As the holidays and the multitude of political and non-profit holiday parties came near, I was inspired to create a crowd sourced calendar of events for the greater New York City area where everyone and anyone could post and access events. NYCPoliticalCalendar.com has become a political mainstay as it enters its second year with about 20,000 visitors, nearly half of whom are regulars.
The crowd sourced political calendar, along with putting legislation online, and a prior project that allows voters to verify their registrations prior to election day earned recognition as a Tech Entrepreneur andOne-Man Political Geek Squad in the New York Observer's “Insurgents of 2010.”
Having seen the “Sausage” making process behind legislation I left the Assembly to fight for reform. While my incumbent City Council Member pondered a city-wide run I explored the opportunity of filling her vacancy launching KallosForCouncil.com where we started things off with a strong section on public policy and a commitment to making the legislative process transparent, accessible and open.
While the City Council campaign concluded when the incumbent sought re-election, my commitment to transparency in Government did not with the founding of Open Government Foundation and the launch of OpenLegislation.org where we were the first to post attendance, legislation and voting records going back to 1995 along with an application that showed how often your New York City or State legislator voted with the majority. Soon after the New York State Senate and New York City Council would launch similar portals and certain legislators would be forced to step down for poor records that were not previously easily accessible over the Internet.
Following former Public Advocate Mark Green’s announcement of his candidacy to be New York City’s next Public Advocate in 2009, I joined his campaign as his Director of Policy and Communication where we came up with “100 Ideas for a Better City.” While we made it through the primary, we didn’t make it through the run off. But the good news is that many of the ideas have already made it into the "connected city" policies adopted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Throughout 2008 and through the first months of 2009 I had the privilege of serving as a Chief of Staff to Jonathan Bing in the New York State Assembly. During that time we helped constituents with their problems, provided financial support to non-profits serving the community and authored some of the most progressive legislation out there.
Some highlights include Economic Development for Second Avenue SubwayBusiness, Tax Incentives for Open Source Development and Emergency Preparedness, Tenant Protections from Unfair Credit Reporting, and Elections Law Reforms including Youth Registration Initiatives, Electronic Voter Registration andAbsentee Ballots, and Statewide Registration. With support from people like you these bills can someday become laws that will make life better.