To his credit, Governor Cuomo has convened a “Sandy Commission” of experts to review what worked and didn’t work during Sandy, and to make recommendations for how New York should prepare for rising oceans and volatile weather. The availability of inexpensive, easy to use, information technology has created an unprecedented opportunity to make the “Sandy Commissions” and recovery efforts a public conversation that involves all interested New Yorkers. Here are some ways the governor and local governments can use the internet and everyday information tools to encourage public participation, and government transparency and accountability as New York recovers and rebuilds from Sandy.
- Webcast and archive all meetings of the Sandy Commissions. (Governor.)
- Post all of the documents, agendas and data related to the Sandy Commissions online in a single website. Importantly, this site should include all of the recommendations and questions submitted by the public, make data machine readable. (Governor.)
- Create a state website, like the federal Recovery.gov, to track how state, local and federal funds for Sandy are allocated and spent, and track costs from Sandy. (Governor and Comptroller.)
- Actively solicit recommendations and questions from the public via social media and using a form on the Sandy Commission website – share that feedback with the public.
- Use online maps, timelines and agency data to create visualizations which can help illuminate what worked and what didn’t work. (Take a look at the New York Times’ interactive flood map, which shows there was flooding in some unexpected places.)