Okay. Still with me?
Back in July, 2006, John Hickelooper's (Mayor of Denver) administration ballyhooed the establishment of "3-1-1: Denver Gets it Done." In the mayor's words and the accompanying hype, here's what this "revolutionary" service to citizens was supposed to accomplish:
“The 3-1-1 system will revolutionize Denver’s approach to customer service by enabling residents and businesses to reach a live, knowledgeable person with just one call to City Hall,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Gone are the days of sifting through over 1,200 listings for Denver City services in the phone book’s ‘blue pages.’ Whether you need a park permit application, a pothole filled, or merely have a question, all you need is one number: 3-1-1.”So--you know me!--I thought, okay, I'll try it. So, I opened a case via Internet with the online utility the mayor told us all was a "...revolution[ary]...approach to customer service..." I opened a case (regarding the pedestrian issue on both sides of the Highland Bridge) on January 4th. And, each day since then, I've checked my case to see what resolution the city would provide and, to date, the only notation in the "Manage Case" functionality is, and I paraphrase, "No solution found for this case." Now, I had to paraphrase because, for two days now, the full functionality of the online 3-1-1 has been down, dead, unresponsive. Here's the menu that hasn't worked for two days.
When calls come in to 3-1-1, trained customer service agents will provide information on the spot or assign a tracking number to the inquiry if a service is requested, such as fixing a broken traffic light. The tracking number allows citizens to follow their requests for service through the City system online at www.denvergov.org. Callers can also find out the status of a specific request or add more information or comments by referring to their specific 3-1-1 tracking number by phone, e-mail or fax.
In preparing to launch the 3-1-1 system, the City documented business processes in agencies throughout the City to find opportunities for greater efficiency and accountability. By assigning a tracking number to service requests, the City is able to better evaluate its performance.
"Revolutionary," huh. The Hick must use a different dictionary than I.
Hedging my bets a bit, on the same day I opened a "case" on the 3-1-1 system, I sent an email to Councilwoman Judy Montero as follows:
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 11:09 AMSix days later--there was an weekend in there--I received this response from Councilwoman Montero's aide, Kim Kucera:
To: Montero, Judy H. - City Council District #9
Subject: Highland Bridge
I am perplexed by the absence of stop signs, crosswalks at both Platte and Central Streets, at either end of the Highland bridge. Are these forthcoming? It is very dangerous crossing both of those streets, to access the bridge.
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 1:09 PMWay to go, Kim!
Subject: RE: Highland Bridge
The information I have is as follows:
On the Central Street side CDOT is saying the curb ramps are in place for the crossing. Brian Mitchell, Traffic Engineer for the City of Denver is coordinating with the project team to get the stop signs in place. I will try to find out a more definitive timeline for you and e-mail that shortly. Once the stops signs are in place the city has agreed to place the crosswalk.
Platte Street: the curb ramps are in place, the crosswalk and ped warning signs (not stop signs) have been ordered but have been delayed because of the recent weather. They should be there shortly.
As for the Hick's "revolutionary" customer service enhancement; an enhancement hyped by Hick 's Administration as something that had evolved from a thorough review of "...business processes in agencies throughout the City to find opportunities for greater efficiency and accountability..." All this to better serve citizens, taxpayers of Denver. Well, um, it ain't workin' guys. At least, in my case, it didn't.
Snake oil hype--in case the Hickies don't know it--creates expectations in the minds of those who buy it. I never have bought it. But, the curiosity of this whole thing is that a vast majority of Denverites still just love the Hick; this cocoa and sleds, Vespas and Saturns, Happy Holiday's--oops!--Merry Christmas mayor.
P.S. This morning, January 16th, the 3-1-1 site was again functional. Here's the 3-1-1 "Manage Case" verbiage, verbatim (note the "solutions considered comments):
Status Routed to Agency
Summary Added By Date
Highland Pedestrian Bridge - No Pedestrian Walkway
At either end of the newly opened Highland bridge across I25, there are no pedestrian walkways (stop...
George 01/04/2007 1:55PM
There are no attempted Solutions for this Case