Peter Scheer
On Access by Peter Scheer

Time to shed light on CalPERS’ private equity investments

The public has grown accustomed to “pay to play” scandals and other misconduct at CalPERS, the nation’s largest public employee pension plan with over $300 million in investments. Still, the former CEO’s guilty plea entered in federal court last week was shocking even by CalPERS’ standards. Frederico Buenrostro, CalPERS’ top official from 2002 to 2008, […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Snowden, go home

Edward Snowden, leaker extraordinaire of classified NSA documents, is said to be seeking an extension of his political asylum in Russia, where he has resided, beyond the reach of US jurisdiction and under legal protection granted by Vladimir Putin personally, for a little over one year. Snowden seems to be settling in for the long […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

New “drone memo” to be released to FAC . . . and other developments in FAC’s legal cases

The US Justice Department has advised FAC that it plans to release a second redacted memo analyzing the legality of the government’s proposed use of force to kill al-Aulaqi, a US citizen who had joined Al Qaeda and taken on operational functions for Al-Qaeda’s  operations in Yemen. Al-Aulaqi was subsequently killed in a 2010 drone […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Supremes pass on NYT reporter Risen’s appeal of ruling requiring him to ID sources. This is a good thing.

The US Supreme Court has declined to review a lower court order directing New York Times journalist James Risen to testify about his confidential sources for reporting on secret US efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Be thankful that the Court took a pass. Although the First Amendment Coalition  joined a legal brief urging the […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

FAC news: Prop 42 victory, amicus briefs on the Wrap, NCAA, fee waivers & more

June has been a busy month for FAC, both legislatively and judicially. Most gratifying: California voters on June 4 approved, by a comfortable 61 percent margin, Prop 42, which amends the state constitution to fortify state open meetings and FOI laws. FAC supported and sponsored Prop 42 to end funding disputes between local governments and […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

FAC’s Model Email Policy for Local Governments

Digital communications are the new arena for battles over government transparency. Public officials, like the rest of society, rely on email for communications about business–government business. While those emails are indisputably public records when sent or received by means of a government email account, the legal status of the very same emails, if sent from […]

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Europe’s High Court Has No Business Telling Google How to Edit Its Search Results

The decision of Europe’s highest court ordering Google to delete, on request, search results embarrassing to private individuals, is a watershed — and not a good one — for the Internet and for freedom of speech. Not that I’m unsympathetic to the college senior whose high school bust for marijuana possession is the first thing […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Vote YES on Prop 42 if you value open-government. Vote no if you prefer secrecy.

Prop 42, on the ballot for California’s June 4 election, will amend the Constitution to assure that local governments are legally bound to observe open-government requirements. If you prefer transparency to secrecy in your city government, local school board or county government, then the choice is clear: You should vote for Prop 42. Prop 42 […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Donald Sterling may be a racist, but denial of his rights (to privacy and free speech) devalues those rights for all citizens

Listening to the surreptitiously-recorded conversation between octogenarian Donald Sterling and his much younger girlfriend, I felt doubly sickened: first, by the casual racism of Sterling’s comments; and second, by my own participation in an invasion of privacy on a truly massive scale. We are experiencing viral voyeurism. I can’t figure out, and don’t much care, […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Government officials should listen to voters instead of lawyers selling strategies for blocking access to information

Regardless of what they say to the contrary, government agencies are in the business of withholding information from the public (or, what amounts to the same thing, disclosing only that information that the agencies want the public to have). This tight-fistedness about information is written into government’s DNA. But some efforts to withhold information are […]

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