Editorial: Keep the public informed, vote no on SB1399

Government Websites will COST MONEY!

Websites are expensive to maintain and public notice on government websites will add additional staff costs and infrastructure expenses to Arizona's fragile budgets. Moreover, to provide notice on a government site requires the government to market the site to ensure awareness.

Government Websites will COST PRIVATE JOBS!

Newspapers, as business entities, already assure marketing and actively seek readership while already employing trained staff for the job. Government websites will require more government jobs, while private jobs will disappear. Having notices on government websites opens overloaded government workers to more criticism, from not posting properly to not having notices in a visible spot, to making mistakes. Using the partner newspapers eliminates this extra burden on an already pressed staff. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is opposed to this bill!

Keep Public Notice in NEWSPAPERS!

The public has a right to know about the government and civil actions that affect people, neighborhoods and businesses. Newspapers provide a neutral ground for notices and are positioned to provide verification and archiving for publication in the event that a notice or action is contested. Newspapers are:

Independent:

• Newspapers serve as a non-partisan watchdog for government actions.Posting on a government website- only jeopardizes open and transparent government and opens the door to allegations that governments are hiding information on their sites.

The public demands transparency, especially in the current economic climate throughout the state and nation, and it is important that we entrust this information to a third party. Governments cannot be released from the obligation to notify the public of what they are doing before a decision is made.

• Independent printed public notice in paid newspapers protects due process.

Archivable:

• On government websites, information can be ephemeral, hacked or otherwise hidden. In a printed newspaper, the notice is stable forever.

• There is no proven method to permanently store digital data for guaranteed future reference and accuracy. Print is a historical record that cannot be manipulated.

Accessible:

• Not all citizens can access websites, government or otherwise. 86% of America's adults read a community newspaper each week. The US Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, released June 2009, shows that only 64% of Americans ages 18 and over use the internet and only 50% of African Americans, 42% of Hispanic Americans and 35% of Americans over 65 use the internet. Limited access and use is especially prevalent in rural areas.

• Using the internet and visiting government sites is not the same. According to the Pew Internet & American Life 2008 Tracking Survey, only 10% of Americans visit a government site on an average day. More than 40% of Americans have NEVER visited a government website.

• Putting a public notice in a community newspaper enables citizens to be aware of what is happening in their neighborhood, city or town. Putting a notice in an electronic database is not public notice.

Verifiable:

• Verifying the notice ran is a challenge in a medium that is always changing. How will the corporation commission pay for authentication and assure accurate, permanent records?

Notice is already provided online FREE through your local newspaper's website and aggregated for FREE at publicnoticeads.com.