Santa Ana will be drafting a sunshine ordinance to increase transparency at City Hall by, among other things, providing public access to calendars of elected and appointed officials, requiring a lobbyist registry and public meetings before development projects come before the City Council.

Council members approved the drafting of the ordinance at their meeting last week. The move was hailed as a victory for a group of local activists known as the Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development (SACReD). The group has been pushing for the law by meeting individually with council members.

“This will make Santa Ana one of the most open governments in the state,” Councilman Vincent Sarmiento said at the council meeting.

While there were worries at first that council members had at best tepid support for such a law, those fears have since been allayed. Of the eight-point policy SACReD had proposed, only one — an oversight commission that would monitor how well developers deliver on promised benefits to the community — has been crossed off the list.

Councilwoman Michele Martinez had proposed a sunshine policy in 2007, but council members then opposed the idea. Sarmiento said that with more community backing of the sunshine ordinance, council members are now more comfortable supporting it.

“It’s great to see that you love your city as much as to do what you’ve done,” Sarmiento told the activists.

A drafted ordinance would still require council approval before it goes into effect.

Click here for a rundown of the proposed policies.


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