Gavin Newsom

Kundra, SF officials promote Open311 API

Here’s video from yesterday’s Open311 press conference in San Francisco, including Vivek Kundra, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, SF CIO Chris Vein and O’Reilly Media’s Tim O’Reilly.

Kundra’s Open311 comments from the White House blog:

This is a great approach that ties together efforts in San Francisco, Boston, the District of Columbia, Portland, and Los Angeles to open more services to citizens, and to use data to drive progress in people’s lives. Too often, people grumble that their complaints about government – be it city, county, state, or federal – get swallowed by the bureaucracy. Open 311 is an answer to that problem, placing the role of service evaluator and service dispatcher in the power of citizens’ hands. Through this approach, new web applications can mash publicly available, real-time data from the cities to allow people to track the status of repairs or improvements, while also allowing them to make new requests for services. For instance, I can use the same application to report a broken parking meter when I’m home in the District of Columbia or traveling to cities like Portland, Los Angeles, Boston, or San Francisco. This is the perfect example of how government is simplifying access to citizen services. Open 311 is an innovation that will improve people’s lives and make better use of taxpayer dollars.

Video:

SF selects Brightidea to power employee ideas campaign

San Francisco has selected Brightidea to power its new idea platform aimed to foster ideas from the city’s 26,000 employees. The site is located at ImproveSF.org.

The top idea will be selected for implementation with 10 other high ranking ideas recognized in an event with Mayor Gavin Newsom and get featured on SFGov.org as well as the city’s Facebook page.

“ImproveSF.org will allow the City to tap into valuable ideas from city employees to help solve some of our most pressing issues,” said Newsom. “I encourage employees to submit creative solutions to help balance our budget.”

Brightidea also powers Ireland’s Your Country Your Call campaign.

SF Mayor Newsom: Open source ‘more reliable’

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom addressed the city’s new open source evaluation policy and views on open source during his weekly YouTube address (forward to 10:12).

Quotable:

San Francisco just this last week became the first city in the United States of America to adopt and open source software policy. First city in America … Open source software is really exciting and this is leading, cutting edge. More reliable from my perspective, we can get the technology moving much quicker from they typical procurement processes and we can deliver it … at a lesser cost to the taxpayer.

Gov 2.0 guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is one of a few major U.S. cities leading the way in the open government, Gov 2.0 movement. SF has opened up data, issued an agency-wide open government directive and continues to pursue innovative opportunities around this effort. (See all SF news at sf.govfresh.com)

Here’s an overview:

San Francisco’s Open Data Executive Directive

On October 21, 2009, Mayor Gavin Newsom issued SF’s Open Data Executive Directive that states:

The City and County of San Francisco will be able to engage our innovative high-tech workforce by releasing data, a key component of San Francisco’s future economic development. By providing government data that adheres to privacy and security policies, San Francisco’s world class technology community is given the platform from which to create useful civic tools, all at no cost to City government. By bringing City data and San Francisco’s entrepreneurs together, we can effectively leverage existing resources to stimulate industry, create jobs and highlight San Francisco’s creative culture and attractiveness as a place to live and work. Finally, the City and County of San Francisco’s technology presence will begin to reflect that of our world class, cutting edge private technology sector, and help us better engage the wealth of knowledge and skills of our local community.

(See also San Francisco’s open data directive and SF mayor Newsom addresses open government plan to department heads)

Newsom and others discuss launch of DataSF and the city’s open government initiative with city department heads:

DataSF

DataSF.org is SF’s open data site that provides “structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format.” Dataset categories include geography, admin & finance, environment, housing, human services, public safety, public works and transit.

(See also San Francisco’s DataSF launch)

Press conference announcing DataSF launch:

DataSF App Showcase

DataSF App Showcase highlights Web and mobile applications developed using the SF’s open data.

(See also San Francisco’s app showcase highlights civic innovation)

SF311

SF311 is SF’s citizen service call center that includes Twitter (@SF311).

Video from SFGTV:

SF on GovFreshTV

Francisco’s CIO Chris Vein answers the question ‘What does Gov 2.0 mean to you?’

SF Director of Innovation Jay Nath:

Related coverage

Gov 2.0 Radio:

[audio:gov20radio090719.mp3]

The Promise of Open Data: We talk with City of San Francisco CTO Blair Adams, SF innovations manager Jay Nath, and Web developer Tom Croucher about the open access to government data.

InformationWeek:

SF mayor Newsom addresses open government plan to department heads

San Francisco public officials, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, discuss the launch of launch of DataSF.org and the city’s open government initiative at a meeting with city department heads. Highlights include Newsom’s overview of why the effort is important and Tim O’Reilly’s talk on government as a platform.

Quotable:

Gavin Newsom (Mayor, San Francisco):

“This is transformational. This is real. This is not insignificant from my perspective. This is not just incidental. This is fundamental … We have got to unleash the creative talent, not just inside all of us physically here, and within all of our city departments, but within the city and county of San Francisco, the region, the state, the nation. By giving people information you empower them, and with that information and empowerment comes innovation and new ideas at a scale and scope and speed that puts everything we’re doing in perspective. “

Ed Reiskin (Director, San Francisco Department of Public Works):

“All of this data that we use to run the government. This data is not our data. The data is for the public, for the people. The systems we use are not our systems. They’re the public’s systems. They’re for the people.”

San Francisco’s DataSF launch

Here’s video from the August 2009 news conference announcing the launch of DataSF.org, San Francisco’s open data site, which provides “structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format.”

The press conference is attended by SF officials and technology entrepreneurs, including SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, SF CIO Chris Vein, SF Dept of Public Works Director Ed Reiskin, SF Director of Innovation Jay Nath, Tim O’Reilly and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. There’s a general Q&A that includes examples of how citizens and entrepreneurs are leveraging the newly-opened data.

For those working in local governments, this is a great overview of how citizens, local businesses and government officials are working together to make government more efficient and create economic opportunities for businesses simply by opening up public data.

Frankly, after watching this, I don’t see how more locales wouldn’t follow suit.

San Francisco’s open data directive

Full text or pdf of San Francisco’s Open Data Executive Directive:

Executive Directive 09-06
Open Data
October 21, 2009

By virtue of the power and authority vested in me by Section 3.100 of the San Francisco Charter to provide administration and oversight of all departments and governmental units in the executive branch of the City and County of San Francisco, I do hereby issue this Executive Directive to become effective immediately:

1. Benefits of the Open Data Directive

This Directive will enhance open government, transparency, and accountability by improving access to City data that adheres to privacy and security policies. Data which often resides in technology systems is unique from information like documents, emails and calendars in that it is structured and can be used by other computer applications for analysis or new uses such as mapping. This Directive establishes a one-stop destination for all approved City data that will help constituents make better use of information. This new ease of access will lead to innovation in how residents interact with government, resulting in social and economic benefits for the City.

The City and County of San Francisco will be able to engage our innovative high-tech workforce by releasing data, a key component of San Francisco’s future economic development. By providing government data that adheres to privacy and security policies, San Francisco’s world class technology community is given the platform from which to create useful civic tools, all at no cost to City government. By bringing City data and San Francisco’s entrepreneurs together, we can effectively leverage existing resources to stimulate industry, create jobs and highlight San Francisco’s creative culture and attractiveness as a place to live and work. Finally, the City and County of San Francisco’s technology presence will begin to reflect that of our world class, cutting edge private technology sector, and help us better engage the wealth of knowledge and skills of our local community.

2. The City declares its commitment to transparency in government data.

a. All datasets determined to be accessible to the public now and in the future shall be made available through DataSF.org.

b. All Department Heads or their designees shall strive to publish all datasets under their authority consistent with the DataSF authorization policy. Detailed information on how to update DataSF.org is available here: http://www.datasf.org/page.php?page=submit-dataset.

c. All Department Heads or their designees shall conduct quarterly reviews of their progress on providing access to datasets requested by the public through DataSF.org. The results of this review shall be sent to the Mayor’s Office.

For questions concerning this Executive Directive and its implementation, please contact: Brian Purchia, Mayor’s Office, brian.purchia@sfgov.org, 415-554-7135.

Gavin Newsom
Mayor

What’s Gov 2.0’s return on investment?

I work in online marketing and social media for my “day job,” and we are endlessly consumed with how to measure returns on investment (ROI) in the Web 2.0 space.

There are similar issues with measuring Gov 2.0 ROI. You can involve yourself in all sorts of efforts — publicizing data, engaging in social media, utilizing email campaigns, encouraging questions, fostering transparancy. And all these things are great, but (just like with our marketing clients) someone’s got to answer for the bottom line. With governments tightening their belts and funding being cut, showing that investment in government transparency pays off is crucial.

The things is, there are no easy answers. A post from openSF (Measuring ROI of Gov 2.0 Efforts) highlights a few ways in which various social media efforts actually SAVE money, including:

  • Vivek Kundra quantifies value in dollars
  • Gavin Newsom notes the cost-savings of using Twitter (free) for 311 vs a SMS provider ($100K)
  • Edwin Bender, executive director of followthemoney.org, in a conversation sites legislative change through the use of their data in two Supreme Court cases
  • MAPLight.org (money/vote connection) highlights the use of their data in media to help promote accountability

The truth is, this space is so new, relatively speaking, there aren’t a set of cut-and-dried rules that apply across the board when determining what counts as making a worthwhile investment. There may never be. The flip side of this conundrum is that we can be a part of helping to determine ROI. We, the people, have the burden to prove its relevance and importance. And as the several examples above prove, once you get creative and put your mind to it, it may not be that hard after all.

Questions:

  1. If you’re involved with an agency that places importance on transparency, why do you think they place an importance on such?
  2. What are some ways your agency “proves” the worth of its Gov 2.0 efforts?
  3. Have you discovered any unique, cost-effective ways to spread information?