This year Transparent California surpassed the 100 million mark for lifetime page views — and that wasn’t even close to being our biggest success.
But in order to continue the work that has produced the results described below, we are asking that those who value our work please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!
Our most widely read report was on a BART janitor who quadrupled his $57,000 salary to over $270,000 with overtime pay and benefits — which ultimately received international coverage. Shockingly, such large payouts for BART janitors had been occurring for years, but were largely unreported until Transparent California thrust the issue into the national spotlight.
In response, BART announced they had instituted a freeze on overtime pay for janitors earlier this year. But that’s not all. State Senator Steve Glazer authored a bill to create a BART Inspector General, which he said was necessary because of issues like the high overtime pay uncovered by Transparent California, according to a local FOX news report.
Last month, the Governor signed Glazer’s bill into law, which will now give voters the chance to create an independent inspector general for BART!
That is the power of transparency — and the kind of impact you can expect from your tax-deductible donation to support our work.
But the tangible policy changes from our work aren’t limited to just BART.
In May 2017 we reported that a Riverside utilities dispatcher tripled his salary to nearly $400,000 with state’s 10th largest overtime payout.
The following month, after covering our initial release, the Press-Enterprise announced that Riverside changed their policy after utility’s $257,719 overtime revelation!
Of course, we can’t take all the credit for that. The City of Riverside deserves praise for their willingness to enact policy solutions and address the issue, rather than reflexively defend the status quo as most governments do when examples of waste are brought to light.
Finally, California’s Public Records Act — the state law mandating transparency from all governments — is rendered meaningless if governments are free to defy it with impunity. Which is why, in early 2017, we expanded our operations to include enforcing California’s Public Records Act via legal action, when necessary.
There is no question that litigation can be costly, but the harm from allowing governments to hide its affairs in secrecy is just too great. It is a near certainty that if a government is refusing to comply with our basic request that they are also stonewalling area residents’ requests as well. Indeed, we’ve received dozens of emails which attest to just that.
Of course, all of this is only possible because of the generous donations by those who support our mission of a more transparent and accountable government. If you value our work and would like to see more examples of positive reforms like the ones outlined above, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!
If you prefer to donate via check, please mail a check made payable to “Transparent California” to:
c/o Robert Fellner
7130 Placid St. Las Vegas, NV 89119
As always, thank you for supporting our mission of a more transparent and accountable government. And if you ever have any questions, ideas for how we can improve the site or would like to chat about anything else, please feel free to email me at Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.