OPEN GOVERNMENT -- The board of directors of Californians Aware elected new officers and added three directors at its meeting Saturday in San Diego. As in its first six years, the leadership of the organization is shared equally by professionals in government service, civic life, law and journalism.
The officers are Dennis Winston, president; Donna Frye, vice president; Richard McKee, vice president/open government compliance; Cheri O'Neil Matthews, secretary-treasurer; and JW August, president emeritus.
The new directors are Adam Keigwin, Cheri Matthews and Emelyn Rodriguez.
Winston, a founding director of CalAware, is a Los Angeles civil litigator whose practice includes representing individuals in open government and civic rights issues.
Frye, also a founding director, is a member of the San Diego City Council who has led the effort to improve transparency in that city's operations.
McKee, a Pasadena City College chemistry professor and a City of La Verne planning commissioner, is the state's most frequent and successful litigator under the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act.JW August, an investigative news team leader for KGTV 10News in San Diego, has just completed three years as president of CalAware.
Matthews is vice president of the Tracy Press and publisher of the Scotts Valley Press-Banner. Under her initiative, the Tracy Press sued to obtain the e-mails of the Tracy vice-mayor sent to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory officials and concerning how a public forum about a proposed new research lab would be conducted. The case might have resolved one of the most crucial transparency issues access to the "personal" e-mail of public officials doing official business but was dismissed on procedural grounds.
Keigwin, a former journalist, is chief of staff for Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) and the principal staff assigned to the Senator's repeated legislative efforts on behalf of students free speech and press rights, public employee whistleblower protection and open government, particularly at the state's public college and university campuses.
Rodriguez, also a former journalist, is commission counsel for the Fair Political Practices Commission. Her work for the FPPC involves, among other things, drafting and presenting proposed regulation changes affecting government employees' and consultants' financial disclosures for conflict-of-interest monitoring.