HouseCanary Announces New EVP of Analytics and Additional HPI Outlet

first_img HouseCanary, a modern data analytics company for real estate professionals, recently announced that Dr. Alex Villacorta has joined the team as Executive Vice President of Analytics. Previous to this announcement, Villacorta was at Clear Capitol where he created and led the research and housing analytics team.“Having gotten to know the HouseCanary team over the last three years, it’s been exciting to watch their growth and vision for redefining real estate data and analytics and transforming the industry,” said Villacorta. “The residential market is critically important to everyday homeowners and to the national economy, and HouseCanary’s genuine passion to make valuation and risk assessment consistent and reliable for all market players has been inspiring—I’m beyond excited to be joining a group of true innovators.”Additionally, HouseCanary announced that mortgage lenders and servicers can now access the nation’s most granular and accurate Home Price Indices (HPIs) and forecast models from HouseCanary through First American Mortgage Solutions, LLC, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation.“We selected HouseCanary HPIs to further enhance our industry-leading real estate data offerings, allowing our lender and servicer clients to more accurately assess and forecast risk in their portfolios,” said Kevin Wall, President of First American Mortgage Solutions. “Mounting price dispersion within local markets and the ability of HouseCanary’s advanced analytics to deliver insight into these markets at the ZIP Code level provides lenders and servicers with an opportunity to upgrade their risk management and forecasting capabilities.”HouseCanary said their unique valuation models process hundreds of inputs from capital markets to local crime and include views from individual properties. By doing this, they are able to forecast home price appreciation or identify risk with unparalleled precision and local granularity.“By leveraging HouseCanary’s HPI forecasts as part of First American Mortgage Solution’s suite of products and services, lenders and servicers can catch market moves early and manage risk with improved confidence,” said Christopher Stroud, HouseCanary’s Chief of Research.Powered by modern machine learning algorithms that meticulously analyze historic, current, and future price trends yielding 40 years of history, HouseCanary said their HPIs are the industry’s most accountable 3-year forecast. The algorithms rebuild their data models every month to continuously look for new home value trends within thousands of analyzed data points to provide coverage for all 381 metro areas in the U.S. and more than 18,000 residential zip codes.The result? Ninety-four point three percent directional accuracy for a 1-year forecast. This translates into providing the most detailed minutiae for thousands of local markets. HouseCanary Announces New EVP of Analytics and Additional HPI Outlet July 7, 2017 524 Views Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News HPI 2017-07-07 Brianna Gilpinlast_img read more

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House approves Rep Wentworth bill to provide license plate opportunity for disabled

first_img The Michigan House this week unanimously approved legislation introduced by state Rep. Jason Wentworth to give veterans who qualify for a disabled veteran license plate the benefit of choosing from a wide variety of license plates without having to identify that they are disabled.Wentworth’s bill allows for a 100-percent disabled veteran to buy a plate they desire for the same cost as a disabled veteran license plate. The cost of a disabled veteran license plate is a $5 service fee.“Individuals who have a disability as a result of combat, or have become disabled through other means, deserve all the benefits the state can offer,” said Wentworth, of Clare. “This legislation provides a disabled veteran the opportunity to choose any plate without having to self-identify as being disabled.”The bill applies to the following license plates:·       A special registration plate for disabled veterans;·       A special registration plate for members of the National Guard, the military reserve or any branch of the U.S Armed Services;·       A special registration plate for service members, or the spouses of service members, who were called to active duty during any war; and·       A standard or commemorative issue plate.House Bill 4699 now moves to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Wentworth News 02Mar House approves Rep. Wentworth bill to provide license plate opportunity for disabled veteranslast_img read more

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Rep Bizon Without raising taxes more road money is headed to Calhoun

first_img### Categories: Bizon News,News 20Mar Rep. Bizon: Without raising taxes, more road money is headed to Calhoun Countycenter_img More money urgently needed to fix roads in Calhoun County and the rest of Michigan this construction season will soon be on its way, state Rep. Dr. John Bizon announced today after the funding was signed into law.“This is the latest step in an ongoing effort to make our roads and bridges safer for travel throughout the state,” said Bizon, of Battle Creek. “With this latest investment, we are capitalizing on an opportunity to put more resources into roads without it costing anyone any more money.”The legislation provides an additional $175 million in transportation funding statewide beyond what was already planned for this year. Much of the money is headed directly to counties, cities and villages for road preservation and construction. The money is already available because various state departments did not spend as much as originally projected during a previous budget cycle. No budget cuts or additional fees or taxes are required for the investment.Calhoun County will receive more than $873,550. In addition, some of the cities and villages getting money include Albion ($65,927) Battle Creek ($521,264) and Springfield ($44,880). The amounts are estimates.The extra money comes in addition to record-level road funding provided by previous long-term reforms. The state also has strengthened its warranty system designed to make sure new and refurbished roads will last longer.last_img read more

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Rep Cole Feds overstepped the line with alcohol ban

first_img08Feb Rep. Cole: Feds overstepped the line with alcohol ban Categories: Cole News State Rep. Triston Cole today pushed back on a new federal rule banning the use of alcohol on three popular Michigan rivers.Cole said the ban on alcohol oversteps federal authority and can only have negative consequences for Michiganders and tourists who enjoy the state’s rivers.“The State of Michigan has a plethora of laws to protect our water ways,” said Cole, of Mancelona. “Everything from cussing in a canoe to littering and public nuisance is covered. We don’t need redundant rules passed down by a federal bureaucracy to help us take care of the land and water that has been in our state’s care for over 180 years.”Cole noted that Section 8902 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL 324.8902, already makes littering in a river or water way illegal.The Huron-Manistee National Forest announced the decision to ban alcohol on the National Wild and Scenic River sections of the AuSable, Manistee and Pine rivers on Wednesday.Cole criticized the new rule as a misguided, overbearing and ineffective attempt to ensure river health and boater safety, which the state already governs.“As a state legislator and an avid outdoorsman, I do not appreciate the federal government telling the people of the State of Michigan where a legal adult can enjoy an adult beverage,” Cole said. “Enjoying our waterways is a privilege and this privilege includes allowing visitors to enjoy public waterways in the manner they choose as right and is in accordance with state law. This new rule can only damage our state’s tourism.”According to a 2017 economic impact study of Michigan’s tourism industry, 5.6 million people made trips to Michigan from outside the state that year and spent $2.1 billion in communities and at local businesses across the state.“We absolutely need to be good stewards of the sensitive shore lines and ecosystems so they can be enjoyed for generations to come, but micromanaging our state government from Washington is not how to do it,” Cole said. “We have pure, pristine and public waterways all across this state. I believe this new rule sets a dangerous precedent.”last_img read more

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Maintaining my commitment of accountability and transparency to Oakland County

first_img28Feb Maintaining my commitment of accountability and transparency to Oakland County Categories: Berman News When I was fortunate enough to be chosen by the people of the 39th House District to serve them and represent their voices and interests in Lansing, I made it very clear that I would set out on a mission to ensure state government is more transparent and accountable to the people of Michigan.As my first two months in office come to a close, I want to reiterate my unwavering commitment to transparency and accountability by highlighting the first bills I’ve introduced in the Michigan House.Michigan is one of a very few states that still exempts its governor, lieutenant governor and the Legislature from sunshine laws. As part of a bipartisan plan, I sponsored House Bill 4011 – the “Legislative Open Records Act” – to remove these freedom of information exemptions and make our state government more open and accountable to the people we serve. We all know transparency isn’t a partisan issue – it’s time Michigan steps up and sets an example of openness and honesty.My other proposal deals with bringing more transparency to our state’s no-fault car insurance system. Oakland County drivers – along with motorists across the state – are overpaying for their car insurance. It’s no secret. With the nation’s highest average premiums, it couldn’t be clearer the time to change course by delivering real, meaningful reforms is now.That’s why I authored House Bill 4111, which brings the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) under much-needed scrutiny. The MCCA is a private, alleged nonprofit entity which reimburses insurance companies for any auto-related medical claims over $555,000.Michigan requires all car insurance companies to belong to the MCCA and pay an annual per-insured-vehicle assessment to fund the association. In reality, Michigan motorists pay this fee. Just last year, the MCCA increased the annual fee $22, rising from $170 to $192 per vehicle – an increase of 13 percent.Over the past decade, the MCCA has grown from a value of $9 billion in 2009 to over $22 billion today. That raises concerns. Under my bipartisan legislation, the MCCA would be required to submit an annual audit to the state Legislature to review and determine whether or not the association is operating with a surplus.We need to make sure we hold the association accountable for annual vehicle assessment hikes, and make sure the increases are justified – if they are needed at all. If the Legislature concludes the MCCA is operating with a surplus, drivers could then be reimbursed.While there are a handful of factors culpable for the skyrocketing, out-of-control rates plaguing Michigan drivers’ pocketbooks, I believe a private entity not subject to public examination – with the ability to raise per-insured-vehicle assessments without justification – is among those responsible.While my plan won’t fix our failed car insurance system alone, I feel it’s an important element of a broader solution when it comes to increasing transparency and accountability, and making insuring a car more affordable for all Michiganders.I encourage all Oakland County residents to check out the Michigan House’s newly launched legislative website, www.ReduceMiRatesNow.com, which provides a transparent, inclusive means for drivers to submit their stories and ideas to help assist in no-fault car insurance reform efforts.As your state representative tasked with delivering a lasting remedy, I cannot stress enough how important it is that I hear from the very people paying the country’s most burdensome car insurance rates.As always, my office is open and ready to serve the hard-working families of southwest Oakland County. Please feel free to reach out by calling (517)373-1799 or by emailing RyanBerman@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

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The Good and the Bad Results of the Redesign of NOLAs School

first_imgShare1TweetShare5Email6 SharesImage Credit: Gilbert Mercier, New-Orleans post Katrina 2006August 3, 2015; SalonIt’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and left much of New Orleans underwater, its population displaced and its institutions devastated. The need to rebuild a school system from the ground up allowed “school reformers” to put their marketplace, performance-based theories into practice on a scale and at a pace unmatched in any other American city. Ten years in, observers are beginning to be able to measure how this experiment has played out and to see if it is a model other locales should emulate.Douglas Harris, professor of economics at Tulane University and founder and director of the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, described the scope of the changes that were implemented in Education Next:“Within the span of one year, all public-school employees were fired, the teacher contract expired and was not replaced, and most attendance zones were eliminated. The state took control of almost all public schools and began holding them to relatively strict standards of academic achievement. Over time, the state turned all the schools under its authority over to charter management organizations (CMOs) that, in turn, dramatically reshaped the teacher workforce. […] New Orleans essentially erased its traditional school district and started over. In the process, the city has provided the first direct test of an alternative to the system that has dominated American public education for more than a century.”Harris and his colleagues at Tulane have just released findings from research they had been conducting on New Orleans’s schools. On the basic level of academic achievement, there seems to be some good news: New Orleans children are learning better than their peers in other parts of the state and better than they were before Katrina stuck.“For New Orleans, the news on average student outcomes is quite positive by just about any measure. The reforms seem to have moved the average student up by 0.2 to 0.4 standard deviations and boosted rates of high school graduation and college entry. We are not aware of any other districts that have made such large improvements in such a short time.“The effects are also large compared with other completely different strategies for school improvement, such as class-size reduction and intensive preschool. This seems true even after we account for the higher costs. While it might seem hard to compare such different strategies, the heart of the larger school-reform debate is between systemic reforms like the portfolio model and resource-oriented strategies.”But this level of student improvement has not been without cost. Not only has the financial investment in rebuilding New Orleans’s schools been exceptionally large in terms of both public and private investment, there has also been a cost in creating a corporate management system for a public school system.Blogger Jennifer C. Berkshire, known as EduShyster, took a look at this side of the NOLA education story in a recent Salon article. Andre Perry, former CEO of the Capital One/UNO charter network, told her, “The test scores are up, but let’s be honest about what we had to do to get there. Don’t lie to people and say ‘it’s all good.’”One of Perry’s concerns is that in a city that is 65 percent black, the leadership of the reform effort and many of the schools within it are almost entirely white. In Perry’s view, “We can’t have a white-led reform movement in New Orleans where all of the decisions are made by three or four power brokers.”Christy Rosales-Fajardo, an organizer for VAYLA, a group of students and young leaders from both the Vietnamese and Latino communities, is convinced that parents actually have less power in New Orleans today than they did under the prior school system. She argues that eliminating neighborhood schools has also eliminated the power of parents to come together as part of a community: “Parents are fighting individual battles with these schools and they’re all petrified of what will happen to their kids,” she says. Meanwhile, principals in the new autonomous landscape are more powerful than ever, functioning more like CEOs who report to handpicked nonprofit boards.“That’s the power shift,” Fajardo says.Berkshire also found that a large number of children and teens have dropped out of the public school system entirely, and their lost education is not reflected in the data set:“There are the huge number of young people in New Orleans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school or working. The recent Measure of America study, conducted by the Social Science Research Council, found that the greater New Orleans/Metairie region is home to more than 26,000 so-called ‘opportunity youth’…the number of students who’ve dropped out of the New Orleans’ schools begins to creep up uncomfortably close to the 43,000 students who are still in them.”In a recent blog post, Michael Stone, CEO of New Schools for New Orleans summed up the challenges still to be faced in New Orleans and in every urban school district looking for direction:“An encouraging decade of academic growth hasn’t erased the pervasive sense that reform was done ‘to’ the city, rather than via collective action by citizens, veteran educators, and African American families in New Orleans. And our city’s progress hasn’t cured the social ills that young people here face: poverty, violence and trauma, sky-high incarceration rates, fractured mental health services. That is a daunting list.”And Professor Harris also thinks that what has happened positively in New Orleans should be taken with a large grain of salt by educational leaders looking for answers in their own school districts. “Unfortunately, the effects of even the most successful programs are often not replicated when tried elsewhere, and there are good reasons to think the conditions were especially ripe for success in New Orleans.”—Marty LevineShare1TweetShare5Email6 Shareslast_img read more

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Hastings NE Public School District Revives Loyalty Oaths

first_imgShare3TweetShare1Email4 SharesAugust 17, 2015; Education Week (Associated Press)If you thought some of the stupidest manifestations of the McCarthy era were dead and buried, think again. The American Civil Liberties Union had to tell the school district of Hastings, Nebraska, that it should not require teachers “to pledge that they will teach students to love the United States.”The Hastings school district’s requirement is suspiciously similar to the “loyalty oaths” that Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) promoted during the 1950s. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that employees couldn’t be required to sign a loyalty oath, but a state law in Nebraska enacted in the 1950s is still there and serves as the basis for the Hastings school district’s request.The Nebraska ACLU legal director, Amy Miller, noted that Hastings could be hit with a civil rights lawsuit if it went forward with the loyalty oaths. School superintendent Craig Kautz, however, said the school district’s action was legal and that at least one of the two loyalty oaths on the books in Nebraska was still valid.“As a public school, we can’t selectively decide what laws we abide by and which ones we don’t,” Kautz explained. “I just hope we don’t get dragged into something that’s above our level.”Still burdened with McCarthy-era laws, Nebraska’s two loyalty laws are these:One requires all public school teachers to pledge that they will “instill students with an understanding of the U.S. and Nebraska Constitution, a knowledge and history of the nation and the sacrifices made to achieve its ‘present greatness,’ a love and devotion to the polices that made America the ‘finest country in the world in which to live,’ and opposition to all groups and activities that would destroy the present form of government.”The other that requires public servants, presumably more than teachers, “to disavow any ties to political parties that advocate the violent overthrow of the government.”If you’re surprised by Nebraska, you might be more surprised to discover a loyalty oath requirement in California mandated by the state constitution. The California loyalty oath text reads as follows:“I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”Should we ignore Hastings and ignore California for imposing loyalty oaths? Are they simply meaningless requirements that government employees (and volunteers!) can sign without a second thought? As politics in this country is becoming more divisive and antagonistic toward people who hold different beliefs, loyalty oaths are not inconsequential and meaningless. Remember Texas state legislator Molly White, a Republican, who demanded that Muslims who might visit her office take a loyalty oath to renounce Islamic terrorism and to announce allegiance to America and its laws? One can only imagine that in the revival of nativism in American politics, there is a slice of the American electorate that might find loyalty oaths an attractive idea.—Rick CohenShare3TweetShare1Email4 Shareslast_img read more

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Soccer Star Rapinoes Protest in Solidarity with Kaepernick Preempted

first_imgShare9TweetShareEmail9 SharesBy Mike Morbeck (Flickr: Colin Kaepernick) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 5, 2016; CNNBefore an NFL preseason game on August 26, 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during “The Star Spangled Banner,” flouting the tradition of athletes standing during the U.S. national anthem. During his post-game interview, he explained, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” He added that he would continue to protest until the regular season starts and did so for the next two games. In his fourth and last preseason game, he decided to kneel (along with teammate Eric Reid) instead of sitting, in deference to the U.S. military and their families.The reactions to Kaepernick’s protest were swift and mixed. The 49ers released a statement that said, in part: “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.” The NFL’s official statement was similar, though much more brief: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that if Kaepernick was so unhappy with his country, he could move elsewhere: “You know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.” The Santa Clara police union threatened to abandon their normal security duties for 49ers games if the team did not release or silence Kaepernick. In contrast, supportive fans have clamored for Kaepernick’s autograph, and his jersey sales are number one on NFL.com. Steph Curry of the NBA’s Golden Gate Warriors and NBA legend, activist, and writer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar both expressed their support for Kaepernick’s silent protest.In an act she called “very intentional,” Megan Rapinoe, the 31-year-old star midfielder for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and Seattle Reign, knelt during the national anthem this past Sunday before a game against the Chicago Red Stars. She cited her experiences as a gay American as one reason she wanted to show solidarity with Kaepernick:It was a little nod to [Colin] Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country. Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.Rapinoe is the first white professional athlete to join Kaepernick in his protest. Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl noted that, “Soccer is different from the NFL because players also compete for national teams, not just professional clubs. Based on my research, Rapinoe’s protest in a U.S. uniform would be unprecedented. I couldn’t find a single example in the history of international soccer in which a player refused to stand for their national anthem out of protest.”Wahl also reported that Rapinoe planned to continue her protest, and she told Sports Illustrated that it would include U.S. national team games, if she were selected. It was announced on Thursday that U.S. Women’s Soccer coach Jill Ellis did select Rapinoe as part of the team that will play Thailand on September 15th and the Netherlands on September 18th.Reactions to Rapinoe’s protest have been similar to those that greeted Kaepernick’s, but with an even nastier and suppressive twist. On Wednesday evening, Rapinoe’s chance to protest again was stymied when the Washington Spirit, hosting a game against the Seattle Reign, played the national anthem while both teams were still in the locker room. While the anthem was playing, Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch, an Air Force veteran, tweeted the following:In light of Seattle Reign and U.S. Women’s National Team member Megan Rapinoe’s public declaration that she intended to “take a knee” during the United States’ National Anthem tonight, we decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent.[…]As a veteran-owned team, the national anthem holds an exceptionally special meaning for this organization. Our owner Bill Lynch has lost personal friends during overseas conflicts and has other close friends who have also lost loved ones. Playing the national anthem prior to sports events became standard during World War II and was a way to express the team’s and fan’s patriotism and show support for the U.S. Military. The tradition of honoring our military and our patriotism before our games is very important to us. We strongly feel that there are better ways to begin a conversation about a cause than tarnishing a tradition that is so important to so many.To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to millions of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves. Professional athletes have incredible numbers of followers, to which we believe they have the ability to articulate a conversation with objectives and plans and begin a serious conversation directly, or through traditional media appearances, without insulting our military and our fans.We do regret that this decision has denied the players who had no intention of taking a knee their own opportunity to honor our great country from the field.After the game, Rapinoe told the Washington Post:I didn’t hear it and I wasn’t exactly sure why it wasn’t played. It’s [expletive] unbelievable. Saddened by it. It’s pretty clear what the message is I am trying to bring to light in Chicago and what I continue to try to talk about the last few days. Clearly with [Spirit owner Bill Lynch’s] actions, it’s a necessary conversation. It was incredibly distasteful, four days before one of the worst tragedies in our country, to say that I tried to hijack this event. […] It’s just really disappointing and disrespectful. We want to talk about disrespect, and me disrespecting, he didn’t even give both teams a chance to even stand in front of it and show their respects. It’s unbelievable. It’s truly an unbelievable act to me.The urge to protest, and then the drive to actually get up, get out, and perform that protest, is an act of courage, conviction, and of love for what could be attained but has not yet been realized. Listen to what Kaepernick and Rapinoe say about the country where they live and play:“The media painted this as I’m anti-American. I’m anti-men and women of the military,” Kaepernick lamented. “That’s not the case at all. I’m not anti-America. I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better.”“We are not saying we are not one of the greatest countries in world,” Rapinoe said after her first protest. “Just need to accept that [it is] not perfect, things are broken.”—Vanessa WuShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shareslast_img read more

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DC Transit Authoritys Ad Policy Remains Unfriendly to Nonprofits

first_imgShare2Tweet3ShareEmail5 SharesMarch 11, 2018; Washington PostThe Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), referred to simply as Metro, is a tri-jurisdictional (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) government agency created by Congress that operates the Metrorail and Metrobus transit services in the Washington metropolitan area and paratransit for people with disabilities. Metro’s board of directors consists of two voting representatives each from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and the U.S. federal government. The sale of advertising on Metrobuses and in the Metrorail system is handled exclusively by OUTFRONT Media. On November 5, 2015, the Metro Board’s Finance and Administration Committee issued a 116-page Advertising and Retail Policy Review that includes these two debatable points:In May 2015, the board of directors closed WMATA’s advertising space to any and all issue-oriented advertising, including but not limited to political, religious, and advocacy advertising, until the end of the calendar year, directing staff to seek public comment and participation regarding the role advertising should play with respect of WMATA’s primary core mission to provide safe, reliable public transportation.After considering input from riders and other stakeholders, WMATA staff recommend continuing the prohibition of issue-oriented and advocacy advertising indefinitely, as it may provoke community discord and create concern about discriminatory statements on the system, as well as potential threats to safety and security from those who seek to oppose the ad messages.Years later, and after many controversies and lawsuits (and here), the Washington Post reports on the latest disagreement from the nonprofit sector with Metro’s ad policy. The campaign launched by Humanity & Inclusion, formerly known as Handicap International, pays tribute to the courage and strength of the vulnerable people they represent. Their ads have no advocacy ask, no calls to action like signing a petition. Produced and gifted to Humanity & Inclusion by the Canadian agency Cossette, the campaign is meant to merely introduce HI’s new name. The rebranding campaign is being launched in North America and Europe. It includes printed posters, digital ads, press ads, and a video spot filmed in Thailand.An anti-Muslim group’s ad campaign proposed for Metrobus in 2015 prompted security concerns over potential terrorist threats, resulting in Metro’s ban on issue-related ads. The Washington Post reports that this policy was never intended to be a long-term solution to such security concerns, but Metro’s legal counsel cautions that if they accept positive ads such as Humanity & Inclusion’s messaging, it opens the door to unending battles. One way or another, the battles continue. First Amendment experts warn that Metro runs the risk of implementing the policy inconsistently, making government regulation on speech in transit systems problematic at best.Critics point to Metro’s acceptance of ads for defense contractors that show sophisticated military equipment, alcohol and casino advertisements, and promotions for a gay hookup website as examples. They say they do not object to the content of the advertisements themselves but to what they say is Metro’s inconsistent application of its policy.“There’s some subtext here that Metro doesn’t want ads that upset people, but people can get equally upset by commercial ads as they can by social or political messages,” said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-MD). “It’s very hard for me to explain to my constituents why they can’t run ads favoring inclusion of the disabled, but you can run liquor ads.”Metro’s board remains indifferent to those opposing the ad policy, embroiling Metro in continuous legal battles.“We made a determination—we at the board—that we don’t want to spend the time and the energy and everything trying to figure out what ads we should run and what we shouldn’t,” said Jack Evans, the Metro board chairman and also a D.C. Council member. “We have no intention of revisiting this at all. It’s where it is and whatever decision [the staff members makes] I stand by.”Beyond questions of what constitutes advocacy or even good taste, the larger challenge for Metro is the wording of its ad policy. Taken broadly, almost all the existing ads in the Metro system could potentially offend people and thereby be technically prohibited. Many oppose defense contractors, fast food, alcohol, divisive movies, book titles, and so on. Simply saying, “We made our determination” will probably not keep the Metro board from eventually taking the time and energy to at least re-write Metro’s ad policy with more care and consideration.—Jim SchafferShare2Tweet3ShareEmail5 Shareslast_img read more

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Maine Becomes First State in Nation to Adopt Ranked Choice Voting

first_imgShare36Tweet6ShareEmail42 Shares“Paul LePage,” by Gage SkidmoreJune 13, 2018; GoverningThis Tuesday, Maine voters participated in the first statewide election to use rank-order voting in the United States, notes Daniel Vock in Governing. They also voted to make the new system permanent by a comfortable 54.2-percent majority.With ranked-order voting, instead of selecting a single candidate to vote for, you rank your choices. If your choice does not get many votes, then your vote is redistributed to other candidates in the preference order that you indicate. In 2015, NPQ’s Rick Cohen wrote about Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig’s advocacy of the practice, identifying it as one tool for strengthening citizen-based democratic decision-making.With ranked-choice voting, “spoiler” candidates become impossible. For instance, if ranked-choice voting were in place in 2000, Ralph Nader voters would have had the option of selecting as their second choice either George W. Bush or Al Gore. If no candidate in a given state (say, Florida) had an outright majority, then the vote choices of the bottom-ranked candidates would be redistributed to voters’ second choices, until one candidate had an outright majority. Ranked-choice voting also eliminates the need for runoffs in elections where no candidate receives a required majority, because the ranked-choice system, also referred to as “instant runoff” voting, performs a virtual runoff election by utilizing a ranking algorithm.As Vock explains:In the first round, the last-place finisher is eliminated. Then, all of the votes that were originally cast for that candidate are distributed instead to the candidates who were ranked second on those ballots. If no one wins a majority in the second round, the process repeats itself, with the lowest vote-getters in each round eliminated and their votes redistributed. Of course, the process stops when someone wins a majority and is declared the winner.“We want to make sure every vote counts because that’s what this is all about: more voice and more choice,” says Kyle Bailey, the campaign manager for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.Vock notes that while Maine is the first state to use ranked-choice voting, about a dozen cities already do, including Minneapolis, Santa Fe, and San Francisco. Within Maine, the City of Portland used ranked-order voting well before the state adopted the practice.Vock notes that the switch in the Maine’s statewide voting process has faced considerable resistance:Tuesday’s election was actually the second time that Maine voters agreed to use ranked-choice voting. They passed a ballot measure to make the switch in 2016, but state lawmakers objected.Legislators claimed that it was their job—not the voters’—to set up election systems, and they tried to delay the changes from taking effect until at least 2021. Proponents forced a “people’s referendum” on the legislature’s changes, which, after a series of court fights, put ranked-choice voting on the ballot again on Tuesday.Vock notes one challenge of rank-order voting is it slows vote counting because you have to count votes multiple times, as votes are redistributed to lower-ranked choices. For instance, this week in Maine, “No Democrat won a majority in the gubernatorial primary, meaning the winner will be determined in further rounds of counting. As of early Wednesday, Attorney General Janet Mills led the pack, while Sweet and Eves were running in third- and fourth-place, respectively. It could be as late as next week before Democrats know who won their primary.”—Steve DubbShare36Tweet6ShareEmail42 Shareslast_img read more

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Netflix has launched an updated web video player f

first_imgNetflix has launched an updated web video player for viewing of the online video service on PCs and Macs.New features include scalable controls, making it easier to use the player on large screens. The player will also scale down to smaller windows, as well as stretching to the full window in the browser. Full screen mode now has all the features of browser mode, so viewers can view season/episode information and change to the next episode when watching a TV programme. The pause function also now reveals more information about the title being watched.Controls within the player have been consolidated into one line and the UI uses icons instead of words.last_img

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Dutch film and TV distributor Dutch FilmWorks has

first_imgDutch film and TV distributor Dutch FilmWorks has chosen Technicolor to provide digital asset management and workflow.Technicolor will provide, through its MediAffinity solution, services including tape and file-based ingest, asset storage and management for metadata and subtitles, compression and authoring, subtitling and delivery to eleven platforms, including iTunes.The MediAffinity agreement is an extension of an existing Technicolor Home Entertainment Services contract to provie disc replication and distribution for Dutch FilmWorks.Dutch FilmWorks distributes films, series and documentaries in cinemas, on DVD/Blu-ray, video-on-demand and pay and free TV.last_img

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The owners of US videoondemand site Hulu have re

first_imgThe owners of US video-on-demand site Hulu have reportedly called off deal negotiations with Time Warner Cable after failing to agree on a price. According to a Reuters report, which cites unnamed sources, the two have now ended discussions over Time Warner Cable taking a 25% stake in the business. Though talks may resume, none are planned for now, the report said.Negotiations reportedly starting earlier this month after Hulu’s owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast scrapped plans to sell the full site, deciding instead to recapitalise the business.Hulu’s owners revealed in mid-July they had decided against selling Hulu its the remaining bidders at auction, DirecTV or AT&T and the Chernin Group, for around US$1 billion (€1.2 billion). Instead, they pledged to put US$750 million in new funding into the business “in order to propel future growth.”last_img read more

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Great British Bake Off UK pay TV operator BSkyB ha

first_imgGreat British Bake OffUK pay TV operator BSkyB has taken a 70% stake in Love Productions, the UK producer of shows including The Great British Bake Off.Sky said Love founders Richard Richard McKerrow and Anna Beattie will remain with the factual entertainment specialist along with the existing senior management team. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.Love makes the Bake Off format as well as Great British Sewing Bee and factual shows examining social issues including benefits and immigrations including Benefits Street and Make Bradford British.Bake Off is the company’s biggest show and the one that has generated the most success outside the UK. It is distributed by BBC Worldwide, which has sold it into several territories. It has also been sold to CBS in the US, in a deal brokered by Love itself, outside of the distribution deal with Worldwide.Upcoming shows will be sold by Sky’s distribution division, Sky Vision, which has been seeking to enlarge its catalogue.Sophie Turner Laing, Sky’s outgoing managing director, content, Sky said: “This is a significant step for our growing international content business. Love is one of the UK’s most innovative and creative independent producers with a track record of success across a range of genres, both in the UK and globally”.McKerrow and Beattie said: “We feel it’s the perfect time to be working with a group who can help us realise our creative and commercial potential and fulfill all of our international ambitions for the Love brand.”The pair, who founded the company in 2004, added: “Love has always sought to be a pioneering company, launching new ideas and breaking new ground. Sky feels like a company of the future, full of dynamic and extremely creative leaders who will back our independent spirit and are keen to support all our future ambitions.”last_img read more

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Sergei Gusev Russian service provider ERTelecom h

first_imgSergei GusevRussian service provider ER-Telecom has named Sergei Gusev as head of its combined activities in St Petersburg following the consolidation of subsidiaries InterZet and Dom.ru in the city.ER-Telecom said that the combined company achieved revenue growth of 16.5% in 2014.Gusev has been deputy director-general of ER-Telecom Holding since 2006 and has been responsible for the rollout of the company’s FTTH-based single-contract multi-service network across 56 Russian services.last_img

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Opera has agreed to sell just the consumerfacing

first_imgOpera has agreed to sell just the consumer-facing part of its business to a group of Chinese companies, after a planned 100% takeover failed to get regulatory approval.In a statement released today, Opera said that it would now sell its consumer business to the Chinese consortium for US$600 million, after the original US$1.2 billion takeover offer failed to get regulatory clearance before an agreed “drop-dead date” of July 15.Under the new deal, the Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund – which is backed by Chinese firms including search company Qihoo 360 Software and internet group Beijing Kunlun World Wide Technology – will buy Opera’s mobile and desktop browser.The deal also includes Opera’s performance and privacy apps, Opera’s non-TV related technology licensing business and its 29% ownership in Chinese joint venture nHorizon.The parts of Opera’s business that are not included in the deal are Opera TV, Opera Mediaworks and Opera’s apps and games, including Bemobi – a Latin American ‘Netflix-style’ subscription service for premium Android apps, which the company acquired last year.Opera’s CEO, Lars Boilesen, is due to serve as CEO for both Opera and the consumer business until December 31, after which he will give up his consumer business duties and dedicate his time solely to Opera.The deal is expected to close in the second half of the third quarter.last_img read more

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Apple will roll out originals

first_imgApple CEO, Tim CookApple will roll out originals for its Apple Music service throughout the year and has hinted at far wider content plans as the media landscape continues to shift.Speaking on the company’s fiscal first quarter earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said the company is learning a lot about the original content business and is “thinking about ways that we could play” in that space.He also cited changes to the media industry and said that he expects Apple’s participation to accelerate as the cable bundle begins to break down, with its Apple TV set-top providing a firm grounding for doing so.“In terms of original content, we have put our toe in the water with doing some original content for Apple Music, and that will be rolling out through the year. We are learning from that, and we’ll go from there,” said Cook.Referring to Apple’s set-top box offering, he said: “We started the new Apple TV a year ago, and we’re pleased with how that platform has come along. We have more things planned for it but it’s come a long way in a year, and it gives us a clear platform to build off of.”Referring to a third tenant to Apple’s media strategy, he cited Apple’s ‘services’ business – which includes revenue it earns from selling and distributing digital content, services or subscriptions through the likes of the App Store, iTunes and Apple Music.For the three months ending December 31, 2016, Apple said that its services business experienced its “best quarter ever” with revenues climbing 18% year-on-year to US$7.17 billion.“Services are becoming a larger part of our business, and we expect the revenues to be the size of a Fortune 100 company this year,” said Cook.“Our Services offerings are now driving over 150 million paid customer subscriptions. This includes our own services and third-party content that we offer on our stores. We feel great about this momentum, and our goal is to double the size of our services business in the next four years.”The comments came as Apple reported all-time record quarterly revenue of US$78.4 billion and earnings per diluted share of US$3.36 – up from US$75.9 billion and US$3.28 a year earlier.“We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook.The results mark the first full quarter since the launch of the iPhone 7 in September. Apple said that the iPhone had a “tremendous quarter thanks to exceptional demand”.Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is planning to make a major push into original content, making TV show and movies that will be available through its subscription streaming service Apple Music.Meanwhile, on Apple’s previous earnings call in October, Tim Cook said that he has an “intense interest” in television and claimed there is “great opportunity” for the company to create and own content.last_img read more

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Ginx Esports TV is due to launch on the DStv satel

first_imgGinx Esports TV is due to launch on the DStv satellite service in South Africa early next month.The eSports channel initially launched on DStv’s on-the-go DStv Now service in May this year, and is due to be available to DStv Premium, Extra and Compact customers from July 4.“Ginx is committed to supporting eSports culture worldwide. Our growing partnership with DStv is a fantastic opportunity to bring our unique view on the vibrant global eSports scene to many more viewers in Africa,” said Ginx Esports TV CEO, Michiel Bakker.“We can expect to see more and more eSports content coming out of Africa this year and GINX is keen to play a key part in bringing that content to audiences in Africa and the rest of the world.”Ginx eSports TV will be available on DStv channel 240.last_img

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Presented in a brand new touring production from t

first_imgPresented in a brand new touring production from the producers of Avenue Q UK and Ireland Tour, Spring Awakening UK Tour and Seussical West End, The History Boys is a hilariously funny and exceptionally moving play about the true purpose of education which is set for the very top of the league table.The History Boys performs at the Millennium Forum from Tuesday to Saturday, 12-16 May.Tickets are now available from the Millennium Box Office, telephone (028) 71 264455 or visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk for bookings.AWARD-WINNING ALAN BENNETT PLAY FOR THE FORUM was last modified: October 14th, 2014 by stephenstephen Tags: ShareTweet Alan Bennett’s multi award-winning play The History Boys is to begin a major tour at Derry’s Millennium Forum next spring.Winner of both Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards, the play follows a group of quick-witted pupils at a northern grammar school as they prepare for their Oxbridge exams under the guidance of three eclectic teachers.Set in the 1980s, these bright but unruly sixth-formers are determined to get to grips with all things sex, scandal and scholarship – in a pursuit of knowledge which would teach even the most street wise of audiences a thing or two.center_img alanbennettboysDerryforumhistorymillenniumlast_img read more

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PSNI Foyle said on its Facebook page Waterside N

first_imgPSNI Foyle said on its Facebook page: “Waterside NPT took a stroll around St Columb’s Park again.“We thought we could smell smoke and wondered if this was the same person or smell that our colleague from Ballyarnet NPT was dealing with yesterday on Shipquay Street.“The closer we got to the smell and the smoke it all became clear. There was a fire in the park!“We tried to extinguish it with the help of the wardens but it didn’t work, so NIFRS came to our rescue!! ShareTweet NIFRSPOLICE APPEAL OVER FIRE AT ST COLUMB’S PARKPSNIshipquay streetWATERSIDE NPT “We don’t know if this was started maliciously or not. If it was…do you not realise it’s hot enough out there and can put people’s lives in danger!?” said the PSNI.“But if anyone did see anything please let us know,” the post added.POLICE APPEAL OVER FIRE AT ST COLUMB’S PARK was last modified: May 11th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: POLICE in Derry have appealed for information following a fire in St Columb’s Park.The fire was spotted by beat patrol police officers while walking though the park yesterday.Officers tried to put it out with the help of park wardens but were unable to and fall in the Fire and Rescue Service to help extinguish it.last_img read more

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