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OpenGov Camp hits the Big Apple


By GovFresh · June 1, 2011

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.

Organizer 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.