Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

You have probably been hearing quite a bit of talk in Santa Ana lately about the “Sunshine Ordinance” proposed by a group that calls itself “The Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development,” otherwise known as SACReD.

You might be wondering, who are these people?  Good question.  Unfortunately they do not have a website, although they do have a Facebook page.  On that Facebook page they do list their current members, as follows:

  • Jeannie Gillett, Save Our Orchard, SACReD
  • Ruby Woo, Artesia Pilar Neighborhood Association, SACReD
  • Gilbert Davila and Maria Rosa Fernandez, UFCW Local 324, SACReD
  • Gloria Alvarado and Zack Beasley, Orange County Labor Federation, SACReD
  • Jeff and Ann Dickman, French Park Neighborhood Association members, SACReD
  • Tish Leon, Downtown Neighborhood Association, SACReD
  • Andrew Hausermann, Orange County Community Congregation Organization (OCCCO), SACReD
  • Ana Urzua, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, SACReD
  • Laura Pantoja, Luis Sarmiento, El Centro Cultural de Mexico, SACReD
  • Rosalia Pinon, Latino Health Access, SACReD
  • Daisy Gonzalez, Linda Tang, Kennedy Commission, SACReD
  • Elizabeth Picton, Cal State Fullerton MEChA, SACReD
  • Adriana Reza, Cal State Fullerton MEChA, SACReD
  • Flor Garcia, Cal State Fullerton MEChA, SACReD
  • Laura Garibay, SACReD resident leader
  • Antonio Bugarin, SACReD resident leader
  • Sergio Hernandez, SACReD resident leader
  • Ester Trinidad, SACReD resident leader
  • Maria Andrade, SACReD resident leader
  • Manuela Lopez, SACReD resident leader
  • Reyna Cajon, SACReD resident leader
  • Apolonio Cortes, SACReD resident leader
  • Tixoc Ventura, SACReD resident leader
  • Carlos Melendez, SACReD resident leader
  • Juan Carlos Macedo, SACReD resident leader
  • Victoria Salgado, SACReD resident leader
  • Ana Lydia Tutila, SACReD resident leader
  • Ricardo Ramos, SACReD resident leader
  • Luisa Correa, SACReD resident leader
  • Jeannete Ramirez, SACReD resident leader
  • Christian Abastos, Public Law Center, legal support
  • Ben Beach, Community Benefits Law Center Director, legal support
  • Hays Witt, Partnership for Working Families, support

As you can see their membership is dominated by representatives of organized labor as well as a bunch of people who call themselves “resident leaders,” but are in truth not elected or appointed officials.  And there are a few neighborhood association types, some of whom have repeatedly sued the City of Santa Ana to stop development projects they don’t like, costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars and stopping growth in our city as well as killing thousands of jobs.

What do these people want?  You can read all about their proposed Sunshine Ordinance here. Let’s run down their main points:

  • Pre-Meetings.  Pre-Meetings around development projects allow the public to discuss jobs, housing, and open space before a public hearing is scheduled.
  • Increased Notification.  Increased Notification around development projects will inform all residents and businesses within the projected impact area, allowing them a chance to participate in shaping the project.
  • Increased access.  Increased access to RFP/RFQ processes allows the public to see who is voting on projects involving taxpayer dollars.
  • Lobby Reform.  Lobby Reform will create a public registry of any lobbyist doing business in the city.
  • Open Calendars.  Open Calendars permits the public to see who their local leaders are meeting with, in addition to the nature of the meeting.
  • Oversight Commission. Oversight Commission will create an independent body of residents and stakeholders to help ensure government is functioning properly.
  • Budget Outreach.  Budget Outreach Hearings provides additional opportunities for the public to shape the budget and understand how it functions.
  • Public Priority Hearings.  Public Priority Hearings creates a platform for residents to prioritize city functions and programs that are important to them.

Here is my analysis of these proposals:

When these people talk about “pre-meetings” they are referring to an end-run around our appointed Planning Commission and our elected City Council.  These folks want to meet with developers before their projects are even submitted to City Hall for consideration.  That is ridiculous and this idea has flopped everywhere else it has been proposed.

Do we need increased access to RFP/RFQ processes?  The truth is that this information is widely available but outside of a handful of NIMBY’s it simply is uninteresting to most Santa Ana residents.  So why increase access when most folks in town don’t care to see this info in the first place?

I am all for lobby reform.  We should know who the lobbyists are – but why isn’t this group pushing for the same thing at the County level, where the corruption is even worse?

I am very much opposed to the Open Calendar idea.  How intrusive!  Our elected officials should be able to meet with whomever they want to without having every minute of their day scrutinized by a bunch of self-appointed “leaders.”

An Oversight Commission?  Ridiculous!  We have the right at every election to elect new Council Members.  And we already have a whole bunch of appointed Commissions.  What this comes down to is sour grapes.  The rabble that is SACReD can’t get on any City Commissions.  Too bad!  Let me add that the best oversight is what we as bloggers do – scrutinize what is going on and write about it.  That is the best “sunshine” there is.

As for “Budget Outreach,” our city already does this!  SACReD is asking for something that is already practiced.  Do they even know what goes on in our city?

As for the “Public Priority Hearings,” these too are an end-run around our elected City Council and appointed commissions.  These self-appointed “leaders” have no right to insist on this and our City Council should soundly reject this notion.

As you can see, the “Sunshine Ordinance” is completely ridiculous and I hope our City Council will decide as much.  I am all for transparency and open government – that is the driving force behind my work on this blog.  But these proposals are self-serving, leftist and NIMBY ideology that no other city has embraced, and neither should ours!

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

26 thoughts on “A look at SACReD’s misguided “Sunshine Ordinance””
  1. Art, from your comments it sounds like you do not approve of residents wanting to be informed unless they are also in an elected postion.

      1. Here is a list of the Cities/Counties that have enacted or are about to enact a Sunshine Ordinance.

        Adopted in November 2011

        Adopted in July 2005
        Benicia has also adopted: Whistle Blower Program and a Code of Conduct

        Berkeley On February 18, 2010, a Berkeley citizen group submitted a Notice of Intent to circulate an initiative ordinance petition. After the required procedures the proponents circulated the petition and collected signatures. The Registrar of Voters has verified the signatures and placed the initiative on the November 2012 General Election ballot. However, on February 15, 2011, the Berkeley City Council adopts the first reading of its own Open Governance Ordinance.

        Brea An Initiative will be on the November 2012 ballot for voters’ approval

        Contra Costa County
        Adopted in February 1995.

        Adopted in November 2008

        Adopted in April 2005

        Adopted in May 2003

        Adopted in 1994

        Adopted in January 2005

        San Bernardino County
        Adopted in September 2010

        Santa Clara County
        “Santa Clara County to Study Sunshine Ordinance” reports Karen de Sa in the San Jose Mercury News March 30 2011. No updated report has been provided.

        San Francisco
        The Ethics Commission in November 1993.

        In November 1999 the voters approved Measure Q, the “Sunshine Ordinance” which went into effect in January 2000. The City/County of San Francisco already had a Sunshine Ordinance; however, the new one strengthens the previous one.

        In February 2001, the index was developed by the General Services Agency as required by the Sunshine Ordinance.

        San Jose
        In January of 2006, Council members called for the creation of a Sunshine Ordinance. Outlined in Reed Reform #4, a comprehensive set of regulations that would make it easier for the public to know their rights and find out what the city is doing.

        Since then, Mayor Reed has kept a sunshine ordinance at the top of his agenda. With the help of the Sunshine Reform Task Force and the Rules & Open Government Committee, The Mayor and City Council have adopted numerous new reforms around Public Meetings, Closed Session, Public Information, Public Records and Ethics & Conduct. As a result, the city’s new Sunshine Ordinance includes numerous provisions that:

        ■Require agendas and related staff reports to be posted online at least 10 days before public meetings.
        ■Limit the type of decisions can be made in Closed Session and increase disclosure about what happens in those sessions.
        ■Mandate that the Mayor, City Council and Council Appointees maintain updated calendars online.
        ■Clarify what type of public records should automatically be released and allow the public to appeal to the Rules & Open Government Committee when a request is denied.
        These reforms are a significant step forward to bring more transparency to San Jose City Hall and restore public trust in local government!

        The Sunshine Reforms are currently being implemented on a pilot basis and the City Attorney is working to integrate these measures into a single city ordinance

        Adopted in November 1999

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        1. The San Jose ordinance differs from the proposed SACReD ordinance. Did the other cities you cited all pass different laws too? Obviously if they did then this is an apples to oranges comparison.

          And many of the cities you cited are liberal enclaves with little in common with Santa Ana.

  2. I’m much more interested in who Santa Ana Managers/Staff are meeting with! How many rounds of golf and Laker tickets and ??? have gone to staff members over the years? LOTS.

  3. Well the next meeting should have the updated messure for viewing.

    At 11pm I left and watched the rest on the internet, the meeting ended around 12:30am

  4. imagine if this new law had been in place last year!

    Pretend Calendar Entry:

    Councilman David Benavides

    Tuesday, December 8, 2010
    11:00 AM – 3:30 PM
    Doubletree Hotel – Orange, CA

    Attending: REDACTED

    Purpose: ????????

    Imagine what a divorce attorney could do with that!

  5. I’d like to have America Bracho of Latino Health access open her calendar AND her books! She claims in her bio …
    “Dr. Bracho worked as a physician in her native Venezuela for several years, after which she came to the U.S. to obtain a Master’s Degree in Public Health at the University of Michigan.”

    Those who have looked into this know she is not a real M.D. in Venezuela or anywhere else. She makes $$$ off the poor with grants and her “promotores” run a pyramid scheme.

    This will make a great 60 minutes segment someday.

  6. Admin, you so funny with your expert politicians.
    Maybe you would create a board of Corporate C.E O.s as well. They know better than the peeps huh?
    Mit Romney, looses election.
    becomes consultant for
    “Healthy and Prosperous Communities” HAAA HAAA.
    “New Santa Ana Alliance for outsourced Santa Ana.”
    He would box up those silly liberals and send them to China for you.

    1. I am not a Romney supporter. I am a Libertarian and will be voting for Gary Johnson, a candidate who wants to end the drug war and who cut taxes 14 times as Governor of New Mexico. He left a vast surplus when he termed out. Johnson knows the best sunshine is freedom, not liberal ideology.

  7. SO are all the Whiteys just pretending to be friends with the Latinos? Are they going to use them to pass the ordinance and then give them blankets with Small Pox? Maybe all the Latinos are just using the Whiteys to lure them away from their houses so that they can sneak into their bedrooms and steal their Tiffany bracelets and then go buy their teenage baby mamas some new Xbox games? You so funny Admin. You funny Libertarian! You are like 80s mullet! All business up front and all party in the back.

    1. The neighborhood association types are using SACReD so they can stop development. Ironically the development projects they hate the most are affordable housing. These people also will become rabid if you try to build a school in their neighborhood.

    1. You are most welcome. And I have submitted a revised version of this post to the Register for consideration as a guest editorial. Cross your fingers!

  8. I agree. Another great post from Art. You are wise beyond your years and your readership numbers reflect what you have done with this site. Felicides!

  9. So the Whiteys don’t like affordable low income housing.
    The Latinos do not like having their neighborhoods plowed for transportation projects, etc.

    So you and the establishment have always used the difference to divide and conquer, and hand over everything to outsiders that do not have any sympathy for any of the different communities or have any simple economic interests to share.
    That is deliberately choosing to avoid social responsibility. It is purposeful alienation and disaffection.

    You are just like Dave Ream!
    You are a “Reamer”
    you and your Mayor and most of the council are all the same, Tools of disassociated capitalistic destruction. You choose to act like a community hater, because you do not actually identify with any community.
    Holding up in your basement does not create community sympathy, just as being a City Manager living in Coto De Caza does not create community sympathy. What the heck kind of system is this?

    1. You have no idea what you are talking about. I have been standing up for our people for over twenty years. I started this blog to be able to help folks even more – and it has succeeded in every way.

      We already have a planning commission and public hearings. And we can approach our elected Council Members if we need more help.

      Remember when I helped your sister when she was having a problem with public works at her place of employment? It got resolved, after I helped her, didn’t it? How quickly you forgot that.

      This SACReD bunch does not represent the people of this city. They are a self-appointed group of metiches. The City Council should ignore them.

  10. Did your establishment process work, when the people voted for 5o% tenant occupancy of Broadway Plaza, and then the council deliberately choose to amend that, going against the direct will of the people? What kind of a message does that send the concerned populace. It says F.U. people. Don’t try to exert public control over our private system.

    1. Do you think many people cared or even noticed? Really? Outside of a handful of NIMBY’s the answer would be a resounding no.

      And if it were on the ballot again it would pass again. Do you know why? Because most of our residents want more jobs and more opportunities and they would like to see our Downtown grow instead of watching it stagnate.

      As an artist at the Santora you should applaud any project that brings thousands of new folks to our Downtown.

  11. The Santora is not being maintained.
    You know that.
    A third of the galleries downstairs are not usable, because of the plumbing issues that have not been dealt with.
    Art galleries were replaced by Sprint telephone stores, and then law firms and real estate offices.
    What kind of a vision is that?
    What kind of responsibilty is that?
    I do not hold Artists on a pedestal.
    Many of them are just as reckless, and more irresponsible as the landlord.
    But what about the people that do care?
    You just said that the people do not notice and do not care?
    What about the people that F!@$ing care, and try to invest in the community?
    The Santora and Downtown infrastructure vs. Pie in the Sky fantasies are the perfect example of the problem.
    If everybody could vote on the clear cut issue, how do you think they would vote(if not corrupted)?
    Would they vote on a year of new development?, or would they vote on fixing every pothole and plumbing and brick and mortar issue in the city?

    1. If you had allowed the Newsong deal to go through your plumbing problems would have been fixed inside a month. However, you didn’t and they moved on and now Mike Harrah is going to have a heck of a time finding a new buyer. Who would want to spend six million on a messed up leaky building full of ornery artists?

      Your best hope is that the One Broadway Plaza will get built. I am fairly sure many OC County offices will move there emptying buildings that will get filled up with tenants at lower rents. Maybe you guys can get the heck out of the crumbling Santora…

  12. The city council passed the sunshine ord tonight after another multi hour long meat grinder section.

    And on a 3 to 2 vote, the PBID remains.

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