Shining a brighter light on public officials

September 6, 2011

An Orange County lawmaker is pushing a plan to force greater financial accountability by public officials and certain high level government employees, but opposition from those affected is stiffening.

Sen. Lou Correa, R-Orange County, ushered his bill, SB 46, through the Senate last week, and it now heads a lower house test. It would require a much broader level of public reporting of personal finances by officers and “designated” employees of counties, cities, county offices of education, special districts and joint powers agencies.

Those people would each be obligated to file an annual compensation and reimbursement disclosure form designed, in the author’s words, to “increase transparency and keep elected officials and public employees accountable to the people they serve, and prevent further abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

The plan also would require each public agency with an Internet website  to post the information contained on the compensation disclosure form online.

Included in the required reporting would be the public official’s annual salary or stipend and benefits; any reimbursement payments made to the public official for actual and necessary expenses incurred on behalf of the local agency; any monetary or non-monetary perquisites of office paid to the public official; and any money received by a public official for membership or employment with any other public agency.

Opponents to the bill include the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions, officials of which said the bill “creates an unfunded and duplicating mandate to local agencies.” The League of California Cities and numerous other public agencies and their associations are keeping “watch” on the bill.

The proposal is one of several dozen introduced this session in response to the City of Bell scandal, as politicians scramble for recognition as advocates of government transparency.

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Well, if typo is going to bash Republicans on a federal transparency bill, then I suppose I should point out that California Democrats voted down legislation that would require the Assembly to disclose individual Assembly office budgets.

What say you, typo?

“In his continuing efforts to provide sunshine and accountability in state government, Assembly Member Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) today introduced legislation to force the Legislature to comply with the California Public Records Act (CPRA). Currently, the State Legislature is the only government agency in California that exempts itself from compliance with this important “good government” standard. In 2004, voters passed Prop 59 to strengthen public access to information with 83% of the voters in support.

Under AB 1129, Portantino calls for elimination of the self-serving exemptions to transparency that the legislature follows. In place of the same transparency the legislature expects local governments to operate in, the Legislature established its own watered down version of the CPRA called LORA – the Legislative Open Records Act. This action created loopholes and exemptions which have allowed Assembly leaders to hide budget records and expenditures from public review for years.

AB 1129 repeals the LORA exemptions and brings the Legislature into complete compliance with the California Public Records Act. The Governor, other constitutional offices, and local governments all comply with CPRA.”

“This came after a several months of public battle between Portantino, Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, and Assembly Rules Committee Chairwoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, over what Portantino says is retribution for his vote against the budget in June. Shortly after the budget passage, Portantino was ordered by Skinner to cut his own budget by $67,000 or have his office staff furloughed.”

So where are the Dems when it comes to transparency for their own offices?

Hold the phone, what was the letter after Portantino’s name,,oh yeah it was a ‘D’ for Democrat. This legislation for more transparency was proposed by a Democrat. As far as Perez, I did some reading, he might be wrong and might be right. Perez is proposing forming a task force to see if the Assembly is not conforming with the Public Records Act. Is Perez retaliating or is Portantintino retaliating, there’s a little personal infighting there? This story isn’t over yet. But again AB1129 was proposed by a Democrat not a Repub. As a matter of fact I couldn’t find anything about any Repubs speaking in support or against AB 1129. I think I’ll go back and see how our locals voted on this. It’s pretty interesting and personally I didn’t know anything about it until you brought it up.

Yeah, I thought you might go there… Portantino has been under attack from Dems for not voting with the herd. Portantino turned it around with legislation to reveal assembly finance shenanigans. Republicans, including Katcho, have voluntarily disclosed their office budgets. So has Portantino.

So, yes, it’s Dems opposing transparency.

Yeah yeah, I make a lot of grammar mistakes, I know the difference. If you are going to pick out all my typos then you will be a busy man. No big deal.

Tea Baggers=stupidity. Tea Bag movement=revolution. We must stop them, they are like a cancer. If we don’t stop them now then they will destroy this country.

In this post it appears that I’m talking to an imaginary friend,,which I do on occasions but in this case I was responding to someone.

I feel the same way About liberals

Oh this is rich. More hypocrisy from the right and you cons don’t give a cr@p.

From CNN:

“Senate Republicans narrowly blocked Democratic campaign finance disclosure legislation in the Senate Tuesday after raising concerns the bill would curb freedom of speech and tilt campaign spending in favor of the Democrats.

A 57-41 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed for the Senate to cut off debate on the measure. Republicans unanimously opposed the measure while Democrats solidly backed it.

Democrats said the legislation — known as the DISCLOSE Act — would bring greater transparency to campaign contributions from corporations, labor unions, and other special interests, which were able to ramp up political spending in the wake of the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission earlier this year.”

Same old song and dance.

Isn’t the author of the bill in this article a “con” as you call them? I am not sure I read the same story…. you bring up something unrelated on CNN and complain about something else entirely? I’m so confused.

One is about transparency in public employee pay to the tax-payers who are paying their salary; the other is transparency in campaign donations from people who choose to give them. Talk about your apples-to-oranges comparison.

I do not trust ANY government weasel who cries “Campaign Finance Reform” as we got to see first hand what McCain-Feingold did.

Sorry to add to the off-topic reply. I’ll stick to the actual story here on out…

” Talk about your apples-to-oranges comparison”

They’re both fruit and this is good comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for transparency, I’m all for knowing where my tax money is going. I am curious as to why CaLAFCO is against it, that’s not explained very well in this article.

Well seeing that you are against campaign reform I guess you really are a Tea Bagger,,,but I won’t hold that against you. You know your a Tea Bagger when your not for transparency in govt. and you don’t care which corps own your politican.

These stories are absolutely related. We need to know which lobbyists are paying off our politicians but as the article that I posted said the right is so afraid of us knowing that that they voted it down. It was voted 100% by Dems as we want open govt.. Those campaign donations directly effect all of us financially just as what the county official is being paid directly effects us financially. Your baggers are against the govt.. You want ‘transparency’ (which might be a good thing) but you don’t want us to know which big corp is paying for your politicians so they may gain political/financial favoritism. You are worried about where your tax $$ are going with govt. agencies such as the school official but your not worried if your congressmen is being bought by fat cat corps that will most likely have a bigger impact in our wallets.

Transparency when it’s politically convenient for the the CONs, of course you don’t get it. This is not off topic.

Apples are pomes, related to roses (Rosceae); oranges are citrus (Rutaceae)

The DISCLOSE act (federal legislation) has nothing to do with SB 46 in California.

Republicans PROPERLY opposed the DISCLOSE act which is far more about campaign finance than government disclosure. The DISCLOSE act is designed to limit political speech from private organizations while exempting political speech from unions.

Don’t burst my bubble, an apple will always be a fruit to me!

A57-41 would have required corporate, union and advocacy group leaders to disclose their names in campaign ads rather than allow front groups to take responsibility for the political advertising. I think it’s only fair that we know who is paying for our politicians just as it’s only fair that we know how much our public officials are getting paid. I want to know who is paying for Bachmann’s as well as Obama’s advertising. This bill didn’t’ exempt the union from anything, it would have made them as accountable as the Koch Bros. by forcing them to disclose who they are buying off. It is our business and it directly ‘affects’ us. How is that limiting political speech? I’m surprised that you didn’t support that bill.

I still find it hypocritical that some want open govt when it’s convenient for them.

PS, lots of typos Max, no time to be careful.

OT OT warning. SLORider maybe you can answer this question before the monitor takes it off.

Why after I post does this come up: “This website is temporarily unavailable. Please check back later.

Unfortunately there were no suitable nodes available to serve this request.” ? 90% of the times that I post that comes up on my screen after I submit my comment. I have to go back to my explorer or Google bar to get back to CNN??? It’s a pain in the arse.

try refreshing the page just before the “message” appears,(15- 20 sec ) it is a peculiar and vexing issue, happens to us here ‘backstage’ too. we feel your pain

F5 about five – ten seconds after [submit]trick takes you to the top of the story you have to scroll down to see your commentary :-(

that is the best I have to offer, if some web detectives out there can find the bug we will put a star by your name.

Thanks, I will try it now. I asked SLORider as I believe he’s a tech master.

Ah ha, refreshing the page worked, thanks!!

I have the same problem but just use my back arrow key,

My back arrow key won’t work when that screen comes on.

I’ll make this easy for all.. they are all rats, they all take corruption money be it from unions, corpaoration, wall street (one of Obama’s biggest supporter in 2008), foreigners companies/countries, etc. None of these politicans give a rats a$$ about us the little taxpayers anf if we creata a semi fix you can rest assured they have already figured out how to beat the system. Just vote the idiots out of office every year and give no one power, better than the alternate, they have all the power. I am so discussed with the whole lot! Even Ralph Nader is looking good at this point and I never thought I would say that…LOL

I agree, that’s why I find this new bill hypocritical. Sen. Lou Correa is a wolf guarding the hen house. Again, not saying that the new bill is a bad thing, transparency is always good but he should lead by example.

roses-to-fruit comparison, by your own words, typo:

“…I’m all for knowing where my tax money is going.”

The federal bill that republicans shot down was NOT about tax money at all. The CA bill that the democrats are shooting down IS about tax money.

You’re welcome!

Well it is about tax money. When lets say Walmart contributes large amounts to (guessing) Perry’s campaign advertising do you think that Walmart is doing this out of the goodness of it’s heart, of course not that big corp doesn’t have a heart. They are doing if for financial gain. Who pays for that financial gain? When the oil companies give money to Bush’s campaign and then he lowers the tax rates for the wealthy corps who pays for that? It’s about transparency and money. I’m all for a transparent govt. but it must go for everyone.

I may be wrong here but I thought the Supreme Court rule that campain contribution by corporations, labor unions, and special interest groups were a form of free speech.

rock on Sen. Correa

The SCOTUS demonstrated their right wing agenda with that ruling. IMO this is like telling Robitussin, ‘you don’t have to disclose on the label what’s in that syrup’. We could say that these employees in this article have a right to privacy. As I said thought, I’m think that I’m for this legislation (in this article). I just need to know the other side. I need to know why these agencies are against this. I feel as if I only know half of the story but at this point it seems to make sense.

As long as SCOTUS supports your special interest “RIGHT” but not mine.

And what would that be? How does not knowing who pays for politicians not in everyone’s interest? Why don’t you care? You all seem to stomp your feet and a hissy fits when you find out that the Unions pour money into the Dems but you don’t want anyone to know who’s buying you off. I believe taht you got your statement backwards.

Well, we can expect anything from our Governor… I hear he won’t sign the transparency bill… apparently, he’s lost his mojo.

You might want to clean out your ears.

You also might want to identify WHICH “transparency bill” you are talking about.

Here’s one transparency bill he signed into law:

Yeah Will this include Wade McKinney and Kevin McCarthy?