I believe the City of Coatesville already has one of the most open local governments in Pennsylvania. From what I have seen in the recent past most local governments in Pennsylvania operate in secrecy. I think that in many areas townships or school boards only procedure open to the public is their vote on what they formulated in secrecy in “Executive Sessions”. For instance a resident may never know that the real reason a new middle school is located on the very edge of a school district where no one expected it and virtually all the students have a long bus ride is allegedly because the school board president lived nearby and wanted a short bus ride for her children. That kind of school board may in a few years be a relic of the past.
In a time when local newspapers are shutting down and investigative journalism with it on one side the possibilities for open government driven by ordinary citizens is exploding on the internet. That open government was led by President Obama’s Open Government Imitative. But once it started hang on.
Mayor Newsom Signs Innovative Open Data Legislation New Ordinance Promotes Accountability & Transparency, Fosters Application Development by Private Sector
11/18/10- Mayor Gavin Newsom today signed a first-of-its-kind open data law requiring San Francisco’s City departments and agencies to post certain types of data sets to a publicly accessible portal at www.DataSF.org , codifying and cementing progress made under an executive directive in 2009. The open data ordinance passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously on Tuesday, and today Mayor Newsom invited new media and technology leaders to City Hall for a signing ceremony to celebrate this expansion of an important accountability measure for City government.
“San Francisco once again demonstrates what it means to be on the cutting edge of government openness and transparency,” said Mayor Newsom. “By making data sets publicly available, we’re forging valuable public-private partnerships with app developers and making City services easier to access for our residents.”
San Francisco’s open data policy builds on President Obama’s call for more open and transparent government.
“President Obama’s leadership in pressing for easier access to government data should be a wake-up call to elected officials around the country. Open data is quickly becoming the gold standard of accountability and transparency that all citizens will come to demand,” said Mayor Newsom. “I’m proud that here in San Francisco, we’re ahead of the curve on this important government 2.0 initiative.”
In 2009, Mayor Newsom issued an Open Data Executive Directive requiring City departments to make all non-confidential datasets under their authority available on DataSF.org, the city’s one stop web site for government data. Currently, there are about 180 data sets posted from 27 different departments. More than 50 applications have been created from the City’s data (including Routesy, SFPark, CrimeMapping and Mom Maps) and are featured in the DataSF App Showcase (datasf.org/showcase). There are dozens more in the pipeline, and the throughput will increase substantially with the enactment of this new law.
In an effort to foster more civic collaboration and connectivity with constituents, in 2009, the City launched a first of its kind service that allows citizens to access the City’s 311 Call Center through Twitter. Instead of making a phone call, members of the public can send a tweet to alert the city about a pothole, or simply find out about the City’s green initiatives. Earlier this year, the City launched the Open311 API, an effort to establish an international standard for 311 services. Not only do these apps work out of the box for San Francisco, but in Washington, D.C. and any other city that adopts Open311 API, all at no cost to taxpayers.
The new legislation establishes the City’s Open Data policy and requires City departments to make appropriate data available to the public and permanently ensures that future leaders of the San Francisco government will not close the door on opening government data."