At a time when the president who promised to have the "most transparent administration in history" has run an administration that is as opaque as mud on the windshield, why should we be surprised that the Democrat-controlled courts in the state of California are now proposing to close off access to public records for those who can't or won't "pay to play".
A proposal by the state’s judicial branch to charge $10 to view a public file at the Santa Rosa courthouse is being criticized by those who say it would limit access to public information.
A spokesman for the Judicial Council, the policy-making body of the courts, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat the search fee would generate $6 million annually.
But open government advocates and some journalists say it will create an unfair financial barrier to public documents.
That isn't a fee for copies of public records or extensive research by public employees -- that is even to look at a public record down at the courthouse. And once the precedent is set for judicial records, how long until the practice becomes standard for access to other governmental records? How on earth can we have open government -- and public participation -- if there is a fee for even gaining access to records and documents that are needed to be fully informed? Apparently the powerful in California think that government is their private property, and that "we the people" should be made to pay for the privilege of gaining access to what is rightfully ours as citizens.