Open government is discussion topic for Sunshine Week in Merced

There will be a panel discussion on transparency and accountability in local government during a 90-minute presentation Thursday in Merced.

Next week is Sunshine Week, when groups across the country try to educate the public about access to public information. Merced’s version will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St.

Newspapers, civic groups, nonprofits, schools and others participate annually in Sunshine Week to promote discussion on the importance of an open government.

According to the schedule for the meeting, experts will make several presentations and take questions from the audience.

The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors launched the first version of such an observance, called “Sunshine Sunday,” in 2002 after local legislators attempted to pass exemptions to public records laws.

The panelists participating in Merced this year include League of Women Voters member Karen Carlquist-Hernandez, CSU Stanislaus professor David Colnic, city of Merced spokesman Mike Conway, Merced Sun-Star Managing Editor Dave Hill, Merced County spokesman Mike North and Associated Students of UC Merced Commissioner on Municipal Relations Youssef El Yakoubi.

For more on the meeting, call the League of Women Voters at (209) 384-1456 or the city clerk’s office at (209) 385-6834 or email