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John Pankowicz Govmeeting Update #1

A large part of what is said at a City Council meeting is "ceremony" – a spiritual invocation, approval of minutes, taking of the role, recognitions of service, reading of proclamations, etc.

During this past week, text processing routines were written to categorize and label the parts of the meeting. The most important information we want to highlight is: (1) new legislation that is proposed and (2) discussion about new legislation.

Instead of data on existing laws, this project is most concerned with proposals that are not yet law and which citizens can then still influence.

Some text processing has been made simpler because Philadelphia Council members tend to use the same terms over and over. For example, when proposing legislation, one will usually say something like:

“I offer one privileged resolution …” “I introduce one bill on your behalf …” etc. Also, once something is proposed, it is then customary for the Chief Clerk to read a synopsis of the proposal. Categorizing public comments will be a bit more difficult.

Often lacking from the City Council meeting, in a city the size of Philly, is debate between the council persons themselves. Most of the proposed laws are immediately “referred to committee”. However, the public can comment on any proposed laws and the officials can respond.

Mjumbe Poe Councilmatic Update #3

All the work that was done this weekend at the Democracy Hackathon distributed across several repos.


  • (upstream)

    • This is the core of the new iteration of councilmatic. It is the basis on which and are built. It uses the OpenCivicData format to pull in information.

    • This is a version of the OCD API that's set up and ready to be deployed. It has the Philadelphia City Council District shape data included.
  • (upstream)

    • This is the Django app that serves as the OCD API server.
  • (branch phl-councilmatic-3)

    • This is a fork of the councilmatic-starter-template project. So far, only cosmetic aspects have been configured — setting up the names of things in Philadelphia, adding a liberty bell, etc.
  • (upstream)

    • This is intended to be the starting point for a new councilmatic instance. We made a few changes that we should submit as pull requests upstream. When configuring the philly-councilmatic project, if there's something that all new instances would benefit from, a change should be made in this starter project and pulled into Philly.

Documentation & Resources:

  • (one of the many endpoints in the server)

Kathryn Killebrew Philly Vote Check Update #2

Added option to look up polling location by address (instead of finding by looking up registration.) Also added lambda configuration for combining calls to find ward and division for address, and then looking up polling location by ward and division.

Dawn McDougall Help make DemHack2016 the best Code for Philly hackathon yet

We like to make hackathons be about more than code and about more than products. With a new mayor and new priorities, a presidential primary and Democratic National Convention, a mess of new councilpersons, and more than a few groups abuzz about millenials in public office, there hasn’t been a better, or more important time, to be a civic hacker and improve Philly democracy. Read this post about how you can contribute to hacking democracy whether it’s with code or ideas. Join us 3/18-3/20!

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