Santa Rosa to consider open government legislation

Santa Rosa is poised to enact new rules meant to increase transparency at City Hall, a milestone of progress in a process that began about seven years ago.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider a “sunshine ordinance” — potentially the first of its kind in Sonoma County — with key provisions calling for agendas and supporting documentation to be made public well in advance of meetings, including final agendas posted at least four business days before council sessions.

The ordinance also would create an administrative appeal process for public records requests and is intended to foster more public participation, especially among Spanish-speaking residents.

The legislation has its roots in late 2013 when then-Mayor Scott Bartley formed an open government task force to improve transparency at a City Hall, which at the time had been roiled by several controversial decisions in the aftermath of 13-year-old Andy Lopez’s shooting death. The task force submitted a report with its recommendations in December 2014.

Staff brought forward a draft of the sunshine ordinance in March 2016, and it has been updated and reviewed off and on, most recently Oct. 29.

For copy of the proposed ordinance and access to other Santa Rosa public records, visit

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or On Twitter @wsreports.

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