Encinitas Rejects Proposed Sunshine Ordinance

OPEN GOVERNMENT — The City of Encinitas has the distinction of being the first municipality to reject flatly a proposed sunshine ordinance, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

At a meeting last week, the council voted 4-1, with Councilwoman
Teresa Barth opposed, not to pursue what is called a “sunshine
ordinance.” Several members said the city has exceeded the requirements
of the state's open-government laws by putting records online,
including campaign finance records.

Barth said she was disappointed in the result, saying an
ordinance would have fostered “a culture of open and transparent
governance.”

Councilman Jerome Stocks said, “Nobody saw a reason to
actually create an ordinance to describe what we're already doing
anyway.”

The city's website shows a staff report on the proposed ordinance (offered by Barth) but not the text of the ordinance itself.  It is not clear whether the council ever saw it; Barth has said that parts of the staff analysis were withheld.  The newspaper, sold recently as the last remnant of the Copley chain, made no attempt to inform the public of what was proposed either.

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One thought on “Encinitas Rejects Proposed Sunshine Ordinance

  1. I sent the following letter to the three local newspapers. It has not yet been printed.
    RE: The Public’s Right To Know
    The right of the people to know what their government is doing is fundamental to democracy. Not only do they have the right to know what decisions have been made they also have the right to participate in making those decisions.
    Some cities in California have enacted Open Government policies, often referred to as Sunshine Ordinances, which go beyond the minimum requirements of the Brown Act and the Public Records Act.
    A clearly established policy of open meetings, easy access to public records and accountability will increase the public’s trust and confidence in government.
    At the June 10 Encinitas City Council meeting, I proposed a citizen’s task force to work with staff to craft a Sunshine Ordinance.
    My colleagues, while admitting to past problems, said a Sunshine Ordinance was not necessary. I believe we should set a goal higher than “good enough”.
    I disagree. Without a written policy it is too easy to ignore abuse state open government laws.
    We must send a clear message to the public that the city of Encinitas values open and transparent government. We must hold ourselves and the staff accountable to these goals.
    The citizens of Encinitas deserve nothing less.
    Councilwoman Teresa Barth
    City of Encinitas

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