Well, on a serious note? All of this is bull****.
The simple fact is that no philadelphia governmental agency should have a separate website or separate format. This isn't about transparency as much as it is about usability. For about a year safari browsers couldn't utilize the city legislation section and everyone was blaming each other when I inquired.
There should be one unified website with the requirements that all forms be editable pdfs, html forms for inquiries, etc. No domains. Every department should be a subdomain or hierarchy of the phila.gov website.
I hate to say it because I always hate being compared to them-but NYC seems to do it well with their site. Our way just leads to inflated contracts and fluffy favors via contracts.
The Sheriff's Dept is a special case in that they wasted $1,000,000 on a website that did not function as advertised and no longer exists.
Well surprise surprise. Turns out that the owner of the domain is politically connected through papers and unions, then became the editor for the phillytribune, and is dead. That domain is going to be hard to get back unless they get ahold of the other partner which probably won't happen.
And their website appears to be a bunch of made up hoopla. How many graphic designers get another graphic design company to make their logo/image?! HAHAHAHA!
And how did he get a contract to do the site?
"As the business, at 1219 Spruce St., grew, Mr. Cassell became involved in city politics. In 1991, he was an adviser to Democratic mayoral candidate Lucien Blackwell. In 1999, Mr. Cassell contributed to and served as treasurer on Sheriff John Green's reelection campaign, and his company produced print ads for the effort. He was a longtime supporter of Mayor Street and other politicians."
Also not working: The parcel address tool on the Philadelphia Zoning Map
I'm guessing there's something going on with the City's master parcel and BRT files this weekend.
I was working on a YouTube video to show how to always get the address correct on a property, 100% of the time--but without that feature working on the zoning map I can't do it.
Cassell, James info@REACHINC.COM
Reach Communications Specialists, Inc.
1219 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 772-1925 fax: (215) 772-1930
“Guys like you I would dispatch with my roofing axe.” -- BootsywannabeACretin
OK it's back online.
Also: I have borrowed Tim W's OPA search tool and put it on PDQ. It has the "search by owner" feature which you can't get on OPA's website:
Property Lookup - Philadelinquency
I agree with LIN and Adam that all city services should be under one high-level phila.gov domain for consistency. That said, I'd rather have a working website that is a one-off than something that is integrated but never works. I am sure to be disappointed either way though...
The problem of course is politics. Is there an incentive for a mid-level government bureaucrat to pull the trigger on the agile approach and risk criticism from those that have vested interests in consistency? The more likely outcome is that they just ignore the complaints of the public (to whom they aren't nearly accountable enough) and stick with status quo.
In addition, it seems an odd position for a government agency to say "I don't like the rules made by government, so I am going to do my own thing". If the procedures are too cumbersome, the solution really isn't to just say "screw the procedures". Keep in mind IT isn't just setting up websites and installing Windows 7. A lot of it now a days is security and data integrity, not things to be taken lightly.