One of the key components to the health of a community is the transparency, accountability and responsiveness of its government.
We believe one of the ways to measure this is voter turnout. Increasing the number of people who participate in their democracy means making sure voters are informed. To do that, we will place news events in context to give voters understanding of what the actions of their public officials really mean.
It means looking at the public safety services local governments provide their citizens. It means making sure that when a public official says he or she will do something, someone follows through checks to see if he or she did it. It means looking at the way public dollars are spent and what they are spent on.
It also means making sure that there is follow-up in the public dialogue once headline-grabbing issues and initiatives fall out of the daily news cycle. For example, when a public discussion about incentives that governments offer economic development projects came to the forefront, we researched which companies received these incentives in the past, how much tax money they remove from public coffers and when they are set to expire.
Describing Governor Rick Scott's agenda for the 2012 legislative session, aide Jon Costello told lawmakers the governor intends to "shine a light" on the state's more than 1,600 special districts, which command over $15 billion in tax revenue, but that he is "not looking to take an ax" to them. Read full story