Sen. Bob Hertzberg proposes plan to require local public agencies to ‘show what they got’

Improved public access to information sought

February 19, 2015

SACRAMENTO – On the eve of International Open Data Day, Sen. Bob Hertzberg introduced a bill to require local government agencies to conduct system-wide inventories of collected data and make the inventories publicly available under the California Public Records Act. 

“From public bus times in San Francisco to maps of fire hazards in Santa Cruz County, some local agencies statewide are already turning internally gathered data into usable information, all to the public’s benefit,” Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said about Senate Bill 272. “A better understanding of data means a smarter government, and that translates into improved services and jobs and a stronger helping hand to residents who need it most.”

The principle co-author of Hertzberg’s bill, Asm. Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, chair of the Assembly Committee on Local Government, praised Hertzberg’s efforts.

“In San Diego, I saw firsthand how data could be used as a powerful tool for social good,” Asm. Maienschien, co-author of SB 272 and chair of the Assembly Local Government Committee, said of Project 25, a venture he spearheaded in San Diego County that sought treatment and services for the area’s chronically homeless. “Once we had good data, we were able to tell a compelling fact-based story about how to effectively serve those in greatest need in San Diego.”

Specifically, SB 272 would require California local government agencies at the city and county level to inventory the information they collect and make the inventories accessible to the public. These inventories would include who maintains the information and how often that data is collected.

In many cases, Hertzberg said, local agencies do not even know what data they have, where the data came from or how it is kept. Within California’s 58 counties and nearly 500 cities, there are thousands of agencies that collect public information.

Hertzberg’s goal for SB 272 is to better harness the power of locally generated data to help spur economic growth, tackle major infrastructure issues and set millions of Californians on a path toward upward mobility. Properly gathered and clearly understood, data could also help empower local agencies and encourage the agencies to work together more effectively and to intelligently allocate resources to better deliver public services, he said.

“With a better grasp of what data local agencies have available, those overseeing the agencies will be better equipped to make informed decisions, from allocation of limited social services to the best venues for targeted economic growth,” Hertzberg said, adding that Saturday is International Open Data Day, devoted to encouraging governments to make public data freely available in readable formats. “Smarter governments work better and inspire confidence in those they serve, strengthening the connection between government and the people.”

For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 272, visit Hertzberg’s Web site at the address below.

Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map HERE or athttp://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district.  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg built an international renewable energy business; invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through two civic groups: California Forward and the Think Long Committee of California.

More HERE or at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg

MEDIA CONTACT: Ray Sotero

Communications Director
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Senate District 18
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4018 office; 916 834-1128 cell
www.sen.ca.gov/hertzberg

 

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