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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Records from City Hall

Have you been challenged in your attempt to get records from the city? Or, to the contrary, did you find that your request was readily answered?

Whatever your experience, if you have a story about your effort to acquire records from the City of New Orleans, I'd like to hear it. I'd also like to hear what you needed the records for.

Since Hurricane Katrina, concerned New Orleanians, charitable organizations, academic researchers, real estate developers, and neighborhood associations have discovered a dire need for access to permit applications, code enforcement activity, demolition lists, blighted properties, infrastructure repairs, crime records, and much more.

To help relieve that need, I'm working on a package of policy reforms called NolaStat, which I hope will be adopted by every candidate in the 2010 municipal elections. The central feature of the NolaStat reform is a recommendation that City Hall create a Web site to host administrative data which can be freely downloaded. The most compelling precedent for this is President Obama's revolutionary new Web site, which was itself inspired by the innovative D.C. Data Catalog .

We can make this reform happen. There's a unique convergence of events in our favor. Your story -- which can remain anonymous if you prefer -- may be vital to documenting the public's need for records.

Please contact me if you have a story you'd like to contribute. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can document your story in a ten-minute online survey.

And by all means, if you know someone else who has a story to document, please forward send then a link to this post.

Thank you,

Brian Denzer

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