Councilmembers Garcia and Schipske Cosponsor Open Government Initiatives

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Long Beach Councilmembers Robert Garcia and Gerrie Schipske, of the First and Fifth Districts, respectively, have cosponsored a series of “Open Government Initiatives” to increase transparency and accountability in Long Beach government.

The two motions are on agenda for the Council meeting of January 4, 2011.

The initiative proposes multiple reforms, including the adoption of an open government policy statement for the City, posting completed contracts on line, a system for on line public comments during Council meetings, and a variety of changes to the City website, such as posting budgetary information, information about lobbyists, and access to government records and public documents.

“Openness in government is what makes democracy possible,” Garcia said. “Citizens have a right to a transparent and accessible government.”

Councilwoman Schipske said, “Since coming to City Council I have tried to take the Thomas Jefferson approach to local government. He said quite clearly that ‘Information is the currency of Democracy’ and it should be our approach as well here in Long Beach.”

Schipske noted that Long Beach doesn’t have to look too far for a model of website transparency adding that the County of Los Angeles has received an A+ rating from for its website. “Long Beach is almost there but we need to add a few more features so that the public doesn’t have to ask for information — it will be already there on line.”

Councilmembers Garcia and Schipske have a record of open government reforms. Both have long posted their calendars on line for the public to view, and they cosponsored the first and only lobbyist registration law in Long Beach.

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