raised, who was giving money, a lot of these things were not necessarily, we need to actually go and find them. and so, for people like our group, or for other people in
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san francisco, that want to just understand how some of these elections are funded, and it was just, it was great to have this information and we just needed a way to actually make sense of it all and for me personally, it was... i can actually understand, now with this website, and some of how some of the funding actually works. and i think that it is really beneficial to be able to have this information that the city provides on-line. that anyone can actually use, and then, i hope that it will continue to be available for people like us. or for people who are in journalism, and anyone who
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wants to be able to use this data, and then, i know steven will talk about what our future ideas are for making some of this data a little more consumable for just normal citizens like us, or for like i mentioned journalists too. and some of the things that like austin mentioned we had some challenges working through the data and for example, steve has helped us a lot with just some of the reporting in the data, was inconsistent and so there were some committees that when they made different filings and i am sure that this is familiar would have different variations of their name when they reported. so, for a human, looking
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through it, it is really easy, so, it is easy to see when a committee has just has a slight difference in a name but for a computer of course, it is something that is a little harder to pick out and so thankfully, because he works with the data every day, he has had this challenge as well and he was able to help us out. but, at some point, in the future, maybe this will, this data will, i will be a little more consistent and it may be all reported electronically, and be able to have some of those inconsistentcies worked out so that it is all, very clear and whether or not things are misreported, they are all
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easily attributed to the same group. let's see. i think that that is all that i have to talk about. did you want to talk? >> sure. >> hi, i'm steven, again. yeah, so i wanted to talk to you about a part of the project that i spent some time working on, thinking about. and which is, peter and both peter and (inaudible) already mentioned the sort of organizing and understanding of the data. and for a visualization/computing project, the data format, and structures that are very important, and i, and there are a number of sort of technical issues that are, that i can touch on i guess. so one of the first things that we tried to do with the data,
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is simply draw a correlation between things and so you saw ash's visualization, that drew a correlation between lobbying event, and contributions. and we were interested in doing the same thing for lobbying events and voting records. and you know, and for every variable in the data set there is a corresponding correlation that can be made against all of the other variables in the data set. and so we were also interested in connecting this data set up with other ones and so beyond the 460, what can we connect it to. and so as sort of in the computing space, the term for what we are trying to accomplish is called a mash up. and so it basically a combination of multiple different data sources. off not, you know, the sources are... the people who create the sources are not, you know, connected to each other, but
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they are publishing, information, independently and so it could be twitter, and the 460 and seeing if there is any overlap. so for our purposes, we were working with mash ups between different parts of the government for the most part. and so, it is, we found a number of challenges, and in making things sort of connect to each other and so joined together in a line, so that we can make comparisons. and we found, that we found that there is a number of difficultis in doing that. so, going forward, we have a number of plans and we have plans in place to make that sort of process easier to carry out, so that we can join with other data sets. and you know, make other more interesting visualizations reduce the amount of sort of noise that we have to sit through, because there is a lot of data and only a small amount
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of it is relevant and only a small amount of it has interesting, leads and stories to tell. so, really, finding ways to zero in on what matters, is difficult. and in doing so, we need a place to put the data. and as a government website, sfdata, or data, sf is not able to host community data sets and so as we make, you know, modifications, or filter things a certain way, join up things in a certain way and we need a place to put that data, and so, one of the things that we are doing, going forward, is we have been working with an organization called decan that has a similar, and i don't know if that is, and that is
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something that is, but, basically it is a place for us to put processed data sets, that we can then, so it is like a down stream, utility for, you know, when we pull the data in from the data sf. and it gets put in and it gets processed and put into our data store. one of the things that we have done, for this project, with, in terms of processing data is adding geographic enrichment for the data and so the data from data sf, comes with latin long, associated with it and latitude and longitude coordinate and so for a contributor, you can see where the contribution was made and that is useful, but we might want to know from a lat long, what state was that lat long from? what sf district was it from. what california county did the money come from? and you use that, you know,
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enrichment, to show further correlations between things, do we find that certain kinds of activities are associated with certain geographic regions. and you know, to answer that kind of question, requires, some sort of processing. and processing a data set for that geo enrichment can take, hours to days to find the positions within these geographic regions. and so, there is a lot of processing that needs to be done, and there is a lot of sort of intermediate data that needs to be stored, and going forward we are going to be looking at more of that, and seeing if we can make more out of sort of this foundation, that has been provided to us. and so, yeah, we are very excited and one of the interesting things that i wantsed to mention about the 460, is that since it is state wide form, we can use this, these tools that we are building on top of the 460, for other organizations who work with it and so there is a
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branch of code for america over in oakland and one in sacramento and they are sort of all over the state that do the similar things to what we are doing. and we can share the tools, that we are using to analyze and enrich and structure, the data. and so that we don't have any repetition of work and so that we can all sort of stand on each other's shoulders and make progress with these things. and, yeah, so, those, maybe, we rambled a little bit. but, there are a number of sort of technical, social issues with these different brigades going forward. and we are going to continue working with the ethics commission, and as much as possible. and for, you know, the foreseeable future, continue working on this project, which is really just a sort of start. so, yeah. thank you. >> for the public, can you tell
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us the name of the website? it is hard to see on the screen. >> yeah, the website is transparent this is the url that we have chosen for this particular visualization we have the get hub repo which is the place where we store our code, and we can put a link to it on this page, after we go. >> great, so the people want to go and play with this site, they can go to transparent >> correct. >> voting. >> >> questions from the commissioner? s >> commissioner andrews? >> you know, first of all, thank you for the presentation, i did my absolute best to keep up with all of the terms after the url, i can kind of drift and thank you, and thank you for your or what you are providing on the volunteer basis and, so these are some of these are just the fire questions that you can answer, quickly and they tend to run
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around the organization. so, code for america is a national organization and it is funded, and it is a non-profit and it receives the funding itself, where are the headquarters? >> washington, d.c., i believe. >> and then it has a loose franchise model of them and then at least the latitude to define your own name and those types of things, is the ultimate goal, and you are all volunteers, and thank you for your service and i suspect that you have other means to keep yourselves a roof over your head and fed. would you be... (inaudible) e >> you know, they are working
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in civic tech and they typically work with a smaller local government. and you know, but i think that the government actually write to them and they have projects that they are interested in and would like someone to come in and work with them and so they actually have these fellows that actually work with the local city governments to help them with the processes. so that is the main part of code for america. and then there are the local, sort of chapters, they are called the brigades, which is volunteers from within the xhunlt community itself, who come in and we meet, every wednesday there. and then, we have the different projects and everybody gets to choose a project that they would like to become an ongoing part of. >> i see, at least the chapter aspiration is not necessarily to get to a funded level, or a contract, or a series of contracts that you would be providing this particular service, but just, this is
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your... >> this is a very different (inaudible). >> we appreciate it. >> it is a very different ethos, and i think that it is not... it is part of what you would probably have heard of as hacker culture. which is very much deeply have a deeply open data, and open government, and open force, and so this particular project is open force, which means that anybody else could take what we have built and reuse it somewhere else. and so, it is part of that ethos. it is not necessarily about like getting out there and making a bunch of money, although, code for america, does have an incubater where they help the start ups but that is not the goal. >> thank you. >> no questions? commissioner hayon? >> my first question, is this a permanent project that you will
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essentially supervise? >> it is an ongoing project, part of code for america. and so, code for america will hold on to everything, we build. and you know, everything will be live, they do have some not... so we have some nominal sort of fees that we have to pay for the hosting and that is not a huge amount of money and these, and whatever we built will be there and it is always going to be there. and it really is the question of how it is going to progress. right? >> and who is going to continue to provide. >> and input the data, and that changes from day-to-day and year to year, and election to election. and then, i assume that we will have a link to that, and we will have a permanent link to that website mr. st. croix? >> sure. >> well, we have, because i mean it is very exciting and it
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is a wonderful project and i would love to already go on the site and play around with it as i am sure that anybody who has an interest in these numbers and this data, would want to do. and to make our own correlations. now, that is my second question. is you showed the correlations that you have drawn or gave us examples of. and so if i were to go on your site, could i create my own correlations and you know, ask the website to put those correlations together, or does that have to be created by you? >> we have to create it. >> you have to create it? >> yeah, this is not quite at that level. >> but it could be some day. >> yeah i mean that it is one of the many possibilities as peter and steven explained, these are some of the challenges technical challenges that we face, and we