07 April, 2007

Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information: Guest Editorial
In California, the open meeting/access to public documents statute is called the Ralph M. Brown Act. It is extremely useful and works very well, and has changed the relationship between the people and their governments. (It applies to all public agencies in the State - not just state agencies but cities, counties, school districts, sewer treatment districts, everything.) But the preamble is one of my favourite things in the English language:

The Ralph M. Brown Act

California Government Code

Sections 54950-54962

54950. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

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