Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Making open government more open

We were remiss yesterday not to link to this statewide audit of government compliance with right-to-know laws, which the Daily News participated in. Bottom line: Things look a lot better since Pennsylvania's new law took effect last January, but they're still not perfect. Locally, reporters found the PHA and the District Attorney to be less than superb at responding to requests. In fact, the D.A. never did.

Making open government more open

We were remiss yesterday not to link to this statewide audit of government compliance with right-to-know laws, which the Daily News participated in. Bottom line: Things look a lot better since Pennsylvania's new law took effect last January, but they're still not perfect. Locally, reporters found the PHA and the District Attorney to be less than superb at responding to requests. In fact, the D.A. never did.

Meanwhile, over at Governing, an article by William Eggers and Tiffany Dovey makes some suggestions for ways to make open government efforts stronger. These are a bit more specific than right-to-know laws, but we thought we'd throw the first one out there as food for thought: An effort to make government operations more transparent should ideally tie into the mission of the agency in question. So, for instance:

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security, for example, developed Virtual Alabama, an online platform that uses Google Earth to merge government-owned data from across the state. When disaster strikes, first responders are able to quickly access information on everything from flood zones to the location of water, power and gas lines. This information enables first responders to better execute their mission by developing more effective disaster response strategies. More than 1,450 agencies across the state now make use of the platform.

Read the other suggestions over here.

Review city services on our sister site, City Howl.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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