Friday, August 22, 2014
I am in favor of citizen self-government, and it seems obvious that if the people are going to be in charge of their government, the people need to know what their government is doing.
The California Constitution says this right upfront. Article I, Section 3(b)(1) provides: “The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.” The Ralph M. Brown Act and the California Public Records Act outline in detail how this access is to be provided. You can review today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse for some useful links, including a video of a presentation I made, in January 2013, to the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the League of Women Voters, entitled “Keeping Government Honest.” In short, you (personally) have the right to have public documents provided to you on an expeditious basis.
In the City of Carmel-By-The Sea, a number of citizens have been complaining that these requirements for full public access to public documents have been honored more in the breach than by observance. A recent news article reports that the City Attorney has held a special public presentation, to confirm that the City will, indeed, make public documents available with <quote> “as little fuss as possible.” If that weren’t done, the City could actually be sued.