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CALIFORNIANS AWARE GROWTH FUND IMPACTS

Seven ways a successful CalAware Growth Fund will help expand

and Improve our services to the public

1. Training Workshops

CalAware already offers workshops to train journalists, civic activists, public


officials and public employees in the basics of the Brown Act, the Public
Records Act, and free speech rights under the First Amendment.

A successful CalAware growth fund will make it possible to add


workshops on the news gathering rights and publication risks of journalists in
particular, and the protections offered to government and other
whistleblowers.

2. Legal Compliance Audits

Several years ago CalAware conducted statewide audits to test how well
various public agencies and institutions understood and complied with their
legal obligations to provide access to their records when requested by
ordinary citizens. The audits covered state executive branch agencies, state
and local law enforcement and public education agencies, and the
administrative offices of local and statewide courts. We not only published
their performance scores but offered those interested free training on how to
improve.

A successful CalAware growth fund will make it possible to resume


these audits and extend them, for example to city and county governments
and special districts.

3. Sunshine Ordinances

Since its founding CalAware has provided interested citizens with resources,
consultation and support in their efforts to enact local policies to improve
their access to government meetings and information beyond the bare
minimum standards in state laws like the Brown Act and Public Records Act.

A successful CalAware growth fund will make it possible to educate


residents and public officials in more cities, counties, school and special
districts on how they can set their own standards for local transparency and
civic participation.

4. Publications

CalAware publishes paper and e-guides to the Brown Act and other open
government laws, the Public Records Act and related information privacy
laws, the legal rights and risks governing California journalism, and the laws
most useful to government watchdogs.

A successful CalAware growth fund will make it possible promptly to


update these reference works as new case law is decided and new legislation
is enacted.

5. Legislation

CalAware supports or opposes key bills introduced in Sacramento


strengthening or weakening the open government rights of inquiring citizens
and the protections for speakers, journalists and whistleblowers.

A successful CalAware growth fund will make it possible to broaden


and deepen that activism with increased public awareness and involvement.

6. Litigation

CalAware not only provides support, through participation in amicus curiae


briefs, for plaintiffs or defendants waging court battles for open government
and free expression, but files such cases in its own name when necessary to
enforce such rights and protections.

A successful CalAware growth fund will make it possible to increase


the use of court actions—and cautionary letters and demands, which can be
just as effective—in correcting those who do not respect the laws requiring
open government or free speech and press.

7. Phone and Email Support

CalAware responds to hundreds of calls and emails per year providing


inquirers with answers to questions (summarized in our Knowledge Base)
about open meeting and public records laws and practices, free speech
rights and protections for effective journalism and whistleblowing.

A successful CalAware growth fund will help make this service better
known and more available to more people who need it throughout the state.