Campaign Finance Data Challenge: declined
Many of these issues, such as the Open Data Portal and Open Government Resolution, are discussed in our Open Government Briefing Guide.
⇒ 1. How will you encourage City departments to comply with the Open Government Resolution and place useful data on the open data portal on a timely basis?
Concerned citizens want information and they deserve easier access to it. Placing useful data should be required. I think you can encourage involvement by showing analytics which can demonstrate how often information is sought.
In general, where information is extremely timely, it should be available online immediately. In other cases, a regular calendar or schedule for posting information should be maintained and followed.
You can also use a “last updated” dateline which helps make sure information doesn’t grow stale.
⇒ 2. How would you evaluate departments' compliance with the Open Government Resolution? Would you support a resolution to create a quarterly report card?
I think a report card is one way. I point again to the use of analytics. Site visitors should be able to rate data too.
⇒ 3. Would you support a resolution to require that any software or software services purchased by the City must be accompanied by an open data plan that indicates how public data managed by that system will be made available to the public?
Yes, I agree. Proprietary/Private solutions are not the best way to go with government data. I support open data.
⇒ 4. This past March, the City hired its first Chief Innovation Officer. What are the specific functions and initiatives you would like to see out of this office to advance the City's open government and open data efforts?
I would like all data to be as easily accessible on mobile devices as possible.
Website and Online Services
⇒ 5. What steps would you take to help ensure the City of Austin website provides the tools and information that citizens and community groups want?
The website should be regularly updated to look and function well. It should be optimized for PCs and also for mobile devices.
There should be a greater effort on the front end to design pages for certain groups in partnership with the groups most likely to use the data.
Overall, I prefer to hire local agencies and talented professionals to design and code for the city.
⇒ 6. Would you support action to create an online issue feedback/reporting system, where a citizen could report an issue with the City's website and other online properties, and track city response to that issue?
⇒ 7. There are strong benefits to providing city information and services online. Many residents, however, experience barriers to access. (See discussion of "Digital Inclusion" in our Open Government Briefing Guide.) What do you see as the City's responsibility regarding digital inclusion, and what steps would you take to address these concerns?
I favor ensuring Internet access to all citizens. This should be as essential as other utilities. I like how cities like Chattanooga, TN have created a public utility that provides access. We should leverage our partnerships with AT&T, Google and Time Warner to make sure all communities are provided with Internet access either at home or in a neighborhood center. The logistics are hard, but the benefits are too great to not try.
Open Data Exercise: Campaign Finance Filings
The City of Austin currently posts candidate and office holder financial statements as scanned facsimiles (PDF format) of the filed, attested documents. In 2012, the City Council approved a resolution to post these filings in a searchable, digital form.
⇒ 8. What would you do to ensure this project is completed before the next municipal election?
I’ll direct the city manager to make it so with a deadline. I think this is essential
⇒ 9. Will you publicly post your campaign receipts and expenditures (as reported to the City on form C/OH) online, in CSV spreadsheet data format, within 30 days of filing a report with the Austin City Clerk? Where will you post it?
I’ll do this if it’s a requirement for all candidates. It doesn’t sound too hard.