In a city that has been dogged by allegations of sweetheart deals in recent years, Anaheim’s decision to adopt a sunshine ordinance is a positive step forward for government transparency.
Among the highlights of the proposal are rules that would ban council members from hiring staff who moonlight as lobbyists that have business dealings with the city.
The city would also require lobbyists to pay a yet-to-be-determined amount to register with the city, and report on a regular basis who they are lobbying on behalf of, and what projects they are lobbying for, as part of a quarterly statement filed with the city clerk.
Councilman Jose Moreno, who proposed the ordinance, argued that it is important that those who are paid to influence city decisions aren’t also being paid by the city while they do it.
While lobbyists undoubtedly have expertise in their fields, employing them, especially when they or their firms do business with the city, creates a clear conflict of interest. Moreover, the public has a right to know who is lobbying their elected officials and why.
But not everyone agreed. Lucille Kring called it “overreach.”