Guardian editorial: Saving money on sunshine

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We hate to pick on Scott Wiener, who is a polite guy who always takes our calls and takes public policy seriously. He's got an extensive legislative agenda — good for him — and he's effective at getting bills passed. We're with him on nightlife, and even on nudity towels in the Castro.

But he's been taking on some more disturbing causes of late — he's managed to tighten the rules for the use of Harvey Milk Plaza and now he's asking for an audit of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force that looks at how much each city department spends responding to sunshine requests. We're not against audits nor government efficiency, but this could lead to a lot of mischief.

There are plenty of problems with the task force, which hears complaints against city agencies that are denying the public access to documents. The biggest problem is that the task force has no enforcement authority — when the members find an agency or official to have willfully defied the law, the best they can do is turn those findings over to the Ethics Commission, which simply drops the case. Nobody ever gets charged with anything or gets in any trouble for refusing to follow what every public official in town piously insists is an excellent law.

And yeah, the meetings run long, and sometimes city employees have to sit around for hours waiting for their cases to come up. (Activists who testify before city commissions are used to that, but city employees are on the clock, and Wiener's worried that it's running up a large bill.)

But nobody's talking about the money that the city has saved by those annoying government watchdogs keeping an eye on public spending — through the use of the Sunshine Ordinance. Nor is anyone talking about the immense amount of time activists and journalists have to spend fighting over records that should have been public in the first place — or how much money the Task Force has saved the city by creating a forum for resolving these issues out of court.

We can see the outcome here: The audit will show some large number, some cash amount with a bunch of zeros behind it, and the Chronicle will run a big headline about the high cost of this sunshine bureaucracy — and someone will suggest we find ways to streamline the process by clipping the task force's wings.

That's the wrong approach — particularly when there's a much easier answer. Why not do what sunshine activists have suggested for years — make electronic copies of every document created by any city agency and post them in a database on the web? No more secrecy, no more hassle. It's easy — if anyone at City Hall is serious about saving money on sunshine requests.

Comments

Jason Grant Garza here ... Mr. Wiener can contact me for I have over ten (10) years of deliberate unaccountable failure on the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE'S part. He can investigate case # 06034, 11081, 10038, etc. He can see the worthless delays, the FALSE SUNSHINE, the DEATH of HOPE and HUMANITY, the game playing of FALSE COMPASSION, FALSE WORDS, FALSE PROCESS and lastly FALSE RESULT ... no outcome JUST DELAY against the COMPLAINTANT at the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE. As a matter of fact if you type my name into a google search engine you;ll read an article here at the SF GUARDIAN where the city broke federal law, had my case thrown out of federal court, then signed a settlement agreement with the OFFICE of INSPECTOR GENERAL admitting fault and guilt YET LEFT their INNOCENT VINDICATED VICTIM for DEAD. Please look forward to a book and the paperwork being published at myownprivateguantamo.com in the future. Anyway, Just like the COBRA (current case) that the city will lose MILLIONS over the city attorney's mishandling ... ask yourself what did Jason Grant Garza get with a signed confession. Now that he is currently at the SUNSHINE TASK FORCE in case # 11081 and can not even get PROPER SERVICE ... call and ask the new administrator since the old one is not there ... WHY ????
Years ago I offered the SUNSHINE TASK FORCE a solution to their ineptness, their constant harm and injury (by delay, false process, ethics' farce, etc.) It was the OREN JUDE amendment ... TO STEP DOWN UNTIL GRANTED POWER if not then they would only continue to HARM as in my case - see # 11081 for denial of medical services from DPH and my medical records ... HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET STATE and FEDERAL EXPERT WITNESSES to testify regarding HIPAA which where it (DPH) was found in violation by Licensing and Certification to me? Would you believe till I either DIE or GO AWAY in order to continue to spread the FALSEHOOD of CARING and COMPASSION ... call and ask. Ask what about the ETHICS referral in case # 10038 (ha, ha, ha ... what did they VICTIM get?) Yes the ILLUSION continues and they will tell you they CARE ... ha, ha, ha. Also Mr. Wiener can contact me over all the $$$ spent by DPH against me and they will continue to spend since I am NOT DEAD and NOT GOING AWAY seeking MEDICAL care that I was denied and given the track record of DPH ... it will continue ILLEGALLY. So do I care about continuing to do the "RIGHT THING" even if it costs the corrupt and immoral city and its workers ... please realize that I still have 3 unforfilled IDRS (not scheduled) to continue to show and DOCUMENT the FARCE ... such as the IDR to DPH as to who regulates and certifies them so that I can have them de-certified and not get re-certified as was the lab that all the hubbub is about regarding NOT getting all paperwork (padding the results) lately in the news regarding SF. Again type my name into a google search engine and read .... there you will see if has been more than (10) years of continuing .... sort of like the COBRA trial that is going on NOW. Will the city attorney or anyone lose their job, pension, etc .... yes. MORAL HAZARD at its finest ... nothing but the BEST FRAUD, ILLUSION and INHUMANITY they will retire and live the good life. Call and ask - DPH (Barbara Garcia - 554-2525); MINISTRY of SUNSHINE (ask them WHY I STILL DO NOT HAVE MY MEDICAL RECORDS - 554-7724.)

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 9:40 am

The idea that everything should always and immediately be available to everyone is not possible at any cost that the taxpayers are willing to bear. So it's a matter of striking a balance.

And the fact that "journalists" and "activists" have the time and energy to track down what's important to them indicates to me that everything should nOT be given on a plate. If you want something, thene xpend some time and money to find it, just like the rest of us do all the time in ourchaosen fields of endeavor.

You can't expect to be spoonfed on the public dime and then turn around and use that info to criticise the city! You wanna scoop? - Work for it.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 10:08 am