6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

More Campaign Disclosure Coming to California, But It's Not Enough

Support Provided By
cal-access-downloads
Screenshot of several separate downloadable options. Soon, users will be able to download all of them in one process. | Image: Cal-Access, May 15, 2013

As we finish celebrating the unofficial beginning of summer, those in favor of more robust campaign disclosure can already start looking forward to the unofficial end of the season.
By Labor Day, California's campaign finance database will be downloadable, Secretary of State Debra Bowen has announced.

This is a big step forward for advocates of campaign disclosure and transparency. As it stands the Cal-Access database (which should perhaps be re-named the Cal-Lack-Of-Access Database) allows visitors to download information by committee. This imposes a significant burden on any users seeking to obtain a comprehensive view of campaign finance data. The change will allow visitors to download the entire campaign finance database in one sheet.

This marks a difference between information that is disclosed online and information that is disclosed in a way that is actually useful for visitors.

Bowen's decision marks an about-face from her previous position that this change would not be cost-effective. After discussions with members of the reform community, Bowen apparently changed her mind. The prior request for the database change was signed by media outlets and nonprofit organizations including MapLight, the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, Common Cause, California Forward, and the Sunlight Foundation.

Although campaign disclosure is vitally important, this database is not a panacea. In an era of PACs and SuperPACs that do not disclose their donors we need more than information that is easy to download. We need that information to be useful and understandable. To use a fictional example, the utility of knowing that Americans for Apple Pie spent $14 million in races throughout California may pale in comparison to knowing who is actually behind Americans for Apple Pie. The Chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, Ann Ravel, has been among those leading the charge for smarter disclosure in California.

This two-pronged approach, information that is both easy to access and which provides useful information, could allow California to serve as a model of transparency for local and state governments throughout the nation.

Support Provided By
Read More
Domingo Comin, an employee at Carefield Assisted Living in Castro Valley, holds his vaccination card.

Vaccine Passports in California? Answers to Your Questions

California has no plans to administer a passport. But the state is sending mixed messages to businesses about the need to verify that people at large events are vaccinated.
A woman wearing a pink face mask is getting a vaccine administered to her at a clinic. She's receiving the vaccine from a man wearing teal blue scrubs, a black face mask, a clear face shield and bright blue medical gloves.

Beating the Pavement to Vaccinate the Underrepresented — And Protect Everyone

In poor neighborhoods and desert towns, community activists — some unpaid — are signing up hard-to-reach people for vaccination appointments. Experts say these campaigns are key to building the country’s immunological armor against new outbreaks.