Golden Gate Bridge (photo: Luke Fretwell)

City enthusiasts, innovators: Register for BRIDGE SF

San Francisco Bay Area city enthusiasts and innovators can now register for BRIDGE SF, “a collaboration of public, private, non-profit, and academic institutions coming together to challenge assumptions, develop skills, share best practices, and build partnerships that drive innovation for a better tomorrow.”

Photo: Code for America

Save the date (May 31-June 1) and hack your city

The goal of the annual event is to “bring together citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs together to collaboratively create, build, and invent new solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to improve our communities and the governments that serve them.”

Wrapping up Code for Oakland 2012

Today, I had the opportunity to attend Code for Oakland 2012 and, as always with events like this, walked away inspired by the work of good friends and the enthusiasm of citizens and public servants wanting to do more for their communities. Big kudos to all involved engaging, organizing and sponsoring a great event in a great city.

Code for Oakland

Oakland gets its code on

Code for Oakland will be held July 21 at the Kaiser Center in Oakland, Ca. Steve Spiker, OpenOakland Brigade Captain and Director of Research & Technology for Urban Strategies Council, discusses Oakland’s open data progress and what attendees can expect from the event.

Brad Fitch, Congressional Management Foundation

Social Congress and the 21st century legislator

How is it possible, in the 21st century, that I can Skype with friends in China, keep up with my friends across the country via Facebook and exchange messages with the CEO of a startup I admire on Twitter, but yet when I try to communicate with my members of Congress, it seems like everything I do is swallowed up by the black abyss?

New York City Hall

OpenGov Camp hits the Big Apple

New York City Hall

Photo via Wikipedia

New York open government advocates and civic techs will gather this weekend to build on its past and current efforts at OpenGov Camp. The event is this Sunday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Register here.

Noel HidalgoOrganizer Noel Hidalgo of Reinvent Albany discusses the event’s objectives and what he hopes will come of it.

What is OpenGovNYC and who should attend?

OpenGov NYC is for the “DO’er,” the entrepreneur, the thinker, the academic AND the government worker. For the past few years, our friends up and down the eastern seaboard and across the NYC metro area AND up in Albany have been doing a great opening the doors of government. In many of these cases, it has been a partnership of participation. This is why we have Reinvent Albany – an advocacy group, Personal Democracy Forum – a network of journalists, and Digital Democracy – an on the ground “do tank”. This event follows in the tradition of creating a safe space for conversation and a platform for collaboration.

Give us your take on what’s happening in NYC open government.

Open government in NYC and in Albany is in a very precious location. No longer is about an experiment, but how to maximize an investment of tax dollars. From the SAGE commission in Albany to NYC’s digital future report, NY’s leaders know that there are smart people who have the knowledge to outline the problems. The real problem is if we have the political will to take on those problems and apply a logical, fiscally responsible solution. The only way to do this is to remove the blinders and openly talk about the problems.

In Albany, Governor Cuomo has a policy playbook filled with program outlines and sample operational structure to create a team that will open NY.

Here in NYC, the Council, the Administration and good government advocates are trying to advance several pieces of legislation that would embolden the great work the city has done and point it in the proper direction for the 21st century. It’s a struggle because some in the Administration get it and some don’t. This isn’t unique to open government; we see the same stubbornness in the advocacy for car-free transportation alternatives.

What do you want attendees to take away from OpenGovNYC and any longer-term objectives?

At OpenGov Camp, attendees will leave knowing that they have friends in and out of government. Our work is too precious for advocates to fight against the system. We want to work hand-in-hand through the tough, confusing and archaic thinking to create a City and state State home to the most innovative ideas, the social entrepreneurs and the “developers”. Together, we can have a double bottom line that helps out “Main Street” and “City Hall”.

Register for OpenGov Camp and follow the latest news on Twitter at @OpenNYforum and the hashtag #OGCamp.

SFOpen 2011

San Francisco mayoral candidates to share their open government ideas at SFOpen 2011

SFOpen 2011

Today is a big day for open government everywhere, especially San Francisco.

I’m pleased to announce that eight major San Francisco mayoral candidates will participate in SFOpen 2011, a townhall forum focused specifically on open government, citizen engagement and leveraging technology to build better government. The event will be held June 16 at Automattic (home of WordPress) and will be moderated by tech legend Mitch Kapor.

Participating candidates include Michela Alioto-Pier, David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, Tony Hall, Dennis Herrera, Joanna Rees, Phil Ting and Leland Yee.

As part of this announcement:

  • Candidates will begin blogging their ideas on the newly-launched sf.govfresh, where fellow candidates and citizens will have the opportunity to engage with them openly and directly.
  • We’ve started an idea platform, SFIdeas, so that citizens can share their ideas for San Francisco.

At a time when government needs to leverage the power of collaboration, this is an excellent opportunity for candidates to show their commitment to the principles of open government. It’s an opportunity for open government to be a major discussion topic right at the beginning of the political process. Hopefully it will serve as a model for candidates and open government advocates everywhere.

This wouldn’t have happened without the great work of Brian Purchia and the support of, Automattic, Third Thursdays SF, Gov 2.0 Radio and CityCampSF.

So, learn more about SFOpen 2011, the candidates, start sharing your ideas for new San Francisco and stay tuned for a great discussion on the future of one of the world’s leading open cities.