Is It Time For A Sunshine Ordinance For Riverside?

Go For Public CommentHow many times have we been shafted as citizens because our right to weigh in was abridged or eliminated?

Getting the City Council Agenda on a Friday and trying to get straight answers from council members or staff about an item is an unnecessarily  frustrating exercise in democracy.

There is too little time to get answers, ask questions, make recommendations, offer suggestions or anything we the people may have to say.

During Summers the Council meets every other week. No reason we couldn’t adjust the posting time and not miss a beat with staff work flow. We could implement this in a few short months.

If a recent City Council meeting is any guide, maybe we’ve reached a tipping point for expanded public participation in our public affairs.

Could it be time for Riverside to draft a sunshine ordinance of it’s own?. It reminds me of the neighborhood slogan that says, ‘if it’s about us and it’s without us, it’s not for us’. That sums up the conducting of City business and our opportunity to engage in effective public dialog with our elected officials and City staff. I wonder what we’d come up with for our Riverside Manifesto Of Right To Public Participation or a¬†Citizens Bill Of Rights .

I know we’d restore our right to pull an item off of the consent calendar for discussion. We’d probably have no limit on putting speaker cards in during the item being discussed.

Maybe with a new City Manager and City Attorney, we can explore how to quickly restore our rights to participation and full transparency at all city council and committee meetings. That means great video or complete, unedited, full face shots of all speakers .

One thing that makes sense is to allow any speaker to plug in a thumb drive to illustrate or compliment their time – all three precious minutes of it.

We risk better government and better results. Check out what San Jose’s Sunshine Ordinance looks like. let’s start add your ideas.Pass it on.

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