CandleCalAware’s Yule Blog is wishing all celebrants of whatever warms them at this chilly corner of the year—faith, tradition or just mindful cheer—a happy pause to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones, perhaps most of all the youngest and the eldest.

To you, as a CalAware Today subscriber, we also ask a donation of support for at least the news and views we bring; if that’s your only contact with CalAware and you know nothing else about what we do, we humbly suggest a stocking stuffer, so to speak, of at least $25.

If you’d like some basis for giving that much or more, for perspective, in 2013 we’ve

  • completed publication of the ebook version of our revised journalism law guide (with the paperback due to be available soon);
  • thanks to litigator Kelly Aviles, our Vice President for Open Government Compliance, partnered with the Los Angeles Times to successfully enforce the Brown Act in a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission;
  • again thanks to Kelly, partnered with the Voice of OC in fighting the good fight all the way to the state Supreme Court (but without success to date) to obtain public records showing how female employees’ repeated complaints of sexual predation by an Orange County official went unheeded for eight years;
  • conducted an audit of all the state’s trial and appellate courts to check their compliance with the 2010 Rule of Court that for the first time opens the courts’ own administrative records to public scrutiny;
  • presented training in an instructional workshop for government and other lawyers sponsored by the State Bar;
  • begun to expand public attention to our work through increasing use of social media; and
  • continued our own daily attention to calls, emails and other requests for help from all kinds of people, inside and outside government, with questions about transparency or free speech law, or encountering barriers or brush-offs in trying to exercise such rights.

For next year, as our continuing viability permits, we hope to:

  • publish a revised (ebook and paperback) edition of our CalAware Guide to the Brown Act and other open meeting laws, completely updated from the first edition of 2006;
  • publish a guide to open government law and strategies for community watchdogs, specifically aimed at making organized crime of the City of Bell variety more difficult if not impossible; and
  • sponsor legislation to eliminate some of the worst denials of citizens’ rights to address local government bodies at public meetings, and to protect their ability to go to court to challenge a public agency’s unlawful attempts to influence elections—without risking an order to pay the agency’s attorney fees if the suit is dismissed on an anti-SLAPP motion.

You can help this happen, and we hope you do.  In any event, best wishes for the season and the coming year.