Louise Einspahr, left, former Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo, Jann Dorothy, and Paula Lee watch for early election returns on a smart phone during the election night return party of opponents of Measure L in Sacramento on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Randall Benton rbenton@sacbee.com
Louise Einspahr, left, former Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo, Jann Dorothy, and Paula Lee watch for early election returns on a smart phone during the election night return party of opponents of Measure L in Sacramento on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Randall Benton rbenton@sacbee.com

City Beat

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City Beat

Activists seek reforms in ethics and transparency in Sacramento

By Ryan Lillis

rlillis@sacbee.com

December 15, 2014 05:23 PM

UPDATED December 16, 2014 08:10 AM

Two groups active in city of Sacramento politics said they will push for ethics and transparency reforms similar to those that were part of the failed strong-mayor ballot measure.

Eye on Sacramento and the League of Women Voters – which both had criticized the strong-mayor initiative – said they will likely seek to put a measure on the June 2016 ballot to create an independent commission to draw City Council district boundaries and a commission to enforce a new ethics code. The groups are also planning to ask the City Council to adopt a “sunshine” code that would clearly define “the city’s commitment to open and accessible government,” according to a news release.

Mayor Kevin Johnson proposed the redistricting commission, an ethics committee and other “good government” ideas as part of Measure L, the failed initiative that would have greatly increased the powers of his office. After the November election, Johnson voiced more support for those elements and appointed council members Allen Warren, Angelique Ashby and Jay Schenirer to a committee tasked with exploring those changes to city governance.

The council committee is scheduled to update the city on its progress at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

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Eye on Sacramento and the League of Women Voters were critical of the City Council committee, writing in a news release that the council group’s meetings “are held behind closed doors, without public notice, agendas or minutes, and aren’t subject to California’s open meeting law.” The two groups said they would host a series of public forums on their proposals.

The League of Women Voters campaigned against Johnson’s strong-mayor measure, and Eye on Sacramento, a citizens watchdog group, issued a report that was critical of the proposal during the election campaign.

“The time is right for Sacramentans to join together to secure the kind of reforms that will make city government more accountable to its citizens,” Paula Lee, president of the League of Women Voters, said in a written statement. “The partnership we announce today with EOS marks the beginning of a broad community coalition that we invite all Sacramentans and organizations to join.”

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at www.sacbee.com/citybeat.