The sunshine is shining in Alameda

Sunshine in government is a really important tool for effecting better decision-making as well as encouraging greater, more meaningful participation in the public process. Yesterday, something momentous and good occurred. The City Council and ARRA agendas came out…10 days prior to the meeting.

There are state laws that require the public disclosure of agendas within 72-hours notice, but Alameda has now moved to 10-day notice, something that will be enshrined in the sunshine ordinance that will be coming to the council at the end of September.

This means that residents will now have time to discover what is being discussed at the council, ask questions about it, do research, talk to their neighbors and then contact their council members where in the past. In the future, these noticing timelines will be in effect for “special meetings” as well, which are meetings held outside of the regularly scheduled timeline. State law requires only 24-hour notice of them.

Unfortunately, the Sunshine Task Force was not responsible for this, they acted 4-1 to make notification only four days, the “1” (that was me) wanted a week, the change is more dramatic that discussed at the Task Force, and has everything to do with City Manager John Russo who is putting it in place without any requirement to do so, and who is making the recommendation to the Council that all meetings be noticed this way.

The Agendas can be found here:

9/7/11 ARRA Agenda
9/7/11 City Council Agenda