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Beth Mason [info@masoncitycouncil.org] Tuesday, September 29, 2009 13:43 hoboken411@gmail.com NEWS RELEASE -- Beth Mason Recieves Award from NJ Foundation for Open Government

September 29th, 2009

Contact: Thom Ammirato 973-406-7836 thom55@verizon.net

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For Immediate Release

MASON HONORED AT MEETING OF STATEWIDE OPEN GOVERNMENT COALITION

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(Hoboken, N.J.) - Councilwoman Beth Mason was honored last week for her dedication to the cause of government transparency by the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government at a meeting at the statehouse in Trenton. Mason, a noted open government advocate, was presented with a plaque during the meeting in recognition of her pioneering role as a statewide leader in the battle for open government.

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Mason is a former president of NJFOG and the founder of the government transparency watchdog group: We the People Reports. Mason stepped down as president from NJFOG in February after leading the organization for four years. She remains a member of the NJFOG Board of Trustees. Last week's NJFOG meeting was held to discuss ongoing government transparency issues and to raise awareness of the need for more government transparency in New Jersey. Guy Baehr, a founding member of NJFOG and a member of the organization's board of directors, praised Mason for her devotion to breaking down barriers to open government. "Beth Mason took on the leadership of the NJFOG at a critical time in our history. The organization played a key role in passing the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) in 2002, but getting it enforced and changing New Jersey's closed door political culture was turning out to be an even greater challenge," said Baehr, a former reporter for the Star-Ledger and journalism professor at Rutgers. 1


"Beth brought new energy and a broader vision of what we could and should be doing to advance the cause of open records and open meetings in New Jersey. And she recruited new members, especially local community activists from around the state, giving NJFOG a stronger focus on the challenges of prying open local government," added Baehr. "Anyone who knows Beth knows she's an unstoppable dynamo. Her mark on NJFOG was strong and positive. We're still trying to fulfill all the ambitions she left us with," said Baehr. Mason said she is proud of her work at NJFOG and that she remains committed to the cause of open government.

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"The circumstances that propelled Hoboken to the point of a state takeover of the city's finances last year serve as clear example of why we need more open government in the city and throughout New Jersey," said Mason. "It is often said that people in a democracy wield the power of self- determination. But that power is greatly curtailed when people are kept in the dark about how their government operates," said Mason. Mason has battled the Hoboken city administration for several years to obtain government records and her efforts have resulted in greater access to government information for city residents.

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NJFOG is a non-profit organization with the sole mission of protecting and expanding public access to government records and meetings. Established in January 2001, it is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals who support open government.

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For any additional information, please contact Thom Ammirato at 973-406-7836 or thom55@verizon.net. ###

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Caption: Beth receiving the award from her successor as President of NJFOG, Ron Miskoff.

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