- OpenGovChicago and Local Court Data
In our next meetup, we will learn about the Chicago Justice Project (http://www.chicagojustice.org/)’s (CJP) ongoing engagement with the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Timothy Evans. CJP’s engagement is seeking to open access to all the data created by the Court since they started collecting the data in the 1980s (the courts have told CJP they started collecting data either in 1980 or 1988). This means that when approved CJP would receive about 30 years of Court data. CJP requested all the data maintained by the Clerk’s Office on each criminal case filed, appropriately de-identified. To give you some idea how much data we are talking about here are some facts about the Cook County Justice System: • The Circuit Court of Cook County is the largest unified court system in the US • The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutors office in the US • The Cook County Jail is the largest jail in the country This is not a onetime release! CJP is seeking an agreement that would require regular updates of court data be released on an ongoing basis moving forward removing all the current barriers to this data. Of course, since the Court maintains ownership over the data, but does not maintain the data, the approval by Judge Evans of any request seeking access to court data is only the first step. The second step is having the data released by the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court (http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/), Dorothy Brown’s Office. It took CJP 27 months to get access to the 5 years of conviction data that was the basis of the Convicted in Cook Project (http://convictions.smartchicagoapps.org/). CJP anticipates significant resistance from the Clerk’s Office to this request. This is the beginning of CJP’s outreach to see if we can build a community of people that will help CJP advocate for the fulfillment of this agreement. Tracy Siska, Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project, will talk about CJP’s efforts in more detail and what it will take to get the Court and Clerk to fulfill their request. Also, we'll cover the results of Smart Chicago's recent PACER postcard campaign (http://www.smartchicagocollaborative.org/results-of-our-pacer-postcard-campaign/), where we helped send dozens of postcards to Chief Judge Ruben Castillo (http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/JudgeInfo.aspx) of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois (http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/Default.aspx), asking him to look into issues with PACE (https://www.pacer.gov/)R , the system run by the federal judiciary that provides access to court dockets.
- OpenGovChicago and Local School Councils
In our next meetup, we're continuing our new series that focuses on learning about and helping grassroots groups that interact with official government functions. Next up is Local School Councils of the Chicago Public Schools (http://cps.edu/Pages/Localschoolcouncils.aspx). There are hundreds of LSCs (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WsB05grMEk5wwG3sqPWUjOMUtT2298Osh_d1Ff_sgCw/pubhtml) covering the entire city, and they are populated by regular Chicago residents who care about their neighborhoods. We will hear from people who run these councils, find out what kind of data and technology they use, and figure out we can help. Here's a rough agenda: Josh Kalov (https://twitter.com/shua123), LSC member and facilitator of the Education Working Group of Open Gov Hack Night (http://opengovhacknight.org/), will give an overview of LSCs. He will also review a set of resources, minutes, agendas, and data around LSCs citywide that he and others maintain here in this folder (https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/#folders/0BwPsV5HvDYoMU3FqV0ZZSng1cVE). Jill Wohl will talk about her experience on an LSC and we will have plenty of open time for any current or former LSC member to do the same. If you serve on a Council, or know someone who does, let us know in the comments— the more, the merrier!
- OpenGovChicago 2014 Holiday Party
The OpenGovChicago holiday party is on the way. Join us on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 6PM in the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda and Hall (http://goo.gl/A6cT59) of the Chicago Cultural Center (http://www.choosechicago.com/articles/view/CHICAGO-CULTURAL-CENTER/384/). There will be food, drinks, coffee, m (http://www.ascentstage.com/)usic, and 30-foot walls of Knoxville pink marble. DJ C will be spinning (http://www.dj-c.com/). Here's some preview holiday (https://soundcloud.com/mojochronic/yuletide-zeppelin-i) tracks (https://soundcloud.com/proforma/go-home-productions-carpenters-christmas-karen-meets-roots-radics-uptown) he's sure to include. He'll be joined in a surprise guest DJ set at some point in the night. Here's the menu (https://gist.github.com/danxoneil/6e0aabfe3f98a7b39b28). The crostini situation and the Death by Chocolate thingy are highlights. Come celebrate your city and your central role in helping make it better on December 11.
- OpenGovChicago and the Chicago Park District Advisory Council
After return from a hiatus that went on slightly longer than we wanted it to, the OpenGovChicago(-land) meetup is back with a return to our roots. Our next meetup will be the first in a new series that focuses on learning about and helping grassroots groups that interact with official government functions. First up is the Park District Advisory Council (http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/advisory-councils/). There are 194 advisory councils (http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/advisory-council-list/) covering the entire city, and they are populated by regular Chicago residents who care about their neighborhoods. We will hear from people who run these councils, find out what kind of data and technology they use, and figure out we can help. If you serve on a Council, or know someone who does, let us know in the RSVP-- the more, the merrier. Here's the agenda: Kim duBuclet, Director Legislative and Community Affairs of the Chicago Park District, will talk about Councils from the CPD perspective. Lionel Rabb is the President of the Jefferson Memorial Park Advisory Council. He'll talk about the work of the Council and how they interact with the Park District and neighbors to get things done. Bobbi Nance, Project Manager, Park District of Oak Park, will talk about the software they use for data-driven decision making. Louise McCurry, President of the Jackson Park Advisory Council, will talk about the history of advisory councils and her work in Jackson Park. Last thing— save the date: Thursday, December 11, 6PM— OpenGovChicago Holiday Party at the Cultural Center.
- Open Science!
Our next meetup will focus on Open Science. The Open Science Cooperative (http://opensciencecoop.org/) is an extension of the Hive Mapping Cooperative, a 2014 Hive Learning Network (http://www.hivechicago.org/) project. We will have representatives from The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (http://www.naturemuseum.org/), Sweet Water Foundation (http://sweetwaterfoundation.com/), Freedom Games (http://www.freedomgames.org/), and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (http://fpdcc.com/) to talk about their efforts to provide teens the ability to collect, manage, analyze, visualize, and share geo-referenced data through open-source mapping and data-sharing software. The aim of this meetup is to share work to date and to connect with the larger open data/ open technology community. This is an ambitious project focused on open source tools for mapping and data collection. The OpenGov movement has much to share on these fronts, and we hope for great cross-pollination on this night! Speakers: • David Bild and Rafael Rosa from The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (http://www.naturemuseum.org/) will talk about their work this summer on environmental and ecological investigations • Emmauel Pratt of the Sweet Water Foundation (http://sweetwaterfoundation.com/) will talk about their work in aquaponics • Eve Tulbert of Freedom Games (http://www.freedomgames.org/) will talk about their Planet Lab program in CPS school learning gardens, engaging Greencorps Chicago youth and teacher-leaders at The Kitchen Community • Adam Kessel of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (http://fpdcc.com/) will alk about the Forest Preserves’ Citizen Science in Action (http://www.misin.msu.edu/cook-county-citizen-scientists-pilot-project/) program • Kyla Williams of Smart Chicago will talk about our role in shepherding open technology tools in the service of youth science We're excited the crossover summertime meetup. If you know anybody in science and have been them to your work in open gov, this is the time. Also: we always have announcements at the beginning of our meetups, and we really want to hear from people in science. Please just write to us and let us know you want to be added to the agenda!
- Open Data≠Open Government
Our next meetup will focus on open records. Here's a description of the meeting from our two speakers: The open data movement in Chicago provides a wealth of opportunity to analyze, publicize and criticize the functions of city government. But it falls short of the kind of transparency that lets the public see how Mayor Rahm Emanuel actually governs. For that, you need open records. And those are too often in short supply. Join Chicago Tribune investigations editor Jim Webb and Tribune investigative reporter Dave Kidwell for a discussion about government transparency, why records are worth fighting for and what works or doesn’t under Illinois' weak Freedom of Information Act.
- Using Census Data to Understand Things
The US Census Bureau collects a bounty of data about people in the United States. Come to the next Open Gov Chicago meet up to learn more about how you can use this data. Joe Germuska will provide a 20,000 feet overview of key Census Bureau products, and then give a tour of Census Reporter. Census Reporter is a Knight News Challenge-funded project to make Census data easy for journalists, but there’s nothing about it that keeps non-journalists from using it. See what it can do and hear about the features which will be implemented in the next few months. Peter Kamps, a research analyst for the City of Chicago, will talk about some specific cases where Census data helped guide decision making. He’ll explain how the Current Population Survey (CPS) can provide timely estimates of key statistics about Chicago, and he will give a demonstration of a method for adjusting American Community Survey data to the Chicago Community Area level, which can be very useful for understanding our city.
- IT Procurement & The City of Chicago
Procurement-- the process through which a unit of government purchases goods and services-- is a hot topic in open government. For our next meetup, we'll cover the issue head-on with three of the most relevant officials from the City of Chicago. Brenna Berman (http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/doit/auto_generated/doit_leadership.html), Chief Information Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology, James McIsaac (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/james-mcisaac/12/299/240), General Counsel for the Department of Procurement Services (https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dps/auto_generated/dps_leadership.html), and Kate Yager, Deputy Chief of Policy in the Mayor's Office will present. They will review the current process, answer questions, and gather information from OpenGovChicago members on how the process can be changed to better interface with the developers and residents who seek to have an impact on City technology.
- Open Data, Chicago, and EveryBlock
In our next meetup, we'll hear directly from the people from Comcast responsible for EveryBlock. Here's info on the speakers: Paul Wright: Director, Local Media Development (http://www.linkedin.com/in/pewright), Comcast. Paul is the day-to-day leader of EveryBlock and has led the relaunch efforts. He'll talk about the relaunch and how it got done. Sheila Willard: SVP Local Media Development (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sheila-willard/8/b49/575), Comcast. Sheila leads the unit under which EveryBlock is being managed. Sheila will talk about the importance of EveryBlock to Comcast. Matt Summy: Regional Vice President, External & Government Affairs (http://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewsummy), Comcast Greater Chicago Region. Matt has worked closely with the EveryBlock team to relaunch in its hometown. He’ll talk about his role in bringing EveryBlock back to Chicago. This event is at capacity. Here's complete details on remote participation: http://www.smartchicagocollaborative.org/opengovchicago-meetup-open-data-chicago-and-everyblock/. As usual, this event will be livestreamed and we will have live meeting notes. If you have any questions for the speakers, put them here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cGnZMqbf-Zdj81g3-OrEhVBJTioPP9iSQTKaCsL9KjI/edit. We hope to make remote participation as meaningful as in-person. There's no reason, especially for an event like this, that can't happen. The key is tuning in an adding notes and questions to our shared document.
- OpenGovChicago Holiday Party
The time has come once again for a party. Join us on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 6PM for the OpenGovChicago Holiday Party. This year's event will be held in the Preston Bradley Hall (http://goo.gl/g8ILoR) of the Chicago Cultural Center (http://www.choosechicago.com/articles/view/CHICAGO-CULTURAL-CENTER/384/). There will be food, drinks, coffee, magical (http://www.dj-c.com/) DJs (http://www.ascentstage.com/), and the never-ending wonder of the largest Tiffany glass dome (http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_culturalcenter-tiffanydome.html) ever. Come celebrate your city and your central role in helping make it better on December 12.