California open government roundup: California government open data spurs innovation

A tech entrepreneur writes that California’s “leading edge” policies on open data in government is driving innovation in the state. Jonathan Ende says the Open Justice data project of the state’s justice department allows law enforcement and state officials and legislators to improve the criminal justice system. He says another data project on government services enables the state to “track the sustainability of state-purchased supplies and evaluate the sustainability of California’s vehicle fleet.” (techwire, May 11, 2018)

A state auditor found that some California colleges, both public and private, have failed to report accurate crime statistics and tell parents and students about how they fight violence against women as required by federal law. (San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 2018, by Nanette Asimov)

Simi Valley residents are alleging that the city council violated the state’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, by voting in closed session to oppose the state’s position on immigration sanctuary. The council voted to file an amicus brief siding with the Trump administration’s lawsuit challenging state sanctuary laws. (VC Star, May 15, 2018, by Mike Harris)

Chico citizens are concerned that the Community Action Agency (CAA) that receives public grants to provide social services has not allowed public access to its records. The CAA claims that as a private nonprofit it does not have to comply with the Brown Act or the California Public Records Act. The Butte County Board of Supervisors is considering requiring agencies receiving county funds to comply with the state’s open government laws. (Chico Enterprise-Record, May 9, 2018, by Dani Anguiano)

Two nonprofits are alleging that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California violated the Brown Act by deciding behind closed doors to commit to finance Governor Jerry Brown’s billion dollar water tunnel project. The Food & Water Watch and the First Amendment Coalition asked the district to withdraw its commitment or face legal action. (Indybay, May 8, 2018, by Dan Bacher)

A McKinleyville citizen is complaining that an advisory committee to the town council, the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, intended to involve citizens in town business, has not operated in a transparent way. Meetings were cancelled without public notice, meeting minutes among the missing and agendas difficult to access. (Eureka Times-Standard, May 5, 2018, by Kate McClain)

After a challenge by a concerned citizen, the Newport Beach City Council may commit to not violating the Brown Act in its upcoming task of hiring a new city manager. (Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2018, by Hillary Davis)


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