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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Man Bites Dog...

An elected official demands more openness...

Citing serious concerns about the “extreme secrecy” surrounding the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) participation in a key federal interagency committee (formally known as the South Orange County Transportation Infrastructure Improvement Project – SOCTIIP – Collaborative), Lt. Governor John Garamendi sent a strongly worded letter to Jane Luxton, general counsel at the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requesting a more open, public process.

One of the main functions of the federal committee is to coordinate federal agency evaluation of alternatives to the Toll Road proposed to go through the Donna O’Neill Conservancy and San Onofre State Beach Park. As such, this important committee is in a position to determine whether or not new information regarding alternative is objectively considered.

In this June 11, 2008, letter, Lt. Gov. Garamendi stated, “My concern is that these deliberations, so critical to your [NOAA and the Dept. of Commerce’s] final analysis, are being finalized in an environment where ONLY the project applicant examines, presents, evaluates and comments upon evidence. There is no opportunity for the public to participate in or even witness discussions and deliberations.” “TCA is not a collaborative member, but an observer. The structure of the SOCTIIP Collaborative has created an untenable situation: a project proponent with interests that are potentially adverse to the public or in contravention of law, is provided exclusive permission to communicate freely with federal regulators sheltered from public scrutiny. This set up frustrates the purpose of open government and public records law,” added Lt. Gov. Garamendi.

More here.

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