Simple Internet presentation of government info better than nothing


Among the achievements praised by County Commissioner Wilbert Collins in his "State of the County Address":

The Election Board has added enhancements to its Web page that allow voters to determine their polling places.

The enhancement: The county election board website has a PDF file that shows the name and address of the polling place for each precinct. There is no map of the precincts, however, so if you don't remember your number, you're out of luck. Better than nothing, but only slightly. Wilbert Collins has probably not looked at the website to see this "enhancement" for himself -- I suspect he is like the vast number of elected officials who are still barely tech savvy enough to send and receive e-mail.

There is a lot of data that could easily be put on the web. If the information were available on the Internet it would save government workers a lot of time answering questions from the public. The election board could put detailed precinct maps and maps that show which precincts are in which districts (legislative, city council, school board, judicial, etc.). INCOG could put current copies of the zoning map and the Comprehensive Plan (along with all the subsidiary area plans) online. (In her recent defense of Tulsa's zoning regime, Whirled editorialist Janet Pearson incorrectly stated that this information was already available online.) Most of these things already exist in electronic format. While a lot of money could be spent creating sophisticated interfaces to the information, simply creating and posting PDF files would be an inexpensive way to serve the public.

The county assessor's office has put some very useful maps on the web, including maps of city and school district boundaries, and a map for each township section in the county, showing subdivisions, lots, and block numbers. Each map is a large PDF file. I believe this was initiated under former Assessor Jack Gordon. In any case, the maps have a lot of useful information. It would be great to click on a lot and get the current valuation, the current zoning, history of zoning cases relating to the property, maybe a title history. Someday, but for today this is a great start.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 7, 2004 12:39 AM.

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