This was in Politico NY today! @noneck –
Minerva Tantoco. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
By MIRANDA NEUBAUER 2:21 p.m. | Nov. 30, 2015
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday signed a package of bills designed to make the city’s open data portal more user-friendly, three years after the passage of the city’s open data law.
De Blasio, Anne Roest, commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Amen Ra Mashariki, chief analytics officer, and Minerva Tantoco, chief technology officer, said the bills would help the administration’s goal of making the open data portal’s store of information more accessible.
“The mayor’s office of data analytics and our partners at DoITT know that data is more than just numbers,” Mashariki said.
Tantoco noted how different groups from inside and outside government can come together to take a data-driven approach to solving city problems. “The more open, the more interoperable and the more user-friendly a platform, the more innovation can take place, and the more we can find new ways to promote access and equality,” she said.
“I have to tell you that these bills are really not sexy bills, and they’re really not controversial bills that you’re going to hear editorial boards debate for days and days on end, however, they make government tick,” said Councilman James Vacca, sponsor of one of the bills and chair of the Council’s Committee on Technology.
Councilman Ben Kallos, sponsor of one of the other bills, praised the legislation’s potential to make city government “location aware,” saying that agencies or advocates will be able draw on the standard to more easily determine where incidents take place.
Noel Hidalgo, executive director of technology advocacy group BetaNYC, said after the signing that he will join a group of CUNY undergraduate students working on open data issues with the Civic Innovation Fellows program, which BetaNYC is running in partnership with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who spearheaded the original open data law. “We look forward to seeing more legislation and activity from the Council and the administration,” Hidalgo said.
As POLITICO New York previously reported, Vacca said after a committee hearing last week that two other bills related to the open data portal are still under negotiation. One would require reviewing data requested by Freedom of Information requests for inclusion in the open data portal, while the other would require the Department of Investigation to conduct a series of audits to determine agencies’ compliance with the open data law.
De Blasio also signed bills establishing the Office of Labor Standards, extending the bio-technology tax credit for three years and extending the current rate of the tax on hotel rooms for another four years.
He also heard testimony on a bill establishing a Department of Veterans Services, which will be signed at a ceremony at a later date.