The Santa Ana City Council Monday night gave final approval to a sunshine ordinance aimed at increasing transparency at City Hall, causing a coalition of activists who had been pushing for the ordinance to again celebrate their victory.

The vote was 4-3, with Mayor Miguel Pulido and council members Claudia Alvarez and Carlos Bustamante voting against the ordinance because of sections in the law requiring a meeting between the community and developers after projects are submitted to City Hall.

The council first approved the law earlier this month, but as with all city ordinances, a second vote was required for final approval. There was some worry among the activists coalition — Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development (SACReD) — that the law wouldn’t pass.

Pulido, who has referred to the law as a “red-tape” ordinance, said that it may drive developers away from the city but that possible consequence will be impossible to ascertain.

“If it does have these negative consequences, we’re never going to truly know,” Pulido said.

Other council members disagreed.

Councilman Vincent Sarmiento said that, had the law been on the books many years ago, the city wouldn’t have had so many development projects that didn’t include park space for residents. The city is known as park-poor.

“It’s clear that we obviously don’t agree on this one up here, and that’s fine. That’s what democracy is all about,” Sarmiento said.

The law sets out six provisions:

  • Required meetings between developers and the community during an early review phase for projects.
  • Increased public notice of city legislative meetings, including a four-day advance posting of City Council agenda items.
  • Access to bids on city services contracts and requests for proposals.
  • Budget outreach and the formulation of a strategic plan.
  • Open meeting calendars of council members and some city staff.
  • Publishing on the city’s website campaign finance disclosure forms, statements of economic interest, and disclosure forms for payments made at the behest of public officials.

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