Bootlegged gov’t datasets; a Trump-Lessig third-party ticket; and more.
Government Openings: In Medium, Presidential Innovation Fellow Denice Ross looks at the value of open data in New Orleans, starting with the creation and sharing, post-Katrina, of “bootlegged copies” of government datasets like building permits, through the rise of the open data movement in 2009-10, up to some present-day releases that are truly impressive.
GovTech’s Jason Shueh reports on the first prototype projects resulting from Google’s Government Innovation Lab’s partnership with California’s Kern County. He writes, “The first prototype is what officials call a Virtual Resource Library (VRL), an online hub that once finished, will act as a crowdsourced resource for county services and collaboration. The second prototype is an enterprise app designed to pluck data from departments for countywide analytics.”
Why did Twitter stop letting transparency groups monitor politicians’ deleted tweets? In the Huffington Post, Alex Howard suggests that the real reason for the change is that “the executives who once called Twitter the ‘free-speech wing of the free-speech party’ don’t work [there] anymore.”
Narbeth Borough (outside of Philadelphia) is looking to hire a full-time Director of Civic Technology. “The ideal candidate will be well versed in the principles of open data, open government and Government 2.0.”
Tech and the presidentials: Spanish news media in the US isn’t taking Donald Trump lightly, reports Ashley Parker for the New York Times: “About 58 percent of all mentions of Mr. Trump in mainstream news media—broadcast, cable, radio and online outlets—in the past month have focused on immigration, while on Spanish-language news programs, the proportion is almost 80 percent, according to an analysis by Two.42.Solutions, a nonpartisan media analytics company. The Spanish-language news media has also been more critical in its coverage of Mr. Trump’s positions on the issue, with nearly all of it negative in tone.
Crazy talk? Harvard Law professor and erstwhile single-issue presidential candidate tells Politico Magazine’s Ben Wofford that he would run with Donald Trump as a third-party ticket. “I’ll make a promise,” Lessig declared. “If Trump said he was going to do one thing and fix this corrupted system, then go back to his life as an entertainment figure, I absolutely would link up with Donald Trump.” Lessig also says Trump’s statements about not being beholden to big money explain his appeal (as opposed to his attacks on immigrants and women). Your reading may vary. (See Evan Osnos’ New Yorker story on Trump’s appeal to racists, for one alternative view.)
Lessig also would make Joe Biden his Vice President and hand the White House over to him once his Citizen Equality Act became law, Emily Greenhouse reports for Bloomberg.
Speaking of money in politics, Bernie Sanders appears to be drawing more support from small donors for his campaign than Barack Obama did in 2008, 75% of it through ActBlue, Eric Lichtblau reports for the New York Times. Unlike nearly all the other candidates, Sanders has also rejected efforts by supporters to set up a Super PAC on his behalf.
TEDXX: GenderAvenger.com founder Gina Glantz makes a sharp point in this Washington Post oped: conferences and media platforms centered on women don’t do much for women. For example, she writes, “Despite great women appearing at TEDWomen, one can only find 33 out of 102 participants who appeared at this year’s main event. Maybe there should also be a TEDMen and the best of both should be featured at a TEDEverybody.”
Future, Imperfect: As Uber starts offering services in San Francisco that look a lot like bus routes, The Awl’s Matt Buchanan speculates on where this may all be headed: a future of privatized mass transit that succeeds while “siphoning…the political will to fix existing—or build new—public transit infrastructure in major cities.”
Meanwhile, refugees making their way from the Middle East into Europe are heavily reliant on their smartphones, reports Matthew Brunwasser for the New York Times. He writes, “In this modern migration, smartphone maps, global positioning apps, social media and WhatsApp have become essential tools. Migrants depend on them to post real-time updates about routes, arrests, border guard movements and transport, as well as places to stay and prices, all the while keeping in touch with family and friends….Syrians are helped along their journeys by Arabic-language Facebook groups like “Smuggling Into the E.U.,” with 23,953 members, and “How to Emigrate to Europe,” with 39,304.”