Last fall, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a new data website that he promised would “revolutionize” the relationship between citizens and City Hall. The site, lamayor.org/performance, offered bar graphs on things like road repairs, response times and library usage.
But since then, the site has become a virtual ghost town. It averages just 34 pageviews per day, according to data provided by the mayor's office under the Public Records Act.
Meanwhile, a similar effort by City Controller Ron Galperin has been far more successful. Galperin's Control Panel L.A. now averages 860 pageviews per day, and racked up 4.5 million hits in its first five months, compared to just 7,423 hits for Garcetti's site.
Now Garcetti is planning a reboot, and he's hired Galperin's consultant to do it.
The mayor's office hired Socrata, at a cost of $150,000, to launch a new data portal at data.lacity.org, and a new metrics site at performance.lacity.org. The sites are scheduled to go live on Saturday.
Here's what the new interface will look like.
Peter Marx, the mayor's chief technology officer, gave the Weekly a preview of the website on Wednesday.
The site has more than 100 data sets, offering far greater detail than can be found on the mayor's current site. Marx also said the mayor's staff has not been promoting the current site recently because they have been preparing to unveil the new site.
Though some of the kinks are still being worked out, the site is expected to offer data on traffic, crime, building permits, and street maintenance, among many other things. Much of it can be mapped, so that users can zero in on information relevant to their own neighborhoods.
“We're looking to publish all the data the government has,” Marx said. “We're making a single, go-to place.”
Marx said the site could also be used, for example, to determine the city's most dangerous intersection.
Such information could be interesting to the average citizen, but it could also be useful to app developers who want to build mobile applications based on traffic information or crime reports.
Much of the traffic to the controller's site came in February, when Galperin was promoting it in speeches to tech entrepreneurs. The site averaged 83,000 hits per day that month.
Asked if the mayor's new sites would get as much traffic as Galperin's, Marx said, “My mother taught me that comparisons are odious.”