Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Naked Truth

Whatever happened to the online checkbook that all the candidates running for Richardson City Council in 2009 were in favor of, at least in principle? Maybe it's coming, maybe it isn't, but judging by council meeting and worksession agendas, after the election this issue dropped completely off the council's radar screen as far as I can tell.

After the jump, the same issue as it relates to state government.

At the state level, one champion of open databases has been Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin). In a recent email, he tells Texans:

"Across the country, local, state and federal governments are breaking new ground in transparency by providing the data they collect over the Internet. By data, I mean just about anything that ends up in a computer spreadsheet -- information about schools, campaign contributions, health statistics, you name it. ...

"This is, and should be seen as, a great deal for the state. Agencies simply have to post data they already have, and then let folks in the real world find ways to make it meaningful to the public. ...

"Last year I authored Senate Bill 737, which would have required the state to explore posting sortable budget information online. Unfortunately, my bill didn't get a hearing. But I'm planning to file something like it next year."

Maybe Watson will have more luck at the state level next year. He'll need it. The outlook for Richardson residents is even less hopeful. If there's a Kirk Watson on the Richardson City Council, championing open databases for Richardson, I'm not aware of it.

By the way, click the link above to get the story behind the headline. It's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face to counter the impatience you feel while waiting for that online checkbook.

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