Vox: San Francisco’s lonely war against Covid-19

Vox: San Francisco’s lonely war against Covid-19. “On June 25, San Francisco Mayor London Breed was excited the city’s zoo would finally reopen after closing down for months in response to Covid-19. She visited the facilities, posting photos on social media with a mask on and giraffes in the background. ‘I know people are eager to get back to some sense of normalcy, especially families and children,’ she tweeted. And it looked like her city was taking a step toward it. The day after the visit, Breed had to announce the sad news: San Francisco’s reopening plan — for the zoo and various other facilities, including hair salons and indoor museums — would have to be put on hold.”

The Next Web: Boston bans government use of facial recognition

The Next Web: Boston bans government use of facial recognition. “Boston City Council has voted to ban the use of facial recognition by the municipality, joining a growing list of administrations to outlaw the tech. The decision comes amid a growing backlash against the software, which research shows consistently misidentifies people of color. An MIT study found that facial recognition algorithms designed by Microsoft, IBM, and Face++ made up to 35% more errors when detecting the gender of darker-skinned women. For light-skinned men, that error rate dropped was just 1%.”

Montgomery Adviser: Mayor Steven Reed bypasses City Council vote, mandates masks with executive order

Aaaaand ALSO Montgomery Adviser: Mayor Steven Reed bypasses City Council vote, mandates masks with executive order. “Mayor Steven Reed issued an executive order to mandate masks in Montgomery, bypassing a tied City Council vote that failed to do the same less than 24 hours prior. Reed announced the order in a news conference at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. It goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and is intended to be temporary until the next council meeting for council members to consider another ordinance, Reed said.”

Montgomery Advertiser: Montgomery City Council votes down mask ordinance, sends doctors out in disgust

Montgomery Advertiser: Montgomery City Council votes down mask ordinance, sends doctors out in disgust. “Jackson Hospital pulmonologist William Saliski cleared his throat as he started describing the dire situation created by the coronavirus pandemic in Montgomery to its City Council before they voted on a mandatory mask ordinance. ‘It’s been a long day, I apologize,’ he said.”

Smarter government or data-driven disaster: the algorithms helping control local communities (MuckRock)

MuckRock: Smarter government or data-driven disaster: the algorithms helping control local communities. “Does handing government decisions over to algorithms save time and money? Can algorithms be fairer or less biased than human decision making? Do they make us safer? Automation and artificial intelligence could improve the notorious inefficiencies of government, and it could exacerbate existing errors in the data being used to power it. MuckRock and the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy & Law (RIIPL) have compiled a collection of algorithms used in communities across the country to automate government decision-making.”

Route Fifty: Using Data to Ensure Equitable Funding for Parks

Route Fifty: Using Data to Ensure Equitable Funding for Parks. “Tactics vary from place to place, but each municipality highlighted in the report relied on data to make impartial decisions about funding. During the budget process in Detroit, for example, city officials use multiple data points—including housing prices, rates of childhood obesity, minority households, foreclosure rates and high rates of violent crime—to identify parks in every corner of the city that haven’t seen capital improvements in years, sometimes decades.”

New York Times: Why Random Government Accounts Are All Over Your Timeline

New York Times: Why Random Government Accounts Are All Over Your Timeline. “Earlier this month… the San Antonio Water System, which regulates the water utilities for the Texas city, tweeted a joke about Baby Yoda reaching to flush the toilet. In October, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer fired off a tweet about clogging a friend’s toilet using an image of the widely memed Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Department of Transportation in Northern Virginia used a GIF of a confused German shepherd to ask drivers to refrain from speeding.”

Officer: Vermont City Plagued by Social Media Scandal Appoints 3 Police Chiefs in a Week

Officer: Vermont City Plagued by Social Media Scandal Appoints 3 Police Chiefs in a Week . I don’t usually post random municipal stuff like this but this is wild. “The state’s largest city, whose police department keeps getting mired in social media scandals, is appointing its third chief in a week as two have been forced to resign when underground Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts surfaced.”

D.C. Policy Center: New database of D.C. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)

D.C. Policy Center: New database of D.C. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs). “D.C.’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) process allows developers to gain additional height and density for a project (beyond what they could build matter of right) in exchange for delivering additional public benefits back to the community…. The data covers the 82 PUDs negotiated from 2010 through 2018. For each PUD, the database includes basic information such as the name, case number, and a link to the original PUD, along with information about housing units, share of units that are affordable (and at what levels), parking information, and the recorded costs of the community benefit agreement line items.”

CNET: Ransomware froze more cities in 2019. Next year is a tossup

CNET: Ransomware froze more cities in 2019. Next year is a tossup. “When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, it caused a power outage affecting nearly 8 million homes and workplaces, including the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. The building’s computers couldn’t turn on, but police were still making arrests, and his office still needed to prepare cases for trial. So his staff turned to pen and paper, writing out criminal complaints by hand and, on some nights, by candlelight. The natural disaster cost New York City about $19 billion. What could be equally devastating for the city? According to Vance, the scourge of ransomware.”

Statehouse News Bureau: Ohio Auditor Creates Public Records Rating System For Local Governments

Statehouse News Bureau: Ohio Auditor Creates Public Records Rating System For Local Governments. “The official elected as the state’s accountability watchdog is creating a new program to encourage better open records policies among local governments, measuring best practices for following what are known as Sunshine Laws.”

Engadget: Local governments are still woefully unprepared to fight ransomware

Engadget: Local governments are still woefully unprepared to fight ransomware. “Our state and local governments found themselves under siege in 2019 from William Plunketts for the internet age. But rather than pistols and roadblocks, this new generation of bandits come armed with encryption algorithms and demands for bitcoin. Can today’s American cities and counties, long hamstrung by both a lack of interest and funding for cybersecurity efforts ever hope to withstand these digital muggings? Just ask Lake City, Florida.”

Baltimore’s bill for ransomware: Over $18 million, so far (Ars Technica)

Ars Technica: Baltimore’s bill for ransomware: Over $18 million, so far. “It has been a month since the City of Baltimore’s networks were brought to a standstill by ransomware. On Tuesday, Mayor Bernard ‘Jack’ Young and his cabinet briefed press on the status of the cleanup, which the city’s director of finance has estimated will cost Baltimore $10 million—not including $8 million lost because of deferred or lost revenue while the city was unable to process payments. The recovery remains in its early stages, with less than a third of city employees issued new log-in credentials thus far and many city business functions restricted to paper-based workarounds.”

San Francisco Chronicle: SF DA Gascón launches state’s first website showing prosecution data

San Francisco Chronicle: SF DA Gascón launches state’s first website showing prosecution data. “San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón launched a website Wednesday that provides data on prosecutions, caseloads and trial outcomes — a first-of-its-kind effort by a local prosecuting agency in California. The new website, DA Stat, follows a growing trend among reform-minded law enforcement agencies around the country to increase accountability by releasing raw data and statistics.”