San Diego City Council to consider amending Charter with Councilman David Alvarez's 'Open Data' plan

Alvarez says plan will allow greater public access

SAN DIEGO - A proposed City Charter amendment that would allow greater public access to city documents will be considered by the City Council Monday afternoon.

The so-called "open data" plan introduced by Councilman and mayoral candidate David Alvarez would have to be put to a public vote for final approval. The idea is for it to go on the June 3 primary ballot.

The proposal is also supported by the other mayoral candidate, Councilman Kevin Faulconer. The item passed 5-0 with bipartisan support at the council committee level.

The amendment would, among other things, require periodic reviews of written policies that restrict public access to city documents and require the City Council to reaffirm the need to keep such rules in place. It would also demand factual evidence of why public access to meetings or records should be restricted.

"We're here to work for the people of our city, and they have every right to know what the city is doing and why we are doing what we do," Alvarez said at the committee hearing.

If the City Council approves the action, the City Attorney's Office would be directed to prepare an ordinance that would call for the proposal to go on the ballot, create the ballot title and summary, and write an impartial
ballot analysis.

The June 3 ballot for San Diego voters is already getting crowded with local measures.

Proposed City Charter amendments regarding a regular inauguration date and timing of special elections, along with a referendum challenging an update to Barrio Logan's zoning plan are already set for public votes. Signatures are being counted to see if another referendum, opposing an increase in building fees to fund affordable housing, qualifies for the June ballot.

The City Council will not meet Tuesday because of the runoff election for mayor. Alvarez and Faulconer are both hoping to fill the seat left vacant by Bob Filner amid his sexual harassment scandal last summer.

Filner resigned in disgrace Aug. 30—less than a year into his four-year term—before pleading guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery. Council President Todd Gloria has served as interim mayor since that time but declined to run for the permanent position.

Faulconer, a Republican, and Alvarez, a Democrat, finished first and second, respectively, among nearly a dozen candidates in a special mayoral election held in November, qualifying them for Tuesday's runoff. Recent polls show the two men are in a dead heat.


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