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Closing out SFOpen 2011

A wrap-up of SFOpen 2011, the San Francisco mayoral forum on open government, civic technology and public innovation.

By GovFresh · June 22, 2011

Photo by Ryan Resella

SFOpen 2011 brought together 9 of the major San Francisco mayoral candidates last week to discuss technology and government, but it also put on display the reason I love the open government community so much.

Friends from all around the Bay Area (and even the East Coast) came together at Automattic to support and watch the first ever mayoral forum on open government, civic technology and public innovation and, despite the political nature of the event, there was much love in the room.

Most of our interaction with government tends to be negative. We get taxed or ticketed. We fight it and complain about how broken it is. We see it as a faceless bureaucracy without realizing good people inside and out are doing something to change this.

Many of those people were in that room last week and were excited to see that a simple civic agenda based on empowering citizens and addressing the basic tenets of open government (transparency, collaboration, participation) will trump politics every time.

SFOpen would’ve never happened without Brian Purchia,, GAFFTA, Automattic and Code for America, all of whom helped make its execution flawless.

I’d like to especially thank our moderator Mitch Kapor and the candidates themselves for sharing their ideas and showing a willingness to learn about an area that’s new to many:

  • Michela Alioto-Pier
  • John Avalos
  • David Chiu
  • Bevan Dufty
  • Tony Hall
  • Dennis Herrera
  • Joanna Rees
  • Phil Ting
  • Leland Yee

Thanks again to everyone who supported and was excited about SFOpen from the beginning. I’ve said this already, but I especially appreciate Brian Purchia’s leadership and hope one day he himself runs for mayor.

I’m proud of San Francisco and its open government community, and I’m hopeful this may be the beginning of a new conversation in politics, not just here, but everywhere.


Gov 2.0 Radio

Post-SFOpen interview I did with Adriel Hampton and Allison Hornery:



Recorded livestream: