December 2013 Newsletter


In this edition:

Campaign Spending Commission Launches Interactive App

App Visualizes Wide Range of Hawaii Campaign Financial Data

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission is shining a light on local politics by launching a web-based application that allows citizens to access a wide range of campaign financial data on any elected official in the state.

The “Data Visualization Application” was developed by the Campaign Spending Commission in partnership with the State of Hawaii’s Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT), the State’s Information & Communication Services Division, and Socrata, which develops open data applications for local, state and federal government agencies nationwide.

Campaign spending data has long been accessible online, but the addition of a visualization tool has transformed tables of data into useful information that can help voters make more informed decisions, as well as identify any potential conflicts of interest.

For example, by selecting a candidate and an election period, citizens can view a pie chart of a candidate’s contributions to see how much and what percentage of their contributions are from individuals, noncandidate committees, political parties, immediate family members, etc. Citizens can also see how much and what percentage of a candidate’s campaign funds are coming from within Hawaii or out-of-state.

Citizens can also clearly see where campaign funds are being spent. A pie chart shows the amount and percentage of a candidate’s spending on expenses such as advertising, food & beverage, printing, professional services, voter research and more, as well as in-state versus out-of-state spending.


Still Worth the Two-Hour Commute?

New Location Affordability Portal Calculates Housing and Transportation Costs

A new web application may hold the answer to the common question in Hawaii: “Is it really cheaper to live out of town?”

An initiative of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which includes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Location Affordability Portal provides residents, community planners and researchers a valuable tool for calculating affordability and understanding its impacts on transportation, housing, and more.

Transportation costs are on average the second largest expense for a household. The combined cost of housing and transportation consumes approximately half of the average household’s budget, and transportation costs are the single biggest expense for many rural and working-class households.

“My Transportation Cost Calculator” makes it easy for residents to calculate their true housing and transportation costs – and compare the overall cost of living in town vs. commuting. For example, Big Island residents who live in Pahoa but work in Hilo might find that it is actually cheaper to live closer to town, rather than spending money on gas to commute.

The Portal’s “Location Affordability Index” estimates the combined cost of housing and transportation for a family in a given location, based on a number of factors including household income, household size and number of commuters.

The affordability index enables a more thorough understanding of the costs of living in a specific location by accounting for the variations between households, neighborhoods and regions, all of which impact affordability.

Second Annual Hawaii Digital Government Summit

Government Employees Discuss Processes, Photography and Plumbing

Local, state and federal employees gathered last month for the second annual Hawaii Digital Government Summit, presented by the Center for Digital Government. This year’s event, themed “Government at the Speed of Life,” boasted a record attendance with nearly 900 registrants and was among the largest summits nationwide!

The daylong conference featured breakout sessions in three tracks – Technology Transformation, Business Transformation, and Transparency and Accountability – on topics ranging from tax system modernization and business process re-engineering to disaster recovery and enterprise resource management.

Using award-winning photos taken over the course of his nearly 30-year career, world-renowned photographer Steve Uzzell inspired attendees with his keynote speech on combining passion, perspective and preparation to solve problems and achieve success, or as he put it, “preparation leads to magic.”

Ken Miller, former director for performance improvement for the State of Missouri, later urged the government employees in attendance to think of government like plumbing – the solution to straightening out twisted pipes and increasing capacity lies in identifying the kinks and root of the problem.

To conclude the summit, State CIO Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia was joined on stage by Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui to present individual and group achievement awards to more than 50 state employees, departments, contractors and consultants.

View photos from OIMT of the summit sessions and speeches. 

View photos from the Center for Digital Government of the achievement awards.

Public Open Data Workshop at Digital Government Summit

Although the Digital Government Summit was open only to government employees, a special Open Data Workshop was held that allowed the general public, including members of Transform Hawaii Government – The Movement, to participate in the discussion about improving access to and usability of government data.

Moderated by Burt Lum, executive director of Hawaii Open Data, a panel discussion brought together some of the most prominent supporters of open data to discuss the latest advances in leveraging information for the public good. The group examined opportunities for further leveraging open data as a way to empower citizens, support a sustainable future and increase government transparency.

Panel members then joined the audience for small group breakout discussions on areas that have the most to gain from open data initiatives, including nonprofit organizations, education, sustainability and government.

UH Economic Research Organization
Visualizes Job Data Differently

As part of an ongoing dashboard project, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) recently launched the Hawaii Job Explorer, which provides visualizations of salaries for hundreds of jobs in the state.

Leveraging data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, the interactive application allows users to explore multiple elements of the occupations data, including median salaries, number of jobs, and percentage of statewide employment. Users can compare both individual occupations and broad occupation categories.

The UHERO Dashboard Project started in the summer of 2013 as a series of static visualizations posted on Facebook to encourage feedback from the community. Based on its popularity on social media, the “Occupations by Median Annual Salary” visualization was selected as the starting point for the inaugural interactive tool. The UHERO Dashboard Project aims to develop an array of visualizations that illustrate key indicators in Hawaii’s economy and make them accessible to the general public.

Tell Us Why You Support the Transformation

Starting next year, we will be featuring members of Transform Hawaii Government in this newsletter and on our website. If you’d like to be one of the first to participate, reply to this email with your name, island of residence and a short (2-3 sentence) explanation of why you support the State of Hawaii’s Business and IT Transformation movement. Don’t forget to include a headshot photo!

We look forward to hearing from you!

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