Anaheim City Council Divided Over New Transparency Rules

A set of new rules governing Anaheim’s interaction with lobbyists moved one step closer to fruition last week, but not with consensus from the city council. The new "sunshine ordinance" was approved by a 5 to 2 vote. Here’s some of what it does:

• Prohibits the hiring of policy aides who currently work for lobbying firms that do business with the city.

• Requires lobbyists to register with the city and provide regular reports on their activities to the city clerk who will then make a report available to the public.

• Prohibits elected officials and city staff from working as lobbyists for firms that do business with the city for a period of two years after leaving their employment with Anaheim.

The new rules “will bring checks and balances to the outsized influence lobbyists have had on our city,” wrote Mayor Tom Tait in an op-ed for the Orange County Register.

But not everyone sees it that way.

“I think it’s going to create a lot of problems and a lot of people will not bring business to the city because they don’t want to go through this nonsense,” said Councilwoman Lucille Kring. She and Kris Murray cast the dissenting votes, with Murray saying the new rules didn’t go far enough.

Even some of the ordinance’s supporters were somewhat apprehensive. The new ordinance could very well cost one of Stephen Faessel’s policy aides her job because she currently works for a Sacramento firm that does business with the city.

“Despite my misgivings, I support transparency and an open government,” he added.

The ordinance is scheduled for a second vote Aug. 15.


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