Watchdog activities for Sunshine Week March 16-22


300-WATCHDOG-WIRE-LOGOAs Historic City News readers prepare to take out their constitutional rights and give them a little exercise in the next couple of weeks, some great activity ideas have been shared with the office by fellow citizen watchdogs who are participating in “Sunshine Week” March 16th – 22nd, 2014.

This year, at, a fill-in-the-blank form has been posted for those interested in auditing city, county and state websites for completeness and ease of navigation to essential public information.

Historic City News is inviting all of our St Johns County readers to join us in the discussion about the importance of access to public information; what it means for you, and our community.

We will be contributing the results reported by Historic City News readers to Watchdog Wire and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity in Washington, DC. They will be tabulated with additional audits from around the country and we will publish the final results.

If you’d like another activity, you might choose to audit compliance with public records disclosure laws. For example, seek the same type of record from a single agency in multiple jurisdictions, such as incident reports from all area police. The state legislature is in session, are there any bills proposed, or exemptions to existing laws, that will be coming up? These have sometimes focused on bureaucratic practices that work to defeat the law’s intended transparency, and the need for better training and compliance; other times pointing to shortcomings in existing laws, such as allowing wide-ranging executive sessions.

“Open” is the keyword. Open government, Open records, Open meetings. Open government is good government.

Let us know what you think >>