Is San Francisco sittin’ on the dock of the open data bay?

San FranciscoIn October 2012, in the form of proposed legislation, San Francisco announced it would appoint a chief data officer to “be responsible for sharing City data with the public, facilitating the sharing of information between City departments, and analyzing how data sets can be used to improve city decision making.”

Nearly five months later, the city has yet to follow through on its open data promise.

“Making City data available to everyday citizens will help government explore new solutions to old challenges,” said Mayor Ed Lee in a press release announcing new proposed open data legislation. “Changing Open Data policies can unleash the creativity of the private sector so they can help us improve City services that impact our lives, from transportation, to how we access our parks, to how we request City services, making San Francisco the leader in Gov 2.0.”

“Strengthening our Open Data law will help us use technology to make government more efficient and accountable,” said SF Board President David Chiu from the same release. “San Francisco created an incredible model for government encouragement of Open Data, but now we need to take our efforts to the next level.”

Unfortunately, San Francisco missed a great opportunity to position the new appointee during this past weekend’s 2013 International Open Data Day Hackathon, and there are no signs it will do so in the immediate future.

When Philadelphia issued an executive order in April 2012 announcing a CDO position, the city appointed Mark Headd within three and a half months.

In the city with a technology culture that prides itself on rapid execution, what is taking so long to finalize the legislation and getting the position filled?

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at

1 Response


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.