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Pressing Issues

By Gina Channell Wilcox

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About this blog: I am President of Embarcadero Media's East Bay Division and the publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, Dublin TriValley Views, San Ramon Express and Danville Express. As a 25-plus-year veteran of the media industry, I have experience...  (More)

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Let the Sunshine in!

Uploaded: Mar 17, 2015
It's Sunshine Week! Sunshine Week is "a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information," according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), the organization that launched Sunshine Week in March 2005.

Now, on the 10th anniversary, participants include news media and others, such as civic groups, libraries, nonprofits and schools. While these organizations participate, it's the public that benefits from having transparency in government.

Learn more about Sunshine Week at SunshineWeek.org. If you want to hear more about our First Amendment Rights, Cheryl Cook-Kallio and John Murphy will speak at a presentation hosted by the San Ramon Valley Exchange Club from 7 to 8 p.m. March 18 at the Canyon View Banquet Hall, 680 Bollinger Canyon Way, San Ramon.

Cook-Kallio is a 38-year veteran who teaches AP U.S. History and AP Government / We the People at Irvington High School in Fremont and served for eight years as a councilmember for the City of Pleasanton. She served the Hon. Dianne Feinstein as a Madison Congressional Fellow and currently serves on a state task force advisory board for civic education and the National Civics Teachers' Council founded by former Associate Justice Sandra Day O.Connor.

Murphy is a retired Senior Attorney in the California Supreme Court (Chambers of Justice Joyce Kennard) and a founder of the Donald P. McCullum Youth Court. The Youth Court is a restorative justice program that provides an opportunity for first-time youth offenders to participate in a peer-led youth court, health and life-skills workshops and leadership training. Murphy also served as a member of the White House Cabinet
Council on Health Affairs -- Health Policy and Economics Working Group.

While it is the journalists' job to be the watchdogs over government entities, it is everyone's duty to be informed about and protect our First Amendment right to open meetings, access to public records and transparency in government at all levels.

The journalists at the Pleasanton Weekly and Danville /San Ramon Express have found city, town and school district staff and elected officials very cooperative and transparent. However, perhaps next year, to make it formal, we should ask for a proclamation committing to the continuation and strengthening of transparency in local government.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Ha , a resident of Carriage Gardens,
on Mar 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Our elected officials as transparent? Ha ha ha ha ha!

Posted by Ha, a resident of Carriage Gardens,
on Mar 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Sunshine week sounds great, I'll be sharing the importance of this week with my kids!

Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, a PleasantonWeekly.com blogger,
on Mar 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Ha - The journalists at the Pleasanton Weekly and Danville /San Ramon Express have found city, town and school district staff and elected officials very cooperative and transparent.

If you have a specific first-hand experience of how they have failed at this, please share.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Mar 17, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.


It are the unelected officials that are not responsive.
Following my opinion published in the weekly 01/30/2015 I emailed BAAQMD three times with questions. Jack Broadbent CEO BAAQMD had previously directed in an email to me, not to email him any more, to direct my emails to a staff member.

I followed Broadbent's directive, when the staff member did not respond, I forwarded the email to Broadbent. A few days later a member of his staff emailed an outdated news release to me.

I emailed the BAAQMD public access email server with a question. I never received a response. I forwarded the email to Broadbent, asked him to answer the question. Again no response, to date.

There was an article in the Pleasanton Weekly, on line, 03/13/2015, "Zone 7 directed its retailers to seek out alternative water supplies", Pleasanton was one of those retailers.

I emailed Dennis Smith, copied Nelson Fialho and asked three questions.
1. Is the city of Pleasanton seeking alternative supplies as recommended?
2. If so, where is the city of Pleasanton seeking alternative supplies?
3. If so, what is the volume of alternative supplies over what period of time?

Unelected officials serve at the expense of the tax payer.
How is it they seem to have an attitude that they are not accountable to the tax payer?

Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, a PleasantonWeekly.com blogger,
on Mar 17, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Michael, Thank you for sharing your first-hand experiences with us. I remember your opinion piece about BAAQMD, and I am sorry you haven't received a response.

As for your most recent questions to the City of Pleasanton, if you just sent it Friday, give them a week or so to respond. Sometimes it's not so much they don't want to be held accountable but they are out of town, prepping for a council meeting, or are waiting until they have all the answers to respond.

Your interaction - or lack thereof - with BAAQMD, though, I can't explain.

Posted by Buffy, a resident of Downtown,
on Mar 18, 2015 at 7:45 am

The fact that our yokels can't see their reflections in a mirror Does Not mean they're transparent.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown,
on Mar 18, 2015 at 9:33 am

The upper workings of the School District need to see some Sunshine! Specifics? Walnut Grove, and how did the Trustees only get to vote on two calendar choices when the survey put to the public had five?

Posted by fat joey, a resident of Amador Estates,
on Mar 19, 2015 at 8:33 pm

I agree with jack.

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