This will be my last post on http://www.FOGWatch.org.
In 2008 I started www.IAmTroublemaker.com. Originally, my plan was to use the blog as a means of giving voice to the battle with the School Board of Polk County during my first public records lawsuit. Because that litigation was accompanied by so much statewide controversy and criticism, I wanted a platform to try and set the record straight.
When I started I expected the blog would be discarded once the litigation ended. Seven years and almost 200 lawsuits later, the blog now exists as www.FOGWatch.org.
From time-to-time I’ve posted original content, breaking stories unearthed through public records access and links to other open government stories from around Florida. I’ve also tried to provide helpful links to open government resources such as the Florida Attorney General’s Government-In-The-Sunshine-Manual.
This has been a costly and often times lonely effort. Thankfully, I have had the assistance of some wonderful attorneys over the years. Without the extraordinary kindness, wisdom and generosity of Thomas & LoCicero I would have thrown in the towel long ago. In addition to being wonderful attorneys (the standard by which all others are measured) Gregg Thomas and his partners and associates have become dear friends. I’ve lost count of the number of times they’ve “talked me down from the ledge.” Their patience and kindness have, I think, made me a better civil rights advocate and a better person.
Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end. And so it is with www.FOGWatch.org.
I made this decision after the board of directors of a newly formed foundation graciously invited me to serve as its Executive Director.
The Citizens Awareness Foundation, Inc. is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the proposition that members of the public have a right to know what their government is doing in their name and at their expense. To that end the Foundation seeks to empower citizens to exercise their right to know by providing free educational materials and programs, and when appropriate, taking legal action to enforce the public’s right of access to public records and public meetings.
My work as an activist for the public’s right to know will, of course, continue. The principle differences will be that I will have the help of staff and considerably greater resources at my disposal. I hope that for regular folks who are frustrated by the lack of compliance with Florida’s expansive open government laws, this will be received as good news.
I suspect, however, that for recalcitrant public officials who seem to delight in violating the public’s constitutionally protected right of “virtually unfettered access” to public records and meetings this may be perceived as bad news.