1. Encourage open data
Will you encourage City departments to place useful data on the open data portal on a timely basis? If so, how will you do this?
Yes, absolutely! I too have been frustrated by the slowness with which important information is placed on the City of Austin website. While the Mayor and City Council set general policy, the City Manager is responsible for the day-to-day activities of municipal government. In my second term, I will work more closely with the city manager to make certain that important information is made available to the public online in a timely and responsive manner.
2. Social media
How do you and/or your staff view the value of social media in promoting citizen engagement and service delivery? What has been your experience with social media?
Let’s be honest: social media is transforming life. I don’t know how I could serve as Austin’s Mayor without engaging on a variety of social media platforms. I participate on Facebook with my personal account, but my staff and I also maintain a number of political and official accounts on a number of social media platforms. I don’t think I can overstate the importance of social media for my administration. I use social media to keep the pulse of the public, identify and respond to immediate public needs and to engage with the public to get feedback and input on city concerns.
3. Website usability and content
What steps (if any) will you take to address the needs of community groups and concerned citizens seeking to improve website usability, identify missing content, and enhance the information richness of the City’s website?
Let’s just be honest, we need to fix the new city website. There are a lot of great things about the new website, but there are significant problems and a lot of room for improvement. Our city has some of the brightest tech minds in the world. I believe that we can do much more to engage concerned citizens in improving AustinTexas.gov. Our municipal website should be the best in America. It’s not right now. Together though, we can fix it and make it live up to our expectations.
4. 311 Services
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?
5. Director of Digital Innovation
Do you support the designation of a Director of Digital Innovation to be accountable for innovation with the City’s digital portfolio (e.g. website, open data, civic applications, open government technology)? Please consult the following article for further information of this type of public servant position.
The City of Austin needs to do so much more to bring our web presence up to contemporary standards. We’re behind and we need to catch up. I will consider a number of options to make needed improvements, including a Director of Digital Innovation.
6. City strategy for digital innovation
San Francisco and Philadelphia have Innovation Offices led by a Chief Innovation Officer. Boston has the Urban Mechanicsprogram. New York City has a Chief Digital Officer and a Digital Roadmap. Which of combination (if any) of these organizational approaches do you believe will best encourage digital innovation for Austin?
I think we can build our very own Austin solutions here. We have some of the best and brightest tech minds in the world right here in Austin. Let’s come up with new strategies and create our own best methods for promoting innovation.
7. Budgetary resources
Do you believe the current level of budgetary resources allocated towards City information technology is sufficient? What should be the City’s IT priorities?