By Brian Campbell
Transparency is the key to the public’s trust in their local government. Real transparency in government, as opposed to just claims of such, provides citizens with the opportunity to participate in government processes, provide feedback on important developments and take an active part in decisions that will impact their lives.
I am writing today because this week is International Sunshine week—an initiative aimed at educating the public about the importance of open government. As such, I would like to reaffirm my commitment to fostering a government whose business is the business of the people it serves.
Being transparent is more than posting the city council agendas and televising council meetings. It’s more than creating a basic website and more than posting the annual budget online. Creating a transparent local government requires a cultural shift where easy and comprehensive access to public employee compensation records, city finance information and campaign finance disclosure statements is the norm, and not the exception.
Here in Rancho Palos Verdes, with the increased use of technology and the internet as well as of dozens of other online innovations, being transparent is easier than ever. While many local residents and I have been successfully pushing for the last 18 months for more transparency in RPV, we can do more. The numerous public records requests made by RPV residents to cast light on the inner workings of our local government have been instrumental in creating greater transparency; however, we should never be in a position where citizens have to go to such extreme and expensive lengths to uncover what should be required by law to be easily available to the public.
There’s no reason not to be more open and transparent, especially now in the digital age. I support open, transparent local government, and I encourage you to do the same.
Brian Campbell is a member of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council.