Sunshine Audit

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. Read more »