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CITY COUNCILMAN, FIFTH DISTRICT
MEMORANDUM DATE: TO: FROM: RE: May 31, 2013 Scott Chadwick, Interim Chief Operating Officer Councilman Mark Kersey Integrating Open Data and Public Accessibility into City Contracting
Advances in communication technology over the past decade along with the rapid spread of mobile devices, in their many forms, allow the public to be perpetually connected, always accessible, and plugged into vast amounts information. As technology progresses, the City of San Diego must strive to become the gold standard for civic engagement, responsive government, and a leader in open-data. We’ve made some headway over the past couple of years – establishing a Capital Improvement Program project website and engaging San Diego software developers with the Applications Challenge – however, moving forward we must focus on building a foundation for actionable change. The City has an Office of Open Government and my office previously worked with the former Director of Open Government on ways to integrate open data concepts into the bureaucracy of the city. One of those ideas has to do with the way the City contracts for services. A step towards building this foundation begins with changing the way the City maintains its public records and data; specifically, data which can be used to create Geographic Information System (GIS) overlays on mapping programs which the public can use to fully interact with their neighborhoods. Providing city data online using open standards will make the operation of city government more transparent, effective and accountable to the public. Along with streamlining intra-governmental and inter-governmental communication and interoperability, open data will allow city contractors and civic minded organizations to connect with the public (i.e., GIS, social media, and integrated mobile-internet platforms). Currently, the City of San Diego does not request uniformity or accessibility of data in its Request for Proposals (RFPs) or other general contracting forms. If all appropriate future RFPs and contracts include provisions that keep data open and accessible there could be a demonstrable difference in the ability for public, private, and civic groups to efficiently connect with government. This includes how data is formatted, stored, and accessed by the public. At the core of democratic governance is an informed and engaged public. In order to increase accountability, promote informed public participation, and create economic development
opportunities, I believe the City of San Diego should pursue broader open data by ensuring open data and accessibility provisions when we develop RFPs and execute contracts.
Mayor Bob Filner Nelson Hernandez, Assistant Chief Operating Officer Tony Heinrichs, Public Works, Director Dennis Gakunga, Purchasing & Contracting, Director Francisco Estrada, Council Affairs, Director