Let the Sunshine in……
Council represents the people’s will and voice and provides legislative oversight. Council is also the City’s chief policy maker and is therefore responsible to the people.
Government’s duty is to serve the public, reaching its decision in full view of the public. Commissions, boards, councils and other agencies of a City or County exist to conduct the people’s business…….AKA Sunshine Ordinance.
Riverside California is the latest City to join a very exclusive group of cities to adopt an open Government policy. Last Tuesday the City Council voted 6 to 1 to Codify the Sunshine Ordinance. The ordinance is meant to foster transparency in city government.
o CA Sunshine Ordinances: Contra Costa County
o CA Sunshine Ordinances: Berkeley
o CA Sunshine Ordinance: Milpitas
o CA Sunshine Ordinance: Oakland
o CA Sunshine Ordinances: Alameda
o CA Sunshine Ordinances: San Francisco
o CA Sunshine Ordinances: Riverside
o CA Sunshine Ordinances: Vallejo
o CA Sunshine Ordinances: Gilroy
The first city in California to adopt this ordinance was San Francisco, it took effect in 1994. The premise was that it is a way to hold city officials accountable. They also have a Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. The Task force had problems along the way. An 11-member volunteer citizen panel, appointed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, enforces the ordinance. Since it took effect, 27 instances of serious violations requiring disciplinary action have been cited, according to the citizen panel, the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. But those cases have been dismissed or moved into bureaucratic oblivion by the Ethics Commission, which is responsible for punishing sunshine violators.“The Ethics Commission doesn’t do anything,” said Allyson Washburn, a member of the task force. “They don’t enforce our orders of determination.” Without consequences for violations, Ms. Washburn said, the ordinance lacks teeth. Richard Knee, chairman of the task force, said the Ethics Commission was adversarial. As a result, the task force is trying to change the ordinance to limit the commission’s role and impose fines of up to $5,000 against city workers for violations, money that would be paid out of their own pockets. The change would require voter approval.
So the question is will the city of Riverside have a Sunshine Ordinance Task force? Will the City of Riverside REALLY hold anyone accountable and will we impose fines on the people who violate our new ordinance? Only time will tell.
Most of the Sunshine jurisdictions are located in the greater Bay Area. They all grant quicker, cheaper and simpler access to public records than would otherwise be made available. The Cities that have adopted the open Government policy have taken years to draft, formulate, and implement the ordinance. Some cities took the policy to the vote of the people. The city of Berkley took 10 years and 24 drafts. San Jose took 4 years.
The City of Riverside hires a new city manager and we have a policy in less than 2 months, drafted by the new city attorney with no public involvement. This policy was rushed through faster than a speeding bullet. When this very important policy came before council only one council member had concerns about its content, Mike Soubirous. He was the only council member to insist there be an exemption (with certain conditions) for council. He said it was in case council or a member needed to question or discuss policy/procedure BEFORE addressing an important issue. In other words, he was concerned about the people’s voice being confined or stifled. The Sunshine Ordinance was really designed to bring light to staff’s many proposals and approval requests – not hinder the people’s right to question things in a timely manner. No one else on the council had anything intelligent to say about passing it. The rest of the council blindly accepted what City Manager John Russo had to offer. No questions, no concerns, nothing! To think that a person appointed by the Council (City Manager) could propose a plan to his bosses (City Council) and that they (council) would blindly support a process that holds them to the very same rules he imposes on his staff is nothing short of amazing. No questions, no concern – except one lone councilman. One would think that those we elect would fight to keep the power entrusted to them by the people in order to better represent them. Nope! No fight among 6 of 7. John Russo learned that night that he owns at least five – maybe six of the council members. He learned that he can, and probably without any fight, get them to buy anything he sells them…
Thirty Miles of Corruption is all in favor of an Open Government policy, this policy is a way for citizens to have some accountability at city hall. We are just saying maybe the content should have been vetted in the public a little better, and maybe there should have been some public participation. We are not too concerned the policy can be amended. We found this great amendment to the Oakland California. Sunshine Ordinance, Mayor, now Governor Jerry Brown wasn’t too keen on following policy!
“Government operates best when Government operates in the open”, New City Manager John Russo is the GODFATHER of the Sunshine Ordinance. That’s how he rolls. He could probably put this ordinance together in his sleep. After doing extensive research on our new “TO GOOD TO BE TRUE” city manager, Thirty Miles of Corruption believes he has been a long time advocate for open government. Is Mr. Russo really a champion for the public? As the public gets to know him they like him. He’s a like able guy. The public really liked City Manager George Carvalho and we all know what happened there, the council fired him, remember?…. The question is will Russo hold anyone in his office or the Council and Mayor accountable for violations of our new Sunshine Ordinance? Will our New Sunshine Ordinance have teeth or is it just lip service! My hope for the City of Riverside and new City Manager John Russo is that we can overcome and fix all the MISTAKES that happened in the last 8 years and be an example and good neighbors to all the citizens living in Riverside County..
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST, “RAUNCHY,” “LOW CLASS,” “VISIONS OF GRANDEUR,” “FULL OF B.S.,” “IGNORANT,” “MISGUIDED,” “BULLYISH,” “FILTHY,” “SICK,” “PERVERTED,” “STUPID,” “PATHETIC,” “DESPICABLE,” “DISAPPOINTING,” “BELOW THE BELT,” “A NEW LOW,” “SHOCKING,” “OFFENSIVE,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” HORIFFIC,” “SLANDEROUS” “FIT TO BE VIEWED FROM THE REAR” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU. RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVLY EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (WE BELIEVE THIS WILL END SOON, SINCE THE FOCUS IS NOW ON THE IMPROPRIETIES OF MR. “Z”. WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, BUT NOBODY LISTENED), AND DON’T FORGET WE ARE PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… A STRATEGIC LEGAL MANEUVER THAT CAN BE DONE ONLY IN RIVERSIDE WITHOUT A CONTRACT… AGAIN, THANK YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!