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Re: [betaNYC] NYTimes op-ed - Better governing though data

From: Chris W.
Sent on: Friday, August 22, 2014 4:10 PM
Hi BetaNYC, 

These claimstat maps are google fusiontables, so the data driving them is publicly available.  If you inspect the javascript that drives each map, you'll find a docID like:

//dots layer// layer_2 = new google.maps.FusionTablesLayer({ query: { select: "col0", from: "14Iyjpp7z0Ky5E_gaDBzsKKh2E_NnUQy4iZpwnWcc" }, map: map });

Fusiontable tabular views use the same docID, the urls are structured as follows.  You can download a CSV for each fusiontable and do your own analysis/dataviz.  

-Chris Whong





On Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 3:56 PM, Ralph Yozzo <[address removed]> wrote:
I agree with Joel.  The data should be updated daily and provided in CSV format in a open data portal.

Plus it seems to be missing Fire Department Property Damage claims.

The entire claims process is very backward.

For example,
  • Firefighters smash your skylight because your home happens to be two homes away from a false alarm.
  • You make a claim.
  • No one at the comptrollers office can tell you a time line of when this property damage repair will be reimbursed.
  • They cannot tell you even the history of how many claims like this one they've received and the average reimbursement or the time elapsed before reimbursement.
  • You ask "should I repair it now or what for an inspection?"  Answer: "we cannot answer"
  • After a month of waiting, you finally get to speak with an adjuster
  • This adjuster needs to verify with the agency involved.
  • You call the Fire Department and for $2 you can get a report of the incident at FDNY headquarters on Flatbush Ave Brooklyn
  • But this is not good enough for the Comptroller, they have to request it.
  • After 3 months of waiting and 3 requests to the FDNY the comptroller still does not have an answer from the FDNY so your case hangs in limbo.
  • Even after the comptroller gets a response from the FDNY (hopefully soon) then the adjuster has to make an offer and have it approved by their supervisor
  • Finally the supervisor can reduce the offer
  • Also if no response comes with a year then YOU have to sue the city.
AMAZINGLY OPAQUE BYZANTINE SYSTEM!



On Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 3:42 PM, Joel Natividad <[address removed]> wrote:
Awesome!  Hopefully, this will start a new round of innovation in ferreting out all kinds of inefficiencies - from short-sighted penny-wise, pound-foolish impacts of budget decisions, to identifying abusers gaming the system. 

I just wish they share the dataset as well.  As with most map visualizations, there is limited utility.  

Couldn't they have deposited the data in the City's Open Data Portal and just embedded a Socrata map viz?

- Joel

=======================================================
Think Different! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_different#Text)
Imagine Different! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5tOgRD4EqY)


On Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 3:11 PM, Noel Hidalgo | BetaNYC <[address removed]> wrote:

Government bureaucracies, as opposed to casual friendships, are seldom in danger from too much information. That is why a new initiative by the New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer, to use copious amounts of data to save money and solve problems, makes such intuitive sense.

Called ClaimStat, it seeks to collect and analyze information on the thousands of lawsuits and claims filed each year against the city. By identifying patterns in payouts and trouble-prone agencies and neighborhoods, the program is supposed to reduce the cost of claims the way CompStat, the fabled data-tracking program pioneered by the New York Police Department, reduces crime.

There is a great deal of money to be saved: In its 2015 budget, the city has set aside $674 million to cover settlements and judgments from lawsuits brought against it. That amount is projected to grow by the 2018 fiscal year to $782 million, which Mr. Stringer notes is more than the combined budgets of the Departments of Aging and Parks and Recreation and the Public Library.

The comptroller’s office issued a report last month that applied the ClaimStat approach to a handful of city agencies: the Police Department, Parks and Recreation, Health and Hospitals Corporation, Environmental Protection and Sanitation. It notes that the Police Department generates the most litigation of any city agency: 9,500 claims were filed against it in 2013, leading to settlements and judgments of $137.2 million.

After adjusting for the crime rate, the report found that several precincts in the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn had far more claims filed against their officers than other precincts in the city. What does that mean? It’s hard to know, but the implications for policy and police discipline would seem to be a challenge that the mayor, police commissioner and precinct commanders need to figure out. The data clearly point to a problem.

Far more obvious conclusions may be reached from ClaimStat data covering issues like park maintenance and sewer overflows. The city’s tree-pruning budget was cut sharply in 2010, and injury claims from fallen tree branches soared. Multimillion-dollar settlements ensued.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has offered only mild praise for the comptroller’s excellent idea (“the mayor welcomes all ideas to make the city more effective and better able to serve its citizens”) while noting, perhaps a little defensively, that it is already on top of this, at least where the police are concerned. It has created a “Risk Assessment and Compliance Unit” within the Police Department to examine claims and make recommendations. The mayor’s aides also point out that the city’s payouts have remained flat over the last 12 years, for which they credit a smart risk-assessment strategy that knows when to settle claims and when to fight back aggressively in court.

But the aspiration of a well-run city should not be to hold claims even but to shrink them. And, at a time when anecdotes and rampant theorizing are fueling furious debates over police crime-fighting strategies, it seems beyond arguing that the more actual information, independently examined and publicly available, the better.

--
Sent from an Apple //c




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