1. Do you support the adoption of a comprehensive Open Government Directive by the City of Austin? The Open Government Directive would outline a consistent approach to open data, technology-enabled citizen engagement, open decision-making algorithms, and civic application development and be based on existing documents such as model legislation developed by the Sunlight Foundation, Code for America, and Civic Commons.
Yes. Without the adoption of such a comprehensive directive, the citizens, Council, and City staff will not have a clear baseline to judge and prioritize what is most needed. Modern times require a modern approach and we need to be willing to examine and adjust our processes to be as open and inclusive as possible.
2. Do you support the inclusion of the municipal Open Government Directive’s goals as performance benchmarks for each City of Austin department?
Yes, once a comprehensive directive is created. If the recent “email-gate” teaches us anything, it would be that closed doors and hidden agendas can be damaging. Once trust is lost, it’s hard to regain it. Better to comprehensively know what’s expected, train and educate all involved on that expectation, and then hold everyone accountable for that, than not know or to continue along as we have been.
Yes, especially if it would help citizens become more active in creative problem resolution and civic involvement.
4. Do you support the existence of an Information Authority modeled after the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office to provide oversight of government data as a public good?
Yes. It is difficult, in these economic times, to commit to a new governmental unit, but openness and accountability are very important. Even in the most transparent situations, to do a job and to track it as well is challenging. An entity whose only purpose is to ensure oversight of government data as a public good is a reasonable approach.
5. Do you support studying whether Austin should join cities such as Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., in pledging support for a publicly-accessible open-standard protocol for 311 services, such as the currently proposed Open311 API specification?
Yes. I would need any concerns about security and privacy addressed, if there are any, but otherwise, yes. Any way we can find efficiencies, especially in information management and storage, that could potentially solve problems faster and easier, should be explored and utilized. Efficiency not only saves costs but also makes access better.
6. Do you support the creation of an application development contest that leverages public data and APIs?
Yes, provided the contest is focused on giving Austin citizens a preferential opportunity to create applications that benefit the citizens. I would not want this to be an opportunity for 3rd party out-of-town influences to monetize data that the citizens of Austin, and the citizens alone, have paid to collect. I’d have to be very comfortable that the guidelines protected the privacy of citizens and honored open data practices that allow for the depersonalization through aggregation of that data.
7. How will you and/or your staff use social media to promote citizen engagement and improved service delivery?
Throughout my campaign, I have been using social media the same way I intend to use it while in office, if the people of Austin honor me with their vote. I am active on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and I have a blog. I am available and accessible there and I love it. My team is social media savvy and I oversee the activity myself. I’d encourage open and interactive ongoing forums, a lot more questions, and a lot more answers. I’m not afraid of making decisions but my strength comes from making decisions based on experience, know-how, and input from others. I have a diverse team and I don’t like being surrounded by people who only tell me what I want to hear. I would continue and even expand that approach as I take office.