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Monday, June 15, 2009

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Teresa Barth

I sent the following letter to the three local newspapers. It has not yet been printed.

RE: The Public’s Right To Know

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.

A clearly established policy of open meetings, easy access to public records and accountability will increase the public’s trust and confidence in government.

At the June 10 Encinitas City Council meeting, I proposed a citizen’s task force to work with staff to craft a Sunshine Ordinance.

My colleagues, while admitting to past problems, said a Sunshine Ordinance was not necessary. I believe we should set a goal higher than “good enough”.

I disagree. Without a written policy it is too easy to ignore abuse state open government laws.

We must send a clear message to the public that the city of Encinitas values open and transparent government. We must hold ourselves and the staff accountable to these goals.

The citizens of Encinitas deserve nothing less.

Councilwoman Teresa Barth
City of Encinitas

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