Guardian: Let the sun shine p.10

By: Lucia Moses & Harold Treskunoff San Franciscans seeking documents about city business are routinely told no such records exist, thwarting citizens' ability to track taxpayer dollars. So says a San Francisco Bay Guardian series that dubs Mayor Willie Brown the "closed-door king."
The "14th Annual Freedom-of-Information Special" published last week is part of the newspaper's effort to beef up the city's 1993 Sunshine Ordinance.
"In his reign of secrecy, Mayor Brown has given away more city money in more backroom deals ? than any administration since World War II, awarding tens of millions of dollars' worth of contracts without competitive bidding or public review," the series reads.
"He operates without any paper," Guardian publisher Bruce B. Brugmann says. "He's the consummate backroom politician."
The weekly Guardian is part of a grass-roots coalition, San Franciscans for Sunshine, that is seeking to amend the 1993 Sunshine Ordinance. After trying to get the amendment adopted last year and failing, the group expects to collect signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot, Brugmann says.
Brown's press secretary Kandace Bender says the mayor generates less paper documents for efficiency's sake, not to hide from the public, and says the series is typical of the Guardian's extremist advocacy journalism style. "Is the mayor accessible?" she says. "I'd say he's probably the most accessible mayor this city has ever seen." She says Brown has no opinion on the proposed amendment until it is drafted.
?(Editor & Publisher Web [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher March 20, 1999) [Caption]


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