You are on page 1of 2

10 WAYS YOU CAN ADVANCE THE RIGHT TO KNOW IN YOUR COMMUNITY

PUBLIC MEETINGS MONITORING Ask your local unit of the League of Women Voters of
California if it maintains an Observer Corps to monitor local agency mee<ngs for proper
procedure and candid disclosure, and if so, volunteer to join it or partner with it. If not, use the
League publica<on Observing Your Government in Ac3on along with CalAware’s Ci<zen
Watchdog guide to write your own reports on how well a given council or board is keeping its
decision-making in public view.

PUBLIC AGENDA DECODING As a supplement to the reports above or as a standalone service,
work with your region’s unit of the Society of Professional Journalists to develop a panel of
re<red reporters and/or editors to convert local government mee<ng agendas into plain English
(or some other language used by many in your community). Call it “What’s the Hidden
Headline Here?” in each item of bureaucratese.

PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTING Ask your city, county, school district or special district—or
California state agency—to provide access for you to review all Public Records Act requests
received in the past year, and the wriTen responses to them (not the records themselves,
unless you’re ready to pay the copying costs). Report any interes<ng findings to CalAware.

LEGISLATIVE REFORM Ask your California Assembly Member and/or Senator if she or he would
introduce—or co-author—legisla<on to address one or more correc<ons to open government
or free speech laws suggested by CalAware’s priority list. Let CalAware know the response.

LOCAL TRANSPARENCY POLICY Review CalAware’s sunshine ordinance “how to” guide and draw
up your own list of improvements for mee<ngs and public informa<on policies of your city
council, county board of supervisors, school board or special district board. Ask CalAware to
check your list for legal feasibility. Circulate a pe<<on asking the council or board to adopt the
result as an ordinance (ci<es or coun<es) or bylaw (school or special districts).

POLITICAL CANDIDATE PLEDGE Ask all those who pull papers for any electoral office to take
CalAware’s Sunshine Pledge—or explain why they refuse to do so.

POLICE TRANSPARENCY COMMITMENT Ask your sheriff and/or police chief to adopt and post
CalAware’s Model Law Enforcement Public Informa<on Policy—or explain why they won’t

STUDENT SPEECH/ PRESS PROTECTION Ask to see your school board’s wriTen publica<ons code
governing student communica<ons, required to be adopted by Educa<on Code Sec<on 48907. If
there is none, remind the board that the adop<on is mandatory, and inform CalAware.

WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS Suggest to anyone considering no<fying the relevant
authori<es of improper or illegal conduct by their fellow workers or employer—or by anyone
seeking to defraud the government—that he or she review CalAware’s Top 10 Things to
Consider About Whistleblower Protec<ons.

PUBLISHING YOUR WORK Start a blog or website to share your findings with the community.