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Nominate Local Champions of Open Government

'Sunshine Week' is coming up and it's all about transparent government.

Do you know people in Los Altos or Los Altos Hills who have championed local government transparency?

Los Altos Patch is participating in Sunshine Week 2012, which begins on March 11, by promoting the Sunshine Week organization’s national Local Heroes contest. We’ll also be talking up, covering and conversing with you about open government and freedom of information on our site during that week so stay tuned.

This week we want to kick that conversation off with a call to action to you to nominate local open government champions who have played a significant role fighting for local government transparency.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, Feb. 20 so put this on your "Must Do" list right away. The winner will be honored in Washington, DC. We'll share the winners with you.

Here’s a link to the Sunshine Week nomination form: www.sunshineweek.org/LocalHeroes/LocalHeroNomination.aspx

Faced any challenges with government transparency in our town? Share your stories with me at lachung@patch.com and I'll share them with our community.

Jim Fenton February 17, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Over the past few years, Los Altos has added a lot of tools to improve our ability to know what is being discussed by City Council and commissions/committees. The ability to watch Council meetings on line (live or recorded) is great, as is Internet access to meetings and agendas. Recently, the City added a service to allow residents to subscribe to Council and commission agendas of interest via email. But there is a lot more that can be done. Some subcommittees (the Council/LASD Trustees' joint subcommittee, for example) still only have their agendas posted outside City Hall and not on line. The video is available only in a proprietary format that's not compatible with some computers and tablets. It's also very hard to find search the archive to find a particular topic that was discussed, and in order to find out which Council members voted which way on a particular item, it's usually necessary to actually watch the video. Los Altos has the expertise to make this information more readily available and searchable. Doing so would further improve the civic engagement of our residents and the accountability of our leaders.
L.A. Chung (Editor) February 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM
If the Council meetings and committee/commission agendas are available via email, it seems that subcommittees ought to, as well.
Penny Lave February 18, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Since the Council now makes decisions at work sessions, those agendas should also be online and available to receive a "push". Unless the Council norms have been changed, work sessions are open to the public but no public input is allowed, unfortunately. That has not always been the norm and public testimony was taken at work sessions until sometime in the 80s.
L.A. Chung (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Is/are there anyone(s) who has been consistently advocating and fighting for open government practices? We'd love to help get them nominated and to D.C.!
L.A. Chung (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Here's an example of an honoree who went to bat for fixing the high school tennis courts, and used the public records to support his position on how to get them fixed quickly and more cost-effectively than most options! http://patch.com/bvaVx

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