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GovFresh guide to SFOpen 2011

SFOpen 2011 brings together the 2011 San Francisco Mayoral candidates for a discussion on open government, civic engagement, technology and innovation.

By GovFresh · June 15, 2011

SFOpen 2011 brings together the 2011 San Francisco Mayoral candidates for a discussion on open government, civic engagement, technology and innovation. Participating candidates include Michela Alioto-Pier, John Avalos, David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, Tony Hall, Dennis Herrera, Joanna Rees, Phil Ting and Leland Yee and will be moderated by Mitch Kapor. The event will be held June 16 at Automattic (registration). SFOpen 2011 serves as the kick-off for San Francisco’s Summer of Smart, “a four-month experiment in urban innovation and open government.”

Submit your questions

Candidates will be asked selected questions crowdsourced from the community.


SFOpen 2011 will be livestreamed June 16, 5:45 - 7:30 p.m.:

Twitter hashtags


San Francisco Open Government Pledge

Prior to SFOpen 2011, candidates were asked to commit to a San Francisco Open Government Pledge and the following did:

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

Candidate Tony Hall did not commit to the pledge, but offered this statement in place of:

"While I don't sign others' pledges (only my own), I absolutely agree with the spirit of the language and just wish it were tougher on corruption. I hope you will note my reasons for my decision."


San Francisco Mayoral Candidate Commitment to Open Government

Open government is the movement to improve government by making government more transparent, participatory, collaborative, accountable, efficient, and effective. Open government will help build the public’s trust and satisfaction in government, will improve government’s delivery of services, and will create new opportunities for innovation. I, _______________________, commit to support the following principles of open government: Transparency: To increase accountability, promote informed public participation, and create economic development opportunities, the city shall expand access to information Participation: To create more informed and effective policies, the city shall enhance and expand opportunities for the public to participate throughout decision-making processes. Collaboration: To more effectively fulfill its obligations to citizens, the city will enhance and expand its practices of cooperation among city departments, other governmental agencies, the public, and non-profit and private. With the rise of new technologies and an increasingly connected population, a growing pressure has been placed on government leaders and government entities to adopt these open government principles. I will take steps to ensure San Francisco meets these demands and supports citizens’ needs. By supporting open government efforts, San Francisco will build on and enhance opportunities for citizens to inform government; will further develop the city’s transparency and accountability; and develop a platform to support innovation. Furthermore, I will support developing a legal framework to support open government, and I will ensure open government efforts are appropriately funded and managed, which will help build a culture of open government. San Francisco is already a leader in supporting innovation through sharing government data and is a leader in the open government movement. I will ensure the city and all of its departments continue in this direction to create the model of local open government. I commit to working with city officials and the public to ensure open government and innovation continue to grow in San Francisco.


SFOpen 2011 will be moderated by Mitch Kapor. Kapor is a pioneer of the personal computing revolution and has been at the forefront of information technology for 30 years as an entrepreneur, software designer, angel investor, and activist. He is widely known as founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, the “killer application” which made the personal computer ubiquitous in the business world in the 1980s. Other organizations in which Mr. Kapor has played an important role include UUNET (founding investor), the first successful independent commercial Internet Service Provider; the Electronic Frontier Foundation (co-founder), which protects freedom and privacy on the Internet; Real Networks (founding investor), which pioneered the use of streaming media over the Internet; the Mozilla Foundation (founding Chair), maker of the open source web browser Firefox; and Linden Research (founding investor, Board Chair), the creator of the first successful open virtual world, Second Life.


David Chiu

“For open government to mature, San Francisco needs a mayor who speaks the language of the tech community and believes deeply that technology can engage a sometimes disconnected public – and make government work better in lean budget times. As the former founder of a small technology company, I am uniquely suited to be a mayor who makes San Francisco the undisputed leader on open government.”

GovFreshTV interview

Connect with Chiu

Bevan Dufty

“More than ever, trust in government is built upon openness, transparency and accountability. As Director of Neighborhood Services and Supervisor, I have honored that trust. You have my pledge to be the most open, transparent and accessible mayor in our city’s history.”

GovFreshTV interview

Connect with Dufty

Tony Hall

“We must take on the powerful special interests that have undue influence at City Hall. The best way is to have an open and transparent government that is unafraid of scrutiny, because it is always striving to serve its people. All city departments must have sunshine policies and public input.”

GovFreshTV interview

Connect with Hall

Dennis Herrera

“Open Government – transparency, participation and collaboration – is essential to San Francisco’s success as a modern city. Transparency ensures honesty and trust in our system of governance; participation recognizes the essential nature of our democracy and incredible creative input of our residents; and collaboration means effective governance – sharing resources, ideas and best practices with federal, state and other local agencies and the private sector to ensure San Francisco is a city that works.”

GovFreshTV interview

Connect with Herrera

Joanna Rees

“An effective government must clearly communicate its goals and actions. I support an open and transparent government that gives people with good ideas the tools they need to actively participate in the dialogue and move our city forward. I will create an environment at City Hall that requires transparency and encourages innovation and new ideas.”

GovFreshTV interview

Connect with Rees

Phil Ting

“Better policy is too important to leave to politicians alone. True Gov 2.0 must go beyond press releases and change how we elect leaders and how we hold them accountable. That’s what Phil Ting’s is all about ­– unlocking the power of User Generated Government to change how we campaign and how we govern.”

GovFreshTV interview

Connect with Ting

Leland Yee

“Dubbed “Senator Sunshine” by California Aware, Senator Yee is a staunch advocate for government transparency. His legislation includes; the Higher Education Accountability Act , whistleblower and student speech protections; requirements for UC and CSU auxiliaries/foundations to adhere to the public records act; open court filings, and strengthening of the Brown Act. He has been awarded the Freedom of Information Award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, Beacon Award by the First Amendment Coalition, Freedom of Information Award by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists, Sunshine Award by the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists.”

GovFreshTV interview

Connect with Yee

John Avalos

“Government only works when the people it is designed to serve not only have faith in it, but are moved to participate in it. As Mayor of San Francisco, I will ensure that the city deeply embraces and vigorously enforces open government, anti-corruption, and ethics laws. At its best, government both speaks and listens to its people. Technology, including open source technology, allows us to leverage new forms of communication in exciting new ways and can expand the conversation to include all San Franciscans. It is the responsibility of government, and also of open government activists, to continue the work of bridging the digital divide and ensure that new technologies are accessible to all of our communities. By doing this we can ensure that government affairs include the input of the people and that all San Franciscans are empowered to engage one another and those who are tasked with governing our city.”

Connect with Avalos

Michela Alioto-Pier

“I believe in Open Government, not just for Supervisor’s meetings and public records, but in Open Government that harnesses the new ideas and creative energy of citizens to solve problems. The more information we can make available, the more San Franciscans can participate and help find solutions those in government haven’t yet found.”

Connect with Alioto-Pier




For questions, contact:

  • Brian Purchia (202.253.4330)
  • Luke Fretwell (415.722.8678)