Supervisors propose new committee to boost government transparency

Local

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher revealed more of his proposed sweeping “Framework for the Future” Thursday by announcing a policy proposal intended to enhance transparency and accessibility in local government.

San Diego County supervisors Nathan Fletcher, left, and Joel Anderson, right. (Provided)

Fellow Supervisor Joel Anderson partnered with Fletcher on the open government proposal — part of a larger recasting of San Diego County’s government the board will vote on Tuesday.

“We can all agree that a cornerstone of good government is more transparency and opportunity for public participation,” Fletcher said. “Supervisor Anderson and I are coming together to move our county government in this direction. This policy will build on and expand the work around transparency we have already done. Trust between individuals and government is strengthened when there is greater opportunity and access for everyone.”

Fletcher said his first two years in office were focused on increasing transparency with policies for evening budget hearings and evening public forums for Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds — better known as the TRUTH Act, which confirms due process rights to immigrants who Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents may seek to interview while incarcerated and possibly deport.

Anderson, who was elected in a tight race in November, campaigned on a message of bringing more transparency to the county.

“Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously stated that `sunshine is the best disinfectant,”‘ Anderson said. “To me that means that the intense light of transparency is the best way to ensure that the public interest is being served.

“This should include releasing more information, in a timely and efficient manner, and ensuring that discussions about public issues should occur in open, not behind closed doors,” he said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the public to create a vigorous review process to ensure that all that can be done is being done to truly augment transparency.”

To increase access and transparency, the supervisors are proposing the following:

  • establish an Advisory Committee to review, assess, conduct stakeholder outreach and recommend modifications to enhance transparency, accessibility and open government within the county government, public engagement processes and website offerings, including a Public Records Act portal, accessing archived public records, an email retention policy and board and stakeholder engagement;
  • appoint Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nora Vargas to the committee; and
  • direct the Chief Administrative Officer to provide staffing to support the committee.

According to Fletcher, the proposed policy aligns with his Framework for the Future of San Diego County, intended to prioritize communities and populations which have been historically left behind.

For the first time since at least the 1960s, Democrats control the county’s government and Fletcher has wasted no time in setting priorities for the county going forward.

Earlier this week, Fletcher held a news conference with Vargas, the vice chair, announcing the board will also vote on a new COVID-19 data-driven approach and declaring racism a public health issue.

Fletcher will hold meetings on Friday and Monday with Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to lay out proposed financial policies and climate change actions. All of Fletcher’s Framework will be voted on at the Board of Supervisors meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

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