Casey Vaughan (Staff) Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Update #6

Spring /Summer 2018 Update

“Coming Together is a beginning, Keeping Together is progress, Working Together is success” -Henry Ford

  • Remi & Chris: API & Data pipeline
  • Konstantine: Error checking & Documentation
  • James: Docker setup, Front end & Pipeline
  • Casey: Project Coordinator

The Leverage team took the opportunity this Spring to review, revamp and confirm the accuracy of documentation on Github. In addition, a project board on Github was formally adopted in early summer to increase the productivity level of the team. To date we have successfully closed nearly 50 issues. “We know we are not setting any speed records as the project nears its 3rd year in the prototype stage so it’s certainly not the time to start cutting any corners.” Project scope increased from city focused to elections statewide as it became apparent that in-district and out-of-district donations are a key variable to track when researching voting options.

Azavea Credits!! Azavea generously provided the Leverage team with use of the companies Cicero API which enabled us to complete our coordinates for political districts in the city and statewide. You can read more about this contribution in an upcoming blog by Chris Williams on the Azavea web site. Casey connected with the product manager of Cicero at a Philly Tech week event held at the Philadelphia Free Library. Serendipitous networking like this goes to show what a vibrant and healthy Tech Ecosystem the City of Philadelphia has and its businesses support.

A focus group compilation was completed summarizing the three conversations held at various Free Library Branches around the city. The compilation also includes two information architecture activities for participants to get a feel for the breadth of information described within the Board of Ethics database. The first involved having participants look at the words currently used on the City Board of Ethics website and offer suggestions for alternative synonyms. The second activity was basic card sorting that provided participants to plan out how they would like to access the data. While the results of the study have not directly impacted the current design they provided momentum to the project and attracted developers at a time when interest and motivation was waning.

In late summer Chris Williams and Casey Vaughan attended a fundraiser for the 18th Ward (Kensington). The event was well attended by ward committee members, ward leaders and a state representative. The outing proved opportunity to speak with potential end users. One of the great things about getting involved in CfP projects is that it helps you to appreciate the variety of resources available for learning and engaging in the political process.

While no clear deadline has been set for Leverage the last 2 seasons of weekly Tuesday meetings have been productive. Put in the perspective that it takes one full year of weekly 2 hour meetings to put in 80 hours of work, Leverage has steadily moved towards completion. In the final weeks of the summer Chris Addey a Philadelphia based data scientist joined the group.