Cleveland gets a Makeover

Submitted by lmcshane on Wed, 01/28/2009 - 23:38.

The City of Cleveland's website got a makeover. What do you make of it?

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I'm lovin' this picture


election time's comming up isn't it?

looks nice. I see its all filled up with current day-to-day stuff, not just phone numbers and mission statements.

RSS feeds

  I would like to see an option to get the press releases as an RSS feed. 

City of Cleveland website a piece of shit

Worse than the old site, which was one of the worst city sebsite in America and the world.

Who paid for this low-intellect, worthless makeover, how much, and who made the money?

Find anything on the City of Cleveland website about lead poisoning - anywhere, any way - search on the site - go to the logical places...

Eventually, you may think to go to the Health department website, which is totally separate from the city website - where you may find a search result for "lead poisoning" or "GCLAC" but the links will be dead... but you may eventually stumble across "Lead Safe Living" under the "Environment" tab... if you really looked hard, and looked in the last place imaginable.

What a piece of shit effort - pure PR fluff for pure-pluff-Frank's re-election campaign - total waste of taxpayer funds and proof Cleveland IT leadership and the mayor are worse than worthless, being harmful and dangerous to the community! 

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Eh, I think it's pretty decent

It won't be at the top of any lists, but it's 100 times more organized and understandable than the last one.

They've done a better job pulling things under one roof -- I'll bet a difficult thing for a city gov't that's already disjointed and struggling -- but it still seems quite pieced-together, both in vision and in technical construction.

Wow-yes to the notable absence of RSS feeds -- would especially be nice for the Press Release page.

Did you notice the Cleveland Crime Reports map? -- external site, but something I've been itching for.

Norm, the Cleveland Dept of Public Health is a separate site, but has a section of pages on Lead Safe Living. Also, the CMHA site has a Lead Safe Free Home Repairs link on the front page and more resources if you search CMHA for "lead".

It's a great improvement, but I'm worried that its piecemeal approach will lead to difficulty in upkeep, maintenance, expansion. Probably a starving web firm's dream, but not a taxpayer's.

Finding lead poisoning help in Cleveland on-line

It;s actually one of my responsibilities to care about the infrastructure providing citizens access to lead poisoning information in Cleveland, as co-chair f the Infrastructure and Sustainability subcommittee of the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council, so I will do an analysis of best performers and best practices with this - which will take a while and have to wait for a few things.

But I can say now I am specifically very shocked by the poor performance of the City of Cleveland in this regard, for cause.

If you go the the new city of Cleveland website and search for "lead poisoning" you get no search results at all - the search technology and content of Cleveland city information is designed so poorly it doesn't know there is city content on the subject - it just know there is not concent on the subject at the "Official City of Cleveland" website.

Do you see a problem here? Citizens are supposed to go to a city hall and city website to get answers - not to be told there are no answers. They should not need to guess where else in the city there may be answers.

But if you think the city should not provide good access to information, because global search capabilities like google do that for everyone, consider a Google search of "Cleveland lead poisoning" does not find the City Health Department - it finds the county, and REALNEO, but nothing Cleveland.

Try the same search with good cities and their websites... 

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Can you take it apart

  What did they use to construct the site?...How can you tell when there is an update to the site?  I have been concerned for sometime that no one quite knows where to go on line/television/radio to find out critical information pertaining to city services or emergency information.

Yes, we can take it apart... and must... meet Prashant Chopra

We are probably locked-in to a proprietary CMS - I'm guessing something with roots in Oracle... if so, this is a complete scam and it will cost citizens $ millions over the years.

Let's continue our REAL exploration of the new City of Cleveland website with Henry Gomez, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who continues the ball rolling in repsonse to my postings here, on his blog...

You'll probably be disgusted by these details, reported by Gomez:

As for his question about who redesigned the Web site and "who made the money," here's an excerpt from an old city news release:

The Division of Information Technology Services led the redesign project. The direct cost of the project to the City was approximately $72,000 in new technology tools and training and more than 8,000 employee work hours. CampusEAI, a Cleveland-based not-for-profit information technology services and consulting company, provided approximately $267,600 of in-kind grant funding.

CampusEAI is, in local circles, a fairly well-known IT consultancy. The company also has faced some bad publicity related to its "chief architect."

Prashant Chopra of CampusEAI on

I joined Gomez' discussion as "REALNEO" - my first posting on ever - since I was insulted by a citizen journalist there (or whatever you call their unproductive haters).

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City of Cleveland website

The website crashed over this past weekend...

The screen shot shown here from early Monday a.m. shows Joe Santiago and Brian Cummins for Ward 14. 

This is so sad...I do give credit to Norm Roulet for trying to get local government to understand the importance of content management through an open source platform like Drupal.  Instead, local government is at the mercy of a software/content management group out of Canada....

Unless something has changed the site is Campus EAI

Unless something has changed the site is Campus EAI - Prachant Chopra's sweatshop out of India... Gomez never completed his investigation... protecting the Golden Boy and his buddies

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Council site vs. City of Cleveland site

Correction: I was looking at the Cleveland City Council site to determine who serves as aides for the various councilmatic folk.  I should have noted that the Cleveland City Council site crashed.

Not the City of Cleveland site. I was up on Monday morning, after the Westside Market article published in the Sunday PD, trying to determine Who's Who. 

It's always a fun guessing game to determine who has been placed as an aide so that they can ultimately be appointed to a role.  The appointment game in Old Brooklyn-Brooklyn Centre really set up some real estate deals.  Back in the olden days, we had Jim Rokakis, who wistfully still lists Archwood Denison (Brooklyn Centre) as his neighborhood, although he lives in Rocky River.  Rokakis appointed Merle Gordon, who appointed Emily Lipovan.  I really wish that the Plain Dealer would revisit that bit of history and really examine Merle Gordon and how she figures into real estate politics and the current Jackson administration.  But, that is just wishful thinking.

Then, in Gus Frangos ward (downtown--think parking Louis Frangos and Frangos Group), Frangos appointed Paulenske (husband of Frango's assistant--Karen Moss, wife of John Moss ran against Paulenske and lost), Paulenske appointed John C. Skrha, who lost to Joe Cimperman, whose campaign was largely strategized by John and Karen Moss...Here are some of the archived articles:

Cleveland Councilman Gary M Paulenske to resign; Paulenske plans to take a job with the Cuyahoga County Board of Revision
Plain Dealer 21 Mar, 1997, pg. 1 sec. B

  • Cleveland Councilman Gary Paulenske is against city land takeover
    Plain Dealer 14 Jun, 1996, pg. 3 sec. C
  • Councilman Gary Paulenske wants deal in housing code case; Paulenske proposes that landlord David Feigenbaum sign an agreement to relocate his tenants at his expense & to demolish the homes with serious problems & give the salvageable ones to the city; in return Feigenbaum would not be sent to jail
    Plain Dealer 27 Mar, 1996, pg. 4 sec. B

     Closed city swimming pools are symptom of declining city services, three city councilmen say; city's outdoor pools not scheduled to open until June 27-il
    Plain Dealer 21 Jun, 1994, pg. 1 sec. B

  • Ward 13 candidates seek probe of mailings by Gary Paulenske
    Plain Dealer 24 Sep, 1993, pg. 02 sec. C
  • Cle's Ward 13 Councilman GM Paulenske used meter, stationery for political mailings, PD says
    Plain Dealer 23 Sep, 1993, pg. 02 sec. B 
  • Two former councilmen, John Barnes & Tyrone Bolden, seek comebacks-il
    Plain Dealer 20 Aug, 1993, pg. 09 sec. C
  • Gary M Paulenske, 27, sworn in as Cle's Ward 13 councilman, replacing Gus Frangos
    Plain Dealer 02 Mar, 1993, pg. 02 sec. B
  • PD Correction: Mary O Boyle's support of Karen Moss to succeed Gus Frangos conditional
    Plain Dealer 28 Feb, 1993, pg. 02 sec. A
  • Protocol stifles attorney Karen G Moss's bid for outgoing Cnclmn G Frangos' Ward 13 seat
    Plain Dealer 27 Feb, 1993, pg. 02 sec. B

Technically--Cleveland City Council site could have different platform and server than City of Cleveland website. 

From the crash on Monday, I could see the guts of the Council site and they were:

Perhaps, more tech savvy folks could dissect and explain.  I don't pretend to be a programmer.  I just want to know who is running the show behind the curtain.

BTW--still waiting for the PD to finish up that Board of Revision story...

Who's the Golden Boy?


Analyzing Information Community Excellence of cities

I've been analyzing websites professionally and for personal purposes since the mid-1990s, using a combination of many methodoligies including ICE - Information Community Excellence - I developed with a group of global Fortune 50 clients' IT and Telecom management - global high tech leaders. I believe we came up with the best methodology in the world.

Around 2001 I applied this methodolgy to analyze the Economic Development function of the websites and leadership of the largest 50 cities in America (to really analyze a website effectiveness requires breaking the site down into many functions and processes and analyzing many aspects of each). Cleveland was the worst in America.

If someone wants to pay $10k or so I can tell you how we are really doing now - at a quick glance I'd say we have fallen farther behind the best cities and are still as bad as the worst - although we may be more responsive than in the past, which would be a big improvement.

If a group of people want to run through a simplified version of the ICE methodology and work together to analyze a group of cities for some aspect of Information Community Excellence, I'd be glad to do provide the methodolgy and training and run the analyses...

In the mean time, you can do your own snapshot analysis... look at the websites of a dozen cities you think are great places - pick a few things to look at like recycling, rainwater management, pre-K education, or such... something you know and care about (if we do a group analysis, we will pick one set of objectives) and grade each site from 0-5 for the aspects you look at. Pick a few aspects and grade each (my analysis included 1,000s of aspects). You'll soon realize which are best sites and cities and why.

I developed my methodology as part of a multi-company competitive benchmarking process, with a strong focus on best practices. So, in the process, you learn about all the cool stuff really great cities do, and you want to move away from Cleveland (which is exactly what I did last time I ran this analysis... and why I rant his analysis... winding-up in the San Francisco area). 

What does a best practice on the web of a best practice in a city look like?

If you are into urban food, and question my statement we are two years behnd best in class (where we should be), look at this link to Portland... 

Look at the websites of great cities and learn about the programs of great cities, and wonder why we don't have them here! And realize what smoke local leaders are blowing up ourasses when they say they are being innovative oxcellent in any ways...

Some good places to start...








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More on website analysis

Good article from IBM on website competitive analysis here 

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Made up my mind

  You just helped me make up my mind on which sister to visit for my long break.  Mosey Posey, I will be visiting you in Austin, soon. 

What it means to have "Information Community Excellence"

Having a website to promote a mayor and councilmembers is theft of public money for political purposes - in the case of the new Cleveland website to get Frank and his council buddies re-elected - probably all written by Nancy Lesic - whereas a city with good leaders uses the internet to build community for citizens and government, which is based on access to information and communications.

You like RSS - check out Madison for a city wanting to connect citizens with information... see their Media Center here... and set up and account if you want even more Information Community Excellence, at My Account... want to report a problem, go to "Report a Problem" and you'll see problems you never thought of before...

In Cleveland, go the the Resident Information Center and then email our great Mayor and other leadership about our waste-of-taxpayer-money city website (if you can figure out how)!

Go ahead... try it... email Chief of Regional Development Chris Warren from the City Website... I dare you to show me how!

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Snow removal

  Wow--Madison is way ahead of the game.  I just finished some local snow removal and was wondering to myself how a city like Cleveland could tap into young bodies to do the work???

Why David Reed left Cleveland and moved to Madison...

When David Reed told me he was retiring from Kent Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and moving to Madison I asked why, and he said because he really loved Madison. He obviously hadn't come to love here.

The leadership here makes it so shitty to work and live here that smart free people leave. The leadership of Madison are known worldwide for making that a place where people want to live. Same goes for Austin and many other mid-tier cities.

The website is only a reflection of what is behind the website - Madison is awesome - Cleveland sucks - and they prove that for themselves.

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