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Greetings from Sunshine Week

By: Michelle Carl, Press Tribune editor
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Can you imagine if we lived in a city where public officials didn't have to tell us how they were spending our tax dollars? Or where city council met in secret to make decisions that impacted our lives?

We would be in the dark.

That's why we have "sunshine laws," which allow the public open access to records and government. The California Public Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act are two such laws commonly invoked to protect access to information.

This freedom is so important to the press, the American Society of News Editors launched Sunshine Week, a nonprofit, non-partisan initiative celebrated in mid-March each year to raise awareness of the public's right to know.

The Press Tribune relies on public information to report on the issues and decisions that impact you, our readers.

Over the last few years, the Press Tribune has written about the most accident-prone intersections, the 15 largest nonprofits in Roseville, claims filed against the city and allegations of anti-gay bias within the Roseville police force. All of these stories depended on access to public information.

In this age of cash-strapped cities and tightening state budgets, journalists have been keeping an even closer eye on how government agencies are spending your tax dollars.

We reported the retirement bonuses paid to city employees in an effort to save costs. We also recently reported on the recruitment costs for the hiring of several management positions. It's also our policy to report on how much those officials make when they are hired or when they receive a raise.

And in today's edition, we asked for another piece of financial information - overtime costs paid by the city.

I hope the information we bring you helps keep public officials accountable and make things a little "brighter" here in Roseville.

Michelle Carl is the editor of the Roseville Press Tribune. Reach her at michellec@goldcountrymedia.com.