The city of Santa Ana is one of the largest cities in California and its leaders fancy it as a “big boy” city.Ã‚Â Well if that is ever really going to happen Santa Ana needs to grow up and act like one of the big boys.Ã‚Â Reverting back to televising only one of the city council meetings each month is not a sign that Santa Ana is maturing in the proper manner.Ã‚Â If Santa Ana is going to be a major player in the game, our elected officials need to open up our city government and do the “peoples” business in public.
Much has been made about Councilmember Michele Martinez’s efforts to get both city council meetings back on television each month.Ã‚Â While Martinez should be commended for wanting this, her efforts are flawed because they do not go far enough.Ã‚Â Not only should both council meetings be televised, so should both Planning Commission meetings and both should be streamed on the city’s website.Ã‚Â The public should be able to go back and view any of the meetings at the leisure via the web.
The openess of our city governement should not be limited to the televising of meetings as many of Martinez’s supporters seem to want.Ã‚Â We need to go further in opening our government for all to see.Ã‚Â Again I find myself turning to the city of San Francisco for inspiration.Ã‚Â Just as I think Santa Ana should follow San Francisco’s lead regarding immigration policies and streetcars, we should follow their lead on open government as well.
The Santa Ana city council needs to take a good strong look at San Francisco’s Sunshine OrdinanceÃ‚Â for some inspiration.Ã‚Â The first section of the ordinance says it all, “Government”s duty is to serve the public, reaching its decisions in full view of the public”.Ã‚Â The city of Santa Ana must take heed to this principle and move forward with a more open form of government.
In the coming weeks I plan to meet with Santa Ana officials, including Councilmember Sal Tinajero, and lobby for Santa Ana to implement a similar ordinance in our city.Ã‚Â An open government is good government and this is the message I plan to convey to Sal and others.Ã‚Â I urge you all to take a look at San Francisco’s ordinance and familiarize yourself with it.Ã‚Â I think you will like what you see.
Open government is more than just televising council meetings.Ã‚Â We need to insure that the public has access to all the information that our elected officials have.Ã‚Â We may not always agree with their decisions but we must always be able to see how they came to the decisions they make.Ã‚Â The Santa Ana Sunshine ordinance is what we need to insure our city grows up.