Editorial: Rudiak, Peduto to bridge divide between public and government

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

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The division between the citizens of Pittsburgh and the municipal government of Pittsburgh has become less noticeable as of yesterday. Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak introduced a new piece of legislation aimed at increasing the amount of information to which the public has access.

The Open Data Legislation opens the doors of Pittsburgh’s city government for citizens to not only see the progress these officials are making, but also to have an opportunity to further contribute to the political process.

“We want to blow the doors of this building open to provide information,” Mayor Bill Peduto said at a press conference discussing the ordinance.

The legislation will instill open data policies that will make available information regarding paving schedules, property maintenance citations, building permits and other municipal and commercial data. The potential outcomes of this initiative seem to be incredibly beneficial to the people of Pittsburgh.

Not only is the city government becoming more transparent, but the resulting services and promptness from the access to open data will also further advance the experience and quality of life of the city’s residents.

“The adoption of open data improves provision of services, increases transparency and access to public information and enhances coordination and efficiencies among departments and partner organizations across the public, nonprofit and private sectors,” the ordinance states.

The ordinance to make more information public has provided benefits to other cities that have passed similar laws. Rudiak said 19 other cities and counties have such ordinances in practice.

They have found that “open data policies encourage innovation, with software and app developers inventing useful tools that help the public — and government itself — tackle difficult problems, like crime trends or snow removal, more effectively,” according to the City Council website.

Moreover, Rudiak has made the ordinance widely available for the public to review. The administration uploaded the legislation through Google Docs, allowing anyone to insert comments and suggestions within the document.

The move further narrows the information gap between the public and city government by simplifying the process by which the vast majority of the public may contribute to the political process.

The ability of Pittsburgh residents to further connect with their government, now through an open online portal, will make living in the city smoother and more seamless, enhancing the idea that Pittsburgh is the country’s most livable city.

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