Posted by Eric Horvath on April 03, 2014 at 9:15 AM
April 3, 2014 Philadelphia – Councilman Bobby Henon today helped to kick off Philly Tech Week 2014 with the announcement of two new digital tools for constituents. The tools are aimed at providing accessibility to elected officials and constituent service as well as mapping monthly zoning variance and building safety hearings, respectively.
Henon partnered with Textizen, a civic dialogue platform that allows residents to connect with a powerful mix of offline outreach and online engagement, for a new text message program. “Text Bobby” will allow constituents to reach the Councilman’s office via text message from any text-ready mobile phone.
Users will be able to send an SMS (short message service) to 215-392-6606, and immediately receive a confirmation. From there, the Councilman and his staff will be alerted of the constituent issue – from fallen trees and pothole repair to zoning issues and questions about pending legislation, and will respond with answers within 24-hours.
“Text Bobby” takes the place of the successful City Hall App, giving users a quicker, easier way to connect with City Council without needing an iPhone.
“This breaks down the wall of users needing an iPhone and allows more constituents to reach my office for service,” Henon said. “Texting is the most pervasive way of communication, but it’s also a way for my office to have an ongoing conversation with constituents. Rather than just talking at them, we can talk with them.”
“Not everyone has Internet access, and it's tough to convince people to consistently use a mobile app, so there is absolutely an avenue for local governments and elected officials to use text messaging as a way to interact with constituents,” said Michelle Lee, CEO of Textizen. “We’re excited to partner with Councilman Henon to reach his constituents and everyone in Philadelphia.”
Henon’s office also released a new map using data drawn from the Department of Licenses and Inspections appeals calendar of various violations, refusals, revocations, and denials to the Board of Building Standards, Licenses and Inspections (L&I) Review Board and Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA). Previously, users could search only through the Appeals Calendar on the L&I Department website. The map, available at www.bobbyhenon.com/appeals_map, gives users a citywide view of appeals and allows them to click through each address for more information.
The release of these new digital tools comes on the heels of Henon releasing a re-designed, mobile-responsive website rich with resources such as:
- Searchable map of Sheriff Sale information, updated monthly, based on data from the Sheriff’s Office, and categorized by location and opening bid;
- Big Idea, an online bulletin board where residents can view and vote on legislation before City Council.
- Grassroots Toolkit, a map of 6th District citizen resources, from their neighborhoods. Users can locate local food pantries, elected officials, see boundaries for Registered Community Organizations, find churches are near them and much more.
Information on all of these programs can be found at www.bobbyhenon.com. Contact Eric Horvath, 267-340-7377, for more.