Rays of Sunshine

Open meetings and public records—that's what it's all about.

Join Patch for Sunshine Week 2012 as we celebrate, converse, comment, debate and educate about the importance of open government and the public’s right to know what government is doing and why.

This year Sunshine Week is co-sponsored by ASNE and the Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press and many other media industry partners, including Patch. The goal is to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in government transparency.  The week is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami, along with the ASNE Foundation, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and others.  

There are key state laws that govern access to public records and public meetings.  The go-to site in New York is the Committee on Open Government, which includes info on how to file a freedom of information law (FOIL) request and has an archive of advisory opinions and an FAQ to get you started. 

To help Patch spread a little sunshine around town, you or your group may want to consider adopting Sunshine Week.org’s Open Government Proclamation:

Since Sunshine Week was launched in 2005, many city and state officials have recognized and committed to open government through official proclamations. Some have also held hearings on open government issues or scheduled special events such as open government training sessions for public employees and the launching of a special webpage.

To mark Sunshine Week 2012, we urge citizens and civic organizations across the country to again press state and local officials to find meaningful ways to participate in Sunshine Week to demonstrate that they, too, are committed to true transparency in government.  
One way this can be done is by adopting a meaningful open government proclamation that pledges specific steps to enhance the public’s right to know.

Proclamations can be more than just statements of general support. They can also address and pledge action on specific open government concerns and shortcomings that you, your organization and/or the officials themselves have identified.

Toward that goal, the sponsors of Sunshine Week offer this model proclamation. It begins with a generalized statement of support for government in the sunshine, followed by a sampling of open government provisions that have resulted in increased transparency in local and state governments around the country.

If your city, county, school board or state government does something special to recognize Sunshine Week,  please let us know. We'd also like electronic copies of any proclamations and other materials to share on the website. You, or the officials, can send them to  sunshineweek@sunshineweek.org.

Here is a link to the Sunshine Week Open Government Proclamation PDF:

tedc March 15, 2012 at 03:56 PM
So for example, if you are the City of Rye’s highest current elected official – in effect the City’s Chief Executive Officer - and you get caught renovating an entire house without any city permits whatsoever - you can blame someone else and get away with it. Likewise if you’re that same Chief Executive Officer and you get caught cheating on your school taxes for a decade - you can blame it on a combination of City employee negligence - and get away with it. And if you are that same Chief Executive Officer and get caught in these illegal activities by outside sources, your first instinct is to turn the subject of your own shortcomings against what you perceive to be your Competitors on the Board - and publically blame them for supporting the exposure of this now documented illegal activity. What disturbs me most, is that you used lies to accuse your own party members of doing exactly what you yourself did. Let me assure you - Councilman Sack and Councilwoman Brett have taken no part – zero -in our ongoing corruption probe involving you Mayor French – and I believe you owe them both apologies. (Cont)
tedc March 15, 2012 at 03:57 PM
And while you’re thinking about that, here are some other words that the rest of Rye deserves to hear –  I am sorry I did substantially renovate and improve my entire rental house without any City permits or City inspections.  I’m sorry I did disguise all this activity from the City Tax Assessment Department and thus have deprived the City of my lawful and fair share of property tax payments.  I’m sorry I am still renting the home to the public and it’s currently being unlawfully occupied and my tenants are at risk.  I’m sorry that I have been issued multiple building department violations to date.  I am sorry I partially blamed some of these issues on a widely admired, dedicated, long serving but now deceased Rye City Employee – I knew he couldn’t defend his reputation any longer so I regretfully took full advantage of that.  I did cheat on my taxes and I’m sorry for that.  I apologize sincerely to the residents of Rye - and to my family - for trying to cover up my short comings, encouraging some of my political party officials and political contributors to try and publically whitewash all this. I should have accepted responsibility from the beginning.  And as a result of my failures to my friends, supporters and most of all to the rest of the hard working, honest employees and taxpayers of Rye, it is with great regret that tonight I resign as Mayor of Rye.  Try saying at least that last one for starters Mr. Mayor.
tedc March 16, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Lunchtime Video – a good, recent short Heritage Foundation speech by one of our portfolio company founders about his recent book – “The Peoples Money.” http://bit.ly/Aq5oUW Includes: “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” Rosa Parks’ 2nd “offence,” and political class contempt for voters. Deep currents eventually surface catalytic public “events.” And public opinion always moves before politicians do. Maybe food for thought for those who’ve now apparently made their bet that Andrew Dapolite’s sun lighting of bold wrongdoing in Rye Government can be smugly disposed of behind a closed door - just like an Amico or a Schubert
Lars Franck March 26, 2012 at 08:23 PM
We were promised openness and 'sunshine' by the current president. The press has a responsibility in this country it is failing to uphold.
leesther brown March 26, 2012 at 08:26 PM
The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves-and the better the teacher, the better the student body!"


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