CFAC sued Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to obtain his calendars of meetings and those of his top aides. CFAC argued that a state Supreme Court decision sustaining a denial of access to these records was implicitly overturned by Prop 59, which the governor had championed during the election. Schwarzenegger settled, agreeing to turn over nearly all the calendars.
By Peter Scheer
What’s the governor doing? What’s the California Supreme Court doing? What, for that matter, is Michael Jackson doing?
The public’s right to know has a bearing on all of those questions. Access to the deliberations of government agencies and to government records and information is critical not just for journalists and lawyers but for citizens who want to hold government and public officials accountable. That access for the public is improving on at least one front in California while being thwarted on others.
In the News
Move by coalition behind Prop. 59 is first test of open-government law.
Buoyed by voters’ broadening of the public’s right to know government’s business, a nonprofit advocacy group has formally requested access to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appointment book. If the California First Amendment Coalition is successful – either by Schwarzenegger’s agreement to provide the information or a court’s order – it could weaken a key court decision open-government supporters say has blocked reams of information they believe should be public.
Associated Press article on CFAC records request
Only days after California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 59 to increase the public’s ability to inspect government records, a media-backed group is asking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to release all his appointment calendars, schedules and meeting logs since taking office Nov. 17.
Los Angeles Times
Saying he has no secrets, Schwarzenegger reveals appointment records. Corporate executives and union leaders have been frequent visitors.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released 350 edited pages of private calendar and appointment records Wednesday, showing that he met frequently with corporate executives and union leaders in his first year in office, took part in dozens of fundraisers and spoke to various special interests whose fortunes could depend on state action. Until now, the governor has made public the barest information about his daily schedule, typically through terse press releases that stated he spent the day in private meetings.But saying he has nothing to hide, Schwarzenegger chose to comply with a request submitted by the California First Amendment Coalition under the Public Records Act
San Francisco Chronicle
Tantalizing peek at governor’s calendars. Budget meetings vie with interviews with Access Hollywood
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration provided a glimpse behind the somewhat secretive workings of California’s celebrity governorship, releasing Wednesday his official calendars that show days mixing routine budget meetings with movie-star media appearances. The calendars — the first to be released by a sitting California governor, according to administration officials — document how Schwarzenegger’s political and celebrity lives intertwine.
San Francisco Chronicle
Far from tied down in the Capitol, Governor spends much of his time outside Sacramento, according to calendars.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presented the Legislature with an ambitious agenda to shake up state government and demanded that lawmakers quickly enact his proposals.Yet even as Schwarzenegger has alternately accused legislators of stalling his agenda and insisted he wants to negotiate with them, the governor has spent most of his time away from the Capitol.
San Jose Mercury News
Prop. 59 opening government doors
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has promised something that Gray Davis and previous governors resisted. He agreed to show the public who he’s meeting with and why.
More than a goodwill gesture, the governor is complying with the overwhelming wishes of voters who just passed Proposition 59, which broadened the public’s right to know.
Calendar release is good, but not enough
The most frustrating thing about Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor is how often he promises to be revolutionary and instead turns out to be, if not ordinary, certainly not the mold-breaking force he has the potential to become. Time after time he feints toward the radical, only to pull back at the last minute. The latest example is his release of edited versions of his schedule as governor. During the campaign, this was part of Schwarzenegger’s promise to open government to “the people.” He pledged to mimic Florida, where almost everything the government does is open to inspection, in something close to real time.
The Desert Sun
Schwarzenegger keeps his word, opens calendar to media. His willingness to open records is a public service
In one of the most straightforward moves of his one-year tenure as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has opened his calendar from his first year in office to let the public peek at his appointment book. None of his predecessors ever agreed to such scrutiny. Schwarzenegger’s move bodes well for the public’s access to government.
Governor makes time for contributors
A year’s worth of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office calendars released Wednesday paints a picture of a chief executive who meets regularly with corporate campaign donors and some of the “special interests” he routinely rips, but also devotes an unusual amount of his time to using the media to sell his message. With its 350-page release, the administration sought credit for being the first to make such information public since a 1991 California Supreme Court case that has limited newspapers’ access to what justices called government’s “deliberative process.” First Amendment advocates said they were pleased Schwarzenegger is taking steps to broaden public access to government as he promised on the campaign trail last year.
Schwarzenegger to release his appointment calendars to public
Attorneys for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote the media-backed California First Amendment Coalition on Wednesday, agreeing to honor its public records request under newly passed Proposition 59 for the governor’s appointments calendar and daily schedule. In a letter to CFAC Executive Director Peter Scheer, the governor’s legal affairs secretary, Peter Siggins promised to compile records of Schwarzenegger’s first year in office within 35 days, and invited the CFAC to inspect the documents as they are being compiled. Scheer called the letter a “mostly positive” development, saying, “We won’t know what we’re getting until we see what we’re getting. We don’t know the nature of this process.” But he said he was encouraged.
Marin Independent Journal
Profile of CFAC: Opening the state’s books
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opened his calendar for the world to see late last year, it was at the behest of a little-known nonprofit organization now headquartered in Marin. The 16-year-old California First Amendment Coalition, which moved to San Rafael from Sacramento in July, provides advocacy for public access to government, from local town councils to the highest offices.