The March Confidential: Honest Abe Hates Big Data

Posted on March 1, 2015

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Kent Wyatt – LinkedIn and Twitter – provides the latest in local government, pop culture, and random musings in this members-only post. 

March 17

Leaving on a Jet Plane

A 3-year old. A 5-year old. Me. We’re all boarding a flight tomorrow for Raleigh, NC. My kids will be spending an extended weekend with the grandparents in Chapel Hill, NC while I am drive two hours west to Charlotte, NC for the NCAA Tournament. But before I can think about the kid-free weekend, the lingering question remains on how to entertain two kids on a plane for five hours. Without SkyMall magazine to kick around anymore, I’ll have to rely on the iPad, knock-knock jokes and the drink cart. I welcome any suggestions that you have on entertaining the kiddos on a long flight. Movies? Games? Imaginary friends?

Honesty Abe….Maybe Not…

Antebellum Data Journalism: Or, How Big Data Busted Abe Lincoln
Creepy….Yes Indeed
Post-Vitale smooch, Judd explains the moment

Hot 5 Reads

In Wash. state, a 10-person team toils for the government — selling pot
White House 2016 budget in 3D using Power Map for Excel
Arizona Lawmakers Debate Whether Gun Rights Were Given To Them By God (VIDEO)
A Single Day on the London Tube, Condensed Into 2 Minutes
Our cities must undergo a revolution for older people
Who Needs Green Beer?
I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day away from the bars and in front of my computer watching these two videos.


March 15

Worst Internet Things Bracket

View image on Twitter
Before you settle down to complete your bracket for the ELGL bracket challenge, get up to speed on the internet of things via SB Nation – The Worst Internet Things Bracket. A few of our favorite “teams”:



Hot 5 Reads

Ferguson PD Took Almost 11 Minutes to Start Search for Shooter
Do People Trust Government?
New ‘Tactical Urbanism’ Book Signals the Way to Equitable, Funded City Planning
Hi. I’m the Secret Service. And I’m an Alcoholic.
As Ferguson manhunt continues, Michael Brown’s family defends police

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Twitter can be a tropical paradise when you’re hunting for a new job. A couple of Twitter feeds to check out are EconDev Today and PRSA Job Center.

March 14

Why you should love March Madness….

Now that you’re ready for March, sign up for the 4th annual ELGL Bracket Challenge.

1 Millions Jobs….

logo Sort of. The League of Wisconsin Municipalities has more than 100 job postings on their website. Government Jobs has 22,304 postings. Treat. Yo. Self.

Hot 5 Reads

11 City Council Races Offer Change in Ferguson After Months of Upheaval States and Cities Try Smarter Signals to Reduce Red Lights Americans Prefer Their Solutions Locally Sourced Weird Things That Have Spilled Out of Trucks in 2015 Romney team’s new champion: Marco Rubio


March 13


Hot 5 Reads

lead_large Jordanian City Changes Municipal Uniform Color Away From ISIS Orange Oregon man commits no crime, but held in jail for 900 days MEET BECKY HAMMON, THE NBA’S FIRST FEMALE COACH Wet Wipes Box Says Flush. New York’s Sewer System Says Don’t. Springfield, Illinois, Has Given the Keys to the City to Cobra Commander

These Are My Confessions…..

I haven’t wore jeans since high school. This choice became especially unique after moving to Oregon where a suit is on the verge of extinction. My jeans phobia is probably related to the embarrassment of wearing husky fit jeans. Anyway, it took decades but my phobia has turned into a trend according to the NY Times – Jeans? Some Boys Shout, ‘No Way!’

He’s Gone Country

City management, street sweepers, and country music….San Marcos (TX) city manager showcased it all in this country jam.

March 12, 2015


Back from DC

11037826_10206516173445834_4216902666650974863_n I’ve returned from a trip to DC for the NLC Conference. The experience confirmed my skepticism about professional conferences and their value. Any value could be had by hanging around the hotel bar which is seemingly packed 24/7. Hat tip to Todd Cutts (City of SeaTac) and Ryan Mannion (Socrata) for picking up my drink tab. 11043087_10206516174525861_8932685300211384173_nWhile they didn’t pay for my drinks, it was just as enjoyable meeting Michael O’Brien (MOB Advocacy), Jon Stehle, (MITRE and City of Fairfax Parks Board), Christina Kuo (U.S. Green Building Council), and Dan Weinheimer (City of Fort Collins, CO). I think you’ll be pleased by the results of these meetings which will be evident in coming months. Conference aside, DC is an incredible place. The Newseum is a must and Arlington National Cemetery is a humbling but necessary experience. Although I would ban the tour bus that frequent the cemetery.

Fly Alaskan

I flew to and from DC on Alaskan Airlines. I usually fly on United which had contributed to my sinking feeling about the airlines. Alaskan Airlines gave me hope by offering internet access and free movies, and not movies that were released in 1978, but new releases. Birdman was my selection on the way to DC and Skeleton Twins entertained me back to PDX. Both were solid movies. My favorite scene from either movie was this one from Skeleton Twins.  

What Did I Miss?

funny-gif-Panda-Mascot-basketball-ball It was the perfect start to a day in seeing Kirsten featured in the ICMA spotlight. This coming on the heels of ELGL’s appearance in Governing. What’s ahead….ELGL was interviewed by the Tigard Times and ELGL is meeting with City of Dallas, TX management next week to discuss a Dallas-centric chapter. Change is happening.

Hot 5 Reads

xebd16rre06antzmctltfa University Of Alabama’s Sororities Still Resist Integrating Tupac: The Man, Not the Myth For rookie announcer Battier, a very public learning curve Poll: America’s most important problem? Government Map: Where working women have it best


“I Celebrate the Man’s Entire Collection”

One of my top five favorite movies Office Space has extended its life a little bit, and Michael Bolton is to thank.


March 5. 2015


#13Percent Goes National

Another small step for raising awareness about the lack of diversity in local government. Mark Funkhouser, Governing Publisher, included the importance of the #13Percent initiative in this month’s issue of Governing. Here’s a sneak preview. Huge thanks to those who have contributed articles to the initiative. Ben McCready added his thoughts in an article published today. Stay tuned for more details on ELGL’s relationship with Governing.

Future Ladies Man


Hot 5 Reads

The disturbing case of the bloggers who fake death and disease for attention
A Brewing Problem
EA shuts down Maxis Emeryville, studio behind SimCity (update)
Vince Vaughn and Co-stars Pose for Idiotic Stock Photos You Can Have for Free
Suspect In Custody After Responding To His Own “Wanted” Ad On Facebook

“The Price Is Wrong, Bob” 

Adam Sandler, Bob Barker Recreate Famous ‘Happy Gilmore’ Scene (Video)


March 3, 2015

Sure Sign of a Bad Day


Hittin’ in the Mitten

There is an ELGL movement brewing in Michigan. Bridget Doyle, City of Sterling Heights, MI, kickstarted the effort following our appearance at a CPBB event in Lansing, MI. Here’s how you can get involved. Even if you don’t live in Michigan, tell your colleagues who do. At the same time, our California effort continues to grow. We are partnering with IAP2 on a future event and are developing more content from the state. Julie Underwood, Daly City Assistant City Manager, has been amazing in “gathering the troops” for the CA chapter.

Hot 5 Reads

urban-design-visual-dictionary53 New report shows urban ‘donut’ shifting John Oliver Explains How America’s Neglected Infrastructure Is Like A Lego Set How widespread is gov use of personal email? How Google could make billions from balloons How Apple lost $533 million to an 8th-grade dropout patent troll

Your Theme Music 

Our members-only Facebook group has spiraled to 250 people. Join the conversation as we’re naming the song(s) that get us in the zone for a council or staff meeting. This Is How We Do It, Respect, Girl on Fire, and Lord,  and I Hope the Day Is Good are among those mentioned so far. Link: ELGL Facebook Group – Members Only


March 2, 2015


Tweet of the Day


Hot Five Reads

‘Tech cities’ fuel start-up success throughout TN
Sexual assault scandal hits Duke
The secret life of a public library security guard
Six myths about local government that annoy council workers
Hank Gathers’ death 25 years later: Still no clear answers

Image Problem

Government has an image problem. The reasons are countless as to why. A recent CBS investigation, “Red tape keeps some bad gov’t workers from being fired” takes a big highlighter and points out the extreme examples of abuse within government. Here’s a snippet.
In the private sector, if you’re caught viewing porn on company time or intimidating a co-worker, you’d probably be fired immediately; not so if you’re a federal employee.
These kind of stories will always exist. On the local level, we can combat the negative stories by dropping our boring, dis-engaging government language and begin to communicate like a human. I’ll leave you with a recent example of a communication win for local government.

Counter Culture

This past Saturday I had the chance to sit down for coffee with Steve Harding. Steve is a professor at Northwestern, retired city manager, and active in NASPAA. Steve is a new ELGL member and is quickly catching on to the ELGL culture. He described ELGL as the “counter culture” within local government. Bill Walton must be smiling. You’ll hear more from Steve when he engages ELGL about the current state of public administration programs. He’s also lending a hand to our California effort as he resides in San Diego.

March 1, 2015

Where Were We?
If you’re just joining us, you can get up to speed by reading the last Confidential which started in 2014 and ended in 2015. You might take a minute to admire the horrible formatting in that post.

First of the Month

I refuse to let the first day of any month pass without bringing back this classic. It should go without saying but this is not appropriate for the workplace.

Hot Five Reads

Afghan Policewomen Fight Against Culture
When Your Punctuation Says It All (!)
Are postcards obsolete?
7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free
Where Journalism Goes to Die

We Be Bloggin’

Michael O’Brien, ELGL member and MOB Advocacy founder, has blogged about his reading recommendations from February. One of the recommendations might be familiar to you.
“This series was born from ELGL’s Webinar: Women in Local Government, which examined how and why the percentage of women in leadership positions in local government has held at 13% since 1984. ELGL surveyed those who registered, and published the responses to four questions.   I’m highlighting this because the 13% issue deserves more attention and discussion, and ELGL is becoming THE leader on this issue.  It’s just one of the reasons I’m proud to be affiliated with such a great organization.   Please check out ELGL for more information on how you can join and get involved in helping local government break that 13% ceiling.”

Vine of the Day

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