AskThem has information for elected officials nationwide: federal, state, and over 60 major U.S. cities, with more local reps coming soon. We helped craft open standards, in order to offer the most government data coverage of any open-source website.
But the incomparable NYC, where we’re based, is one of our success stories so far. It’s one of the cities where we have the most elected officials signed-up to respond, and best examples of good questions from its communities. Thanks to allies like BetaNYC, our Code For America Brigade, and local non-profits like OpenPlans & the NYCÂ Transparency Working Group, we can say that NYC is making strides on real #opengov. (Check out our city government overview pages for Brooklyn & Manhattan.)
Leading the way is NYC Council Member Brad Lander, who just published his second response on AskThem, to a question on how the council can remediate racial & economic disparities. (He reps NYC District 39, including Park Slope and other neighborhoods.) He announced he’s drafting legislation based on the AskThem question – showing what’s possible for online dialogue with local government on our open platform.
Like his first answer on affordable housing, it’s a terrific example of quality online dialogue with his constituents and the public at large. Elizabeth Adams, a constituent of Brad Lander’s who asked the question, wrote, “I feel extremely gratified that Brad Lander not only answered our question, but is actually drafting legislation in response to it! Itâ€™s as if representative democracy is actually working! Since the â€™08 presidential campaign, Iâ€™ve been waiting for the internet to enable grass-roots civic engagement, beyond fundraising and petitions. AskThem really raises the level of discourse by enabling more of a back-and-forth. It feels like the beginning of what we were promised.”
Here are some other interesting questions to NYC officials on AskThem:Â
To Mayor Bill de Blasio: Voter registration
To Governor Andrew Cuomo: Runaway & homeless youth budget
To Council Member Antonio Reynoso: Management of NYC parking supply
To Council Member Helen Rosenthal: Upper West Side homeless population
To Council Member Mark Levine: Low-income access to technology
To Council Member Ben Kallos: Waste management system
To Council Member Stephen Levin: Brooklyn public libraries
To Department of Transportation: Vision Zero timeline
Whether you’re in NYC or anywhere else, find everyone who represents you by entering your residential street address on our homepage, or ask your own question. Let us know what you asked and we’ll feature it on our blog & social media! Email maryam at askthem.io, or Tweet at us, @AskThemPPF.