Category Archives: Information

My April lawyer newsletter

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April 2016
Photo
Osler “Pete” Peterson
617-969-1500 – Newton
508-359-9190 – Medfield
Dear Pete,Federal officials recently reported a steep increase in roadway deaths throughout the nation in 2015. We suspect that distracted driving is one factor in this increase. This month we urge all our friends and family to help end distracted driving.

Information that makes us safer
These newsletters are based on a simple idea – the more each one of us knows, the better off each us will be. Each newsletter focuses on a topic that relates to the health, wellness, and safety of each of us, our families, and our friends. I hope that you will find the information both interesting and informative, and that each month you can take away at least some nugget, that can make you or your family more secure.

Remember, the safer you remain, the less likely is that you will need the courts, as legal claims are generally only needed when proper safety measures were missing.

Pete

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted Driving Still on the Rise, Especially Among Teens

According to AAA, Americans drive the fewest miles during the winter months. Once April rolls around and the sun shines a bit brighter, the mileage goes up as we shake off the winter doldrums. More miles behind the wheel also means there are more chances to become distracted. And unfortunately, those distractions – like texting, talking, eating, adjusting a radio, checking a map, applying makeup and many more – can have deadly consequences.

As we enter April and Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2016, we note sadly that the number of injuries and deaths from driving distracted continues to rise, especially among teenagers. Maybe the increase is due to our obsession with mobile technology or our love affair with the car or just the increasingly frantic pace of our lives (no one is quite sure). But we do know this: Distracted driving is a problem that is 100 percent preventable. Before you send that next text message or order that double cheeseburger to go, you should know the dangers of distracted driving and what you can do to prevent tragedy from striking in your life!

Start driving more safely here.

BY THE NUMBERS /
3,179
Killed

In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 people injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

660,000
Vehicles

At any given time on U.S. roads, there are 660,000 vehicles being driven by someone using a hand-held phone.

10%
Fatalities

In 2013, 10 percent of all drivers aged 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

BOOKMARK FAVORITES /

Little Distractions Add Up to Big Trouble Behind the Wheel

An estimated nine people die and more than 1,000 are injured every day in crashes that involve distracted driving, according to the National Safety Council. View video.

New Hands-Free Systems Still Not Risk-Free

A recent AAA study showed that drivers are still distracted while using the new hands-free systems found in many new vehicles. View video.

“Moment of Silence” Campaign Fights Distracted Walking

SafeKids.org has partnered with FedEx in this public service campaign highlighting the dangers of distracted walking, especially among young people. View video.

Up Next Month: Forced Injustice

Next month we will feature an update on the widespread use of forced arbitration by many businesses to deny Americans their right to a day in court. We call it “forced injustice.”

Start here

EndDD Enlists Teens to Help Stop Distracted Driving

Joel Feldman, a lawyer and the father of a young woman killed by a distracted driver, leads a ground-breaking national campaign to stop distracted driving.

Listen now

You Should Know is a copyrighted publication of Voice2News, LLC, and is made possible by the attorney shown above. This newsletter is intended for the interest of past and present clients and other friends of this lawyer. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, click here to unsubscribe from this newsletter, and your request will be honored immediately. You may also submit your request in writing to: Steven L. Miller, Editor, 4907 Woodland Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312. Be sure to include your email address.
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Richard’s book events: 12/10 at 7PM, 12/12 at 10 & 2

Arriving in time for Christmas and the Holidays

The second This Old Town,

by Richard DeSorgher

 

Richard book cover 2015

 

Last year the book “This Old Town, Remembering Medfield” was published. It included 74 stories about Medfield; its history and its people, most of which were published first in The Hometown Weekly. This second book “This Old Town, FLeetwood 9” features 63 different stories about Medfield and its people: It includes stories on Medfield’s history, Medfield during time of war, worst Medfield fires and crime in Medfield. It includes sports and school days, the Frances Café, the Manor Inn, Noon Hill, the Norfolk Hunt Club, the State Hospital Cemetery, The KKK in Medfield and the history of all of Medfield’s churches. Chapters on the Palumbos, Dr. Nickerson, the Standleys, Officer Bob Naughton, Roger Hardy, Ken Childs and the indomitable Colonel Mitchell will give one a flavor that is Medfield.

To order your copy(s), please send $15.00 (includes tax) to:

This Old Town

13 Lawrence Circle

Medfield, MA 02052   (make checks out to: This Old Town)

 

  • Include any requests for personalized signing by author
  • Books available starting December 2, 2015.
  • Free delivery within the town of Medfield; for all mailing, please add $5.00 shipping charge.

 

A special program about the stories contained within the book will take place on Thursday December 10 at the Memorial Public Library from 7-8 pm, followed by book sale and signing. Additional book signings will be on Saturday December 12 from 10-12 at the Historical Society Building, 6 Pleasant Street and from 2-4 pm at Park Street Books.

Community Compact

community compart-2

The Baker Polito administration initiated the Community Compact  to provide state assistance to towns.  Medfield has now applied to be a member, and specified the three areas with which Medfield wants state assistance:

  • capital planning
  • transperancy
  • citizen engagement

This was the state response today to Medfield’s application to join –


Dear Kristine Trierweiler,

Thank you for completing the Community Compact application for Medfield. Your application is now with the Division of Local Services for review.

According to your submission the Best Practices you will commit to are:

Best Practice #1 –  Financial Management

Capital Planning // Best Practice: Funding capital needs on a regular basis is critical to maintaining publicly-owned assets and delivering services effectively. The community develops and documents a multi-year capital plan that reflects a community’s needs, is reviewed annually and fits within a financing plan that reflects the community’s ability to pay.

Best Practice #2 (optional) –  Information Technology

Transparency // Best Practice: There is a documented open data strategy including timelines for making municipal spending and budget information accessible from the city or town website in a machine readable and graphical format.

Best Practice #3 (optional) –  Information Technology

Citizen Engagement // Best Practice: There is a documented citizen engagement strategy for deployment of technology solutions, including a public communication strategy and a professional development strategy to ensure that internal resources can effectively engage with users via technology.

As part of the review process, the Division of Local Services may be contacting Kristine Trierweiler with follow-up questions.  Once the review of your application is complete and the best practice area(s) are agreed upon, I will be in touch regarding the signing of the Compact. We are looking forward to working with your community as you continue to strive toward excellence!

Sincerely,

Sean Cronin
Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services
Division of Local Services

Does Medfield want open data?

I have suggested that Medfield’s budget data and checkbook should be online so that anyone can easily see what the town spends its monies on and can also easily research the town budget priorities.  There are software apps that make this easy to do.  The state uses one to put its checkbook online, and i have seen two apps that focus more on the department budget side of the data, via http://www.opengov.com and http://www.visgov.com, which would provide their apps for a few thousand dollars a year.  Visgov.com is actually open source software, and we could use it at no cost if we installed it on our own.

The selectmen, the Warrant Committee and the Water and Sewer Board are supposed to meet soon to resolve budgeting issues that arose in the months prior to the annual town meeting,  and I am suggesting that we use that financial summit meeting to both resolve expectations as to our budgeting process going forward, but also to implement online budgeting to make the town finances more transparent.

Therefore, I was especially interested when today I saw the article below that indicates a high percentage of residents want the data available to them and expect that having it available will make their towns operate better.


Study: How Tech Can Improve Citizen Engagement

Citizen Perceptions of Data
The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey to benchmark public sentiment on government initiatives that aim to leverage open data streams to improve services. The survey aimed to gauge:

  • People’s awareness of government efforts to share data
  • Whether these efforts translate into people using data to track government performance
  • If people think government data initiatives have made, or could make, government performance better or improve accountability
  • The more routine kinds of government-citizen online interactions

The survey analyzed citizen perception of government data use in the early stages at the local, state and federal levels. Overall, the public seems optimistic of open data government initiatives – specifically with improving accountability. While most participants use online data portals to find basic government information, the vast majority are not using the information to monitor government performance.

The Findings
The survey revealed:

  • 65 percent of Americans have used the internet to find data or information about government in the last 12 months
  • 19 percent could think of an example of where the local government did a good job providing information to the public about data it collects
  • 19 percent could think of an example of where the local government failed to provide enough information about data and information to the public
  • 56 percent hope open data can help journalists better cover government activities
  • 53 percent hope open data can make government officials more accountable
  • 49 percent expect open data to improve the quality of government services
  • 48 percent want open data to allow citizens to have more impact on government affairs
  • 45 percent predict open data to enable government officials to make better decisions

The majority of respondents are comfortable with the idea of government agencies collecting and sharing public data on a variety of platforms. Yet many remain cautious of providing their own data to the government such as mortgage information.

Driving Engagement
According to a recent IDC Government Insights report governments should invest in 3rd platform technologies – cloud, mobile, social and big data – to effectively drive citizen value and engagement. The study predicts more than 50 percent of government agencies will direct at least 25 percent of their citizen engagement budgets to 3rd platform technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions by 2020.

New digital channels coupled with a more comprehensive approach to redefining the citizen experience will align the goals of values of local leaders and residents. The research identifies five maturity stages for the citizen experience to help governments better understand the needs and goals of each group and select appropriate technologies to meet these expectations:

  • Ad hoc: Citizens request information across multiple channels
  • Opportunistic: CRM applications enable front-end automation so citizens can access information on their own
  • Repeatable: Digitization of workflows across channels allow citizens to handle services through full automation
  • Managed: Digital self-service allows citizens to show across multiple agencies and enables interactive handling of citizen requests
  • Optimized: Omni-channel citizen experience ensures consistent, convenient experience at very low cost to the government

The research suggests investment in 3rd platform technologies and the Internet of Things will help governments reduce costs while improving overall performance and accessibility. These interactive solutions better deliver new capabilities to public agencies and residents, while optimizing resource allocation and improving the way services are delivered.

Lack of Awareness
One major constraint many public agencies face when considering investment in new technologies and the Internet of Things is a lack of knowledge. A recent survey found only half of American adults are familiar with the term Internet of Things – which refers to the network of physical objects embedded with sensors and technologies to collect data that will guide decision making to improve services.

Because many Americans are unaware of how the Internet of Things works with existing infrastructure and services, 85 percent have concerns about the increased risk to breach of security and privacy. Furthermore, 70 percent fear IoT investment will have a negative impact on daily interactions and 51 percent are concerned about technical issues and the cost of repairing them.  If the public had a better understanding of how IoT and other new technologies are driving efficiency, there may be more support behind these investments.

Related Content
Challenging Tech Community to Solve Civic Problems w/Apps
Community at the Center of Civic Hacking
3 Cities Optimizing Open Data

Meetings notices must be better

A resident complained to me this morning at my selectman office hours about the fact that it is difficult to get advance notice of town board meetings one may be interested in attending.  In this instance, Tony Centore said that he has been following the recommendations made by the Economic Development Committee for the use of the town owned Lot 3 off Ice House Road, since he has advocated that the site be devoted to housing for seniors, due to the special synergies from the  proximity to The Center.

Tony does subscribe to the town daily email that comes each morning and lists all the town board meeting taking place that day, but in this instance, he failed to see that email until after the Economic Development Committee meeting had already taken place last night.

I agree that the town needs to create a better system so that people who are interested in following and/or getting information from a particular town board should be able to:

  • sign up to get sent to them the meeting notices at the same time those notices are sent to the committee members, plus
  • likewise similarly receive any documents sent out to the board members of that committee.

This makes sense to do because the town information should be made universally available to residents, and technology allows for this process to be automated (and operated via an online sign up system).  All meeting notices are required to be posted at least 48 hours before the meeting occurs, so there should be no reason that the town’s current email notice could not at least give two days advance notice of all meetings.

Also:

  • Town meetings are all open meetings, open to anyone; and
  • The documents are all public records and should be readily available to interested residents.

The town system should make it both easy and totally transparent for anyone who is interested to get the same information and at the same time that the committee members are getting.  I will ask for that to be an agenda item at the next meeting of the selectmen.

Visual budgets

At the Mass. Municipal Association annual meeting last weekend, I saw and heard presentations of an open source software product developed for the Town of Arlington by programers who live in Arlington, to show the town budget in a highly visual format. One merely clicks on the blocks to drill further down into the details.  http://visgov.com/

Since it is open source, Medfield could implement it at no cost if we have someone who knows how to do so.  If we hire the company that is managing the software, they would charge us $3,000.

I recommend that we employ this software, and that the town also employ software to put the town checkbook on-line, as the state has already done.

Town calendar

David Stephenson pointed me to Needham’s really nice looking town calendar –


Thought you’d both be interested in this: Needham publishes a wide range of iCalendars to which you can subscribe!

— David

 

W. David Stephenson | Principal | Stephenson Strategies/Stephenson Voice-Overs