Sunshine Week. In 1913, three years before he became a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Louis Brandeis uttered four immortal words that have been emblazoned for nearly a century atop the figurative pedestal of transparency and clean government that groups like the BGA look up to: “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Brandeis’s words and their implication are so important to the cause of better government that reformers have actually created “Sunshine Week” March 13-19, to celebrate and shine a bright light on the issue of transparency. If you want a primer on what “Sunshine Week” means and why it’s so important, all the details are at

  • Sunshine scorecard. The Tribune marked “Sunshine Week” with a Saturday story from the Associated Press that looks at the ups and downs of transparency efforts around the country. The Washington Post reports that only half of the federal agencies have complied with President Obama’s request for more transparency by complying with Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Sunshine setback. Also in the Trib on Saturday, a report that IL attorney general Lisa Madigan’s office has determined the Oak Park village board violated the Open Meetings Act last Fall by discussing a condominium development project behind closed doors. The complaint that led to the finding was filed by Oak Park citizen David Barsotti, who automatically becomes an honorary BGA Watchdog.
  • Sunshine suggestion. Phil Kadner looked at “Sunshine Week” on Sunday with a SouthtownStar column that says regular citizens are “the power source for that sunlight.” But Kadner laments the amount of paperwork regular citizens have to cope with to file Freedom of Information Act requests, and he says public buildings like libraries and municipal centers should be equipped with computers so citizens have easier access to government information. BGA agrees.
  • Sunshine siege. Daily Herald reports on Sunday that IL lawmakers are considering limits on the number of FOIA’s regular citizens can file because local governments are complaining of overload. Transparency activist and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski says one solution is to put more government information on-line so people don’t have to file FOIA’s to get it. BGA agrees with this one too.

I’m also watching a few non-sunshine stories: