Weekly Update: Creating a more transparent City Hall


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When I ran for mayor, I promised that I would measure results of how we’re performing, share those results with the public, and hold the City of Memphis accountable.

So this week, we launched the new data.memphistn.gov, where you can access performance data related to more than 30 City functions — items such as 911 call answer time, Fire Department response time, Memphis Animal Services euthanasia statistics, and Code Enforcement requests. This is the same data that we use on a daily basis to guide government decisions and investments.

Also this week, I signed an executive order formalizing the City’s commitment to open data and creating a data governance committee that will implement this new open data program in the years to come. (You can find a PDF of the order at memphistn.gov/communications.)

This new data site and my executive order are continued proof that we’re comfortable with being held accountable by the public. Our goal is to be the most communicative and transparent administration in City Hall history.

We hope you’re seeing the difference.

Help us: We’ve seen increases in two particular crimes recently -- car thefts, and thefts from cars. We’re increasing enforcement and keeping a keen eye out on patrols, but this is also a place where you can help us, too.

A common factor in the uptick of these crimes? People leaving keys inside their cars while running. In fact, there were over 120 such thefts just last month. That simply makes it too easy for criminals. And, as MPD always says, “stow it, don’t show it.”

To underscore just how much these crimes are affecting our overall picture, Part I crimes (our more serious crimes) were up 3.5 percent in January 2018 when compared to January 2017. But if the car thefts and thefts from cars were only flat from last year and not up, our Part I crimes would have been down 4 percent. (That also means, by the way, that our violent crimes were down about 10 percent in January.)

A few quick items from a busy week:

  • I was proud to represent Memphis at the first meeting of Gov. Bill Haslam’s TNH20 steering committee, which will help the state draft a statewide plan for water availability. Protecting our aquifer is important to me and to all of Memphis, so I am eager to continue the conversation.
  • The Memphis chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners honored me with the 2018 MWBE Champion award this week. Improving the City’s performance with women- and minority-owned businesses has been a priority of mine. In our first full fiscal year, we improved 61 percent from the prior fiscal year.
  • Work Local is expanding. Our innovative partnership with the Hospitality Hub to positively affect the lives of homeless Memphians continues to grow.
  • We awarded $38,300 in crime prevention grants to 16 Memphis neighborhoods Tuesday night. In the life of this program, which is funded by proceeds from red light cameras, we've awarded $315,494 in grants across our city. Learn more here.

Honoring Mr. Cole and Mr. Walker: On my way into City Hall Thursday morning, I stopped by the historical marker that stands at Colonial and Sea Isle roads honoring Echol Cole and Robert Walker, the two sanitation workers crushed to death in the back of a garbage truck 50 years ago.

The MLK50 season in our city will be meaningful, full of important events and reminders. But through it all, let us always remember what happened Feb. 1, 1968: the deaths of Mr. Cole and Mr. Walker. May we never forget them, and may we always appreciate and respect the dignity of our solid waste employees.

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