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.I support a Sunshine Ordinance because I want to send a clear message to the public, the staff, current and future councils, boards and commissions that the city of Encinitas values open and transparent government.
Transparency is the foundation of an ethical government. Local policies that go beyond the minimum requirements of the Brown Act and the Public Records Act help to instill public trust and confidence in their local government.
At the June 10, 2009 City Council meeting, I proposed a citizen’s task force to work with staff to craft a Sunshine Ordinance for Encinitas. My colleagues said the city was already in compliance with existing laws and a Sunshine Ordinance was not necessary. I believe we should set a higher goal. We should strive to do the “Best Not the Least.”
Without a written policy it is too easy to abuse state open government laws. We must send a clear message to the public that the city of Encinitas values open and transparent government and we will hold ourselves and the staff accountable to these goals.
The citizens of Encinitas deserve nothing less but they must demand it. Let the city council know you support a Sunshine Ordinance and will vote for candidates who do.
Teresa Arballo Barth, Councilwoman
City of Encinitas