“NO TAKE-BACKS” is a common rule on the elementary school playground. It is not the rule when it comes to public records in the state of California, where public agencies can and do try to claw back documents after they’ve released them, and where one school district recently asked a court to award it $450,000 from […]
A legislative effort to open some law-enforcement personnel records up to public scrutiny died a quiet death in the Capitol last week.
While California may be home to some of the most aggressively forward-thinking tech companies in the world, that enthusiasm for innovation hasn’t carried over to the public sector. State and local governments have been frustratingly slow to make public data available online. There hasn’t been anything close to a statewide standard, leaving individual agencies to voluntarily develop open data policies, often in an inconsistent and piecemeal fashion, or not at all.
There is the goose, of course, but there's also the gander, an old clichÈ goes: What's good for one ought to be the same for the other. But let's not confuse them when discussing the duplicity of California's Legislature when it comes to transparency.
The Legislature, of course, passes laws that affect other branches of government as well as itself. As the state struggles with the archaic Public Records Act (PRA), with its dozens of exemptions, weak disclosure deadlines and lack of enforcement, lawmakers only nibble around its edges.