Radio & Television News Association

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Californians Aware: Promoting Open Government

When it comes to open government, the mission of Californians Aware is an educational one, accomplished in a cooperative, professional, and non-adversarial manner. Our Board of Directors and membership is a diverse mix of everyone having a stake in promoting open government: citizens, government officials, media, and the attorneys that represent each of these groups. Our goal to increase transparency is aimed at reducing the mistrust born by excessive secrecy, which often distracts government from doing the best job possible for its constituents.

Through your generous financial support, we provide regional seminars on open meetings and public records law, helping public officials to understand government's responsibilities to its citizens, and aiding citizens' access to information and their involvement in decision-making.

Not surprisingly, CalAware has become the most frequently quoted open government organization in the California press. We produce a free, electronic newsletter, "CalAware Weekly," the comprehensive authority on open government and First Amendment developments around the State.

We provide e-mail and phone access to the "Quick Query" hotline, where anyone can receive open government advice from our General Counsel Terry Francke, acknowledged as California's premier expert in public forum law.

We give assistance to those promoting sunshine policies and open meeting ordinances in their communities. And, to demystify the laws protecting the people's rights, we offer publications, such as "Open Meetings in California," the most comprehensive guide to this state's open meetings laws.

But if a cooperative approach should fail, Californians Aware stands ready to support legal actions aimed at correcting a government's use of illegal secrecy. In fact, over the past ten years, members of our Board have been responsible for more successful lawsuits to remedy Brown Act violations than any other association, coalition, or news organization in the state. In other words, this all-volunteer Board of Directors practices what it preaches. And we give support to other open government litigation through letters of amicus and expert testimony.

But if this non-profit, public-benefit organization is going to maintain, and hopefully enhance, our legal and educational services, we must ask those like you, individuals and organizations with a passion for open government, for your generous support as our "End of Year Challenge" comes to a close.

So please, if you haven't already, go to the donations page on our web page, or just send us a check to the address below:

Californians Aware
2218 Homewood Way
Carmichael, CA 95608

Whichever you choose, you can feel good that you started the new year right by investing wisely in an insurance policy that protects our right to open and responsive government.

Warmest wishes,

Richard McKee

Tim Crews

Donna Frye


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