Friday, December 03, 2004

Burton's Prop. 59 victorious (with various Beasts of the Kern)

Burton's Prop. 59 won. Though it is far too tame, it may be a start to real political reform. Prop. 59, now the law, would at least in theory give the public access to all communications by elected officials. Inquiring minds might want to know something about say the deep thoughts of a Kevin McCarthy or King Ahh-nuld himself and now they have the right to, at least to some degree. Everything Ahh-nuld says or writes or speaks, or pays someone to write, should be a matter of public record.

The implications of this law are interesting: perhaps eventually the CA public will be far more involved in the decision making process. Do you trust the likes of Assemblywoman Sharon Runner making decisions about economics or really anything? Better that say the CA teachers union make political decisions than a Sharon Runner. All of the proceedings of Sacramento elite, in public or chambers, should be wired and on videotape. There is no "off the record" for elected officials.

Anyone interested in ethical governing should appreciate John Burton for putting forth this rational proposition.

"What will Proposition 59 do? It will create a new civil right: a constitutional right to know what the government is doing, why it is doing it, and how. It will ensure that public agencies, officials, and courts broadly apply laws that promote public knowledge. It will compel them to narrowly apply laws that limit openness in government—including discretionary privileges and exemptions that are routinely invoked even when there is no need for secrecy. It will create a high hurdle for restrictions on your right to information, requiring a clear demonstration of the need for any new limitation. It will permit the courts to limit or eliminate laws that don't clear that hurdle. It will allow the public to see and understand the deliberative process through which decisions are made. It will put the burden on the government to show there is a real and legitimate need for secrecy before it denies you information."

Bakersfield Gray Rat, Martini Georgius

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