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Gov. Jerry Brown faulted for taking down transparency website

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the elimination last year of a transparency website, which contributed to the poor grade given the state this week by an open-government group.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to take down a "transparency" website helped earn California a D-minus grade on public reporting of spending from a group advocating for open government.

The grade is included in an annual look at the 50 states by the California Public Interest Research Group, and follows Brown’s decision last year to eliminate a website, created by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, that compiled information on state contracts, audits and expenses in one place.

California trailed behind Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, West Virginia and Arizona, which received higher marks for the most comprehensive transparency websites, according to Pedro Morillas, the group’s legislative director.

 “As home to the tech industry, it’s disappointing and embarrassing that California is not only lagging behind, but actively moving in the wrong direction when it comes to keeping pace with current online transparency standards," Morillas said.

Californians can still get the information previously posted on the transparency website by going to other Web pages operated by the state, said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.

"The website eliminated more than four months ago was poorly maintained, underutilized and had not been regularly updated by the previous administration," Westrup said. He noted that Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency, gave California an A grade in its annual report this week, praising the state for posting budgets, contracts and audits on its websites.

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--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the elimination last year of a transparency website, which contributed to the poor grade given the state this week by an open-government group. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

 
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