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

 

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  1. Concerned Resident says:

    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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