Last weekend America’s Finest City gathered its finest civic tech folks for the second annual Code Across America event at Co-Merge in downtown San Diego. We were also celebrating International Open Data Day.
It was not at all what I had planned or expected… but better in many ways. We wanted to use Code Sprint and Civic Technology Unconference to bootstrap Open San Diego, our local Code for America brigade, and decided to add the unconference to our event to attract a well-rounded group including coders and civic tech folks, community planning groups, and city officials.
There’s a strong tradition of neighborhood planning groups in San Diego (with a total of about 43) and we reached out to them, as well as the offices of Mayor Bob Filner and the city council members. We were excited many joined us, including: Joe LaCava, Chair at City of San Diego Community Planners Committee; and staff from the office of Councilman Mark Kersey, District 5, and the office of Donna Frye, Director of Open Government and Community Engagement. We also had participation from San Diego OpenTreeMap.
The three major projects we set out to work on were:
- The website and transparency of San Diego’s Capital Improvement Projects
- eCitizens.org, a Knight Foundation-funded government documenting alert service
- San Diego Regional Data Library
We spent most of the day getting to know each other and the various projects we all work on. We also spent a large part of the day talking about participatory budgeting. In particular, we discussed spending transparency, crowdsourcing community input, and crowdfunding projects.
The following Monday, I spoke on this topic in front of the Infrastructure Committee of the San Diego City Council (video here) and am excited with the enthusiasm with which I was met!
I feel like our brigade is really and truly launched now. I’m happy with where we are at and most importantly, I feel like we have all the pieces in place to really make this work and do some radical stuff.
Sandy Coronilla contributed to this post.
Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.