Letters Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News

Barth writes letter in favor of open government

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

 

12 comments

Sara Daly March 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Thank you Teresa Barth!

An ordinance of this type would really help to undo all the distrust citizens have for city hall. If there is nothing to hide, then why fight transparency?

Lisa Shaffer March 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I agree. I would love to see the Encinitas City Council pass a Sunshine Ordinance. The people deserve to know how our elected officials are managing the affairs of our City and how they are representing our interests in broader regional bodies. Let’s not settle for minimal compliance. Trust needs to be restored. What do we have to hide?

Olivier March 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Full transparency of what goes on in our city (city council and staff) will go a long way in promoting a greater democracy, and give citizen a sense of trust in the decision made by city officials. I would fully support a sunshine ordinance.

Hector Lopez March 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm

A small minority that is now getting larger has been fighting for an open and transparent city council for many years. For a fleeting moment one would have thought that the two newest council members would have supported that notion. Instead, there has been an intentional retardation of an open and transparent council. The retardation has been led by appointed Mayor Jerome Stocks and his sidekick city atty Glen Sabine. We should expect point by point rebuttal from El Gasbag Stocks.

Susan Turney March 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm

There is no reason not to enact a Sunshine law unless you have something to hide. The City Council takes a lot of heat over suspicions that business is conducted in secret and I’d think they would welcome such a law if for nothing else than the sake of appearances.

Susan Turney March 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm

And by “they,” I mean the super-majority. Teresa is, as she stated, in favor of a Sunshine ordinance!

Denise Martin March 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

I agree with all the comments. We, the people of Encinitas, are like bright lights. We want to get rid of the secret dark corners that some of the city staff and council members are hiding in. Transparency is the ticket.

Thank you Teresa for positively supporting such an important issue!

EYNY March 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

Counciler Teresa Arballo Barth has had an uphill climb in trying to bring greater transparency to city government. This is a good week to remember some of her achievements, in spite of the unremitting resistance by the council majority. Who are those keeping secrets, covering up the truth and creating a crony network? Remember one in particular, this guy in the clip? This clip is from the same day Teresa promoted a sunshine ordinance on June 10, 2009. This was the then mayor’s response.
http://ourmayorstocks.blogspot.com/2012/03/sunshine-violation-whoops.html

Steve Bartram March 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Counciler Barth’s leadership by action is in full view with this article. It isn’t that we are not trying yet we can and should do better. This is a strong and clear call for action to be the best and act accordingly. This will not just pay lip service to open government but insure we have the tools and structure to act!

Cyrus Kamada March 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Thank you Teresa for your eloquence and steadfast support for open government. At this point, the only counter-balance to the whims of the council super majority, is the vigilance of the people, and that requires access to information. We call on all candidates for city council to apply this principle to the conduct of their campaigns as well as city business. Let’s stop all the mystery donations to fund shady slate mailers such as the poorly named “Voter Education Guide”. Encinitas deserves better.

David Smith March 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm

“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.” Teresa Arballo Barth

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Abraham Lincoln

You’re in good company Teresa

Concerned Resident March 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I was delighted to read the comments supporting open government, here. As most who have commented may be aware, in today’s March 16, 2012 edition of the Coast News, this same letter was also published in the “hard copy” edition of the Coast News, along with another letter supporting transparency and accountability in local government from Lynn Marr, both in honor of Sunshine Week.

Yes, we have been terribly disillusioned by the actions of Kristin Gaspar, who reads from a script, apparently pre-orchestrated with Jerome Stocks. Glenn Sabine, our City Attorney is not doing his job of abiding by the laws of the State of California or his duty of honoring his office of public trust. He seems to always want to do what is expedient, in the best political interests, for himself and the majority on Council, NOT what is in the best interests of the people, who do demand openness and transparency.

The informed public DOES WANT A SUNSHINE ORDINANCE. Little by little, may we all become more aware, more involved. Council should encourage public participation by being open, not discourage the public through outright rudeness and closed door “schemes,” made for their own self interests. It was painful to watch Jerome Stocks rudeness to two public speakers at last week’s council meeting. Stocks should NOT be able to make comments, rude or otherwise after oral communications, except if he gives direction to staff to put something on the agenda, with the consent of at least one other Council Member.

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