Some cities have committed recently to publishing their public data in an open format that citizens can directly access. Should Hamilton pledge to become an "open source city"? Why or why not?

Responses to the question: "Some cities have committed recently to publishing their public data in an open format that citizens can directly access. Should Hamilton pledge to become an "open source city"? Why or why not?"

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63 Candidate Responses (top)

CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Baldasaro, Michael James Yes Yes, Hamilton should become an "open source city" to promote more understanding of where we stand financially and to identify and better communicate on the issues affecting everyone within the Greater Hamilton Area.
Bratina, Bob Yes Yes, absolutely. The first priority in this is the live streaming of all committee meetings, which I will bring forward immediately upon election of the new Council.
Butani, Mahesh P. Yes I have been a proponent of an "open source city" for a very long time.

See some of my earlier views on this at: http://metrohamilton.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-city-as-an-open-source and http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/893/#comment-31573.

Hamilton needs commitment in this area, and that can only come from a new leadership that implicitly understands and inherently values "open source" thinking.

It is no longer about making pledges. It is about seizing the moment and running with it. We have lost precious time in wishing and hoping that the current leadership somehow learns about such ideas and gets around to believing in it enough to implement them. The benefits are enormous -- but over the last decade, the fear of the "new" has always stopped us from becoming truly who we are as a community.
Eisenberger, Fred Yes Most city information is already open source in the sense that it is publicly available for the asking. If there are ways to increase accessibility for the public I would favour looking at them as I believe the public interest is best served by putting out as much information as possible in a timely fashion.
Filice, Pasquale Yes Yes, can people can have a access. You have to have the proper psychology and first go to cat psychology school so they can dress like the cat and act like one to and chase there tail around in a circle. Of course communication, transportation, and education are the keys factors to upgrade your standards of living.
Haines, Andrew Yes Yes, we should endeavour to become an open source City. However, I believe that would only be one step toward Saving the City. We need Transparency, as opposed to Opacity. WE need to become involved in Government like never before.

As yourself: "Can we all govern?"

Participative Government. Picture this: in the process of checking your daily e-mails, you get a link to the City of Hamilton's daily issues page. There, you see the issues that City Council will be dealing with that day. One by one, you click on the issues and read about them. Then you vote on them. Then you confirm your choices and click "ok" and close the page. Then you move or delete the e-mail and carry-on with your day.

You've just participated in the actual functioning of your City Council: your vote is collected along with hundreds of thousands of other Hamiltonian votes and is used to guide the direction of Council.

If you like this idea, you may like my website: AndrewForHamiltonMayor2010.com
Hamilton, Glenn Yes To help citizens know what is going on in city hall with their money.
Leach, Ken Yes The city should become an open forum for our public data. All citizens deserve the right to have access to the information that impacts them directly. In order to ensure transparency of our government, while ensuring that the public is aware of our plans to move forward, we must give them the opportunity.
Marrone, Tone Yes Yes, definitely. I can't think of a better way to keep the finances of the city honest. There is a widespread belief that Hamilton City Hall is corrupted, and whatever the actual truth may be, giving the public much greater access to city data will help to restore confidence in the government of Hamilton.

Admittedly, there will still be some things that must be kept confidential, and we cannot release data that would prejudice public works tendering, but the vast majority of city documents should be available to the public. The Internet has made the delivery of this material much more practical.
Veri, Victor Yes Yes, become an open source city. This allows citizens to be more informed on all the issues. In turn, these people can apply their beliefs on the issues at hand to the elected officials.
Waxman, Steven Yes Barriers must be reduced to allow ease of personal access.
Ward 01
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
McHattie, Brian Yes I support this idea as it follows on my involvement on Mayor Fred's Transparency and Accountability Committee, Making City data available in a raw form to folks will allow for more community-based data crunching and interpretation which can be shared with Councillors as they make decisions and used in the community for purposes deemed important by citizens. Clearly Portland and Vancouver are leaders in this area (and many other areas) and we need to learn from them. This will help us in our move to making Hamilton a truly creative city.
Ward 02
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Caplan, Marvin No Open Source data is one of many hundreds of issues that are dear to the hearts of many. Hamilton in the 1970s became a Nuclear Free City suggesting that nuclear submarines were not welcome here. Many believe that Hamilton should, as a city declare itself in favour of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

We have a bylaw that forbids feeding pigeons. Previous Councils have passed resolutions that declared us an "International City." We are twinned with Cities in China, Japan, India, the US and more. All well intentioned.

And, sometimes our leadership even works. The initiatives that I and others worked on to make Hamilton "second-hand smoke free" helped substantially in leading the Province to pass similar legislation.

I am sure that your readers could come up with many other forgotten issues we have spent time and energy on, most unsuccessful and some, happily that made a difference. I could spend a few days reading about and discussing the open source issue with proponents and opponents.

As we run up to October 25th, I believe your readers would prefer we talk about how to repair a dysfunctional council, poverty and illiteracy, community empowerment, and brownfield remediation, not to speak of the chasm separating rabid residential developers and adamant 'no new suburbs' environmentalists.
Casey, Paul Yes As I see it, there should be nothing to hide. We have entrusted our citizens with the very important responsibility to "Hire" us as their respective representatives through democratic process. The City in return must respect and honour their right, their needs, as our employers to ensure they know what their employees are doing.
Castle, John Yes Most definitely, many of the city's mega plans should be subjected to substantial cost/benefit analysis.
Chiarelli, Diane Yes It is of great public importance that our citizens can access public data. We can not say we are accountable or transparent unless the public can directly look at the information and data that affects their community and them. Many citizens feel decisions are made without them having access to information. Hamilton should commit to becoming an "Open Source City".
Coleman, Shane Yes I believe in the transparency of public data and government and that citizens of this city and any city should be able to access any information, data, budgets and especially any financial information, because the citizens of the city should be able to know what their Tax dollars are being used for, and for what purpose and should be able to see the results of their tax dollars at work.
Deans, Ian Maybe I'm not sure what the phrase "open source city" means in the context of municipal government. I will carefully review it and give you an answer later.
Farr, Jason Yes Wherever possible. Clearly some in-camera issues are in-camera for good reason (subjects may involve confidential real-estate, development, or investment matters, etc.)

However, I do believe accountability in government starts with transparency.

It is encouraging to see groups like CATCH taking matters in hand, making notes, and analyzing each topic in council chambers. Open source city? Sure, whenever/wherever possible.
Geleynse, Martinus Yes I believe that the posting of public information will be a valuable aid in ensuring increased transparency and accountability in our municipal administration!
Gentile, Matteo Yes Transparency is essential. I believe much of the apathy felt towards politicians has to do with the lack of transparency. We need to change the culture and the "profession" of politics. I have raised the issue with Mayor Eisenberger. For example, have you ever tried reading through the minutes of council minutes, you only know of motions that pass or don't. It does not tell you WHO voted which way. And this is deliberate and unacceptable. Further, included in all that wasteful spending of $72MM in remodeling City Hall is an electronic system that council is to use that records their vote - and guess what - it is not used! Another good use of our money!
Hess, Erik Yes Sharing of data can bring value with open and up to date information. The cost is a concern, however this may well be off set, with the value added from timely and accurate information available to all equally. We must also be cognizant of what information and privacy issues should be taken into consideration. That said, we need to make public data as open and accessible as possible.
Ielasi, Pat Yes Absolutely, open and transparent government is the most credible government. We many not always agree with decisions made but if we have access to information we might be more understanding of decisions that have been made.
Janjic, Ned Yes Absolutely, all regular financial reports should be posted on the city's website. The most effective, timely and cost-efficient way to disseminate information to the public is through the internet and all reports generated by the City should be made available.
Jelly, Matt Yes Open source data is fundamental to open accessible transparent government. Communication and enhancing our technology at the City is a key campaign commitment of mine. Open source data delivers:

- Open source data sparks innovation by making information accessible
- Open source data makes the City more sustainable through access by citizens and organizations to data to further the City's environmental, social, economic, and cultural goals
- Open source data enhances communication, opens opportunities for service delivery improvements in true partnership with the business and citizen communities and is a pillar to stronger civic engagement
- Open source data is a key initiative in leveling the playing field so citizens can use City data to provide feedback to Council on key community issues.
Lescaudron, Dawn Yes Yes. Without a doubt, we need transparency; we need to allow the citizens in, with no hidden agenda, no secret meetings. Open format is the way to go! A good councillor works for the citizens and they have every right to honest representation.
Novak, James Yes I believe all citizens have the right to know. I believe we should all have the same access to information as our councillors, civic staff and special interest groups.

I have proposed, for Ward 2, a pilot project to engage the residents of Ward 2. I am proposing an online/mail-in pilot project, by which every elector will have access to all of the research reports on a specific issue that the councillor has access to; an online forum allowing residents of Ward 2 to discuss the issue among themselves; and, a unique code permitting residents of Ward 2 to vote on the issue directly. Those residents without access to a computer will have the option of a mail-in-vote.
Pipe, Charlie Yes Transparency is the key to City Council integrity.
Ward 03
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Black, Bob Yes I think that because we are there to serve the public the public has a right to see what we are doing, so yes I think Hamilton should pledge to become an "open source city"
DiMillo, Mark Yes If by public data you are referring to the city's financials, budgets, reports, and minutes of meetings, I know Hamilton has all of this online. Much of my research for this election has come from the online information provided by the city. If there is more information that might be useful to the public, then it is definitely worth looking into. Moving forward by improving our communications with the residents with respects to City Hall matters is encouraged. Transparency is also encouraged and will help remove the apathy that residents now have for our local democracy.

However, some information is hard to navigate and interpret. For example certain accounting measures used in municipal governance might be hard for the public to understand if they are not accustomed to the same. This could also lead to misinterpretation or misunderstanding of information, which might then have a negative impact or reverse impact in the pursuit of transparency. Definitely, a review of the public data currently available, and a recommendation on how to improve direct access is supported.
Gibson, Sean Yes Yes, absolutely! Transparency and open politics will help people regain a sense of trust in the system, people no longer believe in the system because they don't know what's going on.
McGrimmond, Wilamina Yes Yes Hamilton should become an "open source city " for the citizens to see what is going on. This will give the citizens an opportunity to see how transparent city hall and staff is in spending the tax money and also see the waste that is going on. We should be accountable to the citizens of Hamilton.
Morelli, Bernie Yes I am committed to complete transparency, subject to legal advice and the need to preserve confidentiality whenever the Clerk or Legal Staff recommend that material remain in camera.
Tetley, Paul Yes Yes, I support open data for the City of Hamilton.

Providing open data will also allow software developers to create applications that serve and benefit the needs of the city, and residents. Opening the datastore will release large of amounts of the information generated by the city, which can then be presented in a searchable and usable format. The release of this information will benefit residents, city staff and council.

The share of open data increases transparency, and accountability within The City of Hamilton, and has the potential to stimulate Hamilton's software development industry through application development.

Hamilton needs to take a leadership role in 21st Century industries and that includes the management of data.
Ward 04
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Cicconi, Giulio Yes I support an "open and transparent" government. We as elected city councillors have the responsibility to represent all of our constituents.
Merulla, Sam Yes
Ward 05
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Stacey, Dave Yes I believe an honest and effective government should be a direct voice for its people. In order to accomplish this an "open source city" would be an excellent way for the citizens of hamilton to have all the pertinent information and make the most educated opinions and decisions. I would fully support making data public in order to be an effective and honest government.
Ward 06
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Behrens, Chris Yes Hamilton should become an open source city. First of all, this could be a big step for Hamilton towards an honest and transparent municipal government. Information Communication Technology could provide a means for the constituent to communicate closer and more efficient with City Hall. Hamiltonians with accessabilty issues, special needs, care givers, disabilities, seniors, and those who simply cannot make it during business hours would be able to communicate with City Hall, without the inconvienence of trying to get there.
Knowles, Steven Yes Absolutely! The more we know the better. If we are expected to invest in this city then should know exactly what is happening.
Pecyna, Ed Yes Hamilton should pledge to become an "open source city". If the data is public, then City Hall should make efforts to make it easy for citizens, businesses and other groups to share this information while respecting privacy and security concerns. Just as there is a push to integrate a better mix of different transportation modes throughout the city, similar efforts should be focused on improving communication between the city and its citizens.


- Better informed citizens make better decisions.
- Easily accessed and well organized public data provides impetus for potential innovation.
- Possibilities of more cost effective and better delivery of city services.

It's time to drag the 20th century buggy-whip crowd into the 21st century!
Yan, Nathalie Xian Yi Yes The answer is absolutely yes, but the problem is how to make the open source city system work?

First of all, we have the Freedom of Information and the Protection of Privacy Act in place. This act entitles every person in Ontario the right to access a record or a part of a record in the custody, or under the control of an institution. The act also stipulates that information should be available to the public, and necessary exemptions from the right of access should be limited and specific. Therefore this is a legal obligation upon City Hall rather than a privilege conferred by the City.

Moreover, the City needs to make information more accessible. I personally hold that out City did well but there is no room for complacency.

On top of what I have said, the crucial issue that really matters is the relationship between our City Hall and Hamiltonians. This seems like a two-way street. They do not really interact with each other. A good example would be the barely satisfactory constituent-voter ratio. Apparently people are just not enthusiastic about public issues.

From my point of view, it is not enough just to make the City's information accessible. More importantly, the city should take the initiative to solicit the attention and involvement of all the Hamiltonians, which could make the City's decisions more justifiable.
Ward 07
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Duvall, Scott Yes I believe in open and transparent governing, as long as there are no ramifications under the law to a particular issue. The City of Hamilton website does provide information to the public, but more content could be added.
Gallagher, John Yes Open government must be accomplished if we are to have honest, accountable government. I am enthusiastically in favour of the goals sought by the Open Source City program. I have proposed that all stakeholders get together (political/citizen/media) after the election to attempt to find common ground on a made in Hamilton Access to Information policy. Current freedom to information policy works in reverse and is undemocratic. I will make every effort to open our government to the general public, while taking care not to harm taxpayers by premature disclosure.
Pettit, Trevor Yes Yes absolutely we should become an open source city, whenever possible. Transparency is paramount to the public in my view. There may be occasions, for legal reasons for example, where we may not be able to be as open as we might wish. Beyond that we should be as open as possible. What's to hide?
Ward 08
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Jenkinson, Kim Yes Government at all levels needs to be accountable and transparent. Yes, I would support public data being accessible to the public.
Whitehead, Terry Yes Yes, I fully support transparency. I pushed for and succeded in having the Police Services budget posted on the city's website.
Ward 09
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Clark, Brad Yes Adopt a policy of "Proactive Disclosure" on expenses. I will strongly advocate for a new policy where City Councillors and management proactively disclose all expenditures and expenses incurred through their offices: travel expenses, accommodations, mileage, meetings, meals etc. This policy will increase accountability and lower the City's expenses on freedom of information requests.

Adopt a policy of "Access by Design". I will encourage Council to move to the Access by Design paradigm, where City held information is proactively released to the public as opposed to the current policy of reacting to freedom of information requests. Exceptions should be limited and specific. While the City is responsible to protect the privacy of third parties, it is equally responsible to ensure that information flows in an open and transparent process that allows citizens to hold their government accountable. The Ontario Privacy Commissioner has developed policies to guide municipalities in this transition.
Fiorentino, Nancy Yes The City of Hamilton needs to be open, transparent, and accountable to its residents and taxpayers. Let's begin by revising the City of Hamilton's website by making it more user friendly and accessible to all. Public information such as meeting agendas and minutes, public consultation meetings for Planning matters or other matters, and so forth need to be easily accessible and readily available. The user needs to be able to access the information quickly and efficiently, and that is not the case presently.

Furthermore, a thorough review of the public notice policy needs to take place and revisions need to be made to enable active engagement from the public in all decisions made. Having public engagement enables the public to review the required documentation or reports and provide feedback. This is what an open and transparent process is about! Furthermore, all and any budget documentation should be publicly posted and made accessible.

Finally, committee and council meetings that go in-camera should be questioned each time they do so to ensure that they are abiding by the Municipal Act. It is imperative that councillors sitting on Council pose this question to the Clerk each time it is suggested that they go in-camera to ensure that it is being done according to legislation and to enable open and transparent governance.

If elected, I will not tolerate any in-camera sessions unless they are for the reasons stipulated in the Municipal Act and they are thoroughly warranted. I will not 'simply' go in-camera because the Clerk has advised. Having worked directly in muncipal government with the Municipal Act, I am able to use that knowledge to ensure that all meetings are publicly advertised, accessible and open to the public as much as possible.
McMullen, Geraldine Yes Anything that promotes transparency is worth considering; however, it must be handled properly and there should be some basic guidelines in order to prevent inconsistencies and any negative implications.
Mowatt, Andrew Yes Hamilton should have the public data available for citizens to access. Our city politicians make decisions regarding multi-millions of dollars of our money, our tax dollars. If we want real transparency the lets be an open source city. Every citizen is not going to agree with every decision but having an open format will give citizens a better understanding of how some of the decisions are made.
Ward 10
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Bustamante, Jose Pablo Yes When data is used to make a decision then becomes information. And information can empower people and create new ideas. I believe that having an open source city will not only allows us to be more transparent, but will also encourage our citizens to engage in the decision making processes of or City.
Josipovic, Bernard Yes Yes Hamilton should become an open source city. This way everything is out on the open. Residents should know how and on what their tax dollars are being spent.
Ward 11
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Chartrand, Ken Yes Yes it should. I have stated since the beginning of my campaign that I will be completely transparent on my day to day work schedule, so if I state this then the city should also be the same.
Johnson, Brenda Yes I believe in an open and transparent process. The residents of Hamilton are paying through their taxes for meetings and the reports generated by those meetings. Citizens should be an important part of the process.
Mitchell, David Yes Yes I do. I thought it was. There is times though that releasing information from the Corporation of Hamilton can create huge lawsuits against the City and thus more money being spent on fighting and paper work than going into the infrastructure where it is desperately needed. Information must be looked at and gone over in many cases very carefully before it gets released officially as to not have legal problems.. I would say the process could be speeded up though.
Ward 12
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Cox-Graham, Brenda Yes I can see no reason why not to have open sources of already public data if that means merely making it available to the public over the internet.
Ferguson, Lloyd Yes I believe we are already an "open source city". All Staff reports, agendas and minutes are on the city web site.
Ward 13
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Powers, Russ Yes Every municipality can improve however it requires ever increasing resources to stay current. I feel that the City of Hamilton does a pretty reasonable job of making available all permitted information in a timely manner to not only assist City Council in their deliberations but also inform the interested public.
Robinson, Glenn Yes Publishing City data in an open format will provide greater access and in turn improve transparency. However, valid issues of privacy and security must be respected.
Scime, Danya Yes Hamilton should pledge to become an "open source City"! I believe all levels of Government should be open source. Crystal clear, transparent...We as the Citizens have been growing like mushrooms for far too long. If we brought in open source, we could begin to get back to the basics of democracy. It would be a hell of a lot harder for anyone, at any level to mislead the taxpayers. With modern technology and our social media so easily accessible, this is an easy, essential way to get everyone involved and re-connected with what really matters. Our future! Count on me to put a motion for this format in January...And RTH, I know that you guys will let everyone know when I get it done :)
Tammer, Ron Yes I think that the City should make the information as accessible as possible, and promote the site to the public. This would be a very positive step in the efforts to get people involved in civic affairs, and engage more voters, as only 37% of those eligible voted in the last Municipal election.
Ward 15
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Bos, Neil Maybe There is information that is benign, and there is information that can be explosive.

If we start today we might get improved transparency over the next decade, but it will be a long haul.

I'd like to hear some discussion about the issue before I decide to take a stance.
Gaspar, Brian Yes Well governments have been avoiding this topic for years. It would provide more accountability to our businesses residences and restore confidence in our municipal leaders. Where business especially the larger corporation s have been leading the way and becoming more open with there business expenditures and sharing information by all means it not perfect but we have come along way to share certain business goals with employees and other and business partners.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

20 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Di Ianni, Larry
Graydon, Edward H.C.
Speziale, Gino
Wozny, Mark
Ward 01
Greco, Tony
Paquette, Raymond
Ward 02
Ferguson, Lloyd
Jones, Hoojung
Wright, Kevin
Ward 04
Bulbrook, Norm
Ward 05
Bedi, Jaswinder
Collins, Chad
Rukavina, Frank
Ward 06
Febers, Michelle
Jackson, Tom
Ward 07
Beck, Keith
Ward 10
Pearson, Maria
Ward 13
Zuliniak, Marty
Ward 14
Pasuta, Robert
Ward 15
Partridge, Judi