Kris Murray: Democracy Tabled In Anaheim

From Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray:

Democracy Tabled In Anaheim

We need more transparency, not less.

At last night’s Anaheim City Council meeting, I attempted to bring debate on additional transparency measures aimed at conducting the people’s business with greater sunshine. Sadly, that debate never occurred.

I offered amendments to strengthen an open government proposal by Council Member Jose Moreno. These amendments included suggestions from OC watch-dog Shirley Grindle and were endorsed by the OC Register. The item was tabled by the Mayor and debate was silenced. Unfortunately, it appears, the Council majority prefer sunshine for some, but not for all.

As I said at last night’s council meeting, “If the essence of good government is trust, then there should be more, not less, sunshine over this program.”

Therefore, I called for staff to bring back the county’s TinCup gift ban ordinance within 90 days for council consideration. If approved, Anaheim will be the largest city in Orange County to adopt a comprehensive gift ban, joining the county and the City of Orange who originated the gift ban.

Equitable, Clear and Concise

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

My amendments were aimed at closing loopholes in the proposed measure and making sure this new ordinance was applied equitably and comprehensively to all who seek to influence policy at City Hall. As with any new government policy or program, at a minimum, there should be a level playing field in its application:

Specifically, my amendments:

  • Address conflicts of interest to prevent any member of the Anaheim City Council or their families from financially benefiting from council votes
  • Set the highest municipal “Revolving Door” limits to prevent former council members from seeking contracts with the city or regional agencies where they served during their tenure
  • Prohibit paid campaign workers from serving as paid staff to council members

Standing for residents
These amendments failed with strong opposition by Mayor Tait and Council Member Moreno. It’s unfortunate that several of my council colleagues refused to strengthen Anaheim’s new Sunshine Ordinance, going so far as to prevent debate completely by tabling the item. Why were they reticent to allow debate, or more sunshine?

The heavy-handed tactics employed by the Mayor at last night’s meeting did more than stifle debate, it also attempted to silence the residents of Anaheim who elected me to represent them. I am appalled but not dissuaded.

I pledge to continue fighting for transparency in government and to stand for all Anaheim residents who expect and deserve accountability from their elected officials.

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