UPDATE, AUG. 24, 5:15 P.M.: We heard from Bill Lobdell, the man responsible for the efforts to increase Costa Mesa's transparency. He didn't agree with the Weekly's statement that the city “Gives Itself an A+ Grade in Transparency.” (You can read his response after the jump.)
The city didn't give itself an A+ for transparency. Period.Here's how the Sunshine Review works, and it's not a secret. Someone in a government entity or citizen submits on the wiki site the various ways that entity has been transparent with public information on its website. This is what I did. I signed on as myself, in full view of whoever is looking at the information, and listed the City's efforts.From there, an editor with the Sunshine Review checks the information and gives the City a grade based on established criteria. Very few A+ grades are given; we were honored to receive it. (By the way, government entities get downgraded if they provide misleading or wrong information, and the wiki can be edited by anyone and is quickly self-correcting so there's no percentage in fudging any facts.)To review, by submitting the information, the City – like its counterparts across the country – asked to be graded and was given an A+.If that's a news story, then where are the stories about newspaper reporters and editors who make elaborate submissions to the Pulitzer Committee in hopes of getting a Pulitzer Prize? There are none because the journalists aren't giving themselves a Pulitzer Prize; they are asking the judges to consider their work in hopes of getting the award.Or why not a story headlined, “OC Weekly gives itself Press Club awards” that says the OC Weekly gave itself Orange County Press Club awards because OC Weekly editors and reporters submitted entries to the judges.Please explain to me the difference. And correct the headline and post. And be decent enough to mention that most awards – in journalism (including the ones the OC Weekly rightfully earns), architecture, or at the OC Fair – are given because an interested party submitted an entry.