Transparency in Government: Without an informed public, democracy fails
The Brown Act, the Bagley-Keene Act, and the CPRA affirm: the sovereign rights of citizens to be informed and hold government accountable.
“The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created."
~ Bagley-Keene Act
Similarly, When the legislature enacted CPRA, it expressly declared that "access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state." Indeed, in California "access to government records has been deemed a fundamental interest of citizenship" and has emphasized that "maximum disclosure of the conduct of governmental operations [is] to be promoted by the act." By promoting prompt public access to government records, the CPRA is "intended to safeguard the accountability of government to the public."
As the California Supreme Court recognized in CBS v. Block:
”Implicit in a democratic process is the notion that government should be accountable for its actions. In order to verify accountability, individuals must have access to government files. Such access permits checks against the arbitrary exercise of official power and secrecy in the political process.”
"The Brown Act, was enacted in response to mounting public concerns over informal, undisclosed meetings held by local elected officials. City councils, county boards, and other local government bodies were avoiding public scrutiny by holding secret "workshops", [“focus groups”], and "study sessions." The Brown Act solely applies to California city and county government agencies, boards, and councils. The Act has been interpreted to apply to email communication as well, leading to restrictions on the number of parties that can be copied on electronic messages. The comparable Bagley-Keene Act mandates open meetings for State government agencies.”
Links of interest:
The Brown Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Act
The Bagley-Keene Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagley-Keene_Act
The California Public Records Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Public_Records_Act
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press
The California based First Amendment Coalition https://firstamendmentcoalition.org/
El Cerrito Employees Pension Trust Fund 2014
EL Cerrito Police Department 2019 Annual Report including the budget and stats.
El Cerrito's Financial Transparency Web Site
El Cerrito's City Staff Directory
Subscribe Here for Event Notifications News, Alerts, and Reports
City Council Meetings, Videos, E-packets, and Agendas
2016 El Cerrito Satisfaction Survey Results https://www.el-cerrito.org/DocumentCenter/View/7000
Transparent California El Cerrito Salaries 2018
Transparent California El Cerrito Salaries 2019
Government Employee Compensations in El Cerrito 2018 by the California State Controller's Office