Monday, February 02, 2009

Want to see where the money's going? The site doesn't appear to track it all, but it's very interesting. You can vote on the projects and leave comments. I just took a quick look so will need to look a bit closer to see later in the day when I have more time, but wanted to share. Thanks to Moms for Sarah Palin ( for sharing this link in her blog. Here's some info from the site:

Congress and the President are getting ready to spend billions of dollars to try to stimulate the economy. As a result, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has responded by releasing a list of "shovel-ready" projects in cities around the country that the mayors would like to see funded.

President Obama, however, has promised to spend stimulus dollars only on critical projects.

"What we need to do is examine what are the projects where we're going to get the most bang for the buck [and] how are we going to make sure taxpayers are protected," he has said. "You know, the days of just pork coming out of Congress as a strategy, those days are over." was built to to help the new administration keep its pledge and to hold public officials to account. We do this by allowing you, citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed projects in your city, to find, discuss and rate those projects.

The project was started by Jerry Brito after Eileen Norcross pointed out to him the opportunity the mayor's report presented. Jerry herded cats on the project and contributed the graphic design. The development of the site was lead by Peter Snyder, who coded the site in PHP and MySQL and implemented the MediaWiki integration. Peter was assisted by Kevin Dwyer, who helped scrape and format the report data.

Its creators are:

Jerry Brito, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research has focused on government transparency and accountability, specifically how the internet can be harnessed to crowdsource the task of keeping officials accountable. You can read his paper on the subject, "Hack, Mash, and Peer: Crowdsourcing Government Transparency," (PDF) pubilshed by the Columbia Science & Technology Law Review. His personal site is

Kevin Dwyer, Senior Computer Scientist at White Oak Technologies, Free Software contributor, and GNU/Linux zealot. Also a Pythonista, Kevin writes about the science of computers and beer at

Eileen Norcross, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her research has focused on state and local budgets, economic development, and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. For more information, you can read her paper, "The Community Development Block Grant: Does it Work?"

Peter Snyder, contract programming. He specializes in Web 2.0 projects and Cocoa programming in Chicago, IL. He can be contacted about projects or comments at, or at his website You can read is daily thoughts at

Again, this is an independent website that is not affiliated or connected to any organization including the developers' employers.

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