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February 27, 2007 > Because democracy is not a spectator sport

Because democracy is not a spectator sport

March 11-17 is Sunshine Week, a national initiative that calls attention to the threats to "sunshine" or transparency in government access. We have the right to know what our government is doing, and having access to public records and government meetings impacts us all. Whether it is to track potential environmental hazards or to attend a meeting where decisions about land use are being made, "sunshine laws" afford us access and create government transparency.

However, these laws are only as good as we, the people, demand that they be. Finding information about how the government is serving the public has always been somewhat difficult. But in the post-9/11 age, these challenges are even greater. In the name of homeland security, "sunshine laws" and the opportunities for citizens to gain access to information have been constricted. As our elected Representatives in Washington work to bring about greater transparency through ethics, lobbying, and other reforms, so too must our leaders in Fremont, Newark and Union City.

As members of the League of Women Voters, we are always working to keep our community strong, healthy and vibrant, and that all starts with having an open government.

Your League will present testimony at the three city councils and school board meetings as well the four local agencies serving us. Join us in the week of March 11-17. Attend a local council or board meeting. Let your elected and appointed officials know that their constituents are listening and want to know how their government is working.

John R. Smith
League of Women Voters, Director of Publicity
Fremont

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