You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

In San Francisco, Open Government Becomes a Campaign Issue

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, May 24 2011

GovFresh's Luke Fretwell writes that five candidates for mayor of San Francisco have signed an open government pledge modeled after framework language, the Local Open Government Initiative:

This is the first step in a process to work with the candidates to help them better embrace the principles of open government. We’re reaching out to each of them and will update this post with commitments (they can also add in the comments).

Update: Candidates committed (ordered by response time):

  • Joanna Rees
  • Phil Ting
  • Dennis Herrera
  • Leland Yee
  • Bevan Dufty

[Update: Fretwell says that candidate David Chiu's campaign saw this post and has indicated they will sign the pledge, too.]

At last count, there were nine major candidates and a small group of front-runners.

Fretwell says he's trying to educate the candidates about open government initiatives more than anything else. He's got quite an opportunity: San Francisco already has open-government cred, and the race features a very crowded field with no incumbent. To top it off, a new ranked-choice voting system could make the race a "free-for-all." No one in a race like that is likely to ignore an issue out of hand.

"We want to create an education process that helps familiarize candidates with open government issues, if they're not already," Fretwell told me via Twitter. "The Open Government pledge is the first part of that process."

This is not the only injection of open government discussion into local politics. In Austin, Tex., a revivified group of technologists hoping to help their government make better use of the Internet, OpenAustin, asked City Council candidates to fill out a questionnaire and posted the results online ahead of a May 14 election. One of the three council spots at issue in that election is headed to a June 18 runoff.