One of the key components to the health of a community is the transparency, accountability and responsiveness of its government.

We believe one of the ways to measure this is voter turnout. Increasing the number of people who participate in their democracy means making sure voters are informed. To do that, we will place news events in context to give voters understanding of what the actions of their public officials really mean.

It means looking at the public safety services local governments provide their citizens. It means making sure that when a public official says he or she will do something, someone follows through checks to see if he or she did it. It means looking at the way public dollars are spent and what they are spent on.

It also means making sure that there is follow-up in the public dialogue once headline-grabbing issues and initiatives fall out of the daily news cycle. For example, when a public discussion about incentives that governments offer economic development projects came to the forefront, we researched which companies received these incentives in the past, how much tax money they remove from public coffers and when they are set to expire.

Shannon's Window

Time now for public to help bring Brownsville Community Center to life

The Brownsville Community Center can be a critical piece of the effort to turnaround some of Pensacola's deepest "Pockets of Poverty." Read full story


Bill offering state employees 3 percent raises moves along

Bill proposing 3 percent raise for state employees moves through the Florida Senate. Read full story


Five questions for new head of Florida DEO

Cissy Proctor, new head of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, answers five questions about how she will lead the state's economic development agency. Read full story


Florida — The Future is Here

Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private economic development agency, introduced a new brand Friday that will be featured in a $10 million global advertising campaign Read full story


Scott’s budget priorities under pressure in legislature

Leading senators linked an effort to hold down an increase in local property taxes to Gov. Rick Scott's pitch for tax cuts. Read full story


House proposes nearly $1 billion in tax cuts

The House is proposing a wide-ranging tax cut package that falls just short of Gov. Rick Scott's request for more than $1 billion in mostly business-friendly relief. Read full story


House tax-cut package: too much or not enough?

Several House Democrats expressed apprehension about a nearly $1 billion tax-cut package. Read full story


Majority of top brass supports police cameras

New study indicates that top law enforcement officials support the use of body-worn cameras by police officers as a way to improve behavior of officers and the citizens they serve. Read full story


Time to get serious about public education

With per-student spending $3,000 less than the national average, state newspapers challenged policymakers to make public education a priority. Read full story


Senators support efforts to boost rape kit testing

Plans to speed up DNA testing in suspected rape cases are moving in the Legislature, following revelations that thousands of evidence kits remain untested statewide. Read full story


Tax forecast cuts $400 million from pool for lawmakers

Newest economic forecast means Florida lawmakers could have $400 million less to work with come budget time. Read full story


Drone liability bill could limit high flying devices

Bill would make owners of drones liable for the negligence of the aerial devices' operators was revamped, but critics still say the measure could ground the industry's growth in Florida. Read full story