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(CalAware Weekly comprises this plus the three previous posts)


Open Government

McKee: California Sunshine Dimmed in 2007       Writing in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, CalAware President Emeritus Richard McKee reports, “Three years after passage of Proposition 59, California's ‘Sunshine Initiative,’ the public's access to governmental information has greatly improved—not!”

Watchdog: Technology Can Transform Transparency       Writing in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, open government activist Kimo Crossman argues that “there's no reason San Francisco can't take the lead in using technology—generally simple, off the shelf, existing technology—to dramatically increase sunshine at City Hall and public participation in local government.”  He lists 13 examples.

Clinton: My A.G. Would Be Committed to Sunshine       Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) says she is "committed to restoring open government" by not only mandating more open meetings and release of public documents, but also by nominating "an attorney general who has a proven commitment to open government," according to her response to the Sunshine Week 2008: Sunshine Campaign survey of presidential candidates. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has yet to be heard from; another recent survey suggests that 87 percent of Americans believe that a presidential candidate’s position on open government  is “somewhat” to “very” important in their voting decision.   

Stanford Law Prof to Unveil “Change Congress” Project
       Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, nationally known expert in intellectual property and the Internet, has a new mission: to combat the influence of money in American democracy. Bolstered by the recent "Draft Lessig" movement that almost convinced him to run for Congress, Lessig will further his mission by launching a new "Change Congress" project in a Sunshine Week lecture sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation and Omidyar Network.??In this lecture, Lessig will describe his decision to focus his academic interests on the issue of the systemic corruption of American democracy. He will “explore the ways in which democracy is threatened by corruption and ways we, as citizens, can respond.”  The speech, from 1:30 to 3 pm. EDT Thursday, March 20 in Washington, D.C., will also be webcast at? http://www.visualwebcaster.com/thepressclub-lessig-032008.

Free Speech

Being Uncivil No Longer to Be Punished at CSU     The Student Press Law Center reports that the California State University system is amending its student conduct code to settle a lawsuit filed last summer by San Francisco State's College Republicans organization; students being “uncivil” to one another will be no longer subject to discipline.

Man Would Sue Blogger But Can’t Find Him     The North County Times reports that a Murrieta man has filed a defamation lawsuit, claiming that statements made about him on murrietaopinion.blogspot.com have exposed him to "hatred, ridicule, contempt and disgrace.” But so far, neither he nor his attorney knows who they are suing.?

City Adopts New Rules on Temporary Signs      The Lassen County News reports that the Susanville City Council has approved a new temporary (e.g. political or other personal statements) sign ordinance allowing their placement on private property with minimal restrictions and in the public right-of-way with more restrictions.

City Inaugurates Annual ‘No Cussing’ Week
        The Los Angeles Times reports that they’re swearing off profanity this week in South Pasadena. And it's about #!&@% time too, say some in this leafy residential city that to outsiders smacks more of Mayberry than misbehaving.   

Whistleblowers

Librarian Fired; Reported Child Porn Viewer       The Visalia Times-Delta editorializes against the decision of Tulare County to fire a novice librarian who had reported to police a man who was viewing pictures of naked boys on the library's computer.

Free Press

Swiss Bank in Wikileaks Case Drops Lawsuit        Blogger Declan McCullough reports that the Swiss bank that successfully sued to yank the Wikileaks.org domain name, and then faced a severe setback in a subsequent court ruling, has given up for now.

City, Newpaper at Odds over Siting of Newsracks
      The Selma Enterprise reports that it and the City of Selma have become entangled in a fight over the placement of news racks on a corner in a residential area.

Open Meetings

Reporter Ejected  from Budget Cuts Session        The Sacramento Valley Mirror reports that the Glenn County Finance Chairman “booted a reporter for this paper out of a department heads meeting” concerning necessary budget cuts.

Trustee: Contract Extension Approved Illegally
       The Stockton Record reports that San Joaquin Delta College President Raul Rodriguez's three-year contract extension was orchestrated through a series of illegal one-on-one meetings initiated by board President Leo Burke, according to a longtime trustee.

Public Information

Court Rules Informant Files Can Be Unsealed     The San Diego Union-Tribune that a federal appellate court has ruled http://calaware.org/uploads/In re Copley Press 3:4:08.pdf that the public has the right to see documents and transcripts relating to the secret guilty plea of a Tijuana drug kingpin, despite what prosecutors say.

Bill Bans Public Record Nondisclosure Pacts 
     The  California Newspaper Publishers Association reports that Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has introduced legislation to prohibit a Calilfornia public agency from entering into an agreement that makes information confidential or disclosable only with permission of the other party to the contract, if that information is legally subject to disclosure as public information.

Some Agencies 15 Years Plus in FOIA Arrears       The Hill reports that several federal agencies are running more than 15 years late on public record requests sent under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) when the first President Bush was still in office.

Many Concealed Weapon Permits Issued in Tulare       The Visalia Times-Delta reports, as part of an ongoing inquiry into who holds permits to carry concealed weapons issued by the Tulare County Sheriff, that there are more than 1,200 outstanding within the 400,000 plus population county.