Public notices inform citizens of the everyday activities of government. From government spending to developing new policies, it is important for people to be informed of actions taken by public officials that affect citizens’ everyday lives. Public Notices are essential to a democracy and an informed citizenry. Without public notices, citizens cannot properly and adequately make informed decisions.
While the Internet is a great resource for information, public notices have been and remain most effective in newspapers. Newspapers of general circulation provide daily and weekly news about the community that people seek out. People pay to receive newspapers that are dependably made available at set intervals in homes, at offices, stores, street corners and every local coffee shop. People seek out newspapers to obtain the news about crime, justice, sports, politics, weather, social events, food and entertainment, comics, crossword puzzles and other games. They look for advertisements for all kinds of products and services. Included in this tightly edited and limited package of daily and weekly information are public notice advertisements.
Public notice advertisements published in newspapers that alert citizens of important events in their community are “pushed” into millions of California households. These published public notices inform not just the political insiders who might occasionally visit a government website or sign up for mailed alerts, or even those with a direct stake in the matter, but the entire community.
Newspapers are the watchdogs of their local communities and can most effectively monitor the actions of their respective local governments. Public notices don’t just keep local residents informed. They also hold public officials and agencies accountable. Additionally, public notices in newspapers are permanent records that cannot be altered or deleted. Published public notices provide actual notice to the public about government actions like tax and fee increases, land use and environmental decisions, delinquent taxpayer notices that can lead to a government seizure and sale of someone’s home and the expenditure of public funds. To be effective, public notices must have these attributes:
• Publication is in a forum independent of the government.
• The published notice is a preserved and secure tangible record that is archived.
• The notice is conveniently accessible by all segments of society.
• Publication is verifiable (by way of an affidavit of publication).