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.”