It’s Sunshine week!
No, I’m not talking about the weather. I’m talking about the week that celebrates openness and government transparency across the United States. Ever since its founding in 2006 by the American Society of News Editors, Sunshine week has served as a reminder of how important it is for every American to have access to government records and information.
The idea of open government is one that reaches far past Sunshine week’s founding in 2006. Way back in 1789 Thomas Jefferson observed that, “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.” It is up to the people to keep their leaders accountable, and accountability starts with open information.
It wasn’t until 1966 that the Federal Government first enacted the Freedom of Information Act. While many people think that FOIA requests are only made by news organizations, most requests are made by businesses, law firms, and everyday individuals. It was on the 20th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act that March 16 was declared Freedom of Information Day. This day celebrates the value of transparency and openness that makes our country great and is one that we at Transparent California look forward to every year.
Ever since our founding in 2012, we at Transparent California have been dedicated to preserving openness here in the Golden State. A voter can make the most informed decisions
, only if they knowwhat those they elect are doing with the power they have been entrusted with. Over the past decade, we have built the largest database of public employee salary and pension information in the state. In 2021 alone, we collected more than $227 BILLION in payroll information that you can access right now.
However, our work isn’t done yet! From requesting charter school payrolls to expanding the categories of data we collect, we‘re working to expand the mission of Transparent California so that even more public records are available to the public. That mission starts with you. By making a financial gift today, you can enable us to keep the Golden State open and transparent to ensure our leaders continue to serve us, and not the other way around.