I wanted to start a topic to discuss the issue of Connecticut and transparency. Both candidates for governor have talked about transparency a little. Lamont mentions it in regards to procurement and Dan Malloy talks about the expenditure database. Meanwhile the right-leaning Yankee Institute has been leading a transparency charge. Using disclosures obtained in cooperation with the Comptroller’s office they developed CT Sunlight.org. The CT Mirror had an article about the legislature’s reaction to the database. Concern about the accuracy of the Yankee Institute data lead to an act directing the state to create its own version of the database.
While it’s certainly interesting that this data is online, I’m wondering about its usefulness. Candidates are calling for transparency and as activists and citizens I think its important for us to have the conversation about where it is best to focus these efforts. After all, transparency does not actually accomplish anything unless we as citizens we can use the data and then effect change with it. Whether it be informing ourselves as to the results of health inspections of restaurants so we know what to avoid, or using campaign contribution data to determine whether a representative may have been influenced by money, we can use the data to inform our eating and voting patterns.
What data should Connecticut be opening up? Where as a citizenry are we lacking important information the government has that could be useful?