Item 85A.Ã‚Â on tonights agenda of the Santa Ana City Council creates an ad hoc committee of the council which will explore changes to the current meeting structure and take a closer look at the issue of televising and webcasting the two monthly city council meetings.Ã‚Â The committee will include Sal Tinajero, Vince Sarmiento and Claudia Alvarez.Ã‚Â After having a long discussion with Councilmember Tinajero about this it is my belief that this ad hoc committee will lead to a better and more open government in Santa Ana, as well as more efficient city council meetings.
As we have come to expect, the folks over at the Orange JuiceÃ‚Â have taken on their usual Chicken Little persona in regards to this issue.Ã‚Â Art Pedroza exclaims that the creation of the ad hoc committee “slams the door on open government”.Ã‚Â How so?Ã‚Â The ad hoc committee is charged with looking into the best way of televising the council meetings and giving access to the public by other means such as the web.Ã‚Â
The committee also plans to look at ways to make the council meetings more user friendly such as moving the public comments to the beginning of the meeting like they do at the Santa Ana School Board meetings.Ã‚Â This will allow members of the public who want to address the council to do so without having to sit through the entire meeting.Ã‚Â The meetings tend to run long and with public comments at the end of the meeting people aren’t getting to speak until late in the evening.Ã‚Â For many residents who have children or perhaps work early the prospects of a late evening at in the council chambers likely deters them from going down and addressing the council.
I believe that we need to give this ad hoc committee an opportunity to come up with some new ideas for opening up Santa Ana’s government.Ã‚Â I would encourage you not to buy in to all the negative naysayer hullaballo being put forth by the self-annointed “leaders of the revolution”.Ã‚Â These folks are just upset because Councilmember Michele Martinez is not behind this idea.Ã‚Â Martinez’s plan that she put forth regarding the televising council meetings was too simplistic and too restrictive and thus got no support from her colleagues.Ã‚Â Martinez never even discussed her plan with any of her fellow councilmembers, instead she chose to try and ram it through.Ã‚Â This go it alone style is not going to be successful for her and she needs to realize that as 1 of 7 members governing is a team job.
I hope that all level headed residents of Santa Ana give the ad hoc committee the opportunity to succeed and I would encourage all of you to attend committee meetings and let your voices be heard on the issues surrounding open government.Ã‚Â We need to see more than just televised city council meetings and I plan to let them know this.Ã‚Â I hope you all do the same.