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CivFed’s April 2021 Meeting

Notes of the recent Arlington County Civic Federation meeting:
CivFed is testing out doing voting through Zoom’s built-in polling feature instead of emailed polls via Constant Contact.
The new CivFed Nomination Committee (to nominate CivFed officers for next election) has a vacancy. May 1st is recommended nomination submission via form. Nominees have to be a delegate or alternate. Annual CivFed meeting for elections is June 15th.
Presentation on data privacy:
Margaret Leary:
• Just one data broker’s database has info on 1.4 billion consumer transactions. 7 out of 9 big data brokers/aggregators are known to be sharing data with each other such as bank and credit card info, hospital records, federal and state agencies provide data to these brokers, smartphone and smartTV usage, fitness devices, inventory tags on clothing, Tik Tok, warranty registrations, etc.
• Governments use consumer data. Governments circumvent privacy laws by buying a score or other simplified data on people instead of collecting it directly themselves. A lot of this is for employment considerations, but sometimes for threat assessments (risk of committing a crime). A controversy is a major source of this data is from personal social media accounts.
• Big Data aggregation can easily be used to discriminate by gender, race, class, etc – by just using birthdate, zip code, and [something I didn’t catch – maybe gender] someone can easily compare to voter rolls to grab name and other specific info.
Paul Rosenzweig:
• In EU privacy is a natural right – inherent in everyone, not granted and can’t be given away. Whereas in US privacy seen as a valuable thing to help people be honest and truthful.
• We’ve systematically undervalued consumer privacy because we see it as giving it up as in exchange for free stuff. Ask people “how much would you pay for a search result, or for Gmail?” to demonstrate this. “Technology has gotten us to give away privacy without thinking about it.”
• We need a federal law that allows people to see what info gov’t agencies are collecting.
Jasmine McNealy:
• There was a data breach of Facebook of 530m users. Facebook is refusing to notify people whose info was leaked.
• Cambridge Analytica didn’t hack Facebook – it used permitted policies of Facebook to take data out and misuse it.
• Talks about Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act. Talks about an even stronger “Data Act” that would get rid of ability for consumers to “consent” their data away.
Current status of Police Practices Work Group (PPG):
Good comments by Christian Dorsey on Chauvin verdict:
• “it would be misguided for us not to examine our police practices”
• Police Practices Group (PPG) gave over 100 short and long term actions to consider. County also has a consultant’s suggestions. Some can be done within existing county resources.
○ Some traffic enforcement staff who are not full officers, to take that away from armed officers.
○ Creation of Civilian Review Board with paid Auditor/Monitor position.
• $ 1.5m in current budget (just approved last week) for PPG efforts.
Civilian Review Board – Rodney Turner
• Question wasn’t “if”, but “how” to implement. ETA to appoint CRB is Summer 2021, with launch in Fall.
• Hybrid approach that includes an Auditor/Monitor (to be funded in FY2022)
• CRB receives complaints, review investigations, advise on policies, issue public reports. Unknown: whether it will have subpoena power.
• County board to vote in June, with initial implementation in Fall ’21.
Role of Police in Behavioral Health Response – Devanshi Patel
• Much the same as last month’s CivFed presentation. “Mobile Crisis”, 24/7 Crisis Intervention Center, etc.
• Alternative Dispute Resolution (alternatives to criminal legal system, calling 911)
• Funding for
• Repeal law making it a crime for people to refuse police help in mental health [not sure I heard this correctly]
Traffic Enforcement – Allison Carpenter
• Find potential alternative models for traffic enforcement.
• Wants “Data Analyst” position to improve data collection and accuracy.
• We’re restricted by state where automated traffic cameras can go.
• FY 22 has 6 FTE positions for parking enforcement, traffic control, and safety that are not armed law enforcement officers.
• Fairer enforcement of traffic violations with “sliding scale” fees and warnings.
Alternative Dispute Resolution – Devanshi Patel
• Develop and educate the public on alternatives to calling 911 in certain situations.
• Proposal: repeal county ordinance for “Failure to Produce ID”, which is a big cause of conflict in minority communities.
• Establishment of “988 Crisis Line” for non-law enforcement urgent calls. Behavioral health incidents, etc.
• Better Emergency Communications Center (911 dispatch) training. $65k in the budget for this.
Question from JD Spain of NAACP: “will CRB get subpoena power?”. Answer from Turner: “it’s being discussed. Subpoena power was rarely used in other jurisdictions that had it.”
Update on CivFed rules by Eric Cassel:
• Abstentions in CivFed votes count as “present but not voting”. This is decision from recent vote on Our Revolution Arlington acceptance.
• Resolutions must be seconded by a delegate from another organization.
• Might move back to 1st Tuesdays to avoid conflict with County Board meetings.
TiGER Presentation Progress by Christopher Wimbush
• Currently in Phase 2 of 8. Learning and research phase about how county works.
Revenues and Expenditures Resolution by Burt Buswick.
• Improve resources to county auditor, internal auditors in DMF, and fiscal oversight. Empower regional efforts for cost savings and fiscal oversight.
• Auditor was only able to complete 20% of audits in FY’18, 28% in FY’19, and 17% in FY’20.
• Wants incentives for employees and residents to suggest methods to achieve savings.
• John Vihstadt chimes in boost Resolution. “County has done very little the past 5 years”. Department of Management and Finance auditor has been vacant for 2+ years. APS has an auditor, but structure is too internal.
• Resolution goes to voting body.
Adam Henderson proposes bylaws change:
• If a civic association member organization fails to comply with paying dues, submitting member list, etc, then the org is simply suspended and not automatically kicked out. They would not have to re-join once they are again compliant.
• Will be official motion next meeting.
John Tuohy proposes Febrey-Lothrop Historic District Resolution:
• Resolution to urge county manager to issue cease-and-desist for further ground disturbance.
• Because County Board voted to deny historical designation, the resolution is determined moot, and withdrawn.