Let the Sunshine In! Apply Irvine’s Sunshine Ordinance to All Non-Profits Receiving Significant City Funding!

Let the sunshine in!

As an Irvine City Councilmember, I am proud of my record regarding increasing government accountability, openness, and transparency.

In 2017, I received the Orange County Taxpayers Watchdog Award for “demonstrating dedication to the protection of taxpayer funds and for the advocacy of government transparency and fiscal responsibility.”

In February 2018, I was the only member of the Irvine City Council to oppose Measure D, because I believe that Irvine residents must continue to have a strong voice in determining how our city grows.

This year, I enthusiastically supported the City’s adoption of the Irvine Sunshine Ordinance, which expands public notice to four times longer than California law requires and will prevent government action without full and informed participation and input from the community.

In addition, I have supported approval of a two-year budget cycle, up from the present one-year budget, along with a five-year financial planning program, to bring more accountability to government spending.

We need to do more.

This week, on my motion, the Irvine Community Land Trust, which I chair, has voluntarily opened all future meetings to the public. 

The Irvine Community Land Trust intends the open meeting format to allow members of the community to come, hear, and be heard on programs and projects being implemented by the board.  Through this meeting format, the Land Trust hopes to generate input, interest, and support for its projects and funding programs from the community. All Irvine Community Land Trust board meetings will be open to the public beginning the next regularly scheduled meeting.

I have also called for a City Council vote to apply the City’s Sunshine Ordinance to all non-profit agencies that receive significant funding from the City of lrvine.

Accordingly, for the January 8, 2019 City Council meeting, I have requested a presentation from City staff followed by discussion and direction from the City Council, regarding the application of the City’s Sunshine Ordinance to all non-profit entities in the community that receive significant funding from the City.

Please come to the Irvine City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, to discuss this important matter.

You can find more information about speaking at our Irvine City Council meetings here.

See you there!

Join Me to Call for More Transparency at the Irvine City Council!

Join me at City Hall to show your support for approval of an Irvine Sunshine Ordinance that would expand review time of all regular agenda items to 12 days.

California’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, requires an agenda be posted 72 hours in advance of a regular meeting.

The Irvine Sunshine Ordinance would expand public notice to four times longer than California law requires.

The proposed new Irvine Sunshine Ordinance will be heard and discussed during the City Council meeting beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23. 

As always, the public is invited to comment.

I am a strong supporter of the Irvine Sunshine Ordinance, which will prevent government action without full and informed participation and input from the community.

In describing the proposed Irvine Sunshine Ordinance, City Manager John Russo explains that “The 12-day window allows every community member the time they need to review agenda items thoroughly.”

“People and business owners who pay their taxes to run a good government ought to have the opportunity to share information, ask questions, and make their opinions known before City Hall acts on their behalf,” said Russo.

In addition, the City Council is expected to consider approval of a two-year budget cycle, up from the present one-year budget, along with a five-year financial planning program at the November 27 City Council meeting.

An ordinance requires a second reading, which would be November 13.

As your representative on the Irvine City Council, I strongly support these measures to increase government transparency and openness. If you agree, please come to the Irvine City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 23, to show your support!

You can review the Irvine Sunshine Ordinance (Item 3.1 of the October 23, 2018 agenda) here.

You can find more information about speaking at our Irvine City Council meetings here.

See you there!

UPDATE:

At the November 27, 2018, Irvine City Council meeting,  I was pleased to have seconded the motion to approve a two-year budget cycle, up from the present one-year budget, along with a five-year financial planning program.

These changes will make planning more transparent, give residents more opportunity for input into budget and planning, and make city government more accountable.

As the publication The Hill recently observed, “Biennial budgeting should be neither a conservative nor a liberal idea, but appeal to both. The efficiency that could come from increased examination could both limit spending and increase its efficacy — each necessary to address increasing demands with limited resources.”

City of Irvine Wins Awards in Financial Reporting, Budget Reporting and Operational Budget

Congratulations to the City of Irvine’s Administrative Services Department, which this week received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

This is the nation’s highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Irvine also received two other prestigious awards: The GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award representing the City’s commitment in meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting, and the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers Award for Excellence in Operational Budget.

In January, Irvine was rated the #1 city in the nation in regard to fiscal health, according to a recent report by Truth in Accounting, an organization that promotes clarity in public financial records.

I’m extremely proud of Irvine’s number one financial rating in the nation and its national recognition for its financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association.

I am also proud to have received the Orange County Taxpayers Watchdog Award for “demonstrating dedication to the protection of taxpayer funds and for the advocacy of government transparency and fiscal responsibility.”

I ran for City Council on a platform of using my skills as a business attorney to safeguard every public dollar, and I intend to keep that promise by making sure that Irvine is financially transparent and doesn’t spend more than it can afford.

These awards reflect the firm commitment that my colleagues on the Irvine City Council, our Finance Commission, our professional City staff, and I have to the taxpayers and residents of Irvine, and to the principles of government transparency and fiscal responsibility.