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Re: [CityCampHNL] Re: Idea: Pass an ordinance/law that requires City departments to deliver information through a standard API.

Peter Kay Jan 21, 2012 7:53 PM
Posted in group: CityCampHNL
Hmm..interesting. Might be good to get some input from the internal side on this.  I can see it being good or maybe not.  Good because we can get support for it and then hold the elected mayor to it later.  Not good because if it becomes a political issue, it gets frozen in its tracks or worse, it's not embraced by the mayor that wins.

I'd have to give this some additional consideration and get feedback before coming out for or against the idea.

Peter Kay

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM, kevin curry <> wrote:

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM, Ryan Ozawa <> wrote:
While it being an election year complicates things, we could also see an opportunity. Advocacy groups often poll candidates on their issue to say, "X, Y, and Z support open data initiatives." Maybe we can even float a basic "pledge"? Have all candidates aboard, and worry less come November.


Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 21, 2012, at 11:21 AM, Peter Kay <> wrote:

That's my view, yes.  The internal folks, I believe, just want to get this done in the easiest way possible. So I think both from external and internal perspective this works.  Thanks for the good probes!

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 9:50 AM, kevin curry <> wrote:
Like putting down a marker via the official public record on your way to an ordinance. Makes sense. Such a directive should be interpreted a strong indicator that the city is moving in a certain direction and that offices & employees should begin moving in that direction. It also provides support and justification to current, ongoing activities. Do I have it right?

Thanks for entertaining my questions. Always trying to learn.

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM, Peter Kay <> wrote:
We want to achieve what we've already stated in the various drafts for an ordinance and ultimately the ordinance is the way to go.  Mayors directives and resolutions are not mutually exclusive and gives us the opportunity to get traction sooner rather than later.

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM, kevin curry <> wrote:
Planning & Permitting API would be awesome. 

What do you want to achieve? That will determine whether a directive or an ordinance is the right approach. To whom do city employees report? Does the City Manager have to buy in, too?

Here's a model directive:

There's talk & hope of publishing model ordinances, legislation, and contract templates there, too.

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 2:27 PM, Peter Kay <> wrote:
I had a morning coffee the other day with Ken Schmidt who drives a lot
of the automation within the Dept. of Planning and Permitting. I've
known Ken for > 10 years and he's a clear, innovative thinker.  His
dept is already developing APIs for public consumption so he's ahead
of the curve.

After our discussion, I came away convinced that while having an
ordinance has the most power, we can get the ball rolling faster and
easier by first getting a "Mayors Directive" which will have quite a
bit of influence in the organization.  We can then see how that goes,
make some adjustments, and then get an Council Resolution passed.
After further refinements and buy-in, we can finally get an ordinance
passed.  There's also a good chance that we may not even need an
ordinance if the Directive and/or Resolution works.

So instead of getting all political with Councilmembers, etc, we can
quickly move forward with a Mayor's directive and then keep refining
as we go.

I spoke to Forrest and Gordon yesterday at Hackathon and they both
thought this was a better way to go.  Forrest mentioned he would help
pickup this ball after the current events pass over.  We may run into
some issues with this as an election year as well ( my comments, not
Forrest's) so lets keep that in mind.

I'd rather see incremental movement happen sooner instead of
significant movement later.  Given that we're all quite busy and don't
have the time for the full court press that will be required to pass
an ordinance, I would like to see us work w/ Forrest and Gordon to
start with a Mayor's Directive asap.


On Dec 7 2011, 10:50 pm, Peter Kay <> wrote:
> Valid concerns on "code becomes law" problem.  However the fact is if there
> is not a law, it simply won't happen.  One vendor told me that he always
> put API features as options on his proposals and due to the higher cost,
> they were always nixed.  I'm certain we could write the law in a general
> enough format that allows it to morph over time.
> Worst case, the law gets amended by future generations, just like today's
> laws have been.
> Patrick there is definitely a concern that this will disincentivize
> publishing;  but if you think about it, if there's not an api to consume
> the data, it's really not  being published anyway.  If a city website can't
> go up unless its built from an API, public pressure for the data will
> eventually overcome resistance to publishing.
> The benefits to an API requirement are so massive that it must be a
> fundamental requirement of sites, just like ADA requirements are in parking
> lots and stairways.

Kevin Curry
Virginia Beach, VA

Kevin Curry
Virginia Beach, VA

Kevin Curry
Virginia Beach, VA