Well, that's not all that surprising, I guess, not everything that is interesting gets posted (see city council packets in Lacey). Kitsap and Pierce counties do.
But, what is really interesting, is this note:
The Health Dept conducts periodic inspections of food establishments to help prevent the spread and reduce the risk of food borne illnesses. Violations are corrected through a combination of education and technical assistance.
Our food service inspection reports are available through The Olympian newspaper or you may request copies of inspections from our office by completing a Request for Public Information Form...
So, I can fill out a form or read it in the Olympian. I'm assuming they email the information to the Olympian and I'm assuming I could email the request form to the county. So why can't the county post the actual reports online?
This seems like one of the duties that a daily newspaper used to have to serve in a local community, gathering and disseminating essential data collected by the government. Births, deaths, marriages, food safety inspections are all important, but there's no reason now why they can't just immediately be posted.
And given this concerns an actual public health issue, it's a little bizarre this information isn't immediately available. Surely someone has noticed this before and yet ....
So what is Thurston County's plan when the newspaper folds? It's not as if the newspaper business isn't in trouble, and the Daily O is becoming more and more the TNT.
It seems like the county is beginning to catch up with the web 2.0 tools, so hopefully along with their new website will come more data available.
I've been conducting a study over the last few months as an intern for the City of Olympia, and I've been pushing for all of my data to be made public, but, and especially with budget cuts, they just don't have the capacity to make it happen.
I imagine it could be a similar story at the County level.
Rob said: "I've been conducting a study over the last few months as an intern for the City of Olympia, and I've been pushing for all of my data to be made public, but, and especially with budget cuts, they just don't have the capacity to make it happen."
Why don't you just make it happen and publish your data?
Blogger.com = Free
Scribd.com = Free
Wordpress.com = Free
Twitter.com = Free
Youtube = Free
I don't buy into the budget argument for not adopting these tools. They don't demand that you do anything new, you just do it differently.
Thurston County is already passing the food inspection reports on to the Olympian. All they have to do is publish them on scribd.com, and tell the Olympian (and anyone else) where to find them.
That's a fair question, Emmett.
The answer is that my raw data and notes won't be very useful until after it's put into GIS. I don't have GIS experience, so I can't do that. It is also a very time consuming process and no one at the city has the capacity to make that happen either.
I think the question is not money, but time. Companies that are jumping on the Cluetrain are hiring full time people to employ these new strategies. These are time consuming jobs, and a workforce already stretched to or past capacity because of budget cuts probably wouldn't do a very effective job.
The real reason Thurston County does not post their inspection reports is because they do not have them to report. They have not done all of their "required" inspections in the last 6 years, at least. You can go into almost any restaurant in the area and ask the last time they were inspected and they will not even remember or they will say it has been years. Go ahead and head into their office and ask to see them for your favorite restaurant and more than likely they will not have what you want. I know a few of the people that are inspectors there and they could tell stories for days.
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