2013 Minneapolis/St. Paul Open Data questionnaire results


October 1st has come and gone, as has a bit of time to allow for mail in responses to make it to our mailboxes. Now we are proud to announce the release of candidate responses to the questionnaire.

The Questionnaire is Still Open

Before getting to the data, we first want to point out that we have decided to keep the questionnaires open through the end of the election. With nearly a month left until election day, we realized there is no good reason not to continue to allow candidates to state their position on the issue of open data. As results come in to the questionnaire, the spreadsheet linked to below will be updated. So be sure to check back between now and the election for any new responses.

The Responses

Find a sampling of responses below. Click Here to view the raw responses to our Minneapolis and St. Paul Mayoral and City Council Open Data questionnaires.

What is your general view on government open data and promoting the social and economic health of Minneapolis?

Matt Steele: As a technology consultant, I’ve seen how new technology can be used to drive meaningful data-driven insight and lead to untraditional dimensions of analysis. New social technology is breaking down barriers between how people communicate, relate, and take ownership of the issues that intersect with their passion.

City Hall has a significant opportunity to move forward and bring information directly to the public. Technology will help tear down many of the traditional boundaries that keep departments in silos or committees far from the public eye. Technology will make a smarter Minneapolis, one where citizens can derive meaningful insights about their city, communicate with their fellow citizens and City Hall, and take action. To become a smarter city, we need to leverage existing tools which make data analysis intuitive. A prerequsite for that level of interaction is to make data freely available in open and digestible formats.

Open data is critical to the social health of our city, because it keeps our city’s power in line with citizen expectations. For example, the recent license plate data fiasco was indicative of the tension and lack of trust which can result from anything less than transparency to the citizenry.

Open data is also critical to the economic health of our city. A fundamental rule of market economics is that all parties must have all information pertaining to a transaction for it to be efficient. More importantly, open data can be a competitive advantage for our city in relationship to other cities in our region and other regions in the world with whom we compete for businesses and jobs.

Mark V Anderson: “Minneapolis should treat all data generated by the city as available to the public, except when it is legally proscribed. And even the data that the city cannot provide to citizens because such would be illegal is a problem. The city is all too ready to make confidentiality one of the requirements in their legal agreements, such as when a major official is terminated. Minneapolis should not agree to any such restriction in their agreements, except in extra-ordinary events.”

Based on your experience, does the City of Minneapolis currently provide enough open, standardized, digital data? What kinds of government information or specific data sets would you like to see made more available to citizens?

Andrew Johnson: “Absolutely not. I want to see us look more like https://data.cityofchicago.org

Account-level spending details, summarized council member voting information, landlord violations, permits, public safety, industry data, energy usage, restaurant inspections, GIS, traffic, public health, transit usage, and real-time data when available.”

Ben Gisselman: “I have a small business that provides training to the restaurant industry. I have previously tried to access data from the City regarding liquor licenses in the City of Minneapolis. Although I could obtain that information at the State level (albeit in hard to use format), I could not obtain this data via any City source. This type of information should be more readily available. The existence of liquor licenses held in the City of Minneapolis and by who is an example of what I believe should be easily-accessed information.”

Stephanie Woodruff: “As the appointed Vice Chair of the City Audit Committee, I have seen inefficiencies and internal control issues within the city first hand. Professionally, as an accountant and technology entrepreneur, I make my decisions based on big data trends. In my experience, no, the City of Minneapolis does not currently provide enough open, standardized, digital data. This is not just my opinion. The City of Minneapolis recently received a D- rating by the US Public Interest Research Group. This is not acceptable.

There are many examples in cities across the country, and even globally, where open data has improved decision making in public transportation, public education, parking services, even access to flu shots. These are just some of the possibilities. Minneapolis could benefit from improvements in all of these areas.”

Some quick numbers:

  • In total, 93candidates across Minneapolis and St. Paul were sent the open data questionnaire. This included:
    • 35 candidates for Mayor of Minneapolis
    • 4 candidates for Mayor of St. Paul
    • 47 candidates for City Council in Minneapolis
    • 7 candidates for City Council in St. Paul
  • Of these, 24candidates (all from Minneapolis) responded to the questionnaire.
    • 11 candidates for Mayor of Minneapolis filled out the questionnaire
    • 1 candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis provided a general statement on open data
    • 11 candidates for Minneapolis City Council filled out the questionnaire
    • 1 candidate for Minneapolis City Council provided a general statement on open data

Who Responded

The following candidates either filled out the questionnaire or provided a general statement: Mark V Anderson, Kris Brogan, Christopher Clark, Dan Cohen, Vincent Coffeen, Missy Durant, Ben Gisselman, Elizabeth Glidden, Kristina Gronquist, Kurtis W. Hanna, John Leslie Hartwig, Diane Hofstede, Gregg A. Iverson, Andrew Johnson, Linea Palmisano, Abdul M Rahaman, Ole Savior, Matt Steele, Meg Tuthill, John Charles Wilson, Cam Winton, Stephanie Woodruff, Blong Yang, and Christopher Robin Zimmerman.

Who Didn’t Respond

The following candidates did not respond to the questionnaire: Abdi Abdulle, Abdi Addow, Abdi Warsame, Abukar Abdi, Alicia K. Bennett, Alondra Cano, Barbara A. “Barb” Johnson, Betsy Hodges, Bill Kahn, Bob “Again” Carney Jr, Bob Fine, Bob Reuer, Bob Schlosser, Brett Buckner, Cam Gordon, Captain Jack Sparrow, Charles Curtis, Charlie Casserly, Chris Coleman, Chris Lautenschlager, Cyd Gorman, Dai Thao, Dan Niesen, David Regan, Debbie Montgomery, Diana Newberry, Dick Franson, Don Samuels, Doug Mann, Edmund Bernard Bruyere, Gregory McDonald, Ian Alexander, Jackie Cherryhomes, Jacob Frey, James “Jimmy” L. Stroud, Jr., James Everett, Jaymie Kelly, Jeffrey Alan Wagner, John Quincy, Johnny Howard, Joshua Rea, Kale R. Severson, Kazoua Kong-Thao, Kevin Reich, Kurt “Dirty Kurty” Dornfeld, Lisa Bender, Lisa Goodman, Mahamed A Cali, Mark Andrew, Mark Fox, Mark Voerding, Matt Perry, Merrill Anderson, Michael Katch, Mike Gould, Nate Griggs, Neal Baxter, Noel Nix, Pat Fleetham, Paul Holmgren, Rahn V. Workcuff, Robert Lilligren, Scott Hargarten, Sharon Anderson, Sheikh Abdul, Tim Holden, Tony Lane, Troy Benjegerdes, and Ty Moore.

If you care about the issue of open data, we encourage you to contact your candidates and ask that they fill out the open data questionnaire that is sitting in their inbox or mailbox. Contact information for Minneapolis candidates can be found on this Spreadsheet, while St. Paul candidates can be found on this Spreadsheet.

Thank Yous

First off, we would like to thank all of the candidates who have thus far responded to the questionnaire. We appreciate the valuable time that candidates have dedicated to learning about open data and filling out the questionnaire. Furthermore, we are glad to see a significant number of candidates recognize open data as an important issue.

We would also like to thank everybody who was involved in making the questionnaire possible. This took a significant amount of research, brainstorming, writing, proof reading, emailing, and mailing from a variety of people. So, thank yous to

  • Bill Bushey
  • Steven Clift
  • Peter Fleck
  • Roxanne Johnson
  • Kristen Murray
  • Alan Palazzolo