Documenters for the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force meetings

This month I conceived, led, and participated in the documentation of the four community forums hosted by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force.
The work, centered at Smart Chicago, is a part of the Documenters program. Here’s a snip from a blog post I wrote, kicking off this particular work with the CPATF:
We care about justice and we care about accountability, so we have sent text documenters, videographers (Community TV Network), and a photographer (me) to these convenings under our Documenters program, which “an essential tool for us to add new thinkers, generate ideas, and expand the field for civic tech.”
We show up at public meetings and document the proceedings because we’re interested in paying as much attention as we can to what others are saying, what their concerns are, and how they interact with official government structures. These community forums give us a great opportunity for this. We have a number of goals for this series:
– Document the actual proceedings, with special attention, in this instance, to the speakers from the public— exactly what questions were asked, what documents were referenced, and what answers were offered by the task force
  • – Research the questions and answers to the greatest degree possible. This includes learning more about the speakers, many of whom have decades of experience in their communities. Research and link to their organizations, their work, and the external documents, cases, and other matters that they reference
  • – Aggregate the information and draw some rudimentary conclusions. This means simple things like counting attendees and speakers as well as some more sophisticated analysis like grouping comment types and themes.

My role was to manage the project— hire the videographers, writers, and photographers. I also attended most of the meetings and did all of the photo documentation for meetings 1, 2, and 3.

PANEL: Illinois Government Transparency Conference

Today I participated in a panel discussion on the state of transparency in Illinois. Here’s the packet associated with the conference.

When we went around to throw out the problems that need solving, the one I focused on was the fact that there is little to no true collaboration among all parties. That is to say, if we consider the goal to be the provision of relevant, responsive, accurate information from government to the public, we have to consider the needs, fears, skills, and strengths of all parties to that transaction.

I got a lot out of this day and I think there was a real movement away from legislative and administrative solutions (FOIA law, Attorney General oversight, etc.) and into market and policy-oriented solutions (applications built on existing data, working with government to get value out of their own data, etc.)

PHOTOS: Dan Sinker is @MayorEmanuel

Here’s some photos I took today that got some wide pickup nationally, including an exclusive article in The Atlantic. Here’s a snip from my personal blog, Derivative Works:

Dan Sinker is @MayorEmanuel. Never let it be said that Daniel X. O’Neil cannot keep a secret. This morning I went to Sinker’s house to take some pics for him. One ended up in The Atlantic piece:Dan Sinker is @MayorEmanuelBut I like this Seesmic money shot better:Dan Sinker is @MayorEmanuel (With Seesmic for Android)

I really love these pics.UPDATE: Here’s some media outlets that used my pics:

POLICY: Rahm Emanuel @ EveryBlock

Today Chicago Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel visited the EveryBlock offices in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago. This was the result of months of advance work with the Emanuel campaign, and it resulted in a large number of media placements for EveryBlock.Here’s the post on the Emanuel campaign Web site: Rahm visits EveryBlock, discusses plan to help tech companies thrive

Today, Rahm visited EveryBlock, a neighborhood news site based here in the city. He discussed his plan to bring innovators to Chicago, attract tech talent, and help Chicago start-up and tech companies thrive.Click here for more information about Rahm’s plan for job creation.

Rahm Emanuel & Me at EveryBlock


Today I launched a politics/ design/ technology/ humor site called AldermanicWebsites.Here’s the launch post (Comparing Aldermanic Hopefuls Online) and two snippets:

Here’s something I worked on over Christmas vacation: AldermanicWebsites. It is a fun/ manic little Web site that “contains links to and reviews of the Web sites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and other Web referencia for each of the 349 people who filed nominating petitions to run for Alderman in one of the cities wards.”*I like the Analysis best– so far I’ve got five posts there, covering everything from good stars and bad stars to remarkable sites and popular Web development platforms. And you’ve realy got to view source to see anything.

Here’s the About page with a snip about the technology reviews:

Chicago Board of Election Commissioners LogoIf you’re interested examples in particular technologies used by particular candidates, the Quick-See pulldown menu is your best bet.For instance, you can see all candidates using the WordPress Web development platform, all candidates using PayPal to collect contributions, or everyone who uses Contact Contact to send out mass emails.Same goes for wards– just choose the ward your interested in (the 24th is super-lively) and you’ll see all candidates. The Ward list is in alphabetical order (when the ward number is spelled out). That’s a little goofy, I know– what can I say; I have limited skills.

Here’s some coverage:Gapers Block: Comparing Aldermanic Hopefuls Online

There are 349 candidates for alderman in this election, with varying levels of web savvy. AldermanicWebsites helps sort through them all. Unsurprisingly, a certain star makes a lot of appearances.

Progress Illinois: Council Candidates On The Web, Facebook, Twitter, And More is a new hub tracking the web-based battle for Chicago’s City Council. Courtesy of internet developer and writer Dan X. O’Neil, the site offers an easy way to comb through the online output of hundreds of candidates who submitted nominating petitions to run for one of Chicago’s 50 council seats. You’ll find links to the candidates’ websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and what O’Neill calls “other Web referencia.” There are reviews and discussions of their digital production too — check out O’Neil’s thoughts on the star imagery on the prospective council member pages — and a link to a set of photographs of the front page of each aldermanic candidate’s site. Browsing through those front pages is a useful way to learn how council candidates are defining the issues their communities face, where they think incumbent council members have fallen short, and why voters should trust them to do a better job.