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?
The Open Government Resolution calls for timelines for departmental data postings. I support that goal and would encourage compliance where needed. Steps include reviewing current compliance, setting measurable indicators for meeting goals, and then reviewing on at least a quarterly basis.
⇒ 2. How would you evaluate departments' compliance with the Open Government Resolution? Would you support a resolution to create a quarterly report card?
A quarterly report card would provide a good initial tool to measure compliance with the Open Government Resolution. Developing a clear set of indicators that measure not only departmental compliance but also usability and accessibility of information by the public would also be beneficial.
⇒ 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. The city's contract for software services should address how public data will be made available timely to the public either by the city or the vendor depending on the scope of services of the contract.
⇒ 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 to see the Chief Innovation Officer bring ideas from open data efforts such as San Francisco and others around the country; use the new position to raise the profile of open data initiatives with the Council, Manager, and Departments; and help generate ideas and improve coordination both within the city and with the community at large.
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 experience working with health information technology and privacy/security regulations, I understand that technology should support enterprise goals and be easily understood and usable – which requires asking people what information they want and how they will access the information. I would support an ongoing web/social media based review coupled with appropriate print advertising to reach people across the community. I would also enlist the aid of established community networks to reach traditionally underserved communities. The Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan is a good approach to address reaching underserved communities.
⇒ 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?
Yes, as I described in question 5, I would support an ongoing online issue feedback /reporting system coupled with a print marketing campaign and community outreach to identify and track website and other online properties issues.
⇒ 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?
Our city has a clear responsibility to lower barriers to digital access in our community. Barriers separate and disempower residents depriving them of their rights to information and participation in our government that limits their opportunity to improve their lives.
The Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan guide provides a good framework for beginning to address this problem.
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 would review the circumstances that have kept the city from completing the project and set clear deadlines for implementation. I cannot commit to a certain timeline until I learn more about what led to the projects difficulties (funding, software, etc.) over the last several years.
⇒ 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 believe a better approach would be to push to create a searchable website for all municipal elections before Fall of 2016 rather than limit the public’s access to only those candidates that post and set up an uneven playing field for current candidates.