LA County Supervisors Approve Plan to Develop Mobile Apps

Supervisor Don Knabe, who took over as board chair Tuesday, highlighted some possibilities for using innovative technology.

By City News Service

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a plan to start developing mobile applications for smartphones.

County Chief Information Officer Richard Sanchez asked to open a developers publishing account with Google to work on Android-branded applications. Though the fee for the account was only $25, Google's terms and conditions depart from typical county standards regarding licensing and use of the county "brand."

The first and only app mentioned in the letter from Sanchez to the board would enable residents to apply for public assistance with scanned documents. But Supervisor Don Knabe, who took over as board chair Tuesday, highlighted other possibilities for innovative technology.

"From the way our residents apply for assistance at a (Department of Public Social Services) office, to the way someone casts a vote in an election, to how businesses open their doors -- it's time to bring the county into the 21st century," Knabe said. "Interacting with the county should be as easy as making a purchase on Amazon."

In addition to smartphone apps, Knabe said he would seek to create a more responsive, customer service-oriented county culture.

The role of chair rotates among the five county supervisors on an annual basis. As Knabe replaced Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the future was very much on his mind.

"Los Angeles County is at one of the most significant crossroads in its 163-year history," Knabe said. "In 2016, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas will be joined by four new supervisors. For the five of us, this is our last chance to shape the future of this great county, ensure its viability for years to come, and set an example for those who will take the helm after us."

Term limits dictate that Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky will end their final terms next year, while Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Knabe himself will leave the board two years later.


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