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San Diego To Consider Ballot Measures on Access to Public Records and Inaugeration Dates

The City Council must adopt the measures on or before Jan. 27, and approve the related ordinances on or before Feb. 10 in order to make the ballot.

Two of four proposed ballot measures heard by the City Council's Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Wednesday will be forwarded to the full council for its consideration.

A submission from Councilman David Alvarez to amend the city charter regarding public access to records, copies of records and access to government information will move forward.

"We're here to work for the people of our city, and they have every right to know what the city is doing and why we are doing what we do," Alvarez said.

The measure, if approved, would make all forms of communication in which the city does business that are conducted applicable to the Public Records Act requests and would require all city employees and contractors comply with the requests.

It would also require a periodic review of policies that restrict public access, along with an explanation of how making the information public would be detrimental to the city, Alvarez said.

"Putting this measure on the ballot will be another step in restoring the public's trust in City Hall," Alvarez said.

The City Attorney's Office and the open-government group Californians Aware were directed to work on language included in the proposal, and a complete legal and fiscal analysis were requested.

Councilwoman and Committee Chair Sherri Lightner said if that could not be done in time to make the cutoff for the June ballot, it would be considered for the November ballot.

Also moving forward was a submission from the City Clerk's Office, as directed by the former Rules and Economic Development Committee in September, proposing amendments to city charter sections related to setting Dec. 10 as the inauguration date, unless it fell on a weekend, and extending the time period between a special election primary and runoff from 49 to 90 days.

City Clerk Liz Maland said a Dec. 10 inauguration would allow enough time for the registrar of voters to certify election results, should he need the full 28 days allowed by state law.

The City Council must adopt the measures on or before Jan. 27, and approve the related ordinances on or before Feb. 10 in order to make the ballot, Lightner said.

Submissions proposing overturning a levy to support provisions for zoological exhibits, and barring council members from setting their own pay did not make the cut.

—City News Service

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