Ray Mueller just sent a request to the city manager and mayor asking to place on an upcoming agenda for Council consideration a Sunshine Calendar Policy. In a nutshell, he’s asking for Council Members, Planning Commissioners and City Manager’s office to disclose:
“Calendar memos shall include all City-related appointments and City related phone calls, including but not limited to all regular and special City Council, committee, and task force meetings; public events; speaking engagements; and meetings with constituents, developers and/or their representatives, non-residential property owners and/or their representatives, business owners and/or their representatives, multi-family residential property owners and/or their representatives, consultants, union representatives, non-profit organization representatives, non-governmental organization representatives, and lobbyists;”
Why is this important? I see two reasons, and there are probably more. First, the preparations of environmental impact reports (EIR’s) and traffic studies includes projects underway, or have a filed an applications. The problem is arbitrage of unknown ‘non-public’ information. There may very well be other projects under consideration that the city knows about, and there may have been meetings and other contacts, but no format application has been filed. These are not included in studies. I know about them as some project developers contact me to probe my reactions in advance.
The second reason goes towards cost recovery of staff time.
What about ‘employee' access badges?
If city employees, or others representing other related businesses are issued badges for access to major employer campuses, (they may be frequent visitors), these close relationships should be disclosed.
What about term limits?
Sometimes I see resumes that disclose 10 years of experience, but upon further study it’s actually the first year of experience 10 times over. While Ray is at it, it’s also an opportunity to discuss term limits for council members. Two consecutive terms is more than enough; third terms seem to be too painful for those trying to complete it.
Postscript to my prior discussion City Financial posts
A commenter under the nom-de-plume Newsflash lauds a city credit rating that emerged on March 16 by the Fitch bond ratings service. This is good news.
However, there may be some caveats such to ratings. There are three bond ratings agencies: Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. Various bond underwriters and market-makers may have preferences for which agency, at a minimum, to use. They are not the same – but close.
Remember taking some easy courses in college to get your GPA up?
One can use an agency that tends to be more favorable under a set of circumstances. This was more of an issue in the old days when we had the Redevelopment Agency issue a series of bonds.