San Francisco’s Need for Open, Transparent Government

Would you have more confidence in city government if it were open and transparent?

With emerging technology, the ability for government to share information has never been easier. As the movement for open government grows, we need to ensure that this public data is interactive, accessible and easy to use. We’ve already graded government web portals on with our Reset Ratings series – and sadly, a number of the sites fall short on usability and accessibility.

At Reset San Francisco, we know how long things can take in city government. That’s why we’ve taken the first steps to partner with California Common Sense (CACS), a nonprofit organization using public data to make government more transparent and more accountable. They’ve already mapped statewide data for California, and now, they’re launching an interactive data visualization featuring San Francisco data.

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Whether it’s the history of the city’s debt and expenditures or a breakdown of financial data by department, California Common Sense has created a “transparency portal” that uses 10 years of past data and allows you to see the information for yourself. On this site, you can download the raw data, share the graphs and embed the portal on your own site.



The organization also reveals performance metrics based on spending. The information raises interesting questions, like why has spending increased but reliability has remained stagnant? After looking at CACS data, we found ourselves asking, are we ultimately getting our money’s worth? Performance data might have the answer.

Resetting San Francisco means that City Hall needs to be open and more transparent.

But we can’t stop there.

The city not only needs to educate residents by providing them with access to this information, but also city leaders need to engage San Franciscans to discuss, to share and to explore.

Going further, Government 2.0 is more than just having fancy tech tools. It’s about providing citizens with universal access to their government via the Internet – whether it’s at home or in the palms of their hands with city-sponsored apps and Twitter. That’s why on Reset San Francisco we’ve launched a petition to guarantee access to the Internet for all San Franciscans – thousands of San Franciscans have already signed.

Stay tuned as we post blogs and articles analyzing this available data from California Common Sense in the weeks ahead.



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