Cal-ACCESS -- the vital database for figuring out who is giving money to campaigns and what lobbyists are doing -- remains down.
The Secretary of State's Office is trying to repair what is a very old system, but ultimately, a new system needs to be built.
But how can that be done in budget conscious times?
U.S. & World
Former deputy state treasurer Mark Paul (full disclosure: also my co-author of the book California Crackup) has an idea: make the people who use the system the most pay for it.
That's journalists, lobbyists and others whose professional responsibilities require them to keep close tabs on the government.
This isn't ideal.
Public information like this should be free. But with the perpetual budget crisis, user fees may be the only way to come up with money to pay for new technology investments like Cal-ACCESS.
Paul suggests a system that would permit free access for occasional users of the system (presumably the public) and higher costs for more frequent users.