WatchSonoma Watch
Santa Rosa won’t identify council applicants, for now

Santa Rosa is keeping secret the names and application information about people seeking appointment to the City Council until after the application deadline passes. The council’s goal for the policy it adopted Tuesday is to preserve the integrity of the process and to encourage as large and diverse a group of applicants as possible, Mayor Scott Bartley said.

North Coast lawmakers won’t immediately release budgets

Three state Assembly members who represent the North Coast declined on Monday to release their office budgets, days after a Superior Court judge ruled that such information is a matter of public record. The lawmakers expressed support for releasing the information but said they will wait for further direction from legislative leaders or until they had more time to compile the data.

Brown signs bill requiring university foundations to disclose records

The public will have access to internal records of Sonoma State University’s Academic Foundation starting Jan. 1 under a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown. State Sen. Leland Yee, who authored the bill, cited private loans made by the SSU Academic Foundation as evidence of the need for greater transparency.

Malamud seeks to unlock Smithsonian archives

Carl Malamud, who has spent two decades cajoling the government into putting public data online for free, is confronting his latest institutional Goliath. The Sebastopol activist has launched a new campaign targeting the Smithsonian Institution and its policy of charging licensing fees to use public images downloaded from its vast collection of historic American artifacts.

SSU cheers changes to bill that expands public records law

Sonoma State University faculty members on Thursday applauded the decision by state university officials to reverse course and support a bill that would increase financial transparency at public universities. It would bring academic foundations and other nonprofit campus auxiliary organizations under requirements of California public records laws.

County to make public Neville report

The veil of secrecy surrounding the dismissal of Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Neville is about to be lifted. A judge has given the county the green light to make public the internal investigation.

SSU gets an A+ for records transparency

Sonoma State University is getting top marks from a watchdog organization for upholding the state’s public records law. The grade, however, runs contrary to the impressions of some SSU faculty who’ve long complained the university has shrouded the business affairs surrounding the Green Music Center.

Public records watchdog group gives SRJC a passing grade

When it comes to following California’s public record laws, Santa Rosa Junior College is slightly better than average, but far from the top of the class. That’s according to Californians Aware, a watchdog group, which recently graded half the state’s 72 community college districts on their response to public record requests.

Judge favors opening pension records to public

The public has a right to know specific details about pension benefits received by retired Sonoma County government workers, a Superior Court judge said Thursday. The tentative ruling from Judge Mark Tansil came in response to a lawsuit from The Press Democrat seeking the release of information including the names of all retired county employees and the amounts of their annual pensions.

3 cities miss deadline to report salary data

In response to the corruption scandal that rocked the city of Bell, the state is assembling a database of public sector salaries and pensions. Data for three Sonoma County cities is missing from the list. All three cities – Santa Rosa, Cloverdale and Petaluma – promised to fix the problem quickly.

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