Campaign Finance Data Challenge: accepted
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?
Information is crucial and in this day and time it should be easily provided to the citizens. We need to move ahead with making information more accessible. Ne step in this direction would be allowing information to be submitted electronically. Every piece of paper we file as candidates has to be hand delivered and then scanned in by staff. This is just a simple example of the disconnect the city has with new technology and correcting this in every department needs to be a first priority. Transparency to the citizens will rebuild a trust that has been lost of late.
⇒ 2. How would you evaluate departments' compliance with the Open Government Resolution? Would you support a resolution to create a quarterly report card?
We need to not only find a simplified way to audit for this compliance on a regular basis we need to listen to our constituents when they have opportunities. One of the hopes behind 10-1 is to improve representation for the people. We have to elect council members who are willing to listen to every citizen regardless of their demography or location in their district. So in meeting this goal we should be able to improve on the transparency and reaction to citizen opportunities. What we cannot forget also is not to leave behind those that do not have access to technology or those that have a generational gap in regards to technology. There are still many in Austin that need assistance with communicating with the city.
⇒ 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?
Absolutely, everything we do as a city government should have plans for sharing with the public. If we do not require this we will not be moving forward and will have to spend tax dollars to correct the issue.
⇒ 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 encourage more government /private collaborations. Our city has always been a hub for innovation. We have had computer companies created in dorm rooms. We should increase the funding for this department and carefully move towards new answers for innovation. Building innovation workshops and locations would be a beginning. I would like to begin these in District 3, an area usually ignored for such ideas.
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?
In my opinion the site is not really user friendly. Searching for the information sometimes needed is not as simple as it would seem. The site does not seem to recognize key words and is really at times a runaround in searching for data. We can and must have better. Many citizens want our city government to make it simpler to do business with the city. I hear this everyday when out talking to citizens and small businesses. Government sometimes gets in the way and I want to change that.
⇒ 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?
For 25 years in the private sector I used customer feedback to improve business and customer experience. I personally responded to customer opportunities and issues and found it the best way to make improvements. In government the citizens are the customers and we should be open and honest about how we respond to their opportunities. Yes we should do this and it should be online for accountability.
⇒ 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?
With the moving to digital we are both making things better but also leaving a generation behind. We have citizens that cannot afford the technology needed for access or may not have the skills to do so. We also have those that may have a disability that restricts accessing the data. As technology improves this will get better but in the meantime we should find ways for everyone to have equal access. I believe we should find ways to provide more places where residents can access the internet for free and also offer grants for innovation. Austin is such an innovative city that our citizens should be able to create new apps and tools to improve everyone’s access to digital data.
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?
Hold the department accountable. We should also make it available to send in our paperwork digitally.
⇒ 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 have nothing to hide and would therefore post this data if requested. I would however ask that every other candidate do the same. I do not however believe that some other candidates would agree to this. I can post it on my website.