Why does Florida always out-sunshine California?
Here’s Florida’s latest clarity coup: Gov. Rick Scott has done his tip aides’ email accounts accessible on a Internet for all to see. The open can go online and demeanour into inbox and sent email folders during any time: no open record requests, no prolonged waits, no supervision lawyers perplexing to dumpy all clean.
Florida continues to be a inhabitant personality in supervision transparency, regulating a form of record that ought to be second-nature here though isn’t. California, a state superfluous with ostensible innovation, is one where governments sojourn hidden in darkness.
Don’t demeanour for Scott’s reflection here, Gov. Jerry Brown, to do anything similar. Brown, in all his incarnations, has never been a personality on transparency. In fact, his record as all from Oakland mayor to state profession ubiquitous to secretary of state has been a opposite.
The enlightenment of California supervision during a Brown epoch is one of opaqueness.
The choice to Brown holding Scott’s top-down proceed to remodel — environment a confidant customary and perfectionist others live adult to it — is to change a enlightenment some-more organically. Someone contingency favour change.
But with a state impeded by so many layers of supervision — cities, special districts, joint-power authorities — it seems all though unfit for a singular favourite to emerge. And there seem to be few heroes in waiting, anyway.
fact, entrance to slight annals in California, such as emails, only gets worse month by month.
On Jan. 5, we asked for some emails from Hercules in Contra Costa County as a exam of that city’s transparency. City Manager Steve Duran never replied rigourously to a ask with any integrity about what will be released.
Five months later, he shuffled me to a city attorney. we still have no thought what we will get, nor have we perceived any denote that Hercules’ leaders take clarity seriously.
Meanwhile, entrance stays terrible in Oakland. On Mar 1, we requested emails and other simple annals involving Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.
I competence as good have spent a past 3 months station underneath a ash tree in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza watchful for a acorns to spin into gold, that seems like a some-more picturesque unfolding than De La Fuente following a law and providing a records.
Since a request, I’ve perceived one email from his staff and no records. I’ve created to a open annals coordinator in City Attorney Barbara Parker’s bureau and have not perceived an answer. No minute within 10 days saying what would be produced. No ask for an extension. Nothing.
It’s as if De La Fuente thinks a law doesn’t request to him or a people who work for him.
In Florida, it takes a few clicks to see a annals of a state’s tip official, who leads by example. You can review tip officials’ emails during www.flgov.com/sunburst.
But here, we wait for changes that only don’t come. California’s Public Records Act, like many laws, hasn’t been nice good adequate to keep adult with technology. It isn’t even close.
Oakland has a internal law that is ostensible to boost transparency. However, it does zero to safeguard a timely recover of annals and, like a Public Records Act, it has really small teeth during all — a fact unethical bureaucrats and politicians simply exploit.
De La Fuente substantially will recover those emails now that we have created about them. He will demonstrate moral indignation that his staff somehow erred, that a months it took to comply, a abominable miss of communication, were all only mistakes.
But entrance behind is entrance denied. De La Fuente is an inaugurated central and is subordinate to a public, not a reverse. There is no trustworthy forgive for not providing his records.
At slightest Scott is doing better, and it matters here since clarity should know no state line. He and his state are heading a tour to a day when all governments will be open books.
That tour should be a competition toward finish transparency. Right now, California is using passed last.
Thomas Peele is a digital inquisitive contributor for a Bay Area News Group and teaches a category on open annals during a UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Reach him during firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him during Twitter.com/thomas_peele.