City's Get It Done app not getting it done

"Your site says it was closed but nothing was done."

Reporting potholes and signage problems is the easy part, say critics.
  • Reporting potholes and signage problems is the easy part, say critics.

Get it done? Hell, the city apparently can't even count the number of reports coming into the Get It Done app and its companion online complaint system launched barely three months ago.

Dozens of reports have been closed, according to the website, but many of those were followed with angry posts reopening the complaints. More than three dozen such reopened cases show up in a simple search for closed cases from the website.

City spokesman Bill Harris, who promised numbers on how many complaints they've had, was unable to obtain numbers in the course of two days. Harris insisted that the city was keeping metrics — even though he was unable to provide a count of how many reports have been made in the four days after the first media request was made. He did not return phone calls, and similar calls to mayor Kevin Faulconer were also not returned.

"Your site says it was closed but nothing was done. SAN DIEGO GOVERNMENT FAIL!" one frustrated Get It Done user wrote. Another re-reporting party said: "this is 2190 bacon a report you folks just closed 18 hours ago and then ask if i'm satisfied. Heck no nothings done!!! THERE IS A POTHOLE 75 FEET LONG!!!"

When he announced the web link and the smartphone app at the beginning of June, mayor Kevin Faulconer told the media that the app would not only allow people to report problems so city workers could get things fixed faster, it would let them track how the report was being handled. But the response seems to amount to citizens being told the report was closed, Harris said.

"We're working on getting better feedback to people who make these reports," Harris said, mentioning that the city is still working out the bugs. "Just being told the report is closed isn't enough information."

It is especially not enough information for citizens who can see the problem left untouched every day. One app-empowered citizen reported a defaced Normal Heights parking sign on Dwight Street several times. The parking sign tells people what day and time of the week they aren't allowed to park because of street sweeping — an offense that can garner a $52 parking ticket.

"On Dwight St. in park strip next to 3703 Dwight Street the street sweeping sign has been obliterated with black paint. This is the second time I have reported this and it was closed as if it had been taken care of; it has not!" the August 26 report says.

On July 25, someone filed a report of a left-turn arrow at Friars Road that had not been fixed: "This was reported on work order 00094954 and said closed but it's not fixed."

Harris said the service availability is limited to a few departments for the website and even fewer for the smartphone app.

In the city's defense, some reports are requesting that the city sweep sidewalks that are residents' responsibilities — including several closed reports. People have also reported problems in National City and Escondido, according to a review of the reports. But some of the reports are pretty funny: a report of a pothole that needs repairs, accompanied by a photo with the pothole circled, was closed because city workers couldn't find the pothole.

If some of the reporting citizens are feeling mistreated and unheard, they're not alone. Even the North County Transit District had a report closed without action being taken. Fred J. Sandoval, from the transit district, re-reported a missing sign at a rail crossing downtown at Cedar Street that should say NO TRAIN HORN.......The request was closed with no action taken, he wrote.

No one from the city communications department returned calls or emails for information and clarification for this story — nor did the mayor's office.

The city's data portal shows 200 Get It Done reports, but all are dated from May, before the app and website were launched for public use. About one third of those reports are marked "closed."

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Anyone really surprised? A surprise would have been that the system was actually working and that repairs, replacements, and corrections were made. The "do nothing" San Diego city hall and city departments have been getting away with their skimpy efforts for decades. So, why would a new app or on-line reporting system make that change? They've ignored telephonic reports and complaints by the tens of thousands for many, many years. And those were the reports and complaints that were made to a real live person.

The fact that the NCTD, another governmental agency with a spotty record of its own, was ignored is ironic, and screamingly funny. If any residents of the city of SD believe any of the stuff that the government, city council members, mayor, city attorney, or anyone else who is part of the problem tells them, they are utter fools.

Is this an app whose sole function is to report city maintenance problems? Who would install an app for that? I've got at least a score of apps but I think none as useless as that.

A few days ago I reported a slightly malfunctioning traffic signal (using the City web site and not a special app). It was fixed in less than four days. Who could ask for more? Here's the City followup email:

" Thank you for submitting this report.

The information below will let you follow-up on the status of your request.

Tracking Number: 00101809 Problem Type: Other Problem Description: The signal at University and Richmond in Hillcrest: Walk sign is activated and beeps every time University has a green light. Nobody has pushed a button. Richmond traffic has a long wait for a green light Problem Location: UNIVERSITY AV & RICHMOND ST,, 92103 "

I just took a look at the City reports. There were 99 reports submitted today (the 3rd) beginning at 12:06 AM and ending as I write this.


If City workers correct 99 reports every day, it seems they still will fall behind because this day has another 6 hours to go.

Marty, I read everything you write. Please keep it up.

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