Many in the press and the government accountability world see the right to read politicians’ calendars as an example of democracy and free information.

I see it as punishment.

While covering Governor Schwarzenegger (and writing a book about him), one of my tasks was to read and make copies of his calendars, which were public as part of Prop 59. To do this, I walked across the Capitol grounds from the LA Times bureau to the governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

At first, I had hopes of learning things from the calendars. Those hopes were dashed. The calendars said very little. Yes, there were lists of meetings, but the descriptions were a few words, a time, maybe a person who was there. But they didn’t tell you anything. When I wrote my book, I barely looked at those calendars, and instead used emails and electronic calendars of aides to piece together various days.

Now, there is a big to-do about a court ruling that makes senate calendars public. This is being trumpeted as some kind of great advance by the press. And legislators aren’t happy that their exemption from Prop 59 seems to be fading away.

You know what? If I were a legislator, I’d release my calendars, aggressively, with all the lack of detail of Schwarzenegger. But I’d go further – I’d send copies to reporters, and then nag them about whether they’d actually read them. Few will.

And for those who do, they will feel like they’re being punished.