Call for nominations – Free Speech & Open Government Awards

programs open gov award Free Speech & Open Government Awards Call for Nominations   The First Amendment Coalition is soliciting nominees for the FAC Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year for performance of exemplary work in the arena of open government. Qualifications for the award are outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to “the people’s right to know” about government. The winner, or winners, could be a journalist, blogger, lawyer, news organization (print or digital), software developer or community activist. We wish

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Call for nominations 2015 FAC FOI Award

The First Amendment Coalition is soliciting nominees for the FAC Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year for performance of exemplary work in the arena of open government. Qualifications for the award are outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to “the people’s right to know” about government. The winner, or winners, could be a journalist, blogger, lawyer, news organization (print or digital), software developer or community activist. We wish to recognize an individual or institution

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FAC Seeks Nominations for 2014 Free Speech & Open Government Award

The First Amendment Coalition is soliciting nominees for the FAC Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year for performance of exemplary work in the arena of open government. Qualifications for the award are outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to “the people’s right to know” about government. The winner could be a journalist, blogger, lawyer, news organization (print or digital), software developer or community activist. We wish to recognize an individual or institution

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Open government group pushes for release of Defense contractor ratings

Hopeful that President Barack Obama’s early commitment to transparency is genuine, the FOIA Group, Inc. is asking the Defense Department to allow public access to a Defense Department database that rates contractors. -DB NextGov August 14, 2009 By Aliya Sternstein The Obama administration, committed to becoming the most transparent in history, upheld a Bush-era practice of denying taxpayers access to a Defense Department database that tracks contractor performance. An appeal to a recent Freedom of Information

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FAC Seeks Nominations for 2018 Free Speech & Open Government Award

The First Amendment Coalition is soliciting nominees for the FAC Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year for performance of exemplary work in the arena of open government. Qualifications for the award are outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to “the people’s right to know” about government. The winner, or winners, could be a journalist, blogger, lawyer, news organization (print or digital), software developer or community activist. We wish to recognize an individual

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FAC Seeks Nominations for 2017 Free Speech & Open Government Award

The First Amendment Coalition is soliciting nominees for the FAC Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year for performance of exemplary work in the arena of open government. Qualifications for the award are outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to “the people’s right to know” about government. The winner, or winners, could be a journalist, blogger, lawyer, news organization (print or digital), software developer or community activist. We wish to recognize an individual

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Tehachapi superintendent responds to allegations of Brown Act violations

In defending his district against allegations made by the Kern County Grand Jury of open government violations, the school superintendent said that the school board published their agendas sufficiently and took public comment on the reassignment of a middle school principal. -DB Tehachapi News May 28, 2009 STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO GRAND JURY REPORT As you know, the Tehachapi Unified School District Board of Trustees made a decision to reassign a principal. The result of

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FAC Seeks Nominations for 2019 Free Speech & Open Government Award

PROGRAMS fac foi aWARDS FAC Seeks Nominations for 2019 Free Speech & Open Government Award The First Amendment Coalition is soliciting nominees for the FAC Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year for performance of exemplary work in the arena of open government. Qualifications for the award are outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to “the people’s right to know” about government. The winner, or winners, could be a journalist, blogger, lawyer, news

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California: Kern County supervisor agenda item raises suspicions

The listing of job description of the county administrative officer appears nearly every week on the agenda for a closed session of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, a suspicious phenomenon, writes Lois Henry for The Bakersfield Californian. A citizen watchdog says that discussions of job performance, not job description, are exempt from open meetings. -db From a commentary for The Bakersfield Californian, May 5 2012, by Lois Henry. Full story  

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U.S. press freedom plummeted in 2011

Press freedom took a hit in the United States in 2011 according to Reporters Without Borders who ranked contries according to their performance. The U.S. now shares 47th place in a tie with Romania and Argentina. Much of the drop may be based on the harassment, beating and arrest of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests. -db From the Courthouse News Service, January 26, 2012, by Adam Klasfeld. Full story  

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Ninth Circuit orders censorship of anti-Muslim video

A divided panel of a federal appeals court ordered Google to remove a YouTube anti-Muslim film that provoked threats to actors and fueled riots in the Middle East. An actor who had been paid for working on a film entitled “Desert Warrior” sued a filmmaker for a violation of her copyright interests by turning the film into “Innocence of Muslims” that included a negative portrayal of Muhammad the Prophet. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the

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Brown Act Primer: Access to Meetings

RESOURCES Access to Meetings Accessing Public Meetings: The Ralph M. Brown Act FAC Brown Act Primer Download FAC’s Brown Act Primer Table of Contents   California Brown Act Primer I. Introduction Note: This primer was created in 2006 The Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code sections 54950-54963, referred to as the “Brown Act”) is intended to provide public access to meetings of California local government agencies. Its purpose is described in the Act: “The people

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Federal court reinstates suit against police department for free speech violation

A federal appeals court said a former Middletown, New York  police officer could sue his police department over his firing after  the department allegedly asked him to lie about an excessive force claim against a fellow officer. A lower court had ruled that the officer had no standing to sue since his speech was part of his job performance rather than the expression of a private citizen. -db From Your News Now , July 22,

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California: Napa District attorney says St. Helena council violated open meeting law

The Napa County District Attorney is holding the St. Helena City Council accountable for observing the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law. He said it was no excuse that the council violated numerous sections of the law after receiving incorrect legal advice. According to the D.A. in discussing the performance of the city manager, the council failed to list the topic clearly in an agenda and held at least one inappropriate closed session. -db From

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S.F. Chronicle challenges release of sealed names in Mitchell report

The New York Daily News reports that lawyers for the San Francisco Chronicle filed a brief last Friday asking the federal government to explain why it shared what it had deemed secret information with the man probing steroids in baseball. The Chronicle reportedly said the federal government may have violated its own sealing order when it gave former Sen. Majority Leader George Mitchell permission to publish the names of players accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.

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Editorial

LA Times editorial backs CFAC suit against State Bar The LA Times, in its lead editorial in today’s newspaper, endorsed CFAC’s lawsuit (filed together with UCLA Professor Richard Sander) to force the California State Bar to make available records needed for Sander’s research on affirmative action in law schools. CFAC’s mission is to provide access–subject to strict confidentiality guarantees–to both Sander and to other researchers who disagree with him.-PS Los Angeles Times: Affirmative action and

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Appeals court rules that police officers’ complaints not protected speech

In a split decision, a federal appeals court ruled that officers’ complaints about a superior’s conduct were not a public concern and therefore not protected speech. The dissenting judge said the officers had a right to voice their complaints since they addressed the performance, functioning and mismanagement of a public agency. -DB Metropolitan News-Enterprise July 14, 2009 By Kenneth Ofgang Complaints by police officers about their supervisors’ conduct are not protected by the First Amendment, the

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San Diego health care district accused of open meeting violation

The Tri-City Healthcare District board has been accused of violating the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, by holding a closed door session on strategic directions for the district before convening again in closed session to evaluate the performance of their CEO. Critics said the session on setting strategic directions should have been on an agenda and open to the public. An attorney for the district said the board could evaluate personnel on goals and

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Santa Barbara newspaper loses battle with union

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Santa Barbara News-Press owner conducted a retaliatory campaign against employees trying to unionize. The owner had argued that any decision for the employees would abridge her First Amendment right to control editorial content. Fifteen employees resigned in 2006 claiming that the owner tried to improperly influence the news-gathering process, and the owner subsequently fired eight employees for engaging in union activity. The NLRB ordered the owner to reinstate

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