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What’s the purpose of WinterParkSunshine.org?To give citizens and residents of Winter Park, Florida, easy access to public records and information about their municipal government. The duly elected leaders of the city, as well as their agents and appointees, serve the citizens of Winter Park, act in the citizens’ names, and are empowered to spend the citizens’ tax dollars. The purpose of the site is to empower citizens and residents and give them access to publicly available information that lets them see for themselves how their leaders are performing their duties.
Why is this project sponsored by the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media?The No. 1 objective of the Nicholson School’s mission is to advance “Free inquiry, free speech, and the free flow of information and ideas in a diverse, contemporary society.’’ This project is sponsored by the Nicholson School’s Journalism program, which follows the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. The code’s premise is that “public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.’’ In sponsoring this site, UCF and the Nicholson School is providing a service that is aligned with the university’s educational mission, which states in part: “to conduct research and creative activities; and to provide services that enhance the intellectual, cultural, environmental, and economic development of the metropolitan region.’’
Why Winter Park?In 2019, some Winter Park citizens concerned about the diminishing quantity and quality of news coverage about their city approached the Nicholson School with an offer to partner with the School to financially support a non-biased, non-profit, research-based project that would provide citizens and residents with easy-to-access publicly available information about the activities of their government, in keeping with the spirit and letter of Florida’s Sunshine Law.
What can I find on WinterParkSunshine.org?Searchable data sets that citizens can use to find out how city leaders are acting in their name and spending their tax dollars. These data sets include action items and votes at city commission meetings, campaign contributions to individual city leaders and a voter roll database of active voters in the city. Future databases will include spending on public works projects and a salaries database for all city employees. If have a data set you’d like to suggest that we should research, please contact us at WinterParkSunshine@ucf.edu.
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