I hope you’ve been enjoying a warm and tranquil holiday season, and that the approach of a new year finds you, if you’ve not already done so, willing to help keep Californians Aware alive by becoming a member and/or making a donation of what you can, and letting others of like mind know that we need their support as well.

You probably already know that, in a completely nonpartisan manner, we defend and foster informed and engaged self-government, particularly here in California, through legal rights of access to government meetings and records and protections for speech, press, electronic media and whistleblowing.

How we do this is by:
• consulting with receptive legislators on needed improvements to (or defenses of) laws like the Brown Act or the Public Records Act, as we will be in 2016, supporting a bill to require more informative explanations of which public records are being withheld, and on what grounds;
• going to court to enforce these laws as we are, currently, against the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, for acting jointly outside a public meeting to approve and sign a letter opposing a bill protecting citizens’ speech rights;
• providing the public with insightful and authoritative guides to the legal rights and risks of monitoring government activity, either as journalists or as other observers or participants, such as our new guide to the open meeting laws offered on amazon.com (search on “calaware Brown Act”), and the free Community Watchdog guide available here as a token of appreciation for your prior (and we hope continuing) support; and finally,
• helping all who call or email us with information and suggestions on how to use their free speech, free press and open government rights effectively and confidently.

Our help is provided to the public without charge (although CalAware members get priority attention), but not without cost.  Your contributions are welcome at any time, but the waning days of 2015 allow a tax-deductible gift that can be used promptly.  And as a bonus, we’ll provide new or repeat supporters with an enhanced version of the Watchdog guide with live links to full online displays of the cases and code sections cited in the text.

We’re critically dependent on your tax-deductible support this season. Beyond assistance in publishing our CalAware Guides and conducting our court information audit, we receive no grants from either public or private organizations or sustenance from wealthy sponsors. Apart from those book sales, our only source of income is from individuals and organizations who feel our work is worth supporting. Since our founding nearly twelve years ago I have taken no salary in order to devote income to other operating expenses—but that will have to change.

Please help see that our work continues, with either a membership or an even more substantial donation.

Grateful for your generosity, and wishing you a rewarding 20116,

Terry Francke
Californians Aware
2218 Homewood Way
Carmichael, CA 95608