CA Fwd Issues the State of Transparency in California As Part of National Sunshine Week

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California Forward (CA Fwd), today released the State of Transparency in California, an analysis exploring the core issues in governmental accountability and transparency throughout the state, and actions being taken to improve public access to information and decision-making. The State of Transparency aims to accentuate and help advance the conversation about how improved transparency can lead to better government in California.

"California Forward's persistent and consistent focus is to strengthen democracy in the state," said Thomas McKernan , co-chair of CA Fwd's Leadership Council. "More transparency can help ensure that Californians know where their tax money is going and how it's being spent by government agencies around the state."

CA Fwd's State of Transparency and the organization's online Transparency Portal are designed to energize the conversation regarding transparency in local and state governments in California during Sunshine Week and beyond.  Sunshine Week (held from March 10-16) is a nationwide initiative promoting dialogue about the importance of having an open government and being able to access public information. 

The State of Transparency identifies three priority areas where CA Fwd hopes to engage the public in further discussion: 

  • expanding access to reliable data on public spending, planning and outcomes;
  • expanding disclosure of campaign contributors; and,
  • ending closed decision-making processes, such as 'Gut and Amend'.

The development of the State of Transparency was guided by an advisory committee, which includes academic, legal, local government and other stakeholders.

In an effort to give Californians a centralized, comprehensible view of how their local governments are performing, CA Fwd has added substantial data in recent weeks to its online Transparency Portal. Latest information highlights include a dedicated page for each city and county in the state, as well as a review of best practices across California aimed to inform both the general public and government officials with information that can help illuminate strong communications and engagement processes at the local government level.

In addition, CA Fwd's comprehensive Transparency Portal provides Californians with case studies and stories through its reporting blog, a glossary of key terms, common questions and answers, as well as a toolkit for residents and policy makers which includes important information about how individuals can be engaged in their local governments.

"Californians have been telling us for years they want a government they can trust. California Forward believes the cornerstone of good government is transparency and accountability," said Jim Mayer , executive director of CA Fwd. "We are pleased to share the State of Transparency, which we believe helps advance the important conversation which is a critical component in delivering real democracy reform in California."

CA Fwd is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to improving the performance of government in California. It believes that increased emphasis on accountability and transparency will create government that Californians deserve and expect.

Contact:

Jania Palacios, 520-404-7643

Jania@cafwd.org

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